When you find out you have a new community on the horizon, you should get excited, not anxious. This is an opportunity for you to have complete control of all the new leads because they are funneling to you first!
If you do feel anxious, it’s most likely because a proper process isn’t in place. As you develop your process for the community launch, keep in mind that each community will be different, the amount of information you have available will be different, and timeframes will be different. But one thing will remain the same - PRESALES are your number one goal!
First and foremost, the role of online sales is to determine whether leads are suspects OR prospects, and then, convert those prospects into appointments! Secondly, it takes continual communication between online sales, marketing, and sales management so that everyone is on the same page with goals and timelines.
First, let’s look at how we should segment the leads in our CRM. Initially, they should start with a rating of VIP and the community of interest selected as well. Next, if we have an engaged lead, the rating will be switched over to VIP Responded. Finally, if they are engaged, have been qualified, and are appointment ready, they should be rated as VIP Priority.
The process framework can vary depending on the timeframe of the process, but you can start with the steps below and modify them depending on the time you have to work with.
Here’s a step-by-step approach to creating a process that will give you maximum results.
Early in the process, it’s all about verifying interest and keeping a clean list of prospects.
Set up an auto-response or initial email template that explains the VIP Process.
Call to verify the lead's interest and timeframe. Based on this, the OSC determines whether or not to place a customer on the interest list.
Send a monthly email from the OSC. This should be a personal, text-only update. These monthly email updates should be short and pleasantly persistent. Here are some ideas for what to share in these updates.
Update them on any new information – construction, development, floorplans, pricing, etc.
If you don’t have an update, that’s okay. You can still send a pulse-check email and verify their interest.
Use video email by taking a video on location to show what’s going on. Or simply record a video of yourself giving the same updates you shared previously, but this time, with your beautiful face.
Choose something about the location to highlight, such as:Happy Acres is located near an amazing park called Happy Forest.
Share your builder’s story.
Let them know what the next steps are in your VIP/Priority process.
An optional monthly marketing update can also be sent.
When you are 45-60 days from the community release date, you should be building excitement!
Send a pre-release email announcement letting everyone on your VIP list know that the floorplans and pricing are available on the website for their viewing. They are the first to know! Link them back to your website to view the information.
Include a call-to-action to schedule a private 1:1 preview appointment with your onsite team where they can narrow down their options and get more detailed information on options and upgrades.
Here’s an example -
"Today’s the day - it’s here! As a member of our VIP list for Happy Acres, I’m thrilled to let you know that the home design details and introductory pricing is now available to view on our website. (insert a link to the community page).
I’m also excited to let you know that, effective immediately, I can also schedule you a private appointment with Mike, our sales manager for Happy Acres. He will be able to help you determine the home design that will perfectly meet your unique needs. He will also be able to give you option pricing and additional details not available on the website.
Due to the overwhelming demand we’ve received regarding Happy Acres, these appointments will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. Feel free to give me a call at 123-456-7890, or simply reply to this email and I’ll assist you as quickly as possible."
Work the list through BOTH phone and email to schedule 1:1 VIP appointments. Complete 20 outbound calls a day at a minimum to connect with folks on your list, scrubbing along the way determining prospects from suspects.
If you are planning a Preview Event…..
7-14 days from the event leading up to…..
Piggyback on marketing e-blasts with a text-only email to verify interest and attendance at the event
Call to confirm attendance the week of the event.
Resend an email to anyone who has not responded or hasn’t opened your email to confirm attendance and remind them of the upcoming Preview Event.
After the event, your work isn’t finished.
Circle back after the Preview and Grand Opening events and continue to work your interest list with updates and urgency.
Another aspect of the presale process is properly managing expectations. You can do this by creating a FAQs list and including the list in emails, the landing page, and even in video form. You should also develop a “next steps” email that provides whatever information you know and can share. This will help you avoid spending valuable time answering the same questions over and over.
Finally, for communities that have extremely heavy call volume or in situations when you have no information you can share, set up a Call Flow to go to a specific voicemail that updates customers on the VIP/Priority process and information.
When broken down into simple steps, the presale process can be exciting for you, your team, and the homebuyers. Just remember to be pleasantly persistent with your monthly updates to keep the interest. Continue to scrub the list along the way to determine suspects vs prospects. Don't forget that you're not finished after the grand opening and that you should circle back and continue to work the VIP list. Most importantly, keep the lines of communication flowing between online, onsite, and marketing.
If you follow the steps laid out and are flexible with any changes that may come your way, your presale will be a smooth process and a big success.