Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
The Importance of Time Management
Three industry professionals share their best practice ideas for effective time management.
I hear a lot of new home sales professionals talking about not having enough time to get everything accomplished. There is a lot to do: meet new clients, attend meetings, provide updates to customers, forge real-estate agent relationships and maintain the sales center. What steps do you take to ensure the right things get done every day?
Midwest mid-size builder
Annual Sales: $13 million; 74 homes
Time management is extremely important to your success in new home sales. It all starts with organizational skills. You have to be organized to get everything accomplished. The way that I stay on top of my "to do" list is to come in early and stay late several days per week. The great thing about this is that you are working when the sales office is closed and you don't have interruptions. I find my chances of reaching my clients at home is much better when I make phone calls after hours. I find that's when they are willing to take time and talk.
I also feel that you need to use technology. Many customers prefer to receive e-mail follow-ups. I also use e-mail blasts to keep my customers updated on what's new. It's a great way to stay in touch.
I also make sure I find time to improve my skills as a new home sales professional. Course work and training classes are essential to achieving your goals and [becoming] the best you can be.
Local Florida builder
Annual Sales: $55 million; 315 homes
Time management is super, super important to your success. During the week, I concentrate on activities that can get done during the week: I meet with mortgage companies, title companies, [and] deal with administrative issues, marketing issues and customer follow-up. The weekends are for meeting new clients. That's when I concentrate on new customers and new leads and minimize other issues. So it is new clients on the weekends and take care of business and existing clients on the weekdays.
California regional sales team
Annual Sales: $70 million; 120 homes
I have a routine in the morning and another routine in the afternoon. I do it every day so I never get behind, and I'm more organized. I have a certain time for follow-up and another time set aside time for customer issues. If I skip my follow-up or miss some administrative reports one day, it just puts me further behind the next day. My routine also includes keeping current on my competition and looking for maintenance items in my model center. This structure also allows me to have some extra time for the things I really like, such as attending a sales training seminar or MIRM class. I find that attending the classes makes my presentations much smoother and prepares me on ways to deal with tough customer issues.
You need to make sure that you have proactive follow-up, not just when you need extra sales. Good habits, like bad habits, are hard to break. So that's why I try to set aside time each day for those things that will make me successful.