March 21, 2011
Nation's Building News

The Official Online Newspaper of NAHB

Sales and Marketing
Best Path to Sales Success in Unpredictable Market Is to Focus on Controllable Factors

According to speakers at the “Reinvention in the Down Economy” webinar, presented by NAHB’s National Sales and Marketing Council last month, the key to boosting sales in today’s unpredictable market and economy is to focus on the elements that builders can control.

“Everybody wants to know how bad or good the market will be,” said Ross Robbins, of The Homebuilder Coach, speaker and moderator for the webinar. “My answer is ‘I don’t know. It’s like the weather.’”

Robbins told webinar participants that, like weather, it is easy to see indications of what may occur, but nothing is for sure until it actually happens.

Until then, he suggested, builders should get their business ready for the upturn by managing cash and credit so that it can be easily moved when needed. He also said builders and salespeople should research how their market has changed and find where their buyers are.

Another panelist, David Miles of Miles BrandDNA, said salespeople should take control before the sale occurs by creating comprehensive strategies and being fully prepared for every sources of traffic to their community.

“Comprehensive lead generation strategy is critical for success in new-home sales,” said Miles, while noting that Realtors®, digital media, traditional media, referrals and drive-bys and walk-ins were the five main sources of lead generation.

Each of these sources, he noted, should have their own strategies, tactics and budget outlined.

If builders only focus on digital and new media, Miles said, they will overlook and miss opportunities to bring in traffic through the other four more established methods of generating buyer traffic. Marketing plans for these, especially for Realtors® and referrals, should be developed, he said.

Richard Butz, of Richard James & Partners, discussed another key element — re-evaluating, upgrading and training sales teams.

“You can’t control banking or market issues,” said Butz. “But you can control the people issues to help you sell your way out of this circumstance.”

He said builders should determine if the right people are in the right jobs, recruit new staff not just from among the unemployed, develop leaders and managers — and hold everyone accountable.

Acknowledging that upgrading sales teams can take a lot of time, energy and money to accomplish, Butz told webinar attendees to look at the effort as an investment.

A builder can realize an 8% or more increase in sales the first year after implementing these assessment and training steps. Breaking it down further, he said many builders who upgraded this way saw a sales increase of as much as one sale per quarter per salesperson. This could yield a return in the millions, depending on the company’s usual annual revenue, he said.

He said the time to make changes was now, “not when the business gets better.”

Webinar Recording Available

A recording of the webinar is available for $20 for members of the 50+ Housing Council and NSMC, $25 for NAHB members and $40 for non-members.

To purchase a recording of “Reinvention in the Down Economy,” click here.

For more information about this and future NSMC webinars, e-mail Tamsin Ayre at NAHB, or call her 800-368-5242 x8673.


‘Social Media for Home Builders’ Available at NAHB BuilderBooks

Social Media for Home Builders: It’s Easier Than You Think,” available at NAHB Builder Books , demonstrates the power of social media through case studies and online outlets created specifically for the home building industry.

Learn how to use social media sites to build your brand, engage new and existing consumers, manage your online reputation and sell more homes.

To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

In Today’s Market, 'Think Sold!' With Help From NAHB BuilderBooks

Think Sold! Creating Home Sales in Any Market,” available at NAHB BuilderBooks, is a practical, how-to guide for developing the self-awareness, knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the competitive field of new home sales.

The book covers everything from the home buying process and new home financing to strategies for making better sales presentations and sizing up the competition. It teaches readers how to overcome customers’ concerns and provides specific examples of how to explain the benefits of new home features in customer-friendly language.

“Think Sold” provides insights on how to approach sales and life from a position of optimism that will create successful outcomes; how to improve upon potential customer prospecting and follow-up skills; and how to communicate effectively with various types of buyers and learn how to adjust communication strategies to increase rapport and alignment with buyers’ motives.

To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

Survive Changing Markets

Bill Webb, MIRM, in “Sweet Success in New Home Sales,” available through, provides the most powerful techniques ever devised for selling more homes and making more money in lean times.

This instructive guide lays out the proven approaches for crafting and delivering sales excellence.

To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

Subscribe to Sales + Marketing Ideas Magazine for Cutting-Edge Information

For additional cutting-edge sales and marketing information, subscribe to NAHB’s Sales + Marketing Ideas magazine (

Click here to learn about membership benefits of the National Sales and Marketing Council and the Institute of Residential Marketing.



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