Posts Tagged ‘New Home Retailing’

I originally published this in 2011 but thought it would be great to revisit since it still applies today. We’ve all changed the way we live, from the way we communicate, to how we are entertained and gather information. Our shopping and buying behavior, habits Home Plansand experiences are shifting rapidly. We all acknowledge the world is changing but the new home sales engagement hasn’t kept up. In fact, it’s holding us back.

Shifting demographics, globalization and technology are creating a ‘new economy’. This brings us to a time that requires new thinking, attitudes and plans to use technology if we want to effectively engage, connect and convert shoppers to customers.

Our greatest challenge in making a successful transition comes from ‘normalcy bias’. Economic, process and sales ‘normalcy bias’ is holding us back from adapting and using technology effectively. It causes people and companies to keep attempting to add technology to their existing process.

Technology and our buyer’s behavior have now surpassed us and we must catch up.

The first obstacle to overcome in using technology effectively in the sales engagement is an understanding that adding technology to the traditional sales process is a bad idea.

This applies to the selling of homes; options and the design center experience, because to the homebuyer they are one in the same.

Options or interior design selections are often treated as a nuisance and presented as products and not an integral part of people’s home buying process. Our customers want a finished home, they don’t want a fixer upper.

Successful use of technology to convert shoppers to customers requires a shift in the way people; sales environments and technology are combined and utilized to enhance the homebuyers’ journey. This is New Home Retailing and it results in increased sales, homebuyer satisfaction and reduced costs.

Guido SalesmanPEOPLE

Current Situation

The buyer and seller relationship is dysfunctional.

Buyers don’t trust or believe salespeople. They respond to surveys by saying they believe salespeople care more about the transaction than about helping them.

Salespeople’s intention is to make a sale. This is a leadership issue as executives, sales managers and traditional sales training reinforces this intention.

This intention causes salespeople to look, act and sound similar…It makes them present to, rather than engage, people.

Alternate Solution

Shift salespeople’s intentions to connect and communicate with homebuyer’s and heal the dysfunctional relationship.

Provide a new sales process that aligns with the buyer’s journey. It’s their process not ours.

This connects people and allows for an extended conversation, especially when done in a new sales environment and with the use of technology.

Sales OfficeENVIRONMENT

Current Situation

Traditional sales environments look and feel the same.

They support a dying traditional sales process that’s focused on the seller, not the buyer or even the product the buyer cares about.

Doesn’t support the use of technology…Makes technology an add-on, intruder and distraction to the old traditional process.

Alternate Solution

Redesign the selling space around the buyer’s journey. The internet is a place, not media, engage and interact online as an extension of your physical selling environment.

Stop adding technology to an old process and environment.

Meet buyers where they want help, to enhance the personal connection and use of technology to extend the conversation and help home shoppers take their next step.

No fences…No sales office…Take advantage of technology, mobility and deepen the emotional connection. Meet them in the models, interact with visualization tools and make the buying experience informative, entertaining and an extension of their online beginning.

Increase buyer participation, interaction and conversation with technology.

Create the real possibility of selling all your communities from anywhere, anytime.

TechnologyTECHNOLOGY

Current Situation

Most builders have tried adding technology to their existing sales process, not using technology to create and enhance a new sales engagement.

Technology added to the old traditional sales process and sales environments makes it expensive ‘digital art’. Technology is ineffective as an add-on. In fact, it becomes a distraction or interruption to the traditional sales process.

In this format it’s ROI is weak at best or more often just an added cost.ld traditional sales process and sales environments makes it expensive ‘digital art’. It’s ineffective as an add-on.

Alternate Solution

Replace your existing traditional sales process with new intentions, environments and the use of technology. Engage, involve and connect with homebuyers in an interactive experience making the salesperson the buyers guide, on their homeownership journey.

Separate yourself from your competition for now… Allow your homes and the lifestyle they provide to become the destination of this journey.

Include technology engagement throughout the home tour in kiosk, tablets, flat screens and surfaces.

Connect online experience to the onsite experience, extending the engagement. Allow the journey to continue.

