Monday, October 17, 2011


There's more to it than just building houses to be a successful modular home builder. You are also in the marketing business and the people pleasing business. If you don't think you are, you're going to be out of business very quickly.

Years ago I met a home builder that I thought was the meanest, most rotten fellow I ever met. But he consistently built 3 -5 huge custom homes a year with a waiting list of about two years. I couldn't stand being in the same room with him at first, but his clients thought he walked on water.

He knew the secret of the "Three Rings of Success". I'll use him to explain how the 3R's can work for you.

The first RING is your primary business, in his case, building great homes. He started working at 16 shingling roofs and hauling water for the cement mixer. By the time he was in his late twenties, after being a Marine in Vietnam, he was ready to build his first home when he returned to the states. He had acquired the skills of the older craftsmen he had worked for and understood every aspect of building homes. He knew his primary business...First RING.

The second RING took him a little longer to master, about two years. He told me that he built a great first house and then stood back and waited for the next customer. That didn't work, even though his house was very nice and the customer loved it. He soon turned to marketing himself to everyone he met. He told the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker what he did. He became a fanatic about it. He was proud of his work and wanted people to know that he could build their dream house too! Marketing....Second RING.

The third and final RING was his hardest. The Marines and Vietnam hardened him and made him a real SOB sometimes. In the beginning if a customer gave him attitude, he shot right back and won the argument but lost the customer. He was married and his wife started running interference for him with the customers. I remember her telling me one time that I needed to "chill out" and talk with her, not her husband, because he carried a big knife and if I made him angry...who knows what could happen! To this day, I'm not sure she was serious and whenever I ask her about it, she just smiles! Over the years, they made a great team and people liked them so much that they were invited back for parties to just about every customer's home. Be a people person...RING number three.

How can you use the Three Rings in your business?

First, know your primary business. Be honest and build with quality and integrity. Be on top of things at the jobsite and in the office.

Next, use marketing to retain and acquire business. If you have a website, keep it updated. Don't run the same ads on radio, TV and in print. Make sure you stay enthusiastic about what you do, it will show!

And lastly, put your customer first. They are your best salespeople. They will give your referrals. Talk with your customers on a regular basis. Answer their questions calmly and honestly. And above all, treat them as you would want to be treated.

The people around you, such as your employees, salespeople, and distributors must sense your enthusiasm, share your vision, and get onto your wavelength. People must be aware of why they should purchase a home from you. If you lack crucial people skills, all the best marketing in world won’t help you because it is real people who will end up buying or not buying your homes. If you don’t know what turns them on, you won’t be successful.

If you’re good at marketing but don’t know people, you’re in for a lot of trouble. People buy homes. No matter what you do, eventually it all comes down to people. If you don’t know that you’re in the people business, you will not succeed.

Successful home builders will be the ones that master juggling all three RINGS at once. Know your primary business, market to the individual and be a people person.

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