4 Ways to Adapt Your Showhome & Sales Center Experience for COVID-19
How can you sell homes if no one can walk into a showhome? The same question applies for sales centers. Where, and how, will you meet with prospective customers?
So much has changed in our world and new updates continue to come in about COVID-19 that impact our daily lives. The uncertainty of what lies ahead makes it tough to know what your home building business should be doing right now to prepare for this new “normal”.
The good news is there is a huge opportunity for you to adapt and succeed at creating a new showhome and sales center experience - one that works for your ideal home buyers.
It will take some time to get used to, but there are things you can do right away to shift your focus to online home buying, which is much easier to maintain and grow long-term.
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Virtual tours and a more streamlined sales process - one that doesn’t rely on in-person traffic - was already a popular trend before you had to deal with COVID-19. Now is the perfect time to invest in a pandemic-proof home buying experience so your business can make it out on the other side stronger and more in alignment with how home buyers want to shop.
The tips you’ll find below will show you how to keep safety and convenience a top priority as you adjust your processes to make it easier to connect with those who have an urgent need for a new home.
Create Virtual Video Tours for All of Your Showhomes
So people can’t come to your showhomes right now. Give them the next best thing!
Bring it to their screens.
That’s where your ideal buyers are. They have more time to spend online and watching a virtual tour is an easy way for you to engage your audience.
During this downtime in showhome foot traffic, your team should be focusing heavily on creating these tours. Consider purchasing a 360 camera such as a Matterport 3D Camera and follow these tips for getting started. This will help you begin creating interactive showhome experiences on your website and social channels as soon as possible.
Your virtual tours can also be easily outsourced. Do a Google search for “3D home tours + your city” to find companies you can hire to do a Matterport tour.
You can even have virtual tours created when you don’t have a physical building to take pictures of. Companies like Rendering House specialize in creating virtual tours of home models from the black line floorplan drawings. They can bring your showhomes to life in a short amount of time so you can upload them to your website, promote them in emails or on your social channels, and have your online sales concierge (OSC) use them as a resource for sales-qualified leads.
Think of it like this. Now instead of the limited hours your showhomes were open for, you’re moving online to a 24/7 viewing experience! It will be easier than ever for anyone to learn more about your home models and the features they can expect.
Maintain Personalization With Guided Tours
Your sales team may not be able to have in-person appointments or have very few prospects willing to brave a visit to a showhome or sales center. So how should you connect with your qualified leads and get new prospects moving through the sales funnel during this time?
Something as simple as putting a face behind your emails can make a big difference during this time when people with a need for a new home are looking for reassurance.
If they have questions that are better answered visually, schedule a FaceTime call or send them a Zoom meeting link where you can walk them through a showhome and answer specific questions. Google Meet is another good option for connecting with prospective buyers.
Each meeting platform mentioned above is easy to use and that’s important right now. You don’t want technical difficulties and set-up challenges holding your sales process back. Being able to see a floor plan up-close is still important to home buyers and offering a guided virtual tour this way allows you to deliver a modified experience with a lot of personalization.
Connecting with a salesperson this way is safe, convenient, and offers buyers a new way to enter and move through the home buying journey. Knowing you’ll be there to answer important questions and explore their options along the way has a lasting impact on your ability to close the sale when they’re ready.
It won’t seem so daunting to finalize a purchase agreement online instead of in-person when you connect with them on a call and make them feel comfortable about this new way of buying a home.
Offer Safe, Self-Guided Tours
There are some people who want to tour showhomes in-person and are wondering how they’ll be able to do that while being safe and practicing social distancing.
Offering self-guided tours is a great option for these clients. Here is what your sales team should do to deliver a great touring experience for home buyers:
- Have a sales representative arrive early before the agreed upon showing time. This will ensure that proper cleaning procedures are followed.
- Make sure to turn on all lights, open all doors, and sanitize the front door handle (inside and out).
- Put out signs with clear instructions in an effort to keep cleaning times down (ex. no touching walls, countertops or other surfaces during tours)
- Keep a large stock of sanitizer, gloves, wipes, and shoe protectors at each showhome or sales center for visitors to use. This will make them feel safe and protected during their tour.
Keep in mind that you will need to limit the number of people at one time. This isn’t a good time to take the whole family simply because they want to get out of the house and you’ll want to be clear about that with the clients who want to book this type of tour.
Consider Private Tours By Appointment Only
Another option you can offer is private showings, by appointment only.
Set up forms on your showhome pages so people can book a time to meet with a sales representative, at a safe distance. Follow the same sanitization procedures as self-guided tours and ask that only people who are not showing symptoms book this type of tour.
Some people will really value this one-on-one touring experience. They have the full attention of a salesperson while they tour so they can ask questions as they pop up while staying at least 6 feet away the entire time.
It is a huge task to change your showhome and sales center experiences as fast as the COVID-19 crisis continues to develop. We’re here to help you and right now we’re offering free consulting to anyone who is in need. We will provide advice, answer questions, help with brainstorming, PR and messaging ideas, - anything you need help with. Simply contact us for a free consultation:
You can book as many consultation calls with us as you need. Lean on us. We’re here to help you and your organization navigate through this time of uncertainty. Stay safe and please let us know how we can help.
Originally published April 17, 2020