Very few new homes have been bought in the last year; hundreds of thousands, though, have been sold. If you don't quite get that statement, ask your salespeople. They understand it. They see it every day.
Over the last year, we have tended to point an accusatory finger at our sales staffs. For the last decade, they've been order takers, we've said. They've been propped up by a sellers' market where high demand made them fat and happy. Times are harder now, and we expect more from sales staffs that had it so good for so long. I heard of a young salesperson in California earning more then $300,000 a year. She spent it all on a luxury car, expensive clothes and lavish vacations. Apparently, she didn't believe the spigot could ever turn off. But it did, and in California it turned off quickly. Now she is broke. She had to sell everything and move back to Texas to live with her parents.
Those kinds of stories encourage us to accuse salespeople of a lack of discipline.
This issue of Professional Builder lauds the sales and marketing people who have put in the hard work, scored major successes and received industry-wide recognition for their efforts.
For 26 years, the National Association of Home Builders' Sales and Marketing Council has presented the National Sales and Marketing Awards. Known simply as "The Nationals," these awards recognize those people on the front lines of the housing industry — the people we scorn when times are tough and acknowledge somewhat enviously and resentfully when times are good. Now, though, is the exact time we should be praising them for their efforts in the face of a thousand "noes."
In this issue, we present all the winners, and we have additional coverage in our sister publications. The March issue of Custom Builder will showcase winners of large production homes and custom homes. The April issue of Housing Giants will profile the people on the front lines: rookie salesperson of the year, salesperson of the year, sales team of the year, sales manager of the year and marketing director of the year.
Some of the stories here are re-markable. Sales teams and marketing campaigns succeeded in spite of shrinking demand and increasing negative publicity from the consumer press. How can you sell in a market when the front page story in every major newspaper describes a collapsing housing industry? Only through effective marketing, a strong sales system and great people.
As our industry claws back up to its previous levels (and believe me when I say we will), it will do so by following the leadership of our sales and marketing teams. In a great market, we can all survive. In a tough market, a great sales and marketing team will overcome both the market and our own errors. Didn't get the pricing quite right on phase one? A great sales team will help. Got a black eye in the community? A great marketing team will help.
It is that essential talent and expertise that The Nationals recognize. So, turn to page 64 and become inspired by what is possible with people who don't take "no" for an answer.
Paul Deffenbaugh, Editorial Director, 630/288.8190, email@example.com