In today's market, some customers are being asked to wait a year or even longer before they can even move into their home. This weakens the emotional appeal of the sale and allows additional time for cancellations. Do you change your presentation for extended deliveries? How do you keep a happy customer and minimize cancellations?
West Coast, mid size builder
Annual Sales - 109 Units; Annual $ Value - $29 million
Selling extended deliveries can be tough. I'm in a situation where my customer knows they could buy a home down the street and move six to nine months earlier. But I ask them, "Is it going to be the home you really want?" "Isn't this the community you envisioned your family spending their most important years?" I think it's important that you point those things out. The way that you minimize the cancellations is by always keeping in touch. I think it's very important that no matter why you're calling, you make sure that you package it well, "This is exactly what's going on. I just wanted to let you know that we're at this stage of your home. If you'd like to come out, I'd love to walk the home with you."
Southwest, large builder
Annual Sales - 56 Units; Annual $ Value - $31 million
Extended delivery can be challenging. What the seasoned sales professional has to do is set the buyer's expectations up front and reinforce it continually during the entire construction process. You have to make the buyer aware that there's a myriad of variables that affect our industry and the construction process — labor shortages, concrete shortages, materials shortages, scheduling — and it is next to impossible to predict or give an estimated closing date. The key is to reinforce the fact that unexpected situations will arise. It is added work, but you will end up with a more satisfied buyer and you're going to minimize the cancellations.
Florida, large builder
Annual Sales - 68 Units; Annual $ Value - 14 million
The most important Thing to minimize cancellations is to stay in tough with your buyer so that they know that you haven't forgotten them. If nothing happens during the week of construction to their particular home, give them a call and let them know that you're still working on it, that you haven't forgotten them, that they're not just another number. There are reasons for things taking as long as they are and it's just critical that the buyers are made aware and you keep making them aware so that they don't forget.
Customers that have told me that the builder down the street could get them in three months on a home that's already under construction, and I ask them: "How important is it to be able to pick everything in your home that you want to make it a one of a kind picture versus the home that somebody else has already picked the generic options for and set it up." I find that most people, unless it really is a time restraint that they just have to be in before school or something, most people are going to be willing to wait.