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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Builders: Collaborate to Increase Your Referral Rate

Have you been asked to increase your buyer referral rate -- and not quite sure where to start?

Keeping Buyers Informed is Key

Any chance you saw our Solutions Blog: Homebuilder #1 Referral Driver: Keeping Buyers Informed? You can read it here.

FieldCollaborate Is All About  Communication!
Not surprisingly, that Blog is one of our most frequently read as it kicks-off with Eliant CEO Bob Mirman's Builder and Developer article comments:  the single largest referral driver for homebuilders is how well the builder keeps buyers informed regarding the status of construction. 

Information Mitigates Stress

Mirman asks us to think of the homebuying process as similar to a hospital stay.  Both are stressful -- yet, the stress can be mitigated by information.  No one, in other words, feels comfortable in the dark.

The same applies to good experiences, suggests Mirman in June 2017 Builder and Developer. He notes the #1 driver of buyers' Willingess to Refer a Friend is the ability to keep them informed of their status.

Collaborating to Enhance Your Communication Process 

Importantly, Mirman notes, you don't need conversation -- just communication.

Buyer communication -- in an organized and consistent manner -- may be easier said than accomplished -- and that's where corporate collaboration can assist. Did you attend the Housing Leadership Summit in May 2018? A great session suggested collaboration is more than "working together"  as it involves a commitment to structural change involving both cultural and behavioral elements.

Information is Communication

We'd like to suggest adding software to provide the tools to enhance your current communication process. CPS' software Portals take information developed by Field Collaborate's construction users and WarrantyWatcher's customer service teams and make it available to buyers and home owners via the Internet.

No additional work required: the construction schedule is available for buyers to view. Warranty requests, status and appointments can be seen via mobile or desktop. In both cases, 24/7, anywhere/anytime!

Want to take things up a notch, become more user friendly? Go the extra step and take stage-of-construction photos and attach them to construction milestones. Add post-repair photos so your homeowner knows how things look before getting home after work.  After all, your buyers have Portal access 24/7 so they're up-to-speed as the work is completed!

Referrals Can Be Your Least Expensive Traffic Source

Referrals can be your least expensive source of traffic -- and the most rewarding.  Communication is a win-win as your team communicates results within the organization -- and they're easily viewable by your most important audience, your buyers.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Memorial Day 2018: Honoring Service and Sacrifice

Memorial Day has been set aside as a day for us to honor and remember the sacrifices made for our country by our military and recognize their service.

Vietnam Memorial, Washington DC
Traditionally, here at CPS, we recognize and thank service members in the CPS family:

Bob Musa's son is serving in the US Marine Corps; Mike is at his permanent duty station in North Carolina.

Remembering the service of:

Bob Strickland, US Air Force

Bob's father, Robert Musa (US Marine Corps, retired & yes; that's 2 generations!)
Chris' father, Michael Lott (US Navy, retired)
Michelle's father, Robert DuBois (US Air Force)
Michelle's husband, Jerry Stone (US Navy)
Sean's father, Chris Miyazaki (US Air Force, retired)
Troy's brother, John (US Air Force)
Zoe's father, Charles Miller and brother, Wilson Miller (both: US Army)

Did you know 50% of today's high school youth aren't aware of World War II? Why not take the time to encourage friends and family to remember -- with a bbq, picnic, visit to a memorial park or concert, join a parade or run a race to support various fundraising efforts?

Let us know who you are remembering this Memorial Day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Adding An Emotional Context to Sales and Leasing Offices

CPS SalesTouch: Adding Emotion to the Sales Center!
No matter how the numbers and facts line-up, a good portion of the home shopping experience is based on emotion.

Humans are Influenced by Emotion

It's in our nature. It's worth considering how to add emotion to your marketing messaging as sales/leasing offices are often the first place visitors encounter the full range of your brand and product.

Include Storytelling Features

Storytelling is one of the best content strategies for creating an emotional connection. Stories are tactile and create a visual picture.

No doubt you've heard stories and imagined yourself within that context. That's what makes a good story as it pulls listeners in and actually makes them a co-creator of the message. Stories make content more interesting and more memorable

Make Sure You've Maximized Color

While there are many psychological studies as to color messaging and impact, it's enough to say that color has an impact and should be a major factor to consider as part of your emotional context.

Incorporate Social Proof

We've mentioned collaborative consumption when discussing today's empowered consumersToday's home shoppers bring friends -- just as they always have.  But, in many cases, they're "cloud" friends! These advisers are available through social media -- providing feedback, offering reviews, providing info as to sales and trends. 

Your story needs to be part of this social cloud.  One of the easiest ways to provide social proof, if you aren't displaying social media onsite, is to incorporate testimonials. 

Get Interactive!

Scroll back to the top -- emotion is tactile! Take a look at Cornerstone Communities' interactive SalesTouch kiosk: can you imagine the conversations? What a gorgeous sunset! Do you like fishing? I'd love to walk that every evening! Are there restaurants on the pier?

Interactive touch presentations encourage emotional connections. Did you realize using touch generates entirely different (and more positive) brain activity than using a mouse? Take a look at Bob Musa's book, Creating Customers with Interactive Touch Screen Digital Signage, for more on the power of touch!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

How to: Stay Competitive with Today's Empowered Consumers

You've probably seen and read articles about today's key words: market disruption. 

