Essential Fundamentals To Success
The great football legend, Vince Lombardi, when asked about his coaching secret to the phenomenal success of The Green Bay Packers in the 1960s, replied simply: “blocking and tackling.” He went on to explain that any sports team could achieve brief spurts of brilliance by clever plays and outstanding individual stars, but several years of continuing success requires excellence in the essential fundamentals of the game, which he summarized as “blocking and tackling.”
Vince Lombardi’s insight about football is equally relevant to marketing and selling new homes. Great advertising strategies and individual star sales persons may generate dramatic spurts in sales, but continuing success is inevitably accompanied by strong reliance upon proven marketing and sales fundamentals.
Such fundamentals are not complex formulas or secret patents known only to the great seers of the marketing world. On the contrary, like the simple rudiments of blocking and tackling, they are common sense principles of human relationships widely known by successful sales professionals in all fields.
In the simplest form, the essential principles of marketing and sales success are:
If the image is sufficiently attractive and the product meets the needs and preferences of the targeted consumer, then an effective presentation should generate a sale. These principles are more specifically defined by the following 16 components, each accompanied by a key evaluation question to gauge the performance of your marketing and sales operations.
Positive first impressions are essential to efficient formation of a productive relationship. This is especially true in new home sales where prospective consumers can be attracted or repelled by the following image components:
- On-line Presence/Image
Is your website attractive, clean, and uncluttered (without too much text)? Does it feature attractive graphics, easy to understand “drop-downs”? Is your on-line SEO placement optimized? Is it “easy for potential customers to contact someone to respond to questions”?
Is your community and/or builder names and logo easy to read (and pronounce) and attractive to look at?
- Physical Site
Is your job-site and community appearance well landscaped and attractively signed? Is it “inviting”?
- Information/Welcome Center
Does your information center appear welcoming from the street; is it clean and tidy depicting an attractive environment; are business papers and personal items kept well out of view from visitors?
Are models clean (including closets and garage) and bright windows clear of inhibiting draperies; are they free from signs, brochures and business cards which may detract from the merchandised environment?
- Sales Staff
Is your sales presentation carefully thought-out? Are your sales people attired in clothing compatible with the community’s theme and characteristics?
Are your brochures pictures and aligned with your target consumers in terms of presenting “lifestyle”? Are the brochures attractive with printed inserts (rather than crooked or blurred photocopies or non-matching pages, plans or type)? Are your floorplan collaterals (handouts) uniform, clean, and consistent? Are logos printed on purchase agreements, association documents and worksheets?
Consumers are interested in community, amenities and streetscape and neighbors, as much as, or often more than the dwelling offerings themselves. All of the following components constitute basic consumer interests in your product:
Is your community close to area broader community amenities and services important to your target consumers (e.g. stores, schools, transportation, health, and cultural venues); is it easy to find from major arterial roads?
Does your community contain the features and amenities important to your target consumers (e.g. entry gate, baseball diamond or soccer fields, bike paths, swimming pool, open and covered outdoor gathering spaces?
- Dwelling Exteriors (elevations)
Do your dwellings feature appealing exteriors which invite closer inspection; do exterior plantings depict the care and attention of a quality-conscious builder?
- Dwelling Plans
Are your dwelling plans expressly suited to your target consumers with space-enhancing interior views and efficient use of space?
- Dwelling Features
When home shopping, buyers often view multiple homes in a day – and this more-often becomes a “memory-blur” after visiting three or four home models. Does each of your dwelling plans exhibit special features for your sales professionals to use in describing benefits; does each contain at least one (or more) “memory point”; a memorable “glamour feature” which will elicit post-visit recall?
It is shocking how many builders still rely simply on their products to sell themselves without a carefully orchestrated one-on-one professional sales presentation. For enlightened and successful builders, the following key presentation components require periodic review:
Is every prospect greeted by a smiling sales professional or host/hostess; does he/she exchange names as the first introductory step followed by a friendly qualification conversation to ascertain each prospect’s needs, preferences and price range?
Does each qualified prospect receive a custom-designed description of area features and community amenities; does it include continuing qualification questions prior to demonstrating the features and benefits of the product models best suited to the characteristics of each prospect?
Is each prospect asked to purchase? Oddly, this is absent from most new homes “sales” presentations (at strategic points during the presentation; is each prospect invited to sit down (preferably at a non-intimidating, clutter-free round table for a detailed discussion of plan and financial details leading to a natural purchase decision?
Does each undecided prospect receive written (via traditional hand written letter, or personalized e-mail, and telephone within 48 hours of each visit; is each purchaser followed up weekly through closing and regularly thereafter to ensure purchaser satisfaction and solicit referral prospects?
If you can honestly give positive answers to each of these marketing and sales fundamentals, you are successfully selling new homes (even during market down-turns). For these are the key components of top-selling new home communities, regardless of location, dwelling type or target consumers.
In sum, perhaps the best fundamental for sales professionals is attributable to another legendary football coach. Throughout his career, Alabama Coach “Bear” Bryant had this sign hanging in his locker room: “Cause something to happen.”
We are ready to “Cause Something to Happen” with your specific project. Parker Associates is always looking at the cutting edge of the industry and continue to stay abreast of all the activities going on in key markets. We work closely with PTC Computer Solutions to define technological trends in the industry to help our clients. Where is the industry going and what are consumers using to find what they are looking for? Ask us. These are excellent questions and we can help. Contact Parker Associates to help you with your unique steps to success.
Chris Parker is a principal of Parker Associates of Jacksonville, Florida, marketing consultants to the real estate industry; Sales Trainer, and an active real estate sales professional with PARFAM REALTY based in Jacksonville, FL. He can be reached at 904-607-8761 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.