Myers Barnes Blog

New Home Sales Training Video: Getting In Means Getting Out

Categories: New Home Sales Training Video | Posted: January 27, 2015

New Home Sales Training Video: getting in is getting out

 

Success is goals, and everything else is commentary. In every study about goal setting it is found that only about 3% of adults say they have clearly written goals in their life. Yet most studies show that written goals are much more likely to move a person ahead in life. Why is this? A goal is a plan conflict in your own status quo. What are the reasons most people don’t set goals? Because they don’t want to do the work to create new habits and break old ones.  How do you change your habits?

Learn about some of the secrets to goal setting techniques and achievement. Listen and learn from Myers about effective goal setting behavior.

 

 

Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant.  For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.

Don’t your communities deserve good photography?

Categories: New Home Sales Marketing, New Home Sales Process | Posted: January 19, 2015
Taliesyn Realty Master Bathroom

Taliesyn Realty Master Bathroom

When it comes to portraying your communities and homes in their best light, the old adage is true – a picture is worth a thousand words. A good photo or two can convey so much about your product – whether it’s a great shot of your gorgeous kitchen or a lifestyle photo showing your target market. A mix of product and lifestyle photos is the best way to show people what your neighborhoods are all about!

So why do so many home builders give photography short shrift? The primary reason is usually that there are a million other things to do. Unfortunately, when it comes time to update the website or run new ads or create new marketing pieces, the lack of photos becomes a big deal. So then, they send their salesperson out to grab a few shots with a smart phone. Don’t your homes deserve better?

There are some basic rules for photographing exteriors and interiors:

EXTERIORS

  1. Never photograph the front of the home while it is in shadow. Always wait until the time of day when it is in full sunlight. A home that is shot in shadow can’t be sufficiently lightened up to show clear details and will look muddy and dull.
  2. Never photograph outside on a cloudy day.
  3. Clean up the site before shooting to avoid costly retouching later.
  4. If possible, scrape off manufacturer’s stickers on windows, using a razor scraper. Stickers are unsightly and are time-consuming to retouch.
  5. Look around for anything that might spoil the photo, for example:
    • Are the windows or garage door open?
    • Are the trashcans visible?
    • Is the garden hose running across the lawn?
    • Is the construction debris in the back yard visible from the street?
    • Is the front door still unpainted bare wood?
    • Is the house missing light fixtures, door hardware, window trim, etc.?
    • Are there muddy tire tracks from construction vehicles in the driveway?
    • Avoid shooting through trees that cover the front of the house.
    • If an object cannot be moved (like a permanent sign or a small tree), shoot around it, so that it isn’t blocking any part of the front of the house.
  6. Pick the most flattering angle. For example, shooting from the garage side might make the house look like it’s a big garage with a tiny house stuck to it.
  7. Try to focus on the front entryway. Avoid angles that obscure the front door.
  8. Consider evening or twilight shots, with all the lights on inside the house.
  9. Remove window screens. Windows reflect light better and give a more “lived-in” look without the window screens.
  10. Pay attention to window reflections. Is the construction vehicle parked across the street reflected in first floor windows? If possible, remove any distractions.

INTERIORS

  1. Never shoot inside with direct sunlight streaming in through the windows. Photos with light-flooded windows are nearly impossible to retouch.
  2. Always shoot on a sunny day, but not when the sun is shining directly into the room.
  3. Pay attention to what’s outside the windows. Are there trucks or debris that can be moved? A swing set from the neighbor’s house? If the view is less than spectacular, consider angles that are shooting along the windows, rather than straight out the window. Remove window screens before shooting!
  4. Try to highlight unique architectural features. Use hidden interior lights to brighten up dark corners, a cathedral ceiling that might be in shadow, dark walls, etc.
  5. Get the room as bright as possible using the artificial lights that are in the room. Turn on all the lamps and ceiling lights.
  6. Avoid shots that look like a furniture showroom. Shift or remove some furniture to avoid a cluttered or cramped look.
  7. While walking backwards, use a broom to brush out any distracting footprints in carpets before shooting.
  8. Don’t hurry the shoot. Experiment with lighting to highlight some areas and downplay others.
  9. Be aware of the sight lines. Shoot from angles that make the room look as large as possible.
  10. Consider shooting at twilight, or in total darkness. Shots taken in the middle of the night, properly lit from the outside, can give the illusion that a photo was taken on a sunny day. The more you can control the lighting, the better the interior shots will be.

When it comes to choosing lifestyle photography, think about who is living in your homes. Is it young families, young couples, active adults? Do you have amenities that can be showcased – a fitness center, clubhouse, pool, parks, etc? Are your residents avid golfers? Or are they hikers or bikers? All of these demographics can be shown with lifestyle photography – your own or images purchased from a stock photography site.

And don’t forget about video! Many builders have begun to include simple videos taken with a smart phone on their websites. In this case, the resulting media doesn’t have to be high end. People like to watch videos, even if it’s just a builder taking their iPhone through a model or a happy family gushing about how much they love their new home!

Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant.  For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.

New Home Sales Training Video: Just Show Up

Categories: New Home Sales Training Video, Personal Development | Posted: January 15, 2015

ç=Just Show Up For New Home Sales SuccessIt may sound simple, too simple, but often success is achieved by just showing up! I know. You are probably asking yourself what that means. You are shaking your head and saying, “Myers I show up daily to model model.”

Listen to this video and get the inside information I share here and learn how to set yourself up for success both in business and in life. Ask yourself a few questions and you’ll learn how to just show up.

How Well Do You Know Your Potential Homebuyers?

Categories: New Home Sales, New Home Sales Marketing, New Home Sales Training | Posted: January 6, 2015

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Reaching your audience is the key to successful marketing, but in order to reach them, you have to really KNOW them. Who are they? What do they like? How do they communicate? What’s the best way to communicate with them? We’ve broken down your various demographics into some simple descriptions that might help you understand your target markets a little better.

Gender

As might be expected, men and women have very different approaches to buying things, whether it’s shoes, electronics or houses. Women like upbeat, sentimental, and aspirational imagery, and lots of details. They’re multi-taskers, so shopping is more social and interactive. They enjoy shopping as an experience (i.e. design centers and vignettes), and love to get a great deal on something (i.e. special offers).

Men are more product-driven and practical. They like large photos and not a lot of detail. They don’t mind paying more if it’s for quality. (i.e. Is this the best [house, water heater, roofing, carpeting]? Great!) They’re also more competitive. (Is my [house, water heater, roofing, carpeting] better than someone else’s? Even better!)

Age

When you break your demographics down by age groups/generations, things get even more interesting. One of the biggest differences is the role that technology plays in their lives.

Millennials

 The youngest group of buyers (Gen Y/Millennials) is in their very early 20’s through 30’s. They are very comfortable with technology; in fact, it’s an intrinsic part of the lives. (i.e. Drop zones and recharging stations. Space for a laptop in the kitchen.) They’ve seen their financial situation decimated by the Recession, so they tend to be short on cash. They can absorb a lot of information, so don’t be afraid to give it to them. The internet is the obvious advertising milieu for Millennials. They like ads that are simple with strong imagery. They’re like innovation, so interesting web marketing will reach them.

Gen Xers

The next group are the so-called “Gen Xers” – buyers in their 30’s, 40’s and early 50’s. Some of them are just getting married and having kids, while the older ones are heading toward empty nesting. As the first generation of latchkey kids, they tend to be more self-reliant and frugal. Don’t try to “sell” them – they know their own minds, and know what they like. They appreciate accuracy and value – definitely substance over splash. Again – No BS. Though not as tech-driven as the Millennials, they are tech-savvy, so you can use search, pay-per-click, email and Facebook to reach them.

Baby Boomers

 Lastly are the seemingly omnipresent Baby Boomers. Known for being flashy, fun and impulsive, they are not averse to spending money. Even though the first Boomers are close to 70, they see themselves as eternally young and adventurous. Hip nostalgia and youthful imagery are a good bet. They’re well educated and successful, so don’t talk down to them. They love their freedom and hate stress, so emphasize low maintenance and great warranties. They have integrated technology into their lives but are still comfortable with traditional media forms as well, so advertising across platforms is a good approach.

As you can see, when it comes to reaching your audiences, you’ve got your work cut out for you!

Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant.  For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.

Don’t miss Myers at the 2015 International Builders’ Show!

Categories: New Home Sales, New Home Sales Training | Posted: December 30, 2014

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People are constantly asking when and where I’ll be at the International Builders’ Show. So, here’s a little rundown on where to find me:

 

Tuesday, January 20 | 2:15 – 3:00 PM

New Home Sales Extravaganza: Maximum Download

Sales Central (South Hall) – S219

I’ll give you enough new-home sales education to inspire you for a full year.

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Thursday, January 22 | 10:00 – 11:00 AM

How to Integrate Online with On-Site for Amped-Up Sales Results

South 220

Mollie Elkman & I will help you discover how to turn your online marketing and your on-site sales team into a lead generation, sale-closing machine.

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Thursday, January 22 | 12:00 – 1:00 PM

Myers Barnes & National Sales & Marketing Council Sales Central Grand Finale Luncheon

Sales Central (South Hall) – S219

Once again, I’ll be hosting this high energy, fun filled event. It’s a great way to end IBS!

 

If you haven’t yet, go register! And I’ll see you in Vegas!

 

Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant.  For more information about Myers Barnes, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.

Follow the Leads: Where Homebuilders are Failing Their Own CRMs.

Categories: New Home Sales Management Training, New Home Sales Process | Posted: December 23, 2014

The job of a website is to generate leads—to guide someone to walk through your door. What you and your sales team do with those leads is a different story. And if you don’t have and use a CRM, your lead nurturing has failed. And those builders who know how to more effectively cultivate a lead will get the sale that you basically gave away.

A successful builder has a process in place to manage leads. From the first inquiry to the point of closing, this process defines when and how to communicate with that new home prospect. How long do you want between contacts? How do you know when your customer doesn’t want to hear any more (I guarantee you that most sales people give up too soon)?

For the first 45 to 60 days, you should work that prospect with vigor. Use your online sales counselor to develop the relationship. Their job is to get and keep this customer engaged with your business. And a good OSC is enmeshed with the CRM. That’s how they keep all those prospects active, by using the prompts for follow-up, never allowing a crack to become a gaping hole where the prospect disappears. They have the email templates and scripts in the system, and they rely on the CRM to keep them on track.

Then what? The OSC turns the prospect over to the sales professional. How long do they commit to working with this customer? A month? Six? A year? If you know this homebuyer is going to make a commitment to some builder in the future, don’t abandon leads because you think too much time has passed.

Encourage your sales team to utilize the CRM. You will get groans about how cumbersome it is (which it isn’t if you stay on top). This precious vault of leads should be at the core of your sales strategy. It contains a treasure trove of potential homebuyers—people who have already made a connection with you. Do you ignore it and let those names become some other builder’s buyers?

Train your sales team to use the CRM. Give them weekly reminders. Encourage your OSC to keep them on track.

It may take a long time to turn a lead into a customer, but they will go elsewhere pretty darn fast.

Has Your Builder Website Gone Responsive?

Categories: New Home Sales Management Training, New Home Sales Marketing | Posted: December 9, 2014

I was sitting with a builder not long ago and a sales professional was talking with a couple. I overheard this couple mention that they had difficulty seeing the website on their smartphones.

The sales associate pulled up the company’s website on her laptop and turned it to show the homebuyers. She clicked through the site to shows the couple the various options in home designs and floor plans.

What happened when this couple left and wanted to look at the site again, on their mobile devices? Most likely, they didn’t attempt to look at your site unless they were in front of a computer. And that limits the ease of connecting with you.

Approximately 35% of your site’s views coming from a mobile device. Whether they’re checking you out on the smartphones permanently attached to their hands, or browsing on the tablets or laptops, today’s consumers rely on mobile technology for everything—including choosing a homebuilder. Since 2010, the number of Web searches done on a mobile device has increased 400%. And it’s going to keep going up.

According to BDX, 67% of people surveyed said a mobile-friendly website has a positive influence on their decision to purchase.

Have you designed your website to be Responsive? Responsive is a method of developing a site that is completely flexible regardless of device. Rather than detecting a specific browser type or device type, the website automatically orientates itself based on the screen size of the device. If you haven’t yet made this change to your site, stop now and take a look at it on your smartphone.

Can you read that tiny type? How fast did the images download? If you were your customer, would you be patient enough to work through these issues? Or would you find someone who better understood your mobile needs?

Make sure every page of your website has a call to action. Suggest your site visitor contact your online sales counselor, download a floor plan, request a brochure, or schedule an appointment. Make it easy for them to ask a question and find what they need, whether they’re looking at your site on a full screen or a miniature one.

With so much on the line, the question isn’t why should a homebuilder create a Responsive website, but why the heck haven’t you done it yet?

What’s Fit to Print? Print Ads and Collateral for Today’s Homebuilder

Categories: New Home Sales Management Training, New Home Sales Marketing | Posted: November 25, 2014

Before the tsunami-like surge of the Web, homebuilders spent a large portion of their advertising budget on print—both ads and collateral materials. But that seems ancient compared to our 21st century culture of online searching.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ research, 90% of homebuyers use the Internet in their home search. Compare that to 27% who look at newspaper ads and 18% who browse through home books or magazines. While it’s sad to see the decline of print media, you shouldn’t be throwing your marketing dollars in a direction that delivers a much lower ROI than online advertising.

When you’re evaluating your advertising options, you need to consider the cost-per-thousand (CPM) impressions. With subscriptions and readership down, paid advertising is declining. So, how does this media stay afloat? The print ad rates go up. So, you’re spending more money to reach fewer people.

Let’s look at this example:
A half-page ad in a home book might cost $1,100 for one month. The ad rep tells you that they print 50,000 copies. That doesn’t matter. How many copies are actually picked up and read versus left on the rack and discarded? Let’s say that 50% are picked up by homebuyers—and that’s generous. More than half of those free publications that are picked up generate no interest whatsoever—the browser is killing time in a restaurant or in line at the grocery store. So, of the 25,000 “readers”, maybe 1,000 are actually looking for a home. Maybe. And how many are truly looking for a new home or a homebuilder? Even fewer. You’ve paid $1,100 to reach 25,000 readers, not buyers. Your CPM is $44.00.

Now, look at Zillow or Trulia, two of the top referral sites for homebuilders. You can pay $500 to advertise on the site for one month, but you’re hitting a market of active homebuyers. Remember, 90% of them are searching here, versus 18% who are looking in those home magazines. Your CPM is not only much lower, but the conversion rate is much higher—two numbers you need to be looking at!

Now, look at your collateral materials. There was a time when you invested tens of thousands of dollars in creating a beautiful, glossy brochure. You handed it out wherever you could. How many do you think ended up in the trash?

Today’s buyers don’t want clutter. They carry around a smartphone or tablet so they can have everything they need at their fingertips. They will look at your website, and download floorplans, elevations, and price lists. When they email you asking for a brochure, they expect a pdf, not something snail-mailed.

Don’t hand them paper. You’ll appear out of touch with the digital age. Sure, keep some on hand for those people who rebuff technology, but save the money and the trees by limiting your print advertising expenses.

How have you changed your approach to print advertising and collateral since digital technology has become so dominant? I’m interested in your experience, so please share!

The Smart Use of Real Estate Sites for Homebuilders

Categories: New Home Sales Marketing, New Home Sales Training | Posted: November 11, 2014

When searching for a high-ticket item—like buying a new home—your sales prospects are doing their homework. Not only is it their single biggest investment, but something they will, literally, live with for many years.

Information is everywhere—not necessarily good or reliable, but plenty of it. The majority of homebuyers start their new home search online. They’re browsing, checking out options and available properties, in the convenience and interruption-free anonymity of the cyberworld.

So, you need to be where they’re starting their search—on reputable sites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and Homes.com. Homebuyers place high confidence in these referral sites, so you’re aligning your brand with an influential media source.

These real estate sites offer local advertising opportunities. You have the chance to put your brand out there, right in front of your potential homebuyers! And your ad is digital (i.e., interactive), not just one image, so you can do a lot with a small space. Check out these examples of builder ads on Zillow.com.

If you’re listing your new homes on Realtor.com, you should also be using BDX (Builders Design Experience) to enhance your listings with a brand-building ad. Using this resource, you can target your advertising message to the homebuyer at specific stages in the home search process—casual browsing to ready to buy. Tailor your presentation to the mindset of the lead, whether you nurture or move in strong.

Referral sites for real estate present an exceptional builder advertising tool, both for your homes and your brand. If you’re not including this valuable media buy in your marketing budget, go back and recalculate!

If you’ve used sites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and Homes.com, what results have you experienced? Did you advertise or just post listings? Share your experience so others can benefit from your wisdom!

How to Maximize Your PPC Investment

Categories: New Home Sales Marketing, New Home Sales Training | Posted: October 28, 2014

I’ve heard homebuilders say that pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a waste of money. “People don’t read those,” they say, and “It runs up a big bill fast.”

The first comment just isn’t accurate. When done correctly, using strong keywords that are relevant to an organic search, statistics show that people see them and click through to the website. Not only that, but you can expect your brand awareness to increase as much as 63% and your traffic to grow 300%.

Once these prospects click through, it’s up to your website to pull them closer and make the presentation. The ad is the bait, not the closer.

As far as the cost of PPC advertising, it can indeed become costly—if you’re not paying attention. You should set a daily budget and monitor the metrics. Look at the click-thru rate (CTR), unique visitors, and conversion rate of those inquiries. If you’re not seeing encouraging numbers, look at the keywords you’re buying. Maybe you need to be more specific. For example, instead of “new homes in South Carolina”, go for “new homes in Charleston” or even “custom homes in Charleston”. Think about your customers. What are they looking for? The more you can tie your keywords to their interests, the better your return on your PPC investment.

Matt Riley, of Royal Oaks Homes in Raleigh, NC, told me he considers PPC advertising as important as SEO when it comes to online marketing. He likes the flexibility and speed of PPC advertising. “It allows you to instantly turn the faucet on by buying the words.”

In other words, launch a short-term campaign, maybe aligned with opening a new community or promoting a time-sensitive event. Use PPC as a stealth strike on your pinpointed target during a given period. As Matt says, turn the faucet on. Just don’t leaving it running so that you have control of your expense.

And always, always, always measure the results. Monitor your metrics, folks!

PPC should be included in your content marketing strategy. Apply the same approach to your PPC ads as you do with your other online content. For example, if you’re using Facebook, buy PPC ads on that social media site.

Here’s a great article that lists 26 important PPC tools, as recommended by 20 PPC experts—and they’re free (the tools, not the experts)!

What has been your experience with PPC? Do you have advice for other homebuilders? This is an important conversation, so let’s keep it going!