Technology is Driving Market Disruption

Social Media Wall: A Tool for Collaborative Consumption
We're going to address the type of market disruption being driven today by technology. 

All of us have experienced the shift in the balance of power between businesses and customers -- and much of that is a result of new and growing use of technology.

If you think about today's consumers, they're empowered -- by access to information and data.

Information is Available 24/7, Anywhere/Anytime

Today's shopper can locate the latest sales, pricing and availability -- without ever walking into a retail store, sales/leasing office or car lot. Some of that information has been offered by traditional media - radio, newspapers, magazines. Of course, access was constrained by publishing schedules, once/day delivery and the like.

Now, all of that information is available 24/7, anywhere/anytime -- and consumers also have the ability to test and compare information, too.  And, it's not just from the distribution side -- there are a wide variety of sites available to review, compare and test products and services.

Take a Look at Collaborative Consumption!

Also new is what's been called collaborative consumption. Today's shoppers bring friends -- just as they always have. But, they're "cloud" friends! These advisers are available through social media -- providing feedback, offering reviews, providing info as to sales and trends.

Take a look at CPS' Social Media Wall. It offers social content as well as traditional marketing images and copy. What's unique? It's curated so the business has the ability to determine how much and which social content to display. Your sales office now has the ability to collaborate with home shoppers, buyers and homeowners -- you've extended your data reach!

Social Media Walls are an Incredible Value-Add

Walls, says Debbie Wilson-Dewitt in a recent DigitalSignageToday article, are an incredible value-add. Walls can greet as well as provide information, answer questions and reinforce branding. CPS can help you design a Wall to meet your empowered audience!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Builders: Kick-Up Engagement with Digital Content

Your audience -- whatever the product, whether they're new new home shoppers or retail customers -- has a short attention span. Shoppers want content -- in short bursts -- and they want it now.  Reading through brochures is so 2000, in other words.

What can you do to improve your approach to content and make it relevant to your audience?

SalesTouch offers attention-grabbing, actionable content!
Consumers want an experience -- offer something they can touch & feel -- this need is seen across demographics but has been made imperative by the emerging purchasing power of Millennials. 

Focus on grabbing their attention -- right away.  Remember: visuals are key as they spark the imagination.  Let your customers know there's a story unfolding in front of them -- make sure your copy and content is relevant to their lifestyle, goals and aspirations.

Provide actionable information -- and, be sure it's approachable. Your customer is there because they want something new -- they want to find out how your product (be it a new home, an appliance or clothes) will improve their current situation.  Help them explore your solution. If you're a new home builder, that means interactive floorplans, furniture placement, design center features.  A grocery? There's recipes, nutritional information and new cooking methods.

Motivate them to take the next step -- make sure you've defined it.  Do you want prospect registration? A tour, follow-up meeting or an email in a month? Make the next step realistic, identifiable and easy to locate.

Take a look at the CPS SalesTouch interactive touchscreen presentation above: what can you tell about the audience, their goals and aspirations and the next steps? 

We've put SalesTouch case studies on our website so you can see how effective content grabs a home shopper's attention and encourages them to take the next step on their path to home ownership.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Builders: Do You Share These Pain Points?

Interesting recent BuilderOnline article by John McManus noting that the benefits of the current recovery in homebuilding appear slanted towards the very large, production homebuilders.

FieldCollaborate Quality Inspection Wizard
CPS FieldCollaborate:
Cycle-time Improvements Start Quickly

Market Gains Aren't Equal Across the Builder Landscape

Today, smaller builders, says McManus, are working harder and have a bunch of "math basics" working against them.  Larger builders are able to optimize finance structures as well as relationships with land sellers, vendors and distribution networks.

In many cases, the result, for smaller builders, is a profit squeeze. Labor and material costs are increasing and builders report usable lots aren't as available and are more expensive.

Technology Investment as a Tool

Are these some of your pain points? There's a few more: McManus goes on to say that many of the "smaller builder positives" such as local land knowledge, long-standing vendor relationships and local homeowner referrals don't hold as much sway as previously.  And, there is the Millennial home buyer with all sorts of different objectives, priorities and shopping patterns.

Add to that, larger builders have invested in sales, marketing and operations-focused technology -- and the results are making for a much more competitive marketplace.
Interactive Technology lets you eliminate static displays

Dial-up Your Motivation to Locate Solutions

One solution, McManus suggests, is locating capital partners to achieve better margins. That's certainly an option for some.

Another is reviewing and evaluating current operations. Are you still operating with pen/pencil on the operations side? There are relatively inexpensive, easy-to-use construction management software products such as CPS' 2018 Constructech award-winning, cloud-based FieldCollaborate that can be implemented quickly and start paying off in decreased cycle times and increased communications with vendors and buyers. Buyer referrals still resonate -- grab them as a result of technology use! Available anywhere/anytime for field managers, vendors, home buyers, corporate users.

Take the opportunity to examine how well you are telling your home shopper's story, as well. Step away from tired, static displays and utilize an interactive presentation -- consider an iPad or Surface tablet  if a larger display isn't feasible.

Upgraded marketing tools create an environment appealing to the ever-growing Millennial buyer and responding to their need for new ideas, designs and uses -- and, interactive technology is the way they're used to purchasing.  Adding interactive technology doesn't need to be an incremental increase in cost -- you're able to eliminate the wall-mounted floorplans and pre-printed brochures with products such as CPS' SalesTouch