In the previous article in this series we talked about the importance of having a systematic approach to your Marketing and sales, and how important it is that the customer be aware that there as a well-defined method, and systematic process that you use. More importantly, we emphasised that it was likely to provide them with the best possible outcome for their new home.
You would also be aware, by now, that this process was built around the natural impulses of the customer and designed to tick all the boxes and answer every conceivable question they could possibly have about doing business with you. It was not necessary that they asked all these questions, but it was important that you addressed them anyway.
Question 1. What Sort of Home Are You Able to Offer Me?
– Is another way for the customer to ask how you would be able to provide him what he was looking for. It is the first qualifying question every customer has; “Are you able to solve my particular problem?”
Question 2. How Much Will It Cost? That Is Too Much; Can We Make It Cost Less?
– Is another qualifying question from the customer. They are trying to find out whether you will work proactively to provide them with best possible outcome, or whether you are only interested in looking out for #1.
Question 3 . What Is Included With That?
Your customer is trying to make an extremely important judgement about you. They are evaluating whether they should make the effort, and spend time exploring the options with you. It takes time, money and effort to evaluate proposals, and customers don’t want to waste their precious time on somebody who is unlikely to deliver the goods.
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Which brings us to the 4th question.
Can I See Some of Your Work?
Up to this point, the customer has been focussed on deciding if you deserve their attention or not. They have been probing whether you are qualified, and a candidate deserving of their consideration. This may seem harsh, or arrogant on their part, but we have already mentioned that to properly evaluate proposals in today’s market, customers must be extremely discerning, lest they waste precious time and resources exploring fruitless options, with people ill-equipped to help them.
It is a sad reality that while most builders are more than capable of building a reasonable home, few have the wherewithal, or the resources to systematically assist their prospective customers to find the right home, or home design best suited to solve their set of circumstances. Whether it is site related, budget related, personal preferences, or any combination of/or all of these; makes little difference. A builder must have an easy, cost-effective process that matches prospective customers with a product they are able to supply if they want to control their marketing and grow their business.
At this point, customers are inclined to believe that you may just be able to provide the answer they were looking for. First, they want to verify their instinct. They want to see if you can walk as well as you talk. You should always be ready for such an eventuality, because you will always be challenged in this way throughout the design build process.
It is really a very simple, basic challenge. Almost any home you have/are built/building will do. The home does not have to be complete, or substantially done; it can be at virtually any stage of construction.
Verifying that you can Deliver
If you understand what this challenge is about, you can be prepared for it. If they question does not arise, and it sometimes doesn’t, don’t ignore it. Use this step as another opportunity to connect with your customers and enhance their overall experience with your process.
What you reinforce with this step, is to reassure customers that you have, at the very least, have some work that has been done in a professional manner. That you at least have a project that your customers are sufficiently pleased with. Enough that they will allow you to bring prospective customers through for a peek-a-boo.
It is a form of reference, or testimonial, which we will speak about in greater detail in the next question.
Demonstrating your Building Style
There is another, secondary issue that presents itself during this phase of the marketing process; whether it is the intention of the customer or not. It exposes your style to the customer; your building DNA, so to speak.
Every builder develops a style, largely derived from the type of homes they have been building. Your customer’s tastes become strongly reflected in your style. Builders largely devoted to building cost-effective investment homes, will find that his homes naturally reflect this style, unless they make a concerted effort to address the tendency to devolve to this standard. Likewise, builders that build up-market homes for a discerning clientele, find it difficult to suddenly compete on price for a budget customer.
You are what you build, at least builders will find that the unconscious style of their homes will reflect the taste of their predominant clientele.
It is therefore very important to understand the expectations of your prospective customers and construct an expedition to inspect one of your homes accordingly. Try to make sure you match or exceed their quality expectations.
The next question to answer is;
Can I talk to some of your previous customer? Have any given you a testimonial?
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