Is your digital marketing keeping up with today’s homebuyers and their preferences? You might think so, but, like everything else, things change. My friend and colleague, Matt Riley, is joining Chad Sanschagrin to present “The New Rules for New Home Sales: Re-evaluating Your Sales Process & Tactics in a Digital World” at the 2022 International Builders Show in Orlando on February 9.
I spoke with Matt about his views of the new rules for new home sales. Here’s what he shared with me, a small sample of what you’ll gain from attending this session.
When did the rules change?
Just about two years ago, homebuilders were stopped in their tracks. Construction was forced to stop. Employees were sent home to shelter in place. And it seemed like any hope of selling new homes was on hold indefinitely. And then something amazing happened.
People quickly determined that the home they were sheltering in didn’t fit their revised lifestyle. They needed more space—for work, school, storage, and finding some privacy in the midst of all this togetherness. Homebuyers emerged, not physically from their homes, but virtually.
These dissatisfied homeowners became eager to buy a new home as soon as possible. They couldn’t use the “way we’ve always done it”. Open houses closed. Model homes were locked up. The only way to shop for a new home became an online process. Since shoppers had become quite adept at shopping from home, they naturally expected the process to be available for buying a new home.
The basics of virtual home sales
The homebuilders who had already invested in digital marketing were prepared to welcome online shoppers. Their websites already featured both video tours and virtual tours of their homes, as well as interactive floor plans where buyers could add options and see how they looked in the layout. These digitally smart homebuilders had quality videos and photos of their sites and homes—inside and out—and communities, along with a library of information that’s useful to a prospective homebuyer (e.g., financing, the building process, smart home automation, energy efficiency, and healthy homes). And they had Online Sales Counselors who knew how to qualify leads and guide prospects effectively along the path to purchase.
Digital home sales and marketing 2022
Builders put extensive effort into building a digital presence. But it’s not a one-and-done proposition. You have to keep asking yourself, “Now what?’
Today’s consumers are drilled into the online buying process for everything their hearts desire. They’ve come to expect certain conveniences, like express shipping and personalized options. How does that translate to buying a new home online?
You have to duplicate yourself. Let your content be your salesperson. Incorporate, into your online presence, the information you would previously have presented in person. Assume nothing. No longer do you guide them to the point of enticement and then pull back to present the crescendo of your sales pitch in person. Insert yourself into their experience, whether they are browsing from home or taking a self-guided home tour of one of your properties.
It’s not difficult to give them this heightened experience. I’ll be offering a step-by-step plan in my IBS presentation with Myers Barnes and Chad Sanschagrin. I hope to see you in Orlando!
About Matt Riley: Matt’s experience in the homebuilding industry spans nearly two decades. Formerly the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Raleigh builder, Royal Oaks Homes, he brought his knowledge to the role of Vice President of Group Two, a marketing firm that exclusively serves the homebuilder community. In 2021, Matt became the co-founder of New Home Inc., a Raleigh-based homebuilder. He co-hosts the weekly podcast, “Building Perspective” and was previously honored as one of Pro Builder Magazine’s “40 Under 40”, the top tier of rising professionals in the homebuilding industry.