Saturday, March 17, 2007

New Real Estate Company Concept

Dear Friends and Family,

It is with great excitement that we announce the launch of our new company and website –! Specializing in marketing and selling homes, MLC FlatFee Realty is a full service brokerage firm that strongly believes our home sellers should benefit most from the appreciation of their home. By offering our services for a FlatFee instead of commission percentage, our customers are able to sell their homes at a significant savings!

At MLC FlatFee Realty, our mission is to use technology and expertise in order to provide our customers with honest, professional full service residential real estate services…at the RIGHT price.

As friends and family, we want you to be the first to experience MLC FlatFee Realty and share in our excitement as we launch our new business. Please visit our website, review our listing packages and services, and forward our information to anyone looking to buy or sell real estate. Also, if you know anyone who might want to work with us as an agent, we are always looking to grow!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Customer Relationship Management for Homebuilders

Residential homebuilders, large and small, struggle to determine the best methods of managing homebuyers through the entire sales and construction process. In strong markets, they create VIP and ‘grand opening/new release’ lists that focus on constant and repetitive communication and quick sales at time of lot release. In weaker markets, a specific follow-up strategy by your sales and marketing team to keep prospects interested and your pipeline full is critical to successful builders. Buzzwords and acronyms, like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), are used to describe products and services that help to automate this communication process.

Although I do not like buzzwords because everyone has a different meaning for them, I deal with them every day. To me, CRM is more than simply having a website, e-mailing information to prospects, and trying to get the customer to the point where they write a contract…that is only the beginning of the process. CRM in our industry is different than any other industry, but it does involve using technology to communicate with and process customers throughout the entire sales and production cycle.

Think about it, to effectively manage your relationship with your customers (and their expectations, of course), can you stop communicating with them at the time of contract? No, you need to maintain an effective relationship for each customer from lead generation and prospect management, through the contract and selection process, and past closing and the warranty period.

There are really five critical stages in an effective CRM strategy for homebuilders, a strategy that defines and develops each and every customer-facing process. (Please see diagram.) Each stage must contain both business processes and software applications that are designed to work together toward a common goal. Internal communication throughout these five stages, combined with external interaction with other transaction participants, such as design center, mortgage, and title, help reduce operational redundancy and mistakes, increase customer satisfaction, and directly impact the bottom line.

Lead Management – is the process of getting potential homebuyers into the sales centers through traditional advertising and marketing, and internet/new media technology. The goal of this stage is to generate leads and convert them into prospects by visiting the sales center.

Prospect Management – are the processes designed to convert sales center visitors into contracted buyers. Follow-up sales strategy for active communities, waiting list and future product release correspondence and communication, even sales center design and model merchandising are key components of this category. The goal of this stage is to turn prospects into buyers.

Buyer Management – is the process of electronically creating home configurations and spec homes, processing contracts, selections, options, and change orders in order to save time and reduce redundant data entry from an operational perspective, and keep production on the same page. From this stage on, managing buyer expectations is more critical than ever.

Customer Service Management – is the process of tracking and identifying Quality Assurance issues, customer communication, and ensuring expectations can be manageable and monitored for continuous improvement; product improvement, vendor improvement, and installation improvement. The keys here are communication and expectation!

'Customer for Life' – is the process of maintaining communication with homebuyers for them to become repetitive customers, customers for ancillary products and services, and “Raving Fans” promoting word-of-mouth advertising, referrals, and increasing customer satisfaction scores. If you are successful in the first four stages, this one is easy!