On a rainy Saturday morning last October, the developers of the low-density, lakeside resort project Firefly Cove, on Lake Lure near Asheville, N.C., sold 24 home sites and condominiums—representing $15 million and accounting for more than half of the first phase's release—within three hours.
Now the how: A combination of anticipation, exclusivity, technology, and a two-day event culminating in the frenzy that occurred that morning. Having taken reservations from 50 potential buyers, requiring only a refundable deposit of $1,000 for parcels priced up to $1.6 million, the developer and its sales agency, Private Mountain Communities (PMC), allowed only those prospects to visit the site in the two weeks leading up to the grand-opening event. On a sunny Friday, would-be buyers enjoyed one final guided tour as well as boat and helicopter rides to get a final view of the property, followed by a catered party. The next morning, prospects (prioritized by their reservation date) kept scheduled, 15-minute appointments with PMC to complete the sale. While some fell away as sought-after lots sold ahead of them, the sales team achieved a 50 percent closure rate.
“The key was bringing them to the site and giving them a sense of life at Firefly Cove,” says Harry Redfearn, principal at PMC. The two-week window before the event, he says, enabled prospects to prioritize their choices for the grand-opening sales blitz. At the same time, the event helped foster esprit de corps among future neighbors. PMC also employs proprietary software to help match resort-home buyers to a narrower list of properties among the 130-plus the firm manages, improving the likelihood of sales.
CAMPAIGN DETAILS Program: Grand opening at Firefly Cove, Lake Lure, N.C.; Developer: Firefly Cove Inc., Lake Lure; Sales agency: Private Mountain Communities, Asheville, N.C.; Cost: $80,000 (two-day event); Public relations agency: MMI Associates, Raleigh, N.C.
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