Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Beating Your Competition

Modular home builders comprise only a small percentage of new home builders in the US but every day they have to compete one on one with larger site and panelized builders.   

Finding the perfect factory to build your homes is only one small part of the puzzle.  You must also have a way to beat your competition for every dollar that’s out there.
A lot of builders, even site builders, usually only have one bullet in their arsenal of weapons…being cheaper than their competitors.  That works sometimes but not for the vast majority of new home buyers. 

Buyers are strange animals.  You never know exactly what will trigger their buying a home from you and if you don’t ask them some basic “why” questions, you may never have anything to offer them but a cheaply priced house.

If you compete on price alone, great.  But if you can’t, get those new home sales with any combination of these:

BETTER QUALITY.  This is one way to fight off those cheap builders because it makes your higher price justified.  Picking a modular home factory that also stresses quality over lowball pricing is a big part of that quality you want to be known for.

AVOID MASS MARKET.  If you were a mobile home dealer, you would be happy to see small changes in design but they still look like boxes.  Choosing a modular home factory that offers current house plans and can build custom homes is a lot better than going with a factory that still uses house plans from the 1960’s.

MORE EFFICIENT.  Have information at hand and on your website about all the Green and Energy saving materials and processes both you and the modular factory use every day.  Remember, modular factories offer a lot of inherent ways to help keep your customer’s energy bills down.

BETTER DESIGN.  Something as seemingly superficial as appearance can dramatically alter a buyer’s perception of worth.  Show all your floor plans and 3D renderings with brick fronts, high pitch roofs and upgraded appliances.  They probably won’t want to buy all those things but it sure looks better than a rendering of a plain box.

REFERENCES.  Getting endorsements from your former customers is essential.  Put them in your literature, on your website and if you do press releases, use them there too.  People like to know that others have been there before them with great results.

MADE IN AMERICA.  Check out all the materials sold in your homes.  If they are made in America, brag about it.  Knowing that your drywall wasn’t made in China will have an effect on your prospective new home buyers.  If your modular factory hasn’t stepped up and begun using more American made materials, speak up and tell them to get on board with something that will increase sales.

JOIN THE NAHB.  Belonging to this association gives you immediate credibility.  Once you belong, attend the meetings and look for ways to use the Modular Home Building Council and what they provide to increase your sales.

BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE.  This is such an easy one…and it’s free.  Smile, be polite, build relationships with your buyers and respond to complaints quickly and calmly.  It’s that simple!  But it’s something that your bigger competitors find impossible to do.

FASTER BUILDING TIME.  Only talk about the time from delivery of the modules until you turn the keys over to the new homeowners when you discuss when they will get into their new home.  Up until the foundation is in the ground, both you and your site built competitors are on equal footing.  After that it is no contest.

IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE.  I can’t say enough about this.  Websites are the key these days.  Get a good one and you look professional and encourage people to visit you for extended time.  Look better than your competitors.  Always include a "call to action" button.

PROPER DRESS CODE.  This is such a small thing but make sure all your employees are wearing something that announces they work for you.  Give every one of your subcontractor’s workers either a hat or t-shirt with your name on it and demand that it be worn when they are on your job.  It makes you look trustworthy to new home buyers.

GET IN BED WITH A BANK.  If you have a bank in your corner, preferably a local one, that understands modular housing, your unique draw schedule and is competitive with the big banks, you have to marry them.

GET REALTORS ON YOUR SIDE.  Offer a very lucrative incentive if a Realtor brings you a prospect and you close the deal.  Pay more than they will get from any of your competitors and they will beat your door down.

KEEP YOUR OFFICES NEAT AND CLEAN.  This is another easy thing to do.  People won’t eat off dirty plates so why would you expect them to buy a new house from a builder that can't keep his or her offices clean?

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