Did you catch the encore performance of the 2022 Builders’ Show Program: Strategies & Success Secrets for Selling Homes Online? The webinar was held on March 24th and the following provides access to the recording:
The webinar’s panel was comprised of industry experts in digital marketing and web design. Facilitated by Kevin Weitzel of Outhouse, the panel included ONeil Interactive’s Dennis O’Neil, joined by Chip Johnson and Greg Bray.
If you are wondering about the direction of new home sales and marketing and the opportunity to incorporate ecommerce functionality on your website, this webinar is a great resource.
There were a few items that resonated:
- People can’t make a decision without information. Builders need to focus on all aspects of the buyer journey and ensure that they are providing the right content for the buyer. The contract/sale may ultimately be the easiest piece to solve if everything else is in place first.
- Don’t get ahead of yourself! A strategically planned and implemented tech stack is no longer optional: A functional, well-engineered website, an ERP with integration capability, and a CRM, that integrate and incorporate a clear process for buying and selling is crucial to move to the next level. Focus on the most important pieces and develop a plan and goals for future growth.
- Yes, you will still need salespeople. Buying a new home is not a frequent transaction and there is often a lot of buyer uncertainty. Salespeople are needed to facilitate the sale. There may be changes to the sales organization as a result of the changing process; however, the role of a salesperson will remain strong. The ability to transact online can work beautifully in combination with the onsite sales team.
- Builders need to create and build a seamless process whether online or onsite. There are many turnkey “buy online” solutions being offered. A caution to ensure that decisions are well-thought out as many of these options require a “commission” or transaction fee. The quote of the webinar came from Dennis when he said “Builders must own the path to the purchase.” A longer-term, more desirable solution would have the builder owning that process.
- Builders need to simplify their plans and options to consider a buy now approach. The Tesla website is often used in comparison to homebuying; however, it is vastly different in that the options available on a Tesla are significantly less than for a new home. A very different decision-making approach.
The Tesla website is often cited as evidence that consumers are not scared of high-dollar ecommerce transactions, but the argument ignores transaction complexity as a factor. The typical Tesla buyer has fewer than ten option choices to consider, compared to the hundreds or thousands of selections made by the typical new home buyer.
If you’re tiptoeing into “buy online,” take a cue from Tesla and start with finished inventory only to guarantee a low complexity experience.
- If you are ready: look at the buying experience today. Do you have the data? How are people experiencing the website and sales office? Look for where velocity suffers. Where do people get stalled? Where are the opportunities to keep things moving along? What problems can be solved today?
Incorporating an online buying option requires time, money, programming, and fundamental business process changes. Is the your entire organization committed to the mission? Each panelist was excited about the prospect of providing more information to the buyer, incorporating online processes, including reservations, payments, and online contracts.
A hybrid online/offline approach is likely the logical direction. And if we compare to the car industry, a relatively small percentage of new cars are purchased wholly online today and the functionality and options have been available to consumers for several years. It’s important to plan for the future, and ensure that the foundational elements are in place to make the ever-evolving technology options a reality and continue to delight your buyers and simplify the process.
ONeil Interactive engineers websites designed to provide the foundation for digital marketing and selling. Our builder clients are exploring and experiencing the benefits of online transactions and buyer portals to enhance the buyer experience. We’d love to talk with you! Reach out via email and we will be happy to connect.