Photo courtesy of Frankel Building Group. This house displays the consumer’s dream of convenience and luxury all in one.
Homebuilding industry consultant, coach and motivational speaker Mike Moore of Moore Leadership & Peak Performance says homebuilders today need to get better at managing what a new home is to the consumer, not to the builder.
Homebuilders need to sell homes like Apple sells iPads.” Mike Moore
“For new homebuilders, getting the new stuff in today and providing me with the lifestyle I want is the key,” Moore says.
So what is that lifestyle?
A big part of that lifestyle, he says, is having a home with the same conveniences and connectivity that many of us carry around all day in our smartphones. “Everything that my home can do, I should be able to control from a smartphone,” he says. That includes adjusting thermostats, lights, arming or disarming security systems, checking on a home’s surveillance cameras, or choosing music to listen to throughout a house.
“That’s how we want to live,” he says. “I can be connected to my home as well as everything else. None of us are turning our phones off saying ‘I don’t want to be connected.’”
The New Car Economy?
Moore says he is consistently confronted by people who wonder why we have more technology that connects us in new cars than builders offer in new houses. “Telematics” offerings in new vehicles use the power of on-board computers to seamlessly sync with smartphones to stream music, offer hands-free calling and texting, entertainment, you name it. These systems make a car ride a seamless extension of today’s ubiquitous connectivity.
Step into a home, even a new one, and it’s a different story. “What other business sells their buyer less than what they want to buy?” asks Moore. “We haven’t built a home that people walk through and say, ‘Oh I’ve got to live with all of these things.’ Homebuilders need to sell homes like Apple sells iPads.”
Think of Apple’s TV commercials: technology sold as lifestyle. A very warm and fuzzy lifestyle.
Photo courtesy of Frankel Building Group.
The consumer quest for technology is really part of a new economy, Moore maintains. The economic downturn we appear to be finally coming out of—albeit slowly—was not a recession but a shift, he says. He goes on to predict that in the next 18 months we will start to see the real new economy, which will be a people-first economy and lifestyle driven.
People will say I can live differently if I have the right stuff around me, he says—and homebuilders won’t be able to rely on traditional reasons like job changes and kids moving to drive home sales.
Selling the Bright and Shiny Stuff
Also driving this New Economy is the advent of the Internet of Things, in which virtually everything in a home can be connected via computer-based networking, wired or wirelessly. “Production builders who get in on this and embrace it will sell more homes—when they engage the buyer and realize what they need to be is the retailer of this bright and shiny stuff.”
“Builders that are successful will get on the same page with consumers on technology. They can sell homes for much more per square foot than we are now and have happy customers who will shorten the buying cycle.”
Not only should builders sell technology up-front in a house, they should use their design centers to help buyers upgrade their homes and then enjoy the recurring revenues that result.
“When builders figure out that the most valuable thing isn’t the land, but that it’s the connection to the homebuyer and upgrading it, they will sell more homes than they have ever sold in their lives,” Moore says.
You can sell more homes for more money, then add options to that sale. This is the way to maximize profits and turn more units. This is about a higher capture rate, higher traffic to models, higher traffic to web sites, more units sold, higher dollar amounts and profit margins.
“This is a teachable, learnable process,” Moore says. “Builders just need to be motivated to do it. Just be greedy, guys. Be greedy!”