Part two in a 12-part series highlighting the development of a proven new home sales process.
The Top Consideration For A Customer In Buying A New Home:
Countless hours and dollars have been spent through the years in an attempt to identify and understand the “average shopper.” The conclusion is that there seems to be three central factors in the shopping process that buyers consider.
First is the product: Our tangible product in its condensed form consists of the community, homesites and homes.
The challenge with our communities, homesites and homes is that frequently the consumer regards us, collectively, as homogeneous in nature. This means that, at first sight, they view us all the same. When you think about it, this isn’t surprising. After all, how else are they to view our communities? Every developer, builder, and marketer advertises and boasts fundamentally the exact message; Their neighborhoods are the best with great homes, great warranties, great lifestyles, and, of course, great prices. Consequently, to the would-be homeowner, we are all initially created equal.
The second factor our prospect considers is the company representing the products (community, homesites). Though every effort is made to bolster confidence with the developers and builders, there is a subconscious fear the consumer faces when selecting the seller. By giving thoughtful attention to the trends in business today, you can understand why homebuyers have deep seated concerns about companies from whom they are about to make the single largest investment of their lives.
There is a practice in our business to offer the one-year new-home warranty, with appliance and fixture manufactures giving longer-term guarantees. Unfortunately, the subtle message consumers consider but don’t always convey is that they do not question the home’s life span, but the company’s. Will it be around long enough to make-good on those warranties and guarantees?
The final factor customers consider in their buying process is the salesperson who represents the company and the product. According to studies at the University of Illinois, 68 percent of the consumer’s decision to own centers around the salesperson. This is a conservative figure, because other studies reveal that up to 80 percent of the buying decision is influenced by the salesperson. Why? Because, before any customer will invest in building or buying a new home, he or she must invest in building a relationship with you, the salesperson.
You actually serve as a gatekeeper, bridging the gap between your customer and your product. Consequently, your customer will find something wrong with what you’re selling when your customer finds something wrong with you.
To the consumer, you are the only true barometer of the neighborhood and the homes. This is crucial information for developers and builders, who should make certain their sales force reflects the proper image. The consumer will judge the company not only by its product, but also by its people.
Shopping By The Process of Exclusion
Homebuyers today shop by the process of exclusion. They are looking for reasons to exclude your community and homes, rather than reasons to include them in their buying process. They want to cross you off their list. Therefore, your goal should be to become the only choice they have by demonstrating that any other alternative is out of the question.
Why do people shop by exclusion? Because they get tired of thinking, looking and comparing. Either they feel they don’t have the time or don’t want to take the time to explore everything available in the marketplace. So, if they can find a reason to cross you off their list, they’ll do it.
The Selection Of A New Community
The selection process for new home communities works the same way. Because there are so many choices, customers begin eliminating their options. They may cross a community off the list because it’s too close to the city or too far to drive; too congested or not developed enough. The homes may be too small for comfort or too large to heat; lacking closets or having carports. The customer may object to the lifestyle, the neighborhood, the price and even the paint.
Believe me, customers will find plenty of reasons to cross you off their lists; the foremost being simply because it’s one less property to consider.
Think of and compare the New Home Professional Sales Process to a combination lock. The numbers of a lock are synchronized and in perfect order. When the combination is dialed in the proper sequence, the lock will open easily.
This analogy is applicable in New Home and Community Sales. Our customers shop by a process. If we can understand and accept their standard buying procedure, then we can develop a method of selling that will coincide with it.
Next Installment: The Sales Process. How To Standardize the sales Process from the first step to the last.
Myers Barnes Associates, Inc.