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July 2014

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JULY 2014 24 THE JOURNAL 8 Steps to Creating Your Personal Housing Boom BY SCOTT STROUD MARKETING CONSULTANT Everything about the market has changed. Everything. We see a new generation of buyers poised and ready to kick off the next subtle wave of home building. They bring to the market a new 'wish list' of wants, needs, priorities and expectations that are redefining our industry – the way we market, advertise, design, and build our homes, as well as the way we communicate – and what we communicate – with buyers. Engaging buyers today requires that we reinvent much of what we do – our processes, marketing, floorplans – even our at- titudes toward sales and customer service. Lest that sound too daunting a task, here are eight steps to get you started. 1. Redefine your goals. What will the recovery look like and where does your product fit in? What new opportunities do you see? Which of those offer the best profit potential? Finally, how do you want to relate to the marketplace; what do you want your 'brand' to stand for? Focus on what you want to accomplish and watch for new opportunities. Specific, goal- oriented questions might address the size busi- ness you want to maintain; how many homes per year you would find comfortable; your average profit per home; average completion time per project, etc. First, define your ideal goals, and then look for the opportunities that will help you fulfill them. 2. Redefine your Action Plan This often starts with examining your current activities and processes and taking an honest appraisal of those actions that contribute toward the accomplishment of your goals… and those that are leftover habits from the previous mar- ket that really are no longer profitable. Re- member Einstein's definition of insanity: "Doing the same things you've always done, but expect- ing different re- sults." Look carefully at your goals moving forward and ask, "How?" How do you accomplish those goals? What changes in actions, activities, strategies or tactics are re- quired? What do you have to do to get where you want to go? Now, cre- ate a plan of action that includes those things. 3. Learn new processes. In the same way that building a home is a well-defined process, other parts of your busi- ness can be streamlined, too. Think: How can I create processes for: • Marketing Automation • Engaging prospects • Communication – both internal and exter- nal • Following Up – with both prospects and customers • Customer Service • Referrals Homebuyers today demand speed, effi- ciency, instantaneous communication, and that you completely understand and respect their lifestyle choices. Fail to deliver any one of these critical elements, and your buyers are gone. So, defining and designing processes for the every aspect of your business – automating these processes where you can – will help you save money and time, and allow you to better connect with and satisfy buyers. 4. Develop new skills. Times are tough. We all have to do more with less. Many builders see their primary role as Construction Coordinator; sales and market- ing are left up to others. Now, with reduced staff, they find themselves assuming these re- sponsibilities, something for which they are un- prepared. The fact is that these two critical functions, marketing and sales, are shared responsibilities. In your company, everybody should be market- ing your product, and everybody should be con- tributing toward sales. And, as the market continues to evolve, those skills need to be up- dated. Do you have a regular program of sales train- ing for your employees? Helping construction and support staff appreciate basic sales strate- gies and techniques can go a long way toward creating a 'customer-centric' atmosphere within your company. Other in-demand skills that you or those you work with might consider learning include social media management, energy auditing, green building techniques, and efficient plan design. 5. Update Your Website 90% of homebuyers begin their search on- line. When they are online, they're shopping to eliminate companies that don't pique their Engaging buyers today requires that we reinvent much of what we do – our processes, marketing, floorplans – even our attitudes toward sales and customer service.

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