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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

MAKING A GREAT "FIRST IMPRESSION"

This article is for the modular home builder that has an office or model home separate from their home address. I have been in about a 1,000 offices and model homes during my tenure in this business and I could always tell which builder would still be in business the next year.

What sets the successful builder from the “also ran” builders is attention to details. You only have a couple of seconds to make your business appealing to your prospect. Here is my list of FIRST IMPRESSIONS that will help keep your prospect looking to you to build their new home.

CLEAN THE PARKING LOT. When your prospects drive into your parking lot, what should they expect to see?  Broken bottles, subcontractor’s trucks parked at the front door and weeds growing through the asphalt.  No, they expect your parking lot to be clean with the parking spaces at the front door open and waiting for them to park their car.

PERFECT LANDSCAPE. Even if you only have one flower in one container at the front of your model or office, make sure it’s the absolutely prettiest one in the county! Look at the shrubs, lawn and flowers in front of your office. Are there cigarette butts in the containers (Employees should NOT smoke at the front door) and are the shrubs and lawn perfect? If you are going to be building someone’s new home, don’t you think they want to see a nice front facade on your office?

 lonely flower

Clean your front door. This is an easy one. I’ve been in hundreds of offices where the front door has remnants of scotch tape where the “Be back in 15 minutes” sign was taped to it. The doors had brass knobs and coach lights that were tarnished and sometimes broken. A nice clean door works wonders. If you have a model home, replace the 6 panel steel door with a full glass one lite one. Nothing says uncomfortable like a big blank door!

GREAT RECEPTION. Assuming you know the people are coming for an appointment, either meet them at the door or if you have a receptionist, make sure they are greeted with a smile. Again, I’ve walked into many offices where I’ve had an appointment and the receptionist was on her cell phone talking with a friend about what where they were going after work. I waited in one office for a full two minutes for the receptionist to get off her cell. I turned to leave and she yelled for me to just have a seat for a couple of minutes. Classic!

GIVE THEM A PLEASANT WAITING ROOM. If you have a waiting room or even just a small alcove, don’t stock it with women’s magazines, health books and hunting magazines. They’re there to talk about a new house, not get a root canal! Have something that compliments your homes like your brochure or handouts. Better yet, get one of the digital picture frames and have it display your homes. I guarantee that if you do, they will spend most of their time watching it.

KEEP YOUR OFFICE NEAT. I have seen some very nice offices and sales offices throughout my travels and I’ve seen some real outhouses! Take a look at your desk. Can you see the top of it? If you can’t, clean it off before your appointment. Dust the furniture. And here’s a real nice touch….put a manila folder on your desk with their name printed on the front. Put the literature and other things you want them to have inside. That’s impressive.

KEEP YOUR SHOWROOM FRESH. Make sure your showroom is clean and neat. Put up samples of as many of your options as you can beg, borrow or steal from your suppliers and vendors. Put some fresh flowers on a table in the middle of the room. Best $4 you’ll spend. Also make sure the lighting compliments the samples. You’re a builder for crying out loud, build a great showroom!

GOOD LITERATURE. Almost all modular companies have good literature. How you use it however is appalling. Most of you just hand it over like you don’t even know what’s in it. AvisAmerica, Ritz Craft and Signature Homes have some of the best literature on the market, but they mean nothing if you don’t sit down and go through it with the prospects. Show them the different series of homes and how they differ from each other. Explain how the factory will build their home. Don’t blow a good thing!

GIVE THEM A “SEE YOU LATER” PACKET. Prepare a package of information about your company. Include your brochure, pictures of your completed homes, recommendations from well recognized vendors and suppliers, letters from customers telling how great you are to work with and anything else you can think of. Give them a time when their quote will be finished and make the next appointment before they leave and mark in both your folder and on their “See You Later” packet.

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