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.
Leverage Your Sales Team's Down Time
One of the consequences of low traffic and slow sales is the additional downtime most new-home sales professionals face. It's a perfect time to redefine the sales job description, says John Rymer of New Home Knowledge.
One of the consequences of low traffic and slow sales is the additional downtime most new-home sales professionals face. Many builders have responded to slower sales activity by putting individual sales members in charge of multiple communities or even resorting to e-appointments as a way for customers to tour model homes. While I understand the dire conditions that many builders face, the better solution to excess downtime is to expand the job description of the sales professional.
Traditional downtime activities were typically divided into four areas: (1) improving sales skills; (2) Realtor relations; (3) customer follow-up; and (4) competitor information. While all of the above are certainly worthy activities, the reality is that many sales professionals choose to spend little time with them and instead spend the majority of their downtime on unproductive pursuits. The best builders are not asking their sales team to simply rehash traditional activities with more vigilance but rather expand the role of the sales professional to that of chief traffic generator, developer of multi-media follow-up and community outreach technician.
The better solution to excess downtime is to expand the job description of the sales professional.
There are a couple of simple areas they can focus on. Let's begin with search engine optimization (SEO). As almost any (non-public) builder will tell you, getting a high ranking on a well-targeted search term in Google is one of the most frustrating experiences in home building today. Yet today's top builders are tasking sales consultants to commit to an hour a day on activities such as creating quality inbound links to their site, updating content to show activity with spiders and even joining affiliate networks to enhance search rankings. This isn't the black magic your ad agency told you about — and you don't need an IT degree to be effective.
Today's stand-out-from-the-crowd follow-up isn't typically developed at the ad agency. More often than not, it's the result of a hungry sales professional with a commitment to being noticed by prior customers and local Realtors. Take a tour of YouTube and watch the videos produced by new-home sales professionals to see what a $200 video camera and a willingness to get noticed can do for an inventory home. And notice the number of views each video has received.
With sales professionals hungry for ways to improve their earnings, the best builders have redefined sales professional roles, provided them with the tools to self increase traffic, developed more effective follow-up and harnessed overall e-commerce to gain a meaningful advantage over their competition.
|John Rymer is the founder of New Home Knowledge, which offers sales training for home builders and real-estate professionals. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.|