30 Oct One good thing about a recession is that it inspires innovation. Did you know rebates were developed during a recession? That’s right, rebates. I don’t think you can buy an electronic device today without a rebate offer to go with it.

The point is that in order to generate sales in hard times, we need to be innovative with our strategies. Real estate consumers are changing not only by choice, but also by force. This recession is forcing people to be more conservative with their spending and they need to be sure of their purchases. Traditional marketing techniques can’t really give them the assurance they are seeking.

A Good Example of Innovation

Below is a great sales idea from Rodney Hall with The Talon Group. They were able to come up with an innovative way to put a positive spin on slow sales. Not only were they ‘thinking outside of the box”, they were smart enough to realize that a face-to-face selling situation was critical in our current economic climate. You can read the original post here .

Several years ago I interviewed a Director of Sales candidate for one of our builder clients. I asked if he could point to a specific action or idea that resulted in sales which might otherwise have never been achieved by virtue of market momentum. His answer, “a Private Sale Program,” was a good one at the time and even better in our current market. Here’s how it works:

  • Pick two week nights… Tuesday and Thursday for example… to close the model park an hour or two early. Reserve that time for invitation-only customers.
  • Have your sales team make follow-up calls to everyone who registered within the last year to determine if they might still consider a purchase. If so, explain that you have instituted a private sale program two nights a week, at which time the model park will be closed early for the exclusive perusal of one or two buyers.
  • A salesperson will be available to work one-on-one with the buyer, who will be presented significant incentives not otherwise advertised. The buyer will then have 24 hours to make a buy decision before the incentives expire.

The message delivered to this select group of buyers needs to be clear, authentic and believable. Rather than skirting the obvious (how bad the economy is), use it instead as a sales tool:

  • Yes… the economy is making it tough for everyone, especially home builders. The fact remains that you (the builder) need to sell homes and are willing to offer significant incentives to a few buyers in order to make that happen.
  • The incentives package is far greater than you could extend to each buyer. However, one or two each month is worth it to maintain sales activity, keep trades busy, etc.

Point: Both of those statements are logical and will make sense to buyers. The more directly you address the obvious issues, the more likely the buyer is to trust you and subsequently, buy from you. Keep in mind, the incentives need to be attractive enough to make the program legitimate… meaning you truly wouldn’t want to repeat it on every sale. However, this type of program avoids the need to advertise it on a wider scale and done right, could add incremental sales where none existed before.

How Innovative Are Your Ideas?

Again, this is a great example of “thinking outside of the box”. We must realize that we are facing a new sales day. Being innovative is the only way to make sales happen, that and creating a face-to-face selling situation. How have you been innovative in your sales strategies? Share your ideas by leaving a comment below. Having trouble coming up with ideas? Shoot me an e-mail. I am always willing to help.

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Sibet B Freides