All Great ideas start from the top and move downward. Here is a list of Builder Tools to help you through this market!
Builder Tool Kit
1. Create Powerful Partnerships within your community, local government, Realtors, vendors and your employees. Utilize those relationships whenever you can for marketing and advertising and to achieve your goals.
2. Create and Hire only powerful, well trained Agents who have the “go the extra mile” attitude and extraordinary sales skills to sell in this market. You deserve a “Dream Team” working for you, this market demands it.
3. Create a great website with your inventory, pricing, options, coops and buyer build a home features. Market your website to your prospects, to realtors and every change you get.
4. Create a great name and reputation and protect and promote your brand at all costs.
5. Cherish and market to your past clients, they are warm leads and your best referral source. You should have at least one person in the office designated to marketing your past buyers.
6. Do everything possible to make an impression on prospects coming in. Welcome them, Warm them and WOW them, so they remember your homes and community over all the rest.
7. Take a hard look at your models. Are they fresh? Some models are tired due to the length of time we have projects now. Call in your decorator, spruce them up if needed. Sometimes if models have been around for awhile you can re-brand them to freshen them up.
8. Do all of your floorplans work for this market? If not, build one that does. Have it close by your other models so can be viewed as a remote model.
9. Save costs by redesigning interiors of models and cutting out options that were once included.
10. Be a leader in your marketing and advertising. Blogs, podcasts, video, chatrooms, audio video postcards, remote radio broadcasts, social networks, community websites, intranet, text messaging, webinars, you need spaces on my space, facebook and all other “free” spaces or social websites where you can advertise your communities.
11. Always ‘leave your mark” in your communities. People like doing business with socially conscious companies. Make sure your Sales Team knows what you do to make this world a better place, so they can brag about you to their prospects.
12. Make sure your Agents are selling your “Green” features that you have in your models. They will need special training on this, you can get from Green specialists with your local energy companies. Whenever possible use environmental friendly products, processes and advertise that you do!
13. Get help with driving traffic to your website with www.OnlineTrafficNow.com.
14. Write and implement a strategic marketing plan for this year. Make sure all of your employees know it and are on board to help you achieve it. Have them write to you what they will do to help the company achieve it’s goals.
15. Deliver on your promised customer experience and go the extra mile. Think about why you remember companies who provide a great customer experience and come up with your version.
Sales Office Tool List
It’s your job to welcome them home. How can you do that easily and without a lot of cost? Here’s how;
1. Have a bulletin board with your buyers in process pictures. Keep polaroids of different phases of construction with family pictures. Call it, “newest editions to our family”.
2. Post the idea listed above on your main company website as well.
3. Have buyers give you referrals, when they get their keys and post them to your website and in all of your brochures.
4. Really work on making your Sales office to be comfortable, like a living room environment. Where people who are tired from looking can come in, sit down, relax, drink, eat and feel like they came “Home”.
5. Replace topo boards in the center of the room, with couches and chairs. Put the topo table on the wall or as a coffee table. Have toys for children and snacks.
6. Make sure your DVD stream video about your company and community is always running on your TV’s.
7. Have a professional voice ad that can be running on your audio system. It should include testimonials, years in business, communities, price ranges and what sets you apart from the rest.
8. Make sure all of your Agents are well trained in the skills of the model walk and what and what not to do.
9. Have site tour kits for your agents that include hard hats, a sold sign, measuring tapes, cameras, water and snacks.
10. Have a closing gift for each buyer with a “Thank you note signed by the entire team, including the builder. Have a red carpet rolled out for them when they close and do their final walk through.
Builder Marketing Tool List
Your marketing should be at the top of list. Are you maximizing what you are already doing? Here are ten low cost ideas.
1. Model Home Directional Signs, Large balloon (blimp) directional signs, live sign people.
2. Advertise in new home magazines, have your own magazine, gender focused newspapers and smaller reads have low costs for ads, brand yourself as “Your community Builder”.
3. Use you large newspaper ads to advertise all of these ideas to attract prospects.
4. Advertising standing inventory in open house ads.
5. Advertise standing inventory on MLS and all realtor sights.
6. Advertise standing inventory on your own website and advertise to realtors to check the site for inventory, incentive and coop amounts.
7. Work with large company relocation specialists to offer incentives for their employee relocations.
8. Advertise in community papers…offer discounts to community members. Always print your referral program in these ads.
9. Have different, fun, contests, scavenger hunts, offering great prizes to bring in traffic. Always offer food and drinks as well. Always incent your past buyers to come and bring a friend or family with them, offer an extra spiff for them if they win.
10. Come up with your own magazine that has all of your communities and standing inventories. Utilize advertising dollars and space from your vendors to help cover the costs of the magazine. Mail and distribute magazines in local grocery stores and anywhere you can advertise “Free”.
Realtor Tool List
Here are ten ideas for working with your local Realtors. Right now Realtors are selling 7 out of 10 homes. You need them on your side.
1. Take flyers to realtor offices advertising co-op percentage you are offering.
2. Give Realtors an extra bonus if they bring you a prospect that closes in 30 days.
3. Have a catered breakfast or lunch for realtor tours.
4. Push the fact that unlike short sales and REO’s you can close quickly, without problems.
5. Once you have a closing, send flowers and a nice thank you to the realtor you paid,
6. Offer a free dinner to the realtor who refers you to other realtors in the same office.
7. Send a list of “fresh’ standing inventory including co-ops dollar amounts and any incentives to realtor offices. Include floorplans of models available.
8. Pay for a speaker to teach a DRE course in one of your models. Invite realtors from the area for “free”, they can get credits to renew their licenses.
9. Give $5 gas cards out to each realtor in an office that works your area. Tell them to come visit the models with a prospect, “Gas is on us” or come by and have a cup and some conversation, “Coffee is on us” and give a $5 starbucks card
10. Use flyer agencies that distribute realtor flyers at realtor meetings to pass out your flyers.
Community Tool List
Here are ten ideas you can try in your local community.
1. Place business cards on all area bulletin boards.
2. Ask churches in your area if you can hand out flyers at services. Should you get a buyer, you will make a donation to the church.
3. Try to come up with inexpensive ways to get your name out there using local business…drink napkins, food napkins, menus, table tops. Offer to buy something for them in exchange for advertising for you. Do this in small business that are locally popular, restaurants near your community, stores, bars, deli’s, gas stations,
4. Sponsor local little league, ballet, soccer, football and gymnastics.
5. Have your Agents take your labeled bottled water to children’s area sports events
6. Offer discounts to large local business workers who buy from you. Ask the Manager if you can provide a free lunch in the lunch room for the employees and have Agents and your Lender on site with information to answer questions on their lunch hour.
7. Local movie theatre advertising, Buses, Bus stops, Internet advertising, radio and banners.
8. Offer purchase volume dinner gift certificates for a small local restaurant that is busy, in exchange for some advertising somewhere in the restaurant.
9. Community BBQ’s, encourage family day for family and friends.
10. Quarterly Customer appreciation events. Have past buyers bring one family or friend who may be a potential buyer and hold your events at different locations…local restaurants, golf events, beach parties, bowling alleys, baseball games. At any of these events you would pick up the food/activity bill.
Model Home Seminar Tool List
Here are ten ideas for ten different model home seminars you can conduct in your communities. Have each model occupied with a different subject or vendor.
1. Lender –Financing –Programs Available now-Prequalification’s.
2. Lender -Credit –how to repair it-knowing FICO’s-find out what your credit looks like.
3. Decorating-have a different decorators in different price ranges in each model.
4. Ways to sell your home in a tough market-different realtors giving advice in each model.
5. Tax advantages of buying a home-Have different CPA’s in each model.
6. Cooking classes-offer classes in each model with different chefs.
7. Gardening and Landscape-have different landscape designers and garden specialists.
8. Pool companies & Handymen-small home repair for women.(don’t forget advertising to women)
9. How to design backyard kitchens and entertaining spaces.
10. Energy efficiency and green spaces in your homes. Invite local energy companies to help you give energy saving tips and point out your green items built in your homes.
Agent Tool List
Have your Sales Agents and relief Agents do marketing for you in their downtime. Agents are at the heart of the sale and the key to your success. They represent millions of dollars in sales to you so they need to be the best in the business!
1. With traffic being slower these days, you can open a little later and have them marketing in the first few hours or one hour in the morning and one hour at close. For instance if your hours are 9:00 to 6:00 have them open from 10:00 to 5:00 and marketing in the morning and evening.
2. Have agents work with title companies to pull farm lists in areas of potential prospects, Sales Agents can market to those lists. Agent should turn in a minimum of 50 envelopes a week, for mailing, to your Sales Manager to insure marketing is being done.
3. Have agents probe the neighborhood, local business to hand out flyers & business cards. Agents should be able to provide business cards for all the businesses they have marketed.
4. Agents can market to past communities built by you, offer discount to buy again and a referral fee if they refer family or friends. Every builder needs a strong referral program in this market.
5. Agents should have flyers in boxes available on all standing inventory for after hours lookers.
6. Have Sales Agents visit with buyers who have moved in to solicit any referrals and make them aware of your referral programs.
7. Make sure Agents are getting ALL names, addresses and emails from prospects coming through your models and follow up, follow up, follow up… with each and every one. There is no excuse in this market not to get registration cards on prospects.
8. Agents should have a phone, email, web and mail campaign.
9. Have Agents attend Sales Training seminars so they are the best they can be in this market it is important they are at the top of their game.
10. Have Agents attend realtor meetings to mingle and become member of the board so they can attend events. Agents need to develop Realtor relationships in this market.
Shirleen Von Hoffmann is President and Sales Coach of Homebuilders AdvantEdge a National New Home Sales Training firm located in Northern California. Homebuilders AdvantEdge specializes in New Home Sales Training, Secret Shopping, Builder Consult, Sales Seminars and one on one coaching for New Home Agents. Call us today and let us help you get an “EDGE” over your competition in 2010!