Wednesday, December 28, 2011
The holidays this year were truly magical - I was able to introduce my new grandson to the magic of Christmas. As part of that we took him to the mall to get his picture taken with Santa, and not only did we get a photo, but I also was reminded of some major mistakes we sometimes make when marketing and merchandising our homes. If you would like a copy of the entire article, feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are 5 things I learned this year from visiting with Santa:
1. Presentation isn’t Everything. This Santa display was one of the most amazing I have ever seen, but most of it had nothing to do with why we were all there - to see Santa. You need to have a total package, and the lifestyle that is shown in your models, community and marketing needs to be what they will really experience in your homes. You can spend a fortune creating your presentation, but if it isn’t targeted to your buyer you are just throwing your marketing budget away.
2. Never Say No. No one likes to be told what they can’t have, and there are ways to avoid having to say no to your customers. I understood that Santa was a business, and I would have been happy to pay a fee so I could shoot my own photos that would have been fair to all involved. Customers appreciate it when you try to come up with a fair compromise, and they then feel like you are working with them, not against them.
3. Let Me Entertain You. Interactive presentations, or having different ways to have your customers really experience your homes is a great way to create memory points. One of my favorites was doing up a line drawing of the builder’s home that the customer’s kids could color and take with them. Having your home and information on a potential customer’s fridge? Priceless. What you don’t want to do is overwhelm the customer with loud music, a pushy salesperson, or too many choices. They come to your sales center because they want to buy a home and they want you to educate them on why their new home should be one of yours.
4. Less Can Be More. Putting everything including the kitchen sink into your model homes can talk a customer out of buying a home from you. Over merchandised homes, or homes that have dated, damaged furniture and accessories in them turn a customer off. You are better off doing a well merchandised home that plays up your homes features and only merchandising a few key areas than just filling a model home with “stuff” from the warehouse.
5. Building the Dream. Just like visiting Santa for the first time, buying a home should be an exciting time for your buyers. If you and your sales team aren’t excited about selling them a new home, how do you expect the buyer to get excited? Make the buying experience a positive one, and not only will your customers buy from you, they will refer their friends to you as well.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
As a Lifestylist® I always say that design should be more about lifestyles than trends. Trendy design details and decors tend to cycle out quickly and leave the owner with a home that looks and feels dated.
In 2002 I was hired to be the Lifestylist® for Patriot Homes - an amazing factory built housing company based in Elkhart, Indiana. I had worked on factory built homes in the past, but never at this scale. This is one of the first homes that I LifeStyled for them -it was at The Louisville show for their EnergyMate division. Jumping ahead 10 years, I'd be happy to show or live in this home again - it was well designed, the floorplan was open and perfect for entertaining, and the island was larger than anything else being shown at that time.
Be sure to notice the pendant lighting. I know we were one of the first to show them and we were ahead of our. All of our lighting was part of a partnership I initiated with Home Depot.
When you look at this home, it doesn't look like a factory built home, or a modular home - it just looks and feels like a well designed home no matter how it got to the site. Who knew even 10 years ago we were designing the future of housing construction? Factory built homes are definitely here to stay.