"Every story worth reading has a hero"– Joseph Campbell, Mythologist
Who doesn't love a hero? And when new generational consumer habits are constantly shaking up an industry like the home builder industry, it's crucial to have a champion on your team that'll help your business evolve to the buyers' needs regardless of wearing a cape and mask.
According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)'s report on 2021 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends (Page 10), the first step in the home search process was to look online for properties. And these "internet home searchers" (97% of them) would most often walk through a home they viewed online first on a mobile or tablet device. And this is among all generations of home buyers. For example, on page 55 of the report, 51% of all buyers found their new homes on the internet. Still, on page 56, the information says that 53% of all buyers surveyed said that finding the right property was the most challenging step of the home buying process.
So, if most buyers are searching for homes online but state that finding the right property becomes the most challenging step, how can you become the knight in shining armour that helps take the stress out of buying a home.
Revisit your processes regularly.
As we enter 2022, it's no secret that the production of homes will continue to achieve new levels across North America. The new year is also an excellent time to review your established processes and systems with your teams. In our blog, "How Team Alignment Can Help Home Builders Grow Revenue," we discuss how all the teams in the business
need to contribute to the company's goals. Innovation is essential to
differentiate yourself in the home building industry, so getting everyone on board with new ideas is necessary.
At Ownly, we often talk about how we want to help create a frictionless approach to home buying. This also means creating frictionless processes with the home builders' internal teams:
- Look at any (if any) manual, paper-based process you might have. Can you attribute that to any unnecessary costs, delays, and risks throughout the home buying process?
- Consider modernizing those processes by integrating your systems to data flows seamlessly.
- Imagine introducing new methods to help eliminate errors, reduce completion times, and improve everyone's day-to-day.
Want to become a hero? Use this review time to identify any weaknesses in your processes and introduce new ways to strengthen them.
Harness data to guide the home buyers' process.
The internet, of course, is the data gold mine, where companies allocate tons of resources to track consumer behaviour. Data can be used for almost anything. This includes how home builders can provide better service to customers, as they can collect more information about local housing markets and assist them accordingly. Data that our home builder partners collect via the Ownly platform is helping them make more informed decisions. They understand how much online traffic is
going to specific communities or home models or even home models by the community.
Forward-thinking builders analyze their buyers and prospects to define buyers' trends and patterns. This data can help home builders make decisions around how they're going to market to their prospects.
Fast Track Technology
Remember when virtual tours were something we thought would happen five. . .ten years from now? How quickly were those fast-tracked due to the pandemic? As the consumers' habits change quicker than ever, it's also vital that home builders fast forward the industry into a new way to market and sell homes.
We've already seen offsite production where builders construct home components faster and lower cost, but it's also time for sales to benefit.
Builders should learn from Amazon. That precision monitoring of buyer's activity is critical to Amazon's phenomenal success. They use the technology to anticipate their buyers' every need. "Perhaps a new coffee grinder to go with that new latte machine purchase?". Home builders can do the same with the data they collect. Think about if a prospect viewed a specific home model ideal for a first-time family buyer. Then, retarget with ads that drive to additional home models for family buyers in your portfolio.
Leverage Amazon's lessons and learn how to utilize technology to lower costs, increase revenue, and improve the bottom line.
Stay focused on marketing.
Finally, as important it is for the sales staff to close deals on homes. It all starts with awareness and nurturing. Ensure you stay focused on your marketing with these 3 tips:
- Prioritize content. It's a living, breathing thing that is never complete. We talked about how 97% of all buyers are searching online first, so make your business the home builder they'll choose first simply because you are the thought leaders in the industry.
- Don't let the right leads slip through the cracks. Customers are in and out of the market quicker than ever before. Unfortunately, this means it's nearly impossible to get in touch with customers quick enough and long enough without some sort of dedicated process in place.
- Create a better customer experience. Customers expect a lot. This means you have a huge opportunity to provide an excellent experience for many customers (or a bad one.) Make sure to take this chance to elevate your customer experience.
Like all heroes, defining your big heroic moment is quite the mission. And making it easy for your prospect to say "yes" isn't. . .err. . .easy. It takes a lot of internal looking to see if you're making it more convenient for your customers to buy and your sales teams to sell. Can your salespeople get the price to a customer on the spot? Or are the prices visible on your website? What do you think the customer would prefer? Spoiler alert, it's the latter.