Adobe Stock

With the new-home market declining from the high-demand selling environment of the past two years, experts say it’s time for a wake-up call for sales and marketing in 2023, as builders enter a more challenging era of home buying.

During the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, Jeff Shore, founder of Shore Consulting, will present with Mike Lyon of Do You Convert on how front-line sales teams should revamp their expectations and processes for the future.

See below for a sneak peek into some of the information that may be covered in the session and add “The Wake-Up Call: Proven Sales Tactics for a Tough Market” on Jan. 31 from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s West 316 to your schedule at the show.

BUILDER: What sales strategies from the prior high-selling years will no longer work in 2023?

Shore: In the boom of 2020-2021, discovering underlying motivations and needs was seen as optional. In 2023, that approach is critical. There is a reason why customers are out shopping for a home, even as they are facing high prices, rapidly increasing interest rates, and negative forecasts. There is a crushing need that causes them to buy even when the headwinds are fierce.

BUILDER: What should new-home sales specialists do to pivot to a more competitive environment? What shouldn’t they do?

Shore: The key in 2023 is to shorten the cycle. When a buyer has more choice, as they do today, the net effect is a longer buying cycle. That actually plays against their best interests; too much choice makes it difficult to land on the best options. Sales specialists must present a compelling reason as to the very unique value that can be offered. Without these differentiating factors, buyers will be forced to decide based on price, discounts, and incentives. In other words, the home becomes a commodity.

BUILDER: Are there any successful methodologies from the last two years that should be kept?

Shore: Yes, the practice of asking the customer to make a decision on their first visit to a community is a good strategy that should be kept in place. Today’s home buyer is mightily educated before they get in the car to do their home shopping. The first-visit purchase offer shortens the buying cycle.

BUILDER: What do today’s new-home shoppers expect from builder salespeople/sales process?

Shore: What they typically expect is a battle—the salesperson as an adversary. The task of the salesperson is to prove that they can be of great value as a trusted adviser in the process.

BUILDER: How should sales teams accommodate to their wants, needs, and expectations?

Shore: It begins with a customer-centric presentation. The conversation is not initially about the home, but rather about the customer’s life. That means becoming very familiar with what the customer is coming from before seeking to understand why they are moving. There is also a need to be calm and patient when working with a buyer that is often confused and nervous.

Part of creating a customer-centric presentation is exceeding customer expectations after the sale is made. My new book, "From Contract to Close," co-authored by customer experience expert Bob Mirman, shows home builders how to create compelling home buying experiences that earn referrals.

BUILDER: If you had to give three top tips to closing more sales in 2023, what would they be?

Shore: I will be expanding on this topic during the seminar. Essentially, the customer has radically revamped their expectations, and front-line sales teams must adjust with them, determining ineffective methodologies to scuttle, successful ones to keep, and new practices to embrace for engaging prospects from their first online connection through the sale. But, here are some initial practices to incorporate into best practices:

  1. Know what the customer is coming from before seeking to understand what they are moving to;
  2. Invite the customer to purchase on their first visit; and
  3. Make sure the follow-up is fast, personalized, and service-oriented.