In this DYC Live, Mike Lyon and Jen Barkan discussed the new messaging that Online Sales must use and consider in this ever-changing market.
We’re only a few months in, but 2021 has already been a crazy year for the home building industry. Builders are facing brand-new issues as demand skyrockets, inventory shrinks, and housing prices go up. Providing exceptional service to prospects during this time is crucial, which means messaging needs to change. We’re going to cover the 3 different areas where homebuilders can update their messaging to fit the current situation: consistent website messaging, online sales dialogues, and rock-solid internal communication.
Just a year or two ago, home builder websites featured call-outs like: Schedule now! Call us for an appointment! We’re here 24/7! But the situation has changed now, and those messages may not be true anymore. You need to set expectations early before a prospect calls, emails, or signs up – and you do that by updating your website.
Add a banner, a blog post, a website pop-up, or all three to explain the current situation to prospects. Include information about availability, appointment options, and timelines. Some builders are even updating these messages noting the date to make sure people have the most up-to-date information.
Another option is to treat calls for a community that isn’t available as a presale. Let those calls go to an automated voicemail that gives callers the status of the community. This sets the expectation upfront and helps prevent Groundhog Day for the Online Sales Specialist – saying the same thing over and over again.
The bottom line is buyers should understand the situation before they call in. Every page that includes a way for someone to reach out should spell out clearly what is available. Don’t make your Online Sales Specialists disappoint everyone who calls in. Turn this into an opportunity to stay in touch with people interested in your communities.
Online Sales Specialists everywhere are answering the same questions and tackling the same issues right now. In a regular market, we know how to talk through customer concerns. But now? Everything is completely different. Here’s how we recommend handling three of the most common questions customers are asking:
Q: Why are home prices so high?
This is a tough one. Price increases are a shock to builders as much as they are to buyers. When someone gives this objection, take a moment to absorb it before agreeing with them.
Remember, your job isn’t to defend the prices; it’s to educate. Buyers aren’t in the home building industry, so it’s the Online Sales Specialist’s role to help them understand what is going on. Give buyers a clear explanation for your homes’ prices by offering real-world numbers for cost changes to lumber, plumbing, sheetrock, and even labor. Talk with your builder to understand these costs.
From there, remind buyers of the current low-interest rates that are keeping houses affordable right now. Home prices might be higher but taking advantage of low interest rates can offset that.
Q: The community I’m interested in is sold out. What now?
When a buyer expresses interest in a community that isn’t available, let them know they’re being placed on a priority list and most importantly what that means. The next step will be an Online Sales Specialist reaching out in the future when homes are available. In the meantime, buyers can plan to get prequalified, so they’re ready to go when it’s time.
The best way to keep track of these interested buyers is to segment them differently in your CRM. Setting up a priority list for these buyers allows you to stay in contact with them until the community has openings again. We recommend a Responded Priority rating.
This “Responded Priority Rating” list is different than existing lists for appointment setting or responded nurture campaigns. Think of this list as a presale; only that these customers have been appropriately qualified and have expressed interest that they’re ready to move forward once the community opens back up with new phases. Being on this list means they’ll be among the first people contacted when there are openings again. Make sure you set the right expectation that being on this list does not guarantee a home site.
Q: It takes how long to build a house!?
Inventory homes are running low, and the build process is a lot longer than people expect right now. Customers aren’t happy about any of this. They’re facing the possibility of moving twice, paying for a rental in the interim, and waiting months for a home. Or, of course, they could go for a used home instead.
Now’s the perfect time to brush up on your buying new versus used home messaging! Acknowledge that this situation is not ideal for your customers. Revisit your messaging on the benefits of buying new and share some cool facts about your builder. Buyers are panicking, but that doesn’t mean they should settle for a less-than-perfect home.
Bad communication between sales teams and Online Sales Specialists leads to canceled appointments, disappointed buyers, and frustrated colleagues.
Don’t let a communication breakdown disrupt the process. Every team needs to have a clear line of communication to stay up to date, down to the minute. Here are a few ways for online sales specialists to do this:
The Online Sales Specialist role has changed from delivering qualified leads to keeping waiting buyers happy until opportunities are available. The best way to provide an excellent experience is to clearly understand what’s available, which communities have openings, and when you can set appointments.
2021 has been a wild ride already for home builders. We’re working hard to share our insights and expertise to help you through it. We’re all going to make it through this fun and challenging market together. Read, watch and listen to all of DYC’s resources on Adjusting Market Conditions here. You can subscribe to our podcast, sign up for our newsletter, like our Facebook page so that you can tune into Do You Convert Live in the future for more resources or to share your experiences.
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