Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Modular Home Sales Reps Need More Data for Success

The modular home business is awash in data.  So much data that sales reps are struggling to find the information they need to prospect for new builders, help their builders with their marketing and business efforts and actually close sales.

The burdens put on today’s modular home sales reps would make reps from just 20 years ago run for the nearest exit.  The problem is that ever increasing demands for results in this industry during a housing recession requires that the rep mine for more and more information about a lot of things that earlier sales reps had not worried about.

Reps are challenged by both the amount of information available and the time it takes to research prospects before making a call.

Here are some of the areas you need to be familiar with if you are going to be a successful sales rep:

Green BuildingWhat is green building?  There are as many explanations as there are trees in the forest.  You need to find the green processes that fit your particular factory and be ready to give the builder and the builder’s customer a rundown on the green benefits of your homes.

Energy Star Learn the procedures used by your factory. Are the homes simply prepped for Energy Star or does your factory have raters that follow the home from design through production to finish and inspection.  Learn this process intimately so that you can explain to your builder what they must do to complete whatever is not done by your factory.

Prospecting – There is more to this than just picking up a phone book and looking for builders in your territory.  When was the last time you actually used a phone book?  Today you may have to search as many as 15 different data sources, including your own CRM system, Facebook, LinkedIn, search engines, Twitter, Pinterest, builder websites, blogs and other providers to find crucial information on prospective builders and even your existing customers.

Building productsHow many time does your builder’s customer ask for things that aren’t in your option lists?  They all do.  They visit websites, Lowe’s and Home Depot and other factory’s websites. If you let the customer have full run of the options, you will be making change orders forever.  Learn what is possible for your factory to do and communicate that to your builder. 

Marketing – Do your builders have marketing plan in place?  If they don’t, are you prepared to help them develop one?  An effective marketing plan takes time and research to complete but the rewards for the builder and ultimately you and your factory will be huge. First the builder will stay loyal to you and secondly they will sell more homes.  But get ready to spend quite a bit of time on each builder’s plan as every builder’s market is unique.

Business PlansHere again, your builder should have a Business plan.  You need to be included in keeping it on track.  Sales reps should never do a business plan for a builder.  If anything goes wrong and it will, you do not need the builder pointing the finger of death at you and the factory.

Building ProcessTake a day a month and go into the factory and watch what the production people are doing.  Are there new processes being used?  Your builder needs to know what types of products are being used and if there are any changes.  Learn the fastening systems used and how insulation is added and where.  Look at a floor plan, one is usually attached to every module, and find all the components mentioned on it within the unit. 

Sales reps are challenged by both the amount of information available and the time it takes to research prospects before making the initial contact.  You are also being challenged by these same things just to keep a builder loyal to your company.   

The demands have never been greater and if you are not prepared to do these things, maybe it’s time to look for work at WalMart.


custom homes richmond said...

These are very informative points and every company should pay more attention towards them to increase their sales.

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