Make this your mantra and you just might sell more homes: “It’s all about her.” And then repeat again until you believe it and decide to work to make your “her” customers happy.
Then listen to what Melissa Morman, Linda Hebert, and Mark Patterson suggest about how to make women home buyers happy. Morman, vice president and general manager of Builder Homesite; Hebert, of Diversified Marketing and Communications; and Patterson, a successful Maine home builder, presented “Wow, Woo, and Win: Capture and Keep the Female Home Buyer” in January at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.
You’ve probably already heard the statistics about why appealing to women home buyers is important—such as the fact that some 91 percent of home buying decisions are made by women. Twenty percent of home buyers are unmarried women, and another 25 percent are living with an older adult. The buying power of women overall adds up to $7 billion, exceeding the economy of Japan.
There is a gap between the number of people who say they prefer new homes and how many new homes are sold in the country. Roughly 19 percent of buyers say they prefer new homes while new homes make up just 7 percent of market share.
Women buyers “are out there,” Morman says. “We just really have to run hard to appeal to her.” The presenters acknowledged playing to women might sound sexist, but they say if you are able to convince the woman in a partnership to buy, the man usually will follow. “If you are effectively meeting her expectations, you exceed his,” Morman told the audience. They also offered the following tips:
Make all your imagery, messaging, and advertising appealing to women by using softer lines, brighter colors, and more lifestyle images. Dogs and kids also are good. “Engage her with a story, help her imagine building a better life,” Hebert says.
Make sure your website and all your marketing materials offer beautiful photos of your products as well as easy-to-read floor plans that allow website visitors to play with the design and place furniture. Make sure you make use of videos and virtual tours on your website. “There are better videos of shoes than homes,” Morman says. “If the online experience is not compelling, you may not make the short list.”
Sell her on benefits of your homes rather than features. Tell how the features can save time and money, and (this is very important) reduce stress. Instead of just saying you offer granite countertops, talk about how they can make life better because they are easier to clean, durable, and beautiful. Instead of just mentioning that you have closet organizers, talk about how they will make getting ready in the morning quicker.
Engage her in a conversation about what she would like in her new home. Use social media to poll for favorite kitchen designs or what to call a cabinet color, for example. “We love to talk and give our opinions,” Morman says.
Find ways to keep your product in front of her through newsletters, events, or promotions since the home buying process is taking nine to 12 months. “What can you do to stay in the hunt?” Morman asks.
Little gifts buy favor. Women love coupons for goodies, such as massages. One builder advertised free maid service for a year and sold 30 homes that weekend.
In the end, though, the presenters noted that the best ways to nab a woman buyer are to gain her trust, inspire confidence in your business, and differentiate your product from others. “It’s what you can do for her,” Hebert says.