Waiting For Walk-In Traffic…

 “I’m just not getting enough traffic.” Or, “Nobody came in this week/weekend.” And sometimes, “The only traffic was just tire kickers.” Then there’s the old reliable, “If I could get more traffic I could make more sales.”

Does this sound like familiar rhetoric at your sales meetings? I often am asked an all too familiar question, “How do we get more traffic?” Well read on and I will explain a sure fire way to generate more traffic…

Hundreds of People through your models

If you want to generate more traffic, try this system. Take out a full page ad in your local newspaper telling the readers you will give away a $50 gas card to everyone that comes to look at your model. You may even put a few ads on some radio stations to make sure everyone knows about your promotion.

In case the mere words on this page didn’t make it obvious, I am being very sarcastic. But you did ask, “How do we generate more traffic?” Well, you have to admit the above promotion would generate more traffic! Ok, let’s get serious about this subject. First of all, you need more QUALIFIED traffic, not just more people through your door. There are some specific ways to generate qualified traffic and capture more sales from your current prospects.

 

Are you sitting down?

I want to make sure you are sitting down so the salespeople reading this don’t faint from a lack of blood to the brain. Two-thirds or 66% of your sales will not come from people walking in the door. Yes, you read that right. The majority of your leads and sales will not come from what I call corporate marketing.

Corporate Marketing- 33% of your leads

Corporate marketing is simply defined as what your builder is doing to generate phone calls, email inquiries and walk-in traffic. The simplest and most expensive form of corporate marketing is building a model home. It also encompasses bandit signs, your website, home shows, radio, newspaper, etc.

Now many of you salespeople might be thinking, “My builder doesn’t advertise in the newspaper or radio. That is what’s wrong.” Maybe or maybe not. The question you have to ask is, ‘What medium(s) does my QUALIFIED traffic use to find homes?’ Your corporate marketing program should always revolve around your pre-determined buyer profiles.

Here are a couple of guidelines to use for your corporate marketing program in order of importance that for the most part is universal:

  • Build the right product (much easier said than done!)
  • If you have $10,000 to spend on marketing and your buyer profile is younger that 60 years old, put 90% of your money into your web site.
  • You need a year round weekend bandit sign program.
  • Have consistent, high quality collateral materials.
  • Parade of HomesSM type shows. (Depending on your marketplace. In the twin cities these are a must).
  • Over and above these items you need to determine what your buyer profiles are using for their home searches and tailor any other marketing to those mediums.

 

Referral Marketing- 33% of your leads

Corporate marketing will build your sales horizontally. That is, for every one person that walks in the door, your goal is to make one sale. Referral marketing builds your sales vertically. For every one sale you make, you get at least one referral sale (two sales for every customer). This additional sale may be to a former neighbor, family member, co-worker, friend, relative, etc. As you can see, this is a huge potential for sales leads but it takes a lot of work.

Referral program ideas:

  • Ask for a referral as soon as you feel your prospect has evolved into your buyer. You don’t need to wait until you feel they are a satisfied customer. Ask in person and on paper.
  • Don’t forget about your customers once they move in! Stay in touch with them through mailings, events and phone calls.
  • Keep an electronic database of everyone you come into contact with and sort them by category. Example categories are hot prospects (from your corporate marketing), past customers, trade partners, your sphere of influence, mortgage/title partners, other builders that don’t build in your geographic location or product type, etc. Update your database daily. Ask everyone in your database for referrals!

 

Realtor Marketing- 33% of your leads

Realtors by and large control the majority of the ready, willing and able buyers in most markets. Our business is a relationship business and in order to maximize our sales, we must focus on building relationships within the Realtor community. Much like Referral marketing, Realtor marketing also builds your business vertically. A good Realtor may bring you two or more buyers every year and they pre-sell your homes for you!

Some ideas:

  • Just as you target prospects, you must also target the Realtors selling homes in your geographic location, in your price range and your product type (single family or association maintained). All of this data can be found on the Multiple Listing Service.
  • Focus on generating Realtor traffic. Get creative on how to get the top Realtors out to your neighborhood 3-4 times a year.
  • Just as you keep your hot prospects updated, do the same for Realtors. When you open new models, bring on a new phase, new inventory homes or sell a home, let your Realtor group know.
  • Don’t try to build relationships with every single Realtor in your area.
  • Market to 100 – 200 and have a top 10 list within that number that you build a personal relationship with.

 

The Complete Package

As you can see, new home sales is so much more than waiting for walk-in traffic. To complete the title of this article, ‘Waiting for walk-in traffic… is like being on welfare!’ Building a successful Referral and Realtor program takes a lot of time, effort and diligence but it will pay off.

Don’t be surprised to invest two years to get your program really rocking. I know what you’re thinking, ‘Two years? I need sales today!’ You may get a sale or two in the first year but to truly build a solid program, you need two years. Here is the neat part. The time will pass anyway. If you don’t start today, the time will pass anyway and two years from now, you will still only be optimizing 33% of your lead generating possibilities. The only thing you have to lose by starting today is missed sales opportunities!