FloorPop FloorPop (Flôr-pop) n. 1. The homebuyer who visits a Builder's community and writes a contract for sale the same day. 2. The sound made by a salesperson clicking their heels high in the air and returning to the floor after a prospect signs a contract the day they first meet.
Marketing Best Practices for Homebuilders, October 4, 2006 Vol. 7, Issue 7

Self Prospecting, What You Can Do to Drive Traffic

IN THIS ISSUE:

Welcome Readers to the new format for FloorPop! Each month, we will select one or two related articles to share with you from various authors. We also have a few select industry articles that are worth reading. Finally, if you have any feedback please let us know by emailing me at kuhnen@earthlink.net or you can let us know what you think of the article by taking our article poll.

Self Prospecting

So, your traffic is a little off. What can you do about it? Two month's ago I shared advice from some of America's top sales training trainers (http://www.floorpop.com/Floorpop080206.html). This month is all about building traffic and be-backs. Not things your marketing department should be doing online or in print, but what you, as an on-site agent or as a sales manager, can do to improve qualified traffic to your communities. Last month, Zach Pruitt, a community consultant for Pulte Homes in Chicago, asked just that. What can he do to build traffic into his community? Thanks for the article suggestion Zach.

Focus On What Is in Your Control

In order to be successful, you need to focus on what is within your immediate control. Unfortunately, in today's world too much attention is focused on the market, and in doing so, we lose focus on what is within our control.

We all know the market has been strong for a long time, but is today's market a bad market? Bob Schultz, of The New Home Specialists, put it this way, "If your market was hot and that is say 100%, and it's dropped by 25% or 30%, the 70% that is left is the new 100%." Schultz believes your conversion ratios today should be equal to or even better than before, because the people that are coming out are, in some instances, far more interested. He sees the housing bubble as a bit of a myth (see "Bursting the Housing Bubble Myth"). Regardless, your traffic is off by let's say 30%. If you had 10 prospects per week and a conversion rate of 10%, now you have only 7 prospects. What are you personally going to do to maintain a sales rate of 1 sale per week?

It appears you only have two options: (1) Improve your conversion rate so that 7 prospects will lead to one sale, or (2) find 3 more traffic units. Here is Schultz's practical advice for excelling in this more challenging market.

  1. Improve your sales presentation. This means you go through the process of preparation, greeting, presentation, demonstration, and closing with each and every prospect that walks in your door. If you want to improve your conversion rate, then Schultz suggests you start here. Get your presentation down to the point where it is conversational and you will be in control without being controlling.
  2. Get your follow-through into high gear. According to Schultz, it starts with understanding the customer they just presented to, "Most sales people tend to rank their customers based upon how they feel about them rather than what they know about them." Says Schultz. He suggests a customer process analysis that includes a series of questions that takes the subjectivity out of it. Schultz wants you to use this to discover their hot buttons, issues, and behavioral style. "The way we get people back in is: first recognize why they were there in the first place, what was it that they were interested in, and what were their issues or objections." He calls it "strategizing your follow-through." It has to be customized based upon what you know about that prospect. Here's a link to Schultz's "Customer in process analysis form."

It's pretty straight forward just improve your presentation and your follow-up. But in the end, it all comes down to your execution. If you do this well, your be-backs and conversions should rise dramatically. Your Buyers, Your Prospects, Your Realtors - Turning Up Your Conversion For a different view on the question I spoke with Jason Forest, President of Shore Select. It's the same problem. You either have to improve your conversion or your traffic. What's the best way to do this?

Here's Forest's prescription:

  1. Start with your existing homeowners. Knock on existing homeowners doors. Find out where they are working and their stories. This will highlight opportunities such as relocations where the target company can send out emails and your homeowners can become advocates for your community. At the same time you can work the surrounding community gaining the support of local establishments such as restaurants. "Partnering with local business makes goods sense." According to Forest. A local restaurant might provide a free dinner to customers you send their way. In return, you might see referrals from the restaurant down the road.
  2. Work your existing prospects harder to encourage be-backs. One of his favored tactics is for the Sales Manager to set aside one calling day each month. All sales reps need to bring in their prospects cards. Most sales reps hate making these types of follow-up calls to their "B" traffic. Forest suggests making a huge event out of it. "It has to be fun. You will absolutely see your conversion rate go up." The goal is to get commitments to be-back appointments. Remember, it has to be an ongoing thing, not just a quick fix to a poor traffic month.
  3. Enhance your Realtor relations. One realtor presentation per week and creating a core set of favored Realtors is key. "The magic number is 10 as strategic partners." says Forest. How do you find these 10? Start with your book of Realtor-related sales. You need to focus your energy on performers, but recognize that you have to stay top-of-mind with them. According to Forest, "Realtors don't think past today. The key is to stay present in the mind of the realtor." So, when they do have a customer who matches your product, they think of you. "All they care about are the two customers they are currently working with. Their buyers change every week."

Now you have some suggestions for improving your conversions, traffic, and be-backs. However, you are likely to have another cache of untapped opportunities. If you are like many of the builders we work with, you have tons of leads from the Internet. What to Do with All Those Pesky Internet Leads So, what can you do with all those, in some cases older, Internet leads? I spoke with Meredith Oliver, President of Creating Wow, to get her suggestions for leveraging this asset. Oliver came up with what might be the shot in the arm your marketing efforts need:

  1. Put all of those leads into your CRM or marketing system from which you can send email campaigns. Once you have all your leads aggregated, you are ready to use them in a series of email campaigns. Recognize that if these are older leads, a significant portion (perhaps 15%) may no longer be valid.
  2. Come up with a direct marketing-oriented message. Oliver refers to this as a shift from informational messaging to persuasive messaging. What does this mean? It means asking very specifically what it will take for the lead to be interested in acting now. Oliver suggests, "What will it take for you to decide now is the time to buy?" Is that too direct? There's only one way to find out.
  3. Send out an email campaign to the entire list to re-qualify the list. The message has two parts, first it asks if they are still considering a new home. Second, it has to have the aforementioned direct marketing message designed to get a response.
  4. Make sure you have a process in place to respond quickly and in a very personal way to each lead that opts-in to your follow-up campaign.

So, what can you expect from this effort? It's hard to predict. It depends upon the source of the original lead, how old the lead is, the value of our call-to-action, and your market. Here's how Oliver would set an expectation for results:

Will it work? I think the better question is, "Are 6 more sales worth the little bit of effort it will take?" I would be glad to show you how the HotOn! Focus Marketing System and our marketing support department can make it easy.

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Bursting the Housing Bubble Myth

Everyone has heard relentless talk of a housing bubble recently. Financial "evangelists" are all over TV, newspapers and business magazines warning of what's to come, and the hype has contributed to a very confused marketplace. Bob Schultz shares his wisdom on the 6 things that drove our hot markets and how these factors look today. You can read it here.

The Salespersons Guide to Netiquette

Technology etiquette is sometimes referred to as netiquette and is defined as communicating effectively with others in a non-offensive manner. Meredith Oliver shares her practical tips for being a polite technology user. You can read it here.

Blair Kuhnen is the publisher of FloorPop. He can be reached at 817-658-7698 or via email at kuhnen@earthlink.net.


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Contributors to FloorPop this Month

Bob Schultz, The New Home Specialist, can be reached at 561-368-1151 or via email.
His website address is http://www.newhomespecialist.com/.

Jason Forest, Shore Select, can be reached at 817-939-2741 or via email.
His website address is http://www.shoreselect.com/.

Meredith Oliver, Creating Wow!, can be reached at 407-294-7614 or via email.
Her website address is http://www.creatingwow.com.