Wednesday, October 8, 2014

7 Tips for Keeping a New Builder Loyal

1. Send Your New Modular Home Builder a “Builder Welcome Kit”
I am amazed at how few modular factories do this. In addition to a well-written cover letter from the Owner and another from the Sales Manager, include your brochures, a builder service pledge, a current list of contacts in your factory with direct dial phone numbers and email addresses, and a nice gift.

2. Seek to Understand the Builder’s Big Picture
The best modular sales reps — the ones who deliver the most value to their builders — take the time to learn about their builder’s business (and personal) goals and objectives. They ask smart questions and do lots of listening. They understand how going modular fits into the builder’s big picture. It’s also a smart idea to understand the dynamics and trends of the industry and keep them informed.

3. Establish Your Builder’s Expectations and Then Exceed Them
Walk your new builder through how you propose to work with them and what they can expect in terms of results and timelines. Create a reasonable set of expectations and do your best to beat them. If you discover you are unable to meet your commitments, or the results are not likely to be what you anticipated, share that information with the builder as soon as possible. In almost all cases, you will be forgiven.

4. Follow Through on Your Commitments
Set reasonable deadlines and do your best to follow through as promised. If you promise to quote a home in two days, deliver it in one. Nothing aggravates a builder more than a broken promise. It also has a very serious negative consequence when it comes to building trust.

5. Always Promptly Return Telephone Calls and Emails.
Nothing upsets clients more than an unreturned phone call or an ignored email. It’s the #1 complaint clients have about the modular factory. You may not think a return phone call is all that important (especially if there is nothing to report), but your builder sure as heck does. Adopt a policy to return all your calls on the same day. It’s a darn good habit.

6. Communicate with Your Builder in the Manner They Prefer
I’m one of those people who likes email. I can take my time and reflect on a reply. I hate it when I send an email to discuss an issue with someone and never hear back. If your builder prefers talking on the phone, many busy builders don’t have time to check their email in the field, and you let it go to Voice Mail and then send an email reply, be prepared to hear about it. Most builders feel the same way. Ask your new builder the method and frequency of communication he prefers and deliver your updates and progress reports accordingly. If you can’t be flexible, tell your builder up front how you operate. Also, see Rule #5.

7. Introduce Your Builder to the Team Members that will be Working on Their Homes
Take the time to invite your new builder to the factory to meet the team who will be working on their homes. And make sure you include the CAD operators, receptionist and others he is likely to be talking to on a regular basis. First, it makes your staff feel part of the team and, in many cases, your builder is likely to be interacting with them more often than he does you.

There is more to keeping a builder than just a low price.

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