The changing health climate and market conditions have forced new home builders to adjust their sales processes to maintain social distancing standards. After a momentary pause in website traffic, home buyers are starting to return to their previous online shopping behaviors, including continuing their home buying journeys as they become more accustomed to staying home.
With onsite home viewings being limited, home builders are pivoting to an online sales process. Digital sales tools are one of the most effective ways builders can meet buyer expectations. Here’s how you can leverage your website to create leads and sales in both the short and long term.
Step 1: Let buyers know you’re open!
Your first step is to let home buyers know that you’re open for business! Depending on your state, residential construction and real estate may have been classified as an essential business (check with your state for confirmation).
Communicate your preparedness plan for providing appointments/showings and cleaning procedures with home buyers. Many of our builder clients have a notification bar on their website directing visitors to a landing page that details their plans for maintaining a healthy and safe environment for buyers and sales associates.
Let them know what the specifics are in regard to appointments. Are you doing in-person by appointment only? Just virtual tours and meetings or something else? Letting your home shoppers know exactly what to expect from the appointment process will make them more comfortable with the “new normal” and more likely to continue the buying process.
Step 2: Create room for conversation
Now that you have the buyer’s attention, keep the momentum going! Focus on providing a service over hard sales tactics. Highlight the digital tools you have available to help buyers find their dream homes and provide a seamless virtual home shopping and buying process:
- Interactive Floorplans: the power of personalization is critical when shopping for new homes online. Interactive plans allow buyers to configure homes the way they want, when they want.
- Interactive Site Maps: keep home shoppers up-to-date with current homesite availability to help set expectations from the beginning of the shopping process.
- Robust Photo Galleries: professional quality photos will help you sell homes quicker. And the more the better. You are proud of the homes you build, don’t skimp on showcasing them.
- High-Quality Renderings: similar to photos, your renderings should be high quality and truly represent the quality of the product you build. Don’t rely on home shoppers to visualize what their home could be, show them what it will be.
- Virtual Tours: it’s a fact: homes and listings with virtual tours get more attention. 40% more clicks, 95% more phone inquiries, 65% more email inquiries, and 49% more qualified leads.
- Interactive Maps & Amenities: customized amenities maps gives buyers a quick sense of the surrounding areas and plays off the old real estate adage of “location, location, location”.
- Virtual Design Centers: allow home shoppers to start creating a sense of home early in the buying process by customizing your plans and making it their own.
- Live Chat: home shoppers have questions. Builders who are there to answer those questions in real time are more likely to capture those leads and move those buyers along in the sales funnel.
Step 3: Get the appointment
Encourage sales agents to set appointments. Provide options for offering appointments depending on the buyer’s preference and comfort levels. Many sales associates have recorded success using virtual tools like FaceTime or Zoom to provide virtual showings/appointments or private model home tours.
Remember, some people may not be comfortable with a virtual appointment. If a buyer is reluctant, provide alternatives like private in-person appointments at the sales office (as allowed by state guidelines) or setting an appointment sometime in the future. And don’t overlook an “old fashioned” phone call!
The impact of today’s conditions may change how new home builders operate well into the future. Successful home builders will make sure they have the tools they need to pivot.
Graphic Language has been building and implementing digital tools for home builders for over 20 years. We also work closely with trusted industry partners to develop additional builder tools to make our clients’ visions a virtual reality. Check out our suite of Builder Tools and contact us today to let us help you succeed in this new virtual shopping and selling world!