June 9, 2017. I decided to write this article after witnessing many projects struggle with sales (particularly in the last 12 months) after making the fatal decision not to have a sales display for their new residential off-the-plan project. Yes, there is an upfront cost, but the cost of not having one can be detrimental and once you’ve launched without one it’s hard to rewind time.
Some argue that in an online world why do they need a physical space? Well here are the reasons why:
1. It instills confidence in the buyer and external agents.
Buyers are sceptical at the best of times and in an uncertain market buyers are looking for any reason to lose trust in a developer and a project. If a buyer is comparing between 3 off-the-plan projects and two of the projects have sales displays and one doesn’t, there is a very good chance that the buyer will not even consider the project without one. The buyer is looking for confidence and commitment from the developer. “If the developer can’t afford or isn’t committed to building a display or showroom, will this project even go ahead”.
2. It provides a critical face-to-face opportunity within the sales journey.
Gone are the days that customers will visit the sales display as their first step in their buying journey. As we all know, customers educate themselves extensively online before even considering walking into a display or office. However, if the sales person is providing the customer with all the information they need via phone, sms, social, DM, VR or skype and have warmed them up, they can then suggest meeting at the Sales Display to provide a tour of the project or interior finishings. This one step allows the sales person the opportunity to create a ‘stronger’ connection with the customer and build further rapport that cannot be developed as easily in an online capacity. Also for those downsizers who may not feel comfortable with online conversations, walking into a sales display is a must.
3. It’s an opportunity for Developers to beat their chest.
Having a display is one thing, however delivering a quality experience is something totally different. The sales display is a reflection on the quality of the project they are developing and if care is not taken in designing a truly inspiring space, the customers will notice. If you think about all the steps taken to get a customer finally through the door and face to face with a sales person and then the display is low quality it really has been a waste of time. Developers should use this opportunity to showcase their professionalism, innovation, creativity and experience. Remember you want to leave the customers with a memorable experience and give them something to talk about to their friends in person and online – oh…and also buy an apartment or block.
4. It makes external agents jobs easier.
If an external agent doesn’t know very much about a particular project but knows that there is a sales display for the project with a highly-educated agent inside they will dive at the chance to drive their customer to the display (particularly if the developer is paying good commission). Typically external agents will simply drop the customer off and let the onsite agent educate the customer on the project, however proactive agents will learn the sales display themselves and deliver a compelling pitch to the customer. By having a display you are also more likely to find yourself on many agent’s circuits or tours whereby they take the customers to a number of projects in one day…do you want to risk not being on the circuit?
5. Customers can touch and feel their apartments.
Closely linked to the above point 1 and 2, customers (particularly owner occupiers) who are spending their hard earned cash will want to ensure the quality of the finishes is at their expectation. Being able to touch and feel it in person is very important particularly the more expensive the project.
Sales Display Fails & Handy Tips
– Developers think that sales displays are extremely expensive. Sales Displays do not need to be over the top or hugely expensive but they do need to be professional, impressive, and effective. A small display can often work 100 times better than a million dollar display. Remember you can rent a portable display, rent a shop or purchase a display and prices can vary from $50k to over $1Million so do your research.
– Developers think that once a customer is at a sales display they are a ‘done deal’ and the quality of display is less important. WRONG (refer to point 3).
– Site Location – this is all dependent on the project however it’s critically important you get advice from your marketing and sales agents as to the best location of your display. In some instances an onsite display is ideal, in other situations a display in a high traffic area is more favourable.
– Set and Forget – Remember customers won’t come flocking into your sales display without prompting, so don’t fall into the trap of waiting for customers to come in. Normal sales follow-up by online or phone calls is required to drive people to the sales display. Think differently, hold finance workshops, interior styling events, launches stage releases …anything to drive customers back through your doors.
– Unmotivated Staff Onsite – Get rid of them.
– Up-to-date Content – Ensure your display has the latest up to date information relating to sales, available apartments or lots and brochures etc.
So, next time you’re deciding whether to have a sales display or not, revisit these reasons. Until such time as the VR Experiences overtakes physical experiences, Sales Displays are required. Spend the time getting your Sales Display plan right and if you don’t have the resources internally, engage professionals.