This past January, the family and I took a trip to Disney World. It was the first time we had all visited as a family of four. As you can imagine, the expectations were high – Would we like the resort? Did we get the right Fast Passes? Would all our dreams come true at Disney? Much like our new home buyers – we needed a guide. Our emotions were running high and we wanted it to be easy and to say yes to everything. Preparing for a big trip is a lot like buying a home, especially when you’ve been waiting for so long. Going to Disney World reminded me that there are things buyers need from us, things that would make the buying or building process so much easier for them.
It had been 20 years since my husband and I had been to Disney – so much had changed. Disney was on the cutting edge of technology, with passes for rides that you had to purchase in advance and something called magic bands. We had been prepping for months, but what we really needed was a guide. We needed someone to show us what to do and how to do it, like telling us which rides were best for the Fast Pass.
Just like our buyers. Searching for and/or building a new home can be daunting. With all the ways to search for a new home – Zillow, Realtor.com, New Home Source, Builder websites, etc. – our buyers have information coming at them in so many different ways. Not to mention, when they finally do find a community or home that they like, there are so many new options: smart homes, elevation styles and finishes, build packages. It can be overwhelming– where do they start?. It’s just like how we felt about our Disney trip.
The need for an online sales specialist is at an all-time high. Our buyers need a fast response to their questions and a guide who silences the noise and provides an easy experience. They need someone with a friendly voice on the other side of their phone or computer screen to set expectations and explain the process of building a new home. They need an online sales specialist to guide them to an appointment, and a sales professional to hold their hand through the process.
Deciding where we would stay was a big deal when we were planning our trip. Since this was also going to be a work trip for me, we needed something that was relatively close to both the convention center and the parks. A friend who lives in Orlando referred us to a timeshare resort. This being our first family vacation in years, our expectations were pretty high. Upon check in, we were prompted to visit the concierge for free Disney tickets. Awesome, right? Little did we know, these tickets were attached to a 3-hour timeshare presentation. It was not the deal we expected.
Next stop was our condo. When we walked into our bedroom, I felt like I had stepped back in time to 1980. We were surrounded by mirrors with a Jacuzzi tub and columns right in the middle of the room. As you can imagine, it was not at all what we expected. And because we were all so emotionally charged for our vacation, it was a bit of a letdown.
Our buyers have dreams and expectations too. They have a full range of emotions – happy, excited, anxious, fearful. They have ideas about where they want to live and why; they’re worried about getting a deal; they’re anxious about what they can afford and why; and they have dreams about what their master bedroom retreat should look like and why. We only have one shot at a first impression, one shot to WOW them. When they finally have the courage to pick up the phone and call or hit submit on the online inquiry, it’s go time! And it’s a big deal.
On our way to Magic Kingdom, we talked about how we were all going to get Mickey Mouse ears. Yes, we were those people. Each of us wanted a specific pair: my son wanted Star Wars, my daughter wanted rose gold sequins, I wanted cheetah print, and my husband, playing along, wanted Star Wars like his boy. Our first stop at the park was the Disney store where we all found what we wanted…except my daughter, Mia. The rose gold ears were sold out. Turns out they were sold out across all of their parks! She begrudgingly settled for the silver sequined ears.
Our daughter’s look of disappointment haunted us the entire day as we saw hundreds of people throughout the park with rose gold ears. Finally, my son Sam had enough. Wanting to fix things for his big sister, he set out to find someone willing to trade. He started with the lowest hanging fruit – a group of Moms. Surely one of them would listen to this perfect boy with big green eyes tell the story of his sister pining over the ears, and trade with him.
We were shocked by their response: “Sorry kid, nice try,” they said. A bit dejected, he started looking for his next prospect. He approached a young woman with some friends. I thought to myself, this is a long shot, she’s probably attached to those ears. Sam confidently walked up, and without pause, she handed over those beloved rose gold sequin ears in exchange for the silver ones. She said yes – and Sam closed the deal for his big sis. If this isn’t persistent confidence, I don’t know what is.
Our buyers want to say yes. They want to say yes to the appointment. They want to say yes to the beautiful options. And ultimately, they want to say yes to the sale. Also, the low hanging fruit (AKA the mom group) is not always the obvious choice. We have to be persistent with all of our prospects knowing sometimes it’s a No, but a lot of times it’s a Yes.
I was reminded on that trip that our buyers are just like us. They plan for the big day of buying their new home. The anticipation builds for months and when they finally get up the courage to reach out with questions, they expect a response and an equally excited person on the other end. They expect to be wowed when they walk into the sales model or design center. And they want to be guided through the process. All you have to do is ask, persistently and confidently.
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