Using catalogs, visualization, animation, video and emerging new technologies to create a rich, emotion and visual experience…Last but not least, using live video and audio of the buyer and seller engagement to improve the engagement is long overdue if you truly want to improve the home buying experience.

Alternate Solution #2

Replace mediocre salespeople and the dying sales process with an interactive engagement that costs less and produces the same or more results.

This solution will always leave you vulnerable to companies who chose to do the first alternate solution.

With today’s broken, dysfunctional and dying sales process, what do you have to lose? Anything different will be the first step toward an improved sales engagement and result in converting more home shoppers to satisfied homeowners.

The use of technology is inevitable and has already begun. It will be most effective in a new sales environment but not fully effective until people are engaged by salespeople with aligned intentions. When all three are combined the ROI of technology is multiplied exponentially.

Make People, the sales Environment and the use of Technology your P.E.T. Project! Combining these three elements in the engagement of people shopping for new homes is the best way to stand out in a crowded marketplace. It will enable your salespeople to connect with buyers to help them take the next steps in owning your homes.

By Mike Moore

LIVE VIDEO TRAINING AND COACHING

Salespeople

As performing artists, it’s time to grow up by taking responsibility for the interaction with consumers.  We need to take advantage of all the tools available to Video

We can continue to only read, talk and listen about how to sell, or we can begin to view our live performances and make the changes necessary to become sales professionals.  When we are viewing and listening to our live engagements, the reading, talking and listening we do becomes more valuable and magnifies our results.

This is greatly different than using mystery shoppers or roll playing.  Mystery shoppers and roll playing find out if you know the information about your products, services and company. This can be accomplished by written or verbal quizzes and tests.  Mystery shopping and roll playing changes the key ingredient to sales communication and interaction, which are the intentions of the consumer and salesperson.

Only when we view interaction between people with the intentions we experience in live selling situations, can we see, hear and know what we need to do to improve.  Without the intentions of both people being real in a conversation, negotiation or a selling situation, the practice is nearly useless. Mystery shoppers and roll players have no intentions of buying and salespeople aren’t selling.  Selling situations happen between consumers who are shopping with the intention to buy and own your products, while salespeople are under pressure to sell everyone they engage. These are the situations we need to see and hear with live video and audio recordings.

For years now, I have been teaching that salespeople practice their profession on consumers.  Unfortunately, this is an obstacle to self-improvement.  If we don’t start wanting to improve enough to grow up, take responsibility and use tools like live video and audio, we are doomed to continue being average at best.  We haven’t seen the best of the profession of selling or proper business intentions but we can if we are willing to use these tools.

Sales Managers

The time has come to stop worrying about how good your salespeople are and start finding out.  Live video coaching will expose what you may be afraid of but you can’t change and begin to improve until you find out. It is time to acknowledge that we need to grow up and begin being the professionals we profess to be.

Live VideoThe idea that we have tools to improve at our disposal and haven’t utilized them, is a shame. That said, let’s not look back but begin now to use live video and audio to coach and improve the relationship between consumers and salespeople.  I know many sales managers who have resisted using these tools and can only wonder what they are afraid of.  Nothing we do out of fear will ever be a best practice.  In the coming years, sales managers will use live video and audio to stay informed and coach their sales professionals.

Live video and audio is not intended to be a punitive tool.  It is a coaching and self-improvement tool.  Coaches have to be informed and pay attention to be effective. Live video with audio is the best way to pay attention.  You can’t coach what you’re unaware of.   It is also an accountability tool, as salespeople in all selling environments will be less likely to give less than their best effort to consumers when they know they are performing live all the time. Giving consumers your best effort is part of what is needed to grow sales into the performance art it needs to be to make customers.

Executives

When executives accept that decades of doing business with the intention to make sales has broken the relationship between consumers and salespeople, then they need to take responsibility for this broken relationship and lead their business with a new intention.

It is time to start making customers, not sales, and live video and audio is the best tool to make sure this new intention is implemented.  Too many years of talk and not enough action, has left the consumer believing businesses don’t care about them.

Executives have made too many decisions about how to operate their business and make profits without considering how it would affect their sales strategy and ultimately their customers.

The rewards of implementing the intention to make customers will be increased sales, lower costs, increased profits and growth.  Most executives believe that people are the driving force to improve their business and this new intention will also energize your people. Since these are the reasons executives run businesses, it is painfully clear that it’s time to change your sales intention , grow up your salespeople and begin caring about the customer, as the center of your business.   Live video and audio coaching is the best tool to make this happen.

You wouldn’t run a business that depended on athletes to perform without video for coaching and improvement. Don’t invest and risk your company’s money without using the best tools to insure peak performance to make customers.

Self Coaching

I wrote this to salespeople, sales managers, and executives because live audio and video coaching should start with salespeople, then be available to the sales manager, and finally to executive management in a company.

This is to keep the focus on self-improvement that serves and makes customers.  Live audio and video coaching should never be punitive or feel as though big brother is watching.  When we start with salespeople they quickly learn how valuable seeing and hearing themselves in real situations can be.  They even begin to use the information learned to build relationships through follow-up to make customers.  After the salespeople become comfortable with the self coaching, then sales management can begin using the audio and video as a coaching tool.  Executives are the last to view and listen as this is a confidence builder of how their salespeople are and why sales are increasing.

Without live audio and video we continue to manage sales in the dark. It is time to grow up and be our best!

By Mike Moore

You need to be different to be successful. You have to stand out from the crowd to be seen and heard. You will only get noticed when you think different enough to act different and it often starts with what you measure as success. Changing what you measure will change your results. So, it’s time to stop measuring sales success in numbers and start measuring it in people…How many ‘customers’ do you make?

Customers grow your business and insure your sustained success. Understand this, just because someone buys from you once, doesn’t make them a customer.

At it’s best, selling isn’t about the buying experience, it’s about the ownership experience. Stop trying to ‘Wow’ buyers with a great buying experience and focus on ‘Wowing’ them with a great ownership experience…Make sure they enjoy owning your product or service. Then you’ll make customers, sales will increase and your business will grow exponentially.

Making a customer takes caring enough to only do what’s best for the buyer, and never compromising this to make a sale. Then and only then will you reach your full potential as a salesperson and a business.

By Mike Moore

“Do not keep anything in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” William Morris.

Almost 400 years ago a faction of disgruntled pilgrims disembarked the Mayflower at the end of their cruise and commenced to building shelter somewhere in the Plymouth Rock neighborhood of Massachusetts.  One and two room shacks made from rough-hewn logs, moss and mud were the order of the day and those that that kept the weather out were the neighborhood envy.  Home Builders were busy guys, developers were well… everybody, Architects were all unlicensed and bureaucracy was but a glimmer in the eye of a budding country.  Glass windows and metal hinges were fashionable luxury items and paint of any color was just showing off.  Floor covering occurred when a blanket or the drunk guy fell to on the floor and the R value was measured by the amount of r’s in the BRRRRR his teeth chattered per minute during January. Obviously, the pilgrims did not invent housing.  The Romans, Greeks and most everyone in Europe were building some pretty nice shacks before the new world was discovered. But, the Plymouth neighborhood was the first in America.

The American home has evolved greatly over the years. Comfort along with convenience have driven much of the technology especially in the past 100 years.  Ideas like running water, sewage, waterproofing, heat, air conditioning, electricity, central vacuum, cable TV and WiFi were brought to the market and, well…we took advantage and became more comfortable and connected. Now these things have become the norm in most homes. The technology of Homebuilding today and what people want in their home keeps changing. Developers deal with real estate, Architects and Designers get licensed and fight about who owns the ‘D’ word, (Design), Inspectors are required for everything and Builders scrape through the bureaucracy created by the monster we call Government. Fees and costs mount up and are paid by the proud homeowner at closing (plus the Realtors fees). Every home has its comfort items and every new or remodeled home goes through building and red tape issues that dictate much of what goes into the home.  So, the nicest house in your neighborhood was not likely built much differently than others, and it has the same electricity, cable and running water as all the others. After all the construction is finished, what’s really the difference? What’s the WOW factor? I would submit that the nicest home in any neighborhood has the combination of solid design principles combined with the owner’s personal taste and what we notice is how the finished items that have been selected are put together to complete the home.

Design and building ideas borrowed from the old world continue to influence the architecture of today’s home and have become essentials of enduring design. The form of today’s home followed function, followed form, followed geniuses like Louis Sullivan, Walter Gropius, Henry and Charles Greene, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Buckmister Fuller, Daniel Burnham and many other innovators, thinkers and Designers.  Don’t be offended; the list is huge! These Architects and Designers taught us that it’s the folding and blending of site, form, function, cost, line, color, texture, lighting, passion and so much else that defines residential design. Great home design is not for the untrained or uninspired.  It requires imagination, listening, patience and an absolute passion for where and how people live.  It requires the ability to blend the natural laws of design with personal style and lifestyle.

The Design of a home, a great home, is wrapped in many layers of complexity and consideration and then kept very simple. But, what’s most important to the homeowner of today is how our home makes us feel and how it fits our lifestyle. Where we live is very wrapped up in how we live, who we love and what we love to do. All of which is expressed in the form and function of our dwelling. There is no denying…The Home makes our greatest fashion statement!  It possesses style nearly as important to one’s self esteem as the fashion one wears.  It is a place of pride, a statement of one’s taste and a testament to our personal style. Home design, especially it’s interior design, is an incredibly important, personal issue in a homeowner’s buying decisions and personal life.

A person’s home is the most important place on the planet.  Period.  Home is a place more important than any store, office, museum or place of worship. The home is where people live, relax, dream, work, play, laugh, cry, create their memories…and keep their stuff.  It’s where they raise their babies, where first steps are taken, where homework gets done and where they catch up on the day over a family meal.  The home is where one keeps their favorite books, furniture, hobbies and prized possessions.  For any homeowner, home is where the most important people in the world live and where we invite friends to share our lives.  No other building means more to ones peace of mind, self-image or soul than their home. Home is where the heart is.

No matter where people live or what their style, most people want to live in a house that is ‘finished’. ‘Finished’ describes a project that is designed to create a completed, well thought out look that reflects the owners lifestyle and personal taste.  In my years as a Home Designer, my theory in dealing with couples building or remodeling a home was, and still is, ‘Design for Mom’!  Don’t get excited, I mean the generic ‘Mom’, the person most affected by design. ‘Mom’, who is the fashion driver in the home, the person who pretty much steers the ship when it comes to design decisions. Most women take the look of their home very personally. No one is saying that men aren’t affected by good design, but when was the last time ‘Dad’ won an argument concerning the style, shape or color of a sofa. Homeowners (especially ‘Moms’) want rooms that are designed, finished and completed to enhance the way they live. They are clamoring for design direction and, even in harsh economic times, are willing to pay a little more for a product when they can get the added value from a retailer or manufacturer who can help them ’finish their home’.

The design of a home, especially the interior design of a home has become very big business.  ‘Big boxes’ as well as ‘specialty stores’ have emerged, designs and designers have never been in more demand, and there are more home décor magazines and websites than ever. Add to that, there is more than one TV network dedicated to the home, not to mention the gardens. The fashion of home has never been more important. Yes, the home is a fashion statement and has great affect on purchases. While purchasing is still somewhat about function and performance, function and performance don’t matter a bit if the product doesn’t look good and somehow fit in the desired design…’the finished home’!

Disgruntled pilgrims did not buy a cruise ticket solely because the boat was sturdy and the weather looked good. They bought the idea of a better life and the possibility of what could be.  They had no ability to get to the new world themselves, so the Captain and crew gave them the added value of direction and safety.  In the same way, (ok it’s a little corny), homeowners do not buy furniture, paint, flooring, siding or trim. They buy the idea, the possibility and the dream of their finished space, room or home.  If retailers and manufacturers want to add value to their products, create repeat business and generate referral business, they might want to add some value in the form of design direction and better decision making safety.  We can create loyal, evangelical customers by helping them through the design decisions.  Invest in the importance of the finished room or space, design for ‘Mom’ and remember that the home is a personal and important fashion statement.

By Mike Moore, Making Customers and Tim Hanno, Karndean International