IT MIGHT HURT A LOT of builders' feelings, but sometimes the houses and the great locations and the upgrades kind of run together, says Jimmy Dunnett, Atlanta district sales manager for Duluth, Ga.–based Bowen Family Homes. A builder will stand out by creating a superior experience, and that means emulating the retailers where customers are accustomed to shopping.

“Look at Pulte,” Dunnett says. “They are hanging their hat on the J.D. Power Award. They don't talk about the house or the plan. You have to manage the experience.”

So what does “manage the experience” mean for the average builder? Dunnett says it's going to start with changing the hours that the sales center is open. He's envisioning a schedule of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

“When the majors do it, everyone will follow,” he says. “I think you're going to see retail store hours shake up a lot of salespeople.”

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA.