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 15 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:
Is your community and/or builder names and logo easy to read (and pronounce) and attractive to look at?
Is your site neat, well landscaped and attractively signed?
- 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 site of 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
Are your Sales People well groomed and attired in clothing compatible with the community and product offerings?
Are your brochures attractive with printed inserts (rather than crooked or blurred photocopies or non-matching pages, plans or type); and logos printed on purchase agreements, association documents and worksheets?
Consumers are interested in community, amenities and streetscape as much or more than dwellings. All of the following components constitute basic consumer interests in your product:
Is your community close to area 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
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
Does each of your dwelling plans exhibit special features for your sales professionals to use in describing benefits; does each contain at least one memorable “glamour feature” which will elicit post-visit recall?
It is shocking how many builders still rely 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 a recession. 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 saying hanging in his locker room: “Cause something to happen.”
J. 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.
Parker Associates works extensively on understanding your market, your consumer, and your goals. We don’t just make it up, we research it ad infinitum to make sure we get it right. We are your advocate by being the advocate of the consumer.
Spend time looking at what you are trying to acquire, develop, or sell to learn how you can improve the success of what you are offering. Parker Associates helps understand the consumer by answering WHO will buy, WHAT they will buy, and HOW they will buy it. When the research is completed and the analysis is done, having the answers to these questions will reveal what will provide the best success for your project. Keep asking WHO, WHAT, and HOW and keep developing to fit the need.
If all of this is difficult to understand, that’s what we’re here for. Parker Associates has a team of experts on all of this stuff and we’re here to help. It’s what we do.
By J. Chris Parker
Providing marketing and sales consulting services to both public and private real estate and resort developers, home builders, investors and more
Real Estate Development Marketing Consultants since 1982