It's hard enough selling homes in a slow market; it's even harder when you're unwilling to bend on a few things—namely, energy and resource efficiencies, which often boost the price. Despite a 29-year legacy of building green before anyone called it that, Stitt Energy Systems in Rogers, Ark., still has its work cut out for it convincing buyers that the extra effort and budget involved in buying an eco-friendly home are worth it.
“Fish don't jump in the boat,” says David Stitt, vice president. “We have to sell it and educate buyers as best we can so they'll appreciate the value of what we're doing.”
To that end, the builder refined a package of stock plans and information items and formed the “Stitt Kit,” a box of various components designed to kick-start the home buying conversation with prospects. The custom-made cardboard box contains a three-ring binder tabbed into four sections: energy and resource efficiency, a step-by-step guide to Stitt's building process, stock plans, and a lifestyle questionnaire. The binder format allows Stitt to easily update the information and customize the content as necessary. Other pieces include a supplemental plan book, Energy Star program brochures, a corporate brochure and recent newsletters, and a compact fluorescent lightbulb with a $100 coupon for energy-saving lamps, redeemable upon a house purchase.
The builder sells the kit for $30 at home shows, seminars, online, and over the phone, helping recoup expenses (including taxes and shipping) while also creating value in its content and generating a list of serious prospects. Since launching the Stitt Kit in its current form nearly two years ago, the builder has sold about 200 of them, helping get the message out toward doubling its production to nearly 40 homes by the end of next year.
CAMPAIGN DETAILS Program: Information kit; Builder: Stitt Energy Systems, Rogers, Ark.; Cost: $30 per box, builder breaks even; Advertising agency: Maloney Marketing Group, Cave Springs, Ark.