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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Check Your Buyer Experience Gap: Then, Watch Referrals Grow!

In thinking about the takeaways from Jeff Shore's Sales Leadership Summit, realized there is probably an opportunity to analyze the buyer experience as well as that of the home shopper.

How to minimize the buyer experience gap?

Do You Have A Buyer Experience Opportunity Gap?

Extending some of Jeff's home shopper concepts a bit, 

-- What would be a great buyer experience after the home shopper signs the Purchase Agreement?
-- What is a buyer experience today in your organization?
-- The difference is your buyer experience opportunity gap!

Have you been asked to increase your buyer referral rate? Uncertain where to begin? Closing the buyer experience gap is a great place to start!

Keeping Buyers Informed is Key to Their Experience

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

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

Lack of Information Creates Stress

Mirman asks us to think of the homebuying process as similar to a hospital stay.  No question: both are stressful! Yet, the stress can be mitigated by information.  No one, in other words, feels comfortable in the dark. He notes the #1 buyers' Willingness to Refer a Friend is the builder's ability to keep the buyer informed of their status. 

Communication Doesn't Need to be Complicated

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

Information is Communication

We'd like to suggest using software to gain the tools necessary to enhance your current communication process. CPS' software Portals take information developed by FieldCollaborate's construction users as well as WarrantyWatcher's customer service teams and make it available to buyers and homeowners via the Internet. 

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

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

Referrals Are the Result of a Great Buyer Experience

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

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Builders: Take a look at Fine-tuning the Focus on Your Customer

We just spent several very informative days at the Jeff Shore Sales Leadership Summit 2018 in San Diego. Great group of sales/marketing professionals, lots of discovery, idea sharing and conversation!

What's the Customer Experience Opportunity?

SalesTouch: Leaning-in for the details

The Summit focuses on new homes sales/marketing -- and this year Jeff asked participants to consider the state of the home buying experience.  After all, he asked:

  • What would be a truly awesome buying experience look like?
  • What are today's customers experiencing in your sales centers?
  • Do you see a gap? There's your "opportunity" for improvement!

2018: Let's Focus on the Prospect

What does your customer's experience look like -- from the minute they enter your door?

One takeaway from The Summit: your customers notice things! They really do pick-up on overall cleanliness, the sales agent's greeting and willingness to take a model tour, the value of collateral.  

Another takeaway: the home shopper is actively seeking information! Pricing, availability, floorplan details: they're details and valued by the home shopper.  

Consider this: many home shoppers walking into your sales office are experiencing your product (your brand, in other words) for the first time! They might have researched online but.. this is their first hands on experience. What are you doing to maximize your brand experience?

Make the Move to Consumer-First

During this same week, a new RetailCustomerExperience article suggested there should never be a barrier between a brand and the end consumer. Don't lose sight of your buyer, in other words! 

What are you doing to meet those customer needs (since you control and monitor the customer experience, after all!). Are you providing the information your consumer is seeking? What about an inviting and informative environment? Does it resonate with your buyer demographic?

Take a look at CPS' interactive touchscreen system, SalesTouch as it actively engages home shoppers from the minute they walk in the door.  Today's home shopper enters your door because they're actively looking to make a lifestyle change.  Provide the information they need and make it easy for them: floorplans, exterior elevations, sitemaps -- even a surrounding area discovery zone!

After all: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Builders: Get Interactive and Highlight Your Best Features

If you don't show it, you're not going to sell it!

That's a suggestion made by Lauren Shanesy in a recent BuilderOnline article regarding new home features and option/upgrade possibilities.

Step Up and Highlight the Possibilities

Shanesy notes, "Buyers in the market for a new home know what they want - comfort, convenience, and an overall better quality of life for their family."

What they don't know, frequently, is what you offer that will enable them to live that lifestyle!

And, Shanesy says, "Show them how a specific feature is a solution to a need that they have to live better, and they'll invest in those features.

Show These Lifestyle Features -- and You'll See Buyers!

What sort of "lifestyle features" are important to today's homebuyer -- whether Millennial or Boomer? You've no doubt seen many; we'll talk about two here with others to come in future blogs.

Open space layouts are number one! Buyers have moved away from the traditional kitchen, living room and formal dining area layout; instead, informal gathering spaces are the lifestyle of choice. 

This move is across the board -- Millennial, Boomer, Gen-X.

Marc Thee calls describes this as "non-compartmentalized living" and it is all about comfortable living.

One other floorplan-related favorite: pet-friendly living! 81% of a 2017 Animal House: Remodeling Impact study reported that animal-related considerations play a role in evaluating lifestyle environments.

Encourage Exploration

An interactive touchscreen presentation provides an introduction into lifestyle possibilities as soon as the home shopper walks into your door. Today's buyer is used to self service; 90% have already started exploring via your website. Today's home shopper is interested in and feels comfortable exploring visually engaging content. Encourage discovery!

Buyers want to know how floorplans work -- how they'll encourage comfortable living. Take a look at the CPS SalesTouch presentation above - interested in adding an outdoor kitchen? How about making the family room cozier by adding a fireplace?

Let your home shopper dream -- and create their new home! And, there's a drag 'n drop furniture feature to zero in on how this dream will live!

Visuals Tell the Lifestyle Story!

Remember the interest in pet amenities? Why not provide some visual focus to capture interest in  a pet-friendly neighborhood? 

Here's your opportunity to incorporate storytelling into your home shopper's journey!