It would have been more convenient to attend the Builders’ Show online. No flights to catch, no mask-wearing, no outfits to pick out, no sore feet, not to mention a considerable dollar savings to your company or perhaps personally. So why did 55,000+ people attend in-person? My guess is for the same reason I attended … I needed human connection, and wanted to attend an event and be 100% present.
The homebuilding industry has been good to me. I’ve given my time and it has paid me back in spades. I have created amazing friendships, partnerships, and opportunities. I can say with certainty, I’m not alone; there are a lot of people who feel like I do.
I’ve spent two years, like many, feeling a bit locked up. I don’t feel hard done by, but there’s no question that I have missed being with people. I would call myself an ambivert – someone who is quite comfortable being on their own, but also thrives and feels energized amongst people, and can read a situation/environment fairly well. As human beings we are not meant to be alone, but we’ve adapted and turned to social media and virtual platforms to maintain connections, and we carry on and manage, because we have to.
But last week made me realize how much I had really missed seeing people in person. I thrived. I felt filled up. I was happy and energized.
Did you notice that so much of the content that was shared, and the topic of many conversations, was about buying online?
To steal the words from Alanis Morisette (a fellow Canadian), isn’t it ironic? I can’t possibly be the only one who considers the irony in this. We were ecstatic about being able to hug, shake hands, look someone in the eye, and really get to know them, IN PERSON, but the buzz was about buying homes online.
Don’t get me wrong, I was part of that conversation. It’s hard not to be. But reflecting back on last week’s show has got me thinking about the necessity of human connection. As salespeople and marketers, we must never lose the human element. There’s no question that buyers want to be able to do more online. I get it. We are all consumers and regularly make buying decisions online, but builders don’t want to be competing on square foot. We want to be competing at a much different level.
At one of the programs I was part of, we talked about Spanx. Sarah Blakely has one of the most expensive products in the shapewear space. She has excelled and beat out competition. How has she accomplished that? Her goal all along was to be the company that cares the most. It’s why Matt Riley, at New Home Inc. insists on scheduled one-hour appointments (sometimes longer!) with each prospective buyer to ensure he has time to really explain and educate what differentiates his product from others. It’s why suppliers spend thousands of dollars to be at the show, so you can see, touch, and feel the products, and talk face-to-face with humans.
Is it possible to do that online? Perhaps, but I suggest that while it can be done, it’s wildly more effective in person. Providing options to buyers is important. Some buyers simply can’t get to a model or design center, but there is no question that in-person creates an energy and excitement that fills us up. Absolutely nothing compares to being fully present and in person, and this year’s Builders’ Show far exceeded my expectations in that regard.
The National Association of Realtors recently published their annual Homebuyers study and in 2021, the average home buyer moved 15 miles away from their previous home. In person, appointments are an option for the majority of buyers. If we are willing to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles because we appreciate the value of in-person events, I think home buyers will appreciate and understand this as well.
What do you think?