National Home Builders Association (2013 Magazine) - Stapleton

National Home Builders Association (2013 Magazine) - Stapleton

32 Sales + Marketing Ideas | january/february

RealtorProgramsthatworkBy Jennifer Gore&Tasha L. Joneswww.smimagazine.comjanuary/february 2013 | Sales + Marketing Ideas 33

Whether you build two or 200 homeson the east coast, the west, or anywherein between, attached ordetached, suburban or urban, promotingrelations with your real estate communitycan increase your sales and reputation. Andselling your homes helps Realtors earn morecommissions. It’s a win-win situation. Home builderswho actively promote long-term Realtor relationscredit 50% or more of their sales to Realtors.Where lavish parties may have been the normyears ago, today’s builders and brokers allocate valuablemarketing dollars directly to the Realtors whobring their buyers. Communication, education, andpersonal networking have replaced grandiose extravaganzaswith negligible return on investment. Andmost of the marketing dollars, the commissions, arepaid for the sales results at closing.The Internet has forever changed how we communicate,and social media has become ever morepopular. Deciding how best to use technology toreach Realtors is as important as the message youshare with prospective buyers. How often you sendmessages to the larger real estate community or yourown personally developed database of brokers is vital.So is how interactive your website is and how easy it isfor brokers to find you to obtain valuable informationabout you and your homes.Most brokers (and builders) like to be recognizedand appreciated. Whether the appreciation is in printor online, in a small group or a large gathering, saying“thank you for bringing us a buyer” goes a longway toward a second sale. Rewarding multiple sales bythe same broker can be accomplished with bonuses,gift certificates, or even trips. Allocating valuable marketingdollars to show appreciation will be returned ahundred fold, or at least it will lend more sales.Any builder would do well to emulate the Realtoroutreach program at Stapleton, the number oneselling master-planned community in Colorado forthe fifth consecutive year – even in the midst of theeconomic downturn. Prior to establishing a Realtoroutreach program, co-op participation hoveredbelow 25%. In the past six years Realtor co-op participationhas remained above 60%. The sole objectiveof the Stapleton outreach program has been to buildrelationships that help generate sales for local Realtorsand Stapleton home builders. The programsand tactics that have contributed to Stapleton homebuilders’ success could benefit builders everywhere.Here’s How the Realtor Program Works1. Promoting builders’ available homes. At theinception of the Realtor outreach program in2006, printed home flyers were delivered to dozensof real estate offices, and 150,000 magazinesabout Stapleton were also distributed twice a year.The Top 10 most active real estate offices receiveda collection of collateral materials with monthlyoffice deliveries that included custom sheetcakes. By 2008 the websitereplaced most printed communications, with theexception of an invaluable map of new Stapletonhomes that’s currently available to Realtors andtheir buyers.2. Viral communication tactics. Today a monthlyRealtor eNewsletter features new home listings,community or event updates, and links back to blogarticles on The eNewsletteris distributed to Realtors who sign up online and iscurrently sent to nearly 400 Realtors. The websiteand eNewsletter provide Realtors with a forum toshare stories about the growth of the community.3. Social media. Stapleton’s Facebook presence hasincreased by 30% in the past year. This socialplatform provides residents or others with a way toconnect online and to learn specific communitywideupdates. Twitter has increased its followersby 40% (1,177 to date) since its launch two yearsago. It has proven to be a measurable source intracking online conversations about Stapleton, aswell as a tool to remain engaged with Stapleton’sonline ambassadors.4. Realtor insider club. Launched in 2007, the clubgives participants first-hand knowledge about homebuilder events, product updates, and developmentnews. It has evolved into the Just for Realtors Clubfor nearly 400 active members.5. Special events. Early in the launch of the Realtoroutreach program, Stapleton and its builderspartnered with the local real estate board to inviteRealtors to tour the community and the builders’model homes. Realtors were enticed to tour withprize drawings and a post- tour mixer. As Realtorparticipation has grown, more emphasis has beenplaced on hosting development discussions two tothree times a year for 30 to 40 key Realtors who consistentlysell within the community.6. Continuing education classes. Free CE creditclasses at Stapleton have attracted 50 to 10034 Sales + Marketing Ideas | january/february

Realtors at each session. Partnering with a titlecompany has attracted attendance and new Realtorsto the community.7. Online and print recognition. Ongoing appreciationads in the local and Denver newspaper acknowledgemore than 100 Realtors who sell homes in Stapleton.8. Sponsorships. Stapleton’s sponsorship of the annualRealtor Rally and Tradeshow, as well as the statewideRealtor convention as an exhibitor and educationsponsor, gives the community and its home buildersexposure to more than 1000 attendees at each event.More than one-third of the attendees have signed upto receive the monthly eNewsletter.If you’re new to establishing Realtor outreachprograms, where can YOU begin?1. Partnering. Just as your NAHB connections helpyour business to thrive, partnering with a broker whois a member of the Multiple Listing Service and theNational Association of Realtors (NAR) will give youexposure to a network of thousands. If you or someonein your organization is not a designated broker,consider hiring a Realtor to assist you.2. Communication. While obtaining informationinstantly on your smart phone, iPad or laptop maybe the most efficient way to learn about builders’inventory, personal networking continues to be anexcellent way to do business. Your sales people canto sell for him and you depend upon the realestate community to manage that half of thetransaction. Your business plan will determinewhether you hire a broker to list your homesfor you. In addition, you may have two or threebrokers whom you refer to buyers who need abroker to list their current homes or you maydevelop a broker-assistance program.• Education. The real estate profession requirescontinuing education. There are dozens ofcourses offered through local boards of Realtors,companies who provide classes for continuingeducation to brokers with speakers who are sponsoredby lenders, title companies and builders.Most education classes have a cost. Realtors willappreciate your support of classes that fulfilllicense renewal requirements.• Communication. Knowledge IS power. In anera where buyers can easily find new homesonline without the assistance of a broker, it isvital that brokers know you and the homes youbuild. Design a program that keeps the brokerinformed about your new home inventory, yourbuilding practices, and what separates you fromyour competition.• Appreciation. Make the broker look good.Buying a new home is complicated. It is challengingenough to educate your own sales teamCommunication, education, and personal networkinghave replaced grandiose extravaganzaswith negligible return on Realtors in your model, in the Realtor’s officeor at Realtor events.3. WIFM. We all listen to the same station: WIFMor “What’s in it For Me?” What is your Realtorlistening to in order to be successful, and howcan you contribute?• Buyers and sellers. Just as you determine yourbusiness based upon future lot acquisitionand the homes you’ll build for sale, the brokerdepends upon listings for long-term success.Although you want brokers to bring you a buyer,it is unlikely that they’ll succeed by only workingwith buyers. There is an implied symbiotic relationhere. Your buyer must sell his current homeand he needs to list it. You do not have the staffwww.smimagazine.comabout how to manage the home buying processto ensure a raving fan (let alone a happycustomer); imagine how a Realtor who has noknowledge of your homes feels when he (orshe!) brings a buyer through your door. Thenimagine the Realtor who has a relationshipwith your sales team, knows what to expect,and is confident that he and his buyer will havea smooth transaction from start to finish. TheRealtor whose buyer loves his builder and hishome will continue to bring you more buyersand you’ll sell more homes!If you can develop a Realtor outreach program togenerate half your sales, wouldn’t you? smıjanuary/february 2013 | Sales + Marketing Ideas 35

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