Home builders have always faced competition, but as the industry has increased in sophistication, the competition has increased significantly. It's easy to succeed against fly-by-night operators as long as you don't compete on price. It's much more difficult to compete against quality competition that offers good craftsmanship, meets customer demand and delivers strong customer service.
So, how do you compete? This month, we provide some tools in our feature "Big Builder Killers" on page 50. Whether you are up against the large builders for land, labor or prospects, there are specific techniques and advantages builders can turn to that allow them to succeed.
The most important of all of them is differentiation. Why are you bigger, better, smarter, greener, faster or whatever than your competition? Defining that characteristic within your company, building a strategic plan to support it and creating a marketing plan to broadcast it are the essential steps necessary to compete.
It is not enough these days to say, "We build quality homes." Quality is a word that zooms right past a home buyer. Prospects want to hear specifics.
A great example of this occurred in Carmel, Ind., a couple of weeks ago. The Estridge Companies put its money where its mouth is and showed the community they serve that they truly believe in the "Customer for Life" spirit. How? They opened a retail store in a lifestyle mall, integrated the store with their design studio and put their offices on the second floor.
Now home buyers can stop by to select countertop material and see how that would work not just with the cabinetry they've selected but also with the decorative items and cutlery they would like to include. The result is a complete vision of what a home can become.
It's a great new concept being supported by industry leading manufacturers such as Kohler, Andersen Windows, MasterBrand and LP.
In its market, the Estridge Companies just clearly differentiated itself.