Pt. 3 Timing
Approaching shoppers at the right time will be the single most important aspect of successful marketing and follow up. It will also be the most overlooked.
- Get on the Right Schedule. Stop trying to get the shopper on your schedule and start getting your marketing on the shopper’s schedule. Most shoppers will tell you by their actions when they like to shop. Get your sales team to put down a time of day when the shopper walks into the model and use this as the time when you assume the shopper likes to shop. Similarly, all web leads are delivered to your team with a time stamp; use this time as the time you know the shopper is comfortable shopping, then make sure that this is the time you call, text or send email messages to them. Trying to get the shopper to change the time they like to shop to accommodate your team’s days off or hourly schedule is ineffective, costly and frustrating. Open your door for business whenever the shopper wants to shop. This is the difference between having a “shopper centric” versus a “sales person centric” approach to marketing.
- “Right Now Marketing” is critical. Develop a system or find vendors that can automatically deliver relevant information to a shopper while they’re actually on the internet shopping. Delivering your emails or texts once a shopper has demonstrated their interest and intent to learn about new homes gives you a better chance of getting your email messages read. Email marketing is no longer about just sending emails out; it’s about finding ways to get your messages read. Find a way to send messages while shoppers are actually shopping and watch your open rates soar!
- More OSCs Please. Part of the problem with Online Sales Counselors is their job title. Sure they’re online, but they really can’t sell anything because you can’t buy a home on the internet; at least not yet. The OSC is much more of a marketing position than a sales position. They’re really Home Shopper Helpers and you should employ enough of them to contact all shoppers whenever they’ve demonstrated interest and consistently follow up with all of them. Many builders only employ a single OSC per division, and this approach usually quickly backfires within a week or two. Handling an ever increasing lead load coupled with existing lead follow-up rapidly becomes unmanageable. You never want your OSC to practice triage when it comes to lead handling and start looking for reasons NOT to follow up with some people because they just don’t have time but, that is exactly what usually happens. Four or five communities is probably about all an OSC can effectively handle. With realistic community responsibilities, OSCs could know everything about a community that any of your sales people know. Community knowledge is critical because OSCs are the real front line of trust. An OCS’s main goal should be to make it clear that they are there to help the shopper. Also, your OSCs should not work banker’s hours, but rather “shopper’s hours”. That means OSCs work weekends and nights, and are off during the day. An OSC should have a work schedule like a waiter: working when everyone else is off having fun shopping for new homes. If you want an OSC to neglect nurturing shoppers, cease creating trust, delay follow up and only scan the leads for those they think will buy that weekend, keep their focus on sales. If you want your OSC to create a pipeline of shoppers and nurture leads into appointments then hire enough of them to effectively address the needs of all shoppers and focus on helping them buy a home rather than trying to sell them one.
In a shrinking new home market, builders must not only get those sales they would normally win, but also those they take sales from other builders. The proper tactics, tools and timing will help your sales and marketing team get in front of the competition and into the hearts of home shoppers. How will your team win the Battle for the Buyer in 2016?