When is the last time you examined your Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) to be sure they're aligned with today's business environment?
As those of us in new home sales make plans for the next year, we should be examining how prepared we are for what might lie ahead. We've certainly enjoyed the benefits of a sellers' market but as we all know, what goes up must eventually come down. No one in sales really wants to hear this. But those that plan for the worst are far better off than those that that coast into the new year maintaining the status quo.
This is precisely why now is the time to examine the health of our sales process and team training and ask: "Do we have the necessary skills to ensure success even in a tough market?"
Top KPI's and Metrics for New Home Sales:
Sunday night rolls around and Sales Managers across the country are anxiously waiting for the sales reports to start rolling in. Hopefully it's a nice bookend to a beautiful weekend. A great report means morale will be high across the board. A bad report means we're looking at another tough Monday. Here's what most should be looking for in the report.
These are all essential metrics for measuring the success of any new home sales program, and are the top KPI's every New Home Sales Manager should understand.
- Traffic Counts - Number people that visited the new home models/sales offices
- Sales Numbers - New home contracts written
- Deposits Collected
- Cancellations - New home contracts canceled
- Appointments Made - Number people that scheduled a visit to the new home models/sales offices
- Appointments Kept - Number people that showed up to their visit to the new home models/sales offices (usually less than Traffic Counts due to walk-ins)
- Closings for the week - Number of new home buyers that closed on their loan once the home is complete
- Conversion ratios: (For average conversion rates for home builders go here)
- Visitor-to-lead (Marketing) - number of Web Visitors that became Leads
- Lead-to-appointment (Online Sales Consultants) - number of Leads that became Appointments Kept
- Appointment-to-sale (Sales Consultants) - number of Appointments Kept that wrote a contract
- Total Visitor to Sale - Measure the total visitors to your community divided by total net sales. (aka - your conversion percentage)
By tracking these metrics in your weekly sales reports, you can see the ebbs and flows of your business, and have a clear picture of your company's sales performance - the what. What these home builder KPI's don't tell you is how your sales program is performing the way it does.
The Importance of Sales Behaviors
Without knowing how a sale has come together, how are we able to repeat it for sustainable growth? What were the actions from the sale professional that contributed to the sale?
It's very important to also include sales behaviors in your KPI tracking. Focusing exclusively on the numbers in your sales report is like managing your business looking through the rear view mirror. It does not help you predict future results.
Stop Staring at the Scoreboard
I contend, if you are interested in building a world class sales team, you must stop staring at the scoreboard (AKA sales report) and start paying attention to the behaviors that produce those golden numbers on the sales report. As we track, manage and coach to these desired behaviors, you produce a team of sales professionals that understand how to find success in any economic environment. Now, I am not suggesting we ignore the numbers on our reports - not at all. I am merely suggesting we shift some of our focus to skill development as we plan for the upcoming year.
Measure What Matters
During one of my lead conversion hours with Scott, one of our sales professionals, he paused and asked me a question. Scott said, "Paul, I have to be honest. I'm looking at my sales numbers from last quarter and I couldn't help but notice the numbers are declining. What's going on? Is it something I am doing or not doing? Or has overall market slowed?" This was very bold of Scott and showed he's taking ownership of his business as he focuses on goals.
Scott and I discussed this for a while and our conversation gravitated towards was what he was doing differently the past few months - his behaviors.
He gave himself an honest assessment and realized he hadn't been on-site with his customers as much as he normally does. We went through some of the reasons why and how to set up a successful visit on site. At the end of the day we agreed to try an experiment. We agreed to track those behaviors that contribute to gaining his customers confidence and the sale. We focused on the fundamental sales behaviors, which follow.
Top Sales Behaviors for New Home Sales:
You might consider tracking the following behaviors on your sales report. It is a self-evaluation that will go a long way in developing top rated sales teams.
Of the total visitors that arrived at the sales office, how many did you...
- Greet with a warm, sincere greeting?
- Learn the buyer's story of not just what they were looking for, but why were they looking for it? When we act from a place of curiosity, we learn how to connect with our customer. Be present and show genuine interest.
- Tour through the models to continue the discovery and match the prospect's needs with the right home and features?
- Invite visitors on-site to view the community and find the perfect homesite? After all, this is when your customer makes the decision to buy, not in the model, not in your office.
- Invite back to the sales office to "build the home on paper" and review?
- Suggest next steps. This could be asking for the sale or setting the next appointment. This is a critical step and one that is often overlooked by sales professionals after reviewing hundreds of mystery shops. Take the lead and guide your customer to success.
- Input all notes and observations into CRM. This is another critical step that sets up successful and meaningful follow up. (eliminate those "checking-in" follow-up calls/emails)
- Follow-Up! Great, effective follow-up begins with great discovery. Be curious!
These are the behaviors new home sales prospects deserve from their sales professional. As Scott honestly reviewed his behaviors, he realized he had become complacent due to good market conditions and the success he had earlier.
The two areas Scott fell short on were:
- Inviting prospects to continue the process by going out on site to tour the community and homesites. This is where the emotion lies. This is when your customers starts the visualization of living in your community and on that street.
- The other behavior area Scott left out - he wasn't guiding his prospect through the process by suggesting next steps and/or asking for the sale.
As a result of this conversation, Scott ended up more closely following and improving these desired behaviors, and quickly saw his sales go up to an all-time high, becoming the top-performer for the quarter.
Oh, and one more, very important attribute / behavior your customers need to feel from their sales person. One must be trustworthy, as seen through your buyers lens if you want to find success. We have many metric's that measure ones performance. However, we have negligible to no metic's to measure someones trustworthiness. As we demonstrate more trustworthiness, we will increase our business performance.
BONUS KPI's for New Home Sales Success:
Measuring the behaviors above will most certainly improve your conversion percentage, shorten the sales cycle and deliver a greater buying experience like they did for Scott. Now as a bonus, here are 2 other measurements for success to help your team boost sales.
- How many Realtor Outreach presentations have we made each month?
- Track the amount of visits your customer has to your sales centers before they purchase.
A survey was conducted several years ago by Shore Consulting, asking home buyers, "On which visit did you purchase your new home?" The results have surprised many new home sales people. These numbers were:
- Purchased on the first visit 18%
- Purchased on the second visit 28%
- Purchased on the third visit 46%
- Purchased on fourth + visit 8%
These numbers should open our eyes to understand how much more prepared home shoppers are to make a decision early. With all the information available to home shoppers it should come as no surprise. As you can see, the chances of you writing a purchase agreement after your prospect's 3rd visit significantly drops. Stay focused on your customer, listen with intentionality and lead your customer like a true sales professional.
As you prepare for the next year, make sure you are diligent about tracking KPI's and start focusing on the sales behaviors that help get you there. Be prepared for a certain number of team members not being comfortable with some of these behaviors, because they might be new to them. Whatever the case, stay focused on the sales behaviors and you will find your sales reporting will take care of itself.
Here at the Bokka Group our focus is on the buying and building experience of your home buyers. We look at the new home sales process through the buyer's lens. We assist builders across the country with developing the sales skills necessary to engage todays home buyers. We will bring the industry's best practices as viewed from the buyer's perspective to your organization. We are here to assist you in sales training and in other areas of skill development. Just reach out below for a no-obligation, no pressure conversation. We want to hear your story.
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