January 10, 2020. I know we’re all in the craziness of the January property market right now, but yesterday I paused to take a breath to see if we could be doing January “better”.
Before I share with you my thoughts on this, let’s take a moment to set the scene which would be common place in most developer’s Sales and Marketing offices right now.
It’s the second week of January, you’ve had a slow sales rate over the last 4 weeks or so due to the holiday period and staffing leave. You stepped into December already behind (or maybe just on par) with your YTD sales target and now with a quiet December (albeit maybe good foot traffic but low sales conversion), you’re now well and truly chasing the number.
Panic is starting to set in with the team, which takes the form of short term thinking and chasing any sale possible. History tells you that January/February is a good property buying period and you need to have an offer in market. You have been caught with not much time and given the lengthy media timeframes, you need to have creative completed ASAP. You pull together a quick $xx,xxx off campaign chasing the low hanging fruit.
Looking forward, you know you’ll find yourself in market alongside your competitors with similar offers so the buyers decision will likely come down to product and price. Typically, at the end of the next 6 weeks you’ll have converted less than you wanted and most likely dried up your pipeline, leaving you in the same state of pressure at the start of March.
Look, we’ve all been there. Property is busy and it’s hard to stay ahead. With that top of my mind, I thought it would be good to provide some quick and easy suggestions on how you can implement some initiatives now that will help you longer term (like in two months). Even if this triggers you to start thinking longer term and encourage your sales and marketing team to consider these ideas, it’s a win.
Before I jump into the initiatives, I just wanted to give you an insight into the January Mindset of your potential customers.
Take advantage of the January ‘Hopeful’ mindset
When you remove your customers who are the low hanging fruit (cashed up buyers) from the population who had already planned to buy in the next 4 weeks, there’s a good chance that there are a vast number of customers that are in what I’m calling the ‘January Hopeful Mindset’. The mindset of wanting to buy a home in 2020, and ready to start their savings journey. Perhaps they’re at the start of the search journey or maybe mid-way through, either way they are not ready right now, but their mindset is motivated, positive, eager and full of hope and looking for someone to help them and listen to them. What are you going to do RIGHT NOW to fill your pipeline for March onwards. I don’t just mean send an EDM, I mean a real nurture program to kick off the year and take people out of market now, who may be ready to purchase later in the year.
Here’s a program or initiative you could consider. I appreciate you may not have time to implement however your team could still benefit from keeping this mindset in mind when talking with customers.
1. Cleanse your database (via calling or online survey) to determine the real up-to-date purchase timeframes of your customers.
2. Develop a range of ‘products/programs/comms plans’ that match the most common timeframes e.g. 6 month savings plan (you save $6k ($1k/month, we’ll match it) or it could be a coaching program and not a $ value.
3. Acknowledge and reward your customers for the right mindset e.g. Congratulations on deciding that 2020 is the year to buy a new home, we’re here to help you. Here’s a solution that will help you get to your dream home quicker.
4. Delegate a team (maybe one or two people) who can manage the development of the marketing material and communication of these initiatives to the appropriate customers on your databases. Your sales team are probably going to be too busy with the low hanging fruit so can this exercise be managed by marketing or potentially outsourced by a call centre.
5. Develop a targeted ATL online campaign to find other people in the January Mindset outside of your database and provide the same offering.
6. Manage the ongoing comms accordingly and feed back the buyers that take the bait back into your sales team.
Now I know many of you may not have resources to do this right now, but it’s something to consider planning for perhaps for the financial year kick off or perhaps next year. Either way it’s an additional strategy to implement rather than just chasing the low hanging fruit.