Tag Archives: Change

4 Great Reasons to be Thankful this Year

We are on the rebound!

The homebuilding and housing industry has seen pretty dark days. But for the past few years, things have definitely been looking up. Here are a few reasons we at the Contrado Group are feeling pretty thankful this Turkey Day.

1)  Arizona has not one, not two, but THREE spots on the forecasting for 2014′s Top 10 Housing Metros

Thank you Prescott, Phoenix, and Tuscon!

2)  New Homes sales are up 20%

Recovery has definitely been shaky, but 2013 has shown a significant increase in new home sales. According to the Commerce Department, 20% more homes have been sold nationwide this year than in 2012. This is a good sign for us, and we are thankful for it.

3)  55+ single-family markets are on the rise too

Although there is continued improvement in sales in all segments of the market, the 55+ single-family markets have shown a significant increase. With improved market conditions, potential new home buyers have been able to sell their current homes so that they can buy new homes that fit their specific needs.

4)  Technology is making everything better for everyone

Whether we like it or not, the speed of technology today is changing how homes are designed, built, and sold. The technology that new homes offer is also a major selling point to today’s consumer, only making it easier for home builders to sell more of what customers really do want.


(Click to watch video of the Housing Leadership Summit on Technology Changing How Homes Are Built)


6 Reasons You’ll Sell More Homes Using Interactive Technology

As consumers in today’s world, we have slowly but surely migrated towards using all of the available interactive technologies on the market, for our everyday lives. The internet and smartphones alