Pain—not pleasure—drives change

Myers Barnes new home sales changeWe’re in the midst of a massive shift in our lives. Working from home and selling homes online resulted from the dictates of the pandemic, but it also demonstrated our resilience and ingenuity. You either adapted to “The New Normal” or collapsed under its weight. Pain—not pleasure—drives change. We only change when the pain of making that change overrides the pain of not making it. 

When the pandemic struck, who among you anticipated this historic soar in demand for new homes? Raise your hand. Be honest.

Within a couple of weeks of the shutdown across America, new home sales rebounded. And they didn’t just come back with liveable numbers. They surpassed the pre-pandemic sales levels—at least for those builders who had the forethought to adapt their business model to online sales and marketing tools (e.g., virtual tours, interactive floor plans, image-rich website).

We are in the throes of a housing reinvention. It’s too good right now, so there is no pain. We’re rejoicing in the opportunity that fate has delivered. 

Eventually, that market is going to fall off this high perch. Are you prepared for it? Matt Riley, Vice President of Group Two, a builder-specific marketing firm, calls our current situation “Good Market Syndrome” (GMS). One of the symptoms of GMS is that builders and new home sales professionals appear to be lulled into a false sense of security. 

“Why do I need to build a new website? It’s a good market right now!”

Here’s a healthy dose of reality for that condition. Everything is temporary. Good times and bad times are both short-lived. You have to maximize new home sales opportunities when they are staring you in the face in order to minimize the impact from the onset of tough times.

“Good” is the enemy of “great”.

What is “good”? It’s somewhere between “okay” and “not-quite-spectacular”. Let’s give it a “B’ grade. Is that where you want to be, among the people who are just a notch above average?

We used to be thinking “how do I create sales?” That’s a sure sign of the competitive drive that is inherent in a super-achiever. Right now we’re accepting sales, not creating them. Buyers are just coming in the door. The side effects of the pandemic’s at-home restrictions sparked the urge to buy a new home. The Internet pre-sold them. 

Interest rates are lowest in 50 years. Of COURSE, people are buying! Will it last? Sadly, no. When this surge slows down, are you ready?

Prepare for the next phase. 

It’s time to double-down and refocus. Sharpen your tools. If you haven’t initiated an ongoing training program for your sales team, do it now. If your website is lacking in critical features—virtual tours, quality photos and videos, and a skilled OSC—get it done.

Look at your recruiting. The time to find talent is not when you’re desperate. You should be looking for sales superstars when you don’t need anyone. You can take the time to make the right choices and ensure enough time for training.

Don’t allow GMS to feed complacency in your organization. This current housing market is a gift. Use it wisely to prepare for the next shift so that you can avoid the pain that forces you to hastily make change.

 

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