Buying a new home isn’t as much about real estate or an investment anymore as it is about the new homebuyer’s desire to enhance their lifestyle. So, the Design Center isn’t just about options andFHD A World Class Customer Experience upgrades anymore! It’s about a Homebuilder’s transformation into a New Home Retailer who can meet the personalization desires and deliver the ‘New American Dream’ of living a luxury lifestyle. It’s about understanding today’s ‘new homebuyer’ and delivering the world class customer experience they deserve when making the most important purchase of their life! To do this a homebuilder must start with the customer experience first and work their way backwards. They must focus on the customer first and not the products or process, so they can make the product and process fit the experience instead of making the customer fit the process.

This article addresses subjects near and dear to my heart…Homebuilding, Design Centers, new home personalization and the customer experience. My passion for all of these began when I started working in retail and then moved to the floor covering and interior design industries and continued on to new home sales. I’ve been teaching, training and coaching new Homebuilders and Design Centers  for many years and that led to my co-founding Options Online in 1996 with one of my clients. Options Online became a nationally recognized, award winning, online design center and options operating system. In fact, it was the first of its kind and is still going strong today as Studio Chateau. I also develop Finished Home Design, a series of workshops, seminars and coaching sessions to help Homebuilder and Design Center professionals deliver a world class personalization experience to new homebuyers. I wanted to share the 5 first keys for a Homebuilder and Design Center to stop struggling with options and upgrades and become a successful ‘New Home Retailer’. These 5 keys include 2 Self-Awareness Issues and 3 Mindset Shifts that must be addressed to become a New Home Retailer who does deliver a world class home buying, personalization and customer experience. So here are the first 5 keys…

Self-Awareness Issue #1…You are not a production builder…You build personalized homes on a schedule!

Construction MeetingDo you build production homes? No, you build personalized homes on a schedule, and until a homebuilder gets everyone in their business on this page they will continue to struggle. Homebuilders everywhere just wish options and upgrades would go away. Owners, executives, purchasing, construction, customer service and accounting people in the homebuilding industry struggle with this attitude and will continue to until they realize personalization is a core function of their business. After they acknowledge this is true, they can embrace the changes it causes to their jobs as a vital part of the business, instead of a hassle they wish would go away.

Self-Awareness Issue #2…Most people in the homebuilding industry are ‘used’ homebuyers and do not think like a ‘new’ homebuyer.

How many people in a position of leadership in the homebuilding industry would only shop for and buy a ‘new’ home i stead of a used home? Even if they buy a ‘new’ home they usually get to break all their companies rules for homebuyers to personalize it the way they want it…So, they aren’t really a ’new’ homebuyer, they are a new custom home buyer. I ask because the New Homebuilding Industry, is an industry led by and sold by predominantly ‘used’ homebuyers! Acknowledging this is a beginning that will allow you to start making the changes you’ll need to make to align with your intentions and mindset with the ‘new’ homebuyers who are your customers.

Mindset Shift #1…The vast majority of ‘new’ homebuyers want to buy the latest greatest and want a finished home, not a fixer up or a remodeling project! They’re buying ‘new’ instead of ‘used’ for this reason.

They’re dreaming of the lifestyle their ‘new’ home will allow them to live! Once a homebuilder experiences the first two self-FHD Collageawareness issues they can better understand the mind of a ‘new’ vs ‘used’ homebuyer. When this happens, and works it way through everyone at a homebuilder, then the homebuyer engagement and customer services will start to improve.

There has been lots written and discussed about how Boomers, GenX and Millennial homebuyers are different, but I’ll tell you they’re more similarities than differences when they make the decision to be a ‘new’ homebuyer and not a ‘used’ homebuyer. As new homebuyers they’re more alike than different…It’s more about lifestyle, personalization and their finished home, than it is about their generational differences.

Mindset Shift #2…Personalization is the most attractive thing about a ‘new’ home to the vast majority of ‘new’ homebuyers…So, it’s the most valuable thing you have to sell. Oh, and your standards aren’t fabulous or what a ‘new’ homebuyer wants in their home, and the vast majority don’t want to fix up their home after they move-in.

Personalization and the Design Center experience is the greatest value added service to help a homebuilder sell more homes. Getting new home sales agents to embrace this and not be afraid of the money people will need to invest to personalize their home is vital to their success in selling more new homes today! New home salespeople who embrace and engage ‘new’ homebuyers with a respect and appreciation for the different between ‘used’ homebuyers and ‘new’ homebuyers will be the big winners going forward. Over 80% of ‘new’ homebuyers don’t want to buy a new home ‘fixer upper’ and are willing to invest to make their new home their own personal living space. Engaging ‘new homebuyers’ with this knowledge improves the communication, allows for accurate expectation and makes the experience of buying a new home more enjoyable.

Mindset Shift #3…The Design Center isn’t about options and upgrades, it’s not about products, it’s about a personalized finished home.

First, the Design Center experience is about helping homebuyers design a finished plan for their new home that reflects their personal taste and enhances their lifestyle. Second, the homebuyer will need your help staying focused on why they bought a ‘new’ home instead of a ‘used’ home. Yes, they buy for one reason and then sabotage their own happiness if they aren’t properly assisted and guided by a trained professional with the expertise to truly serve them. However, when this is done correctly, Design Center sales increase, homebuyer satisfaction soars and profits grow!!! The proper customer engagement at the Design Center makes sure the homebuyer’s expectations match the reality of the home they are moving into, and assures they haven’t turned their new home into a new home ‘fixer upper’, unless they’re one of the few who truly wants a ‘new home fixer upper’!

This can only happen when a builder takes the next steps to educate and training all their staff. Everyone must come to acknowledge the first two self-awareness issues and begin accepting the 3 mindsets so they can align their thinking and service to match that of the ‘new’ homebuyer. Then, they can all start working together to deliver the world class customer experience a ‘new’ homebuyer deserves as part of the most expense purchase of their life and a Homebuilder can become a New Home Retailer!

If you want take the next steps in becoming a successful ‘New Home Retailer’ who delivers a world class customer experience, contact me for more information!

By Mike Moore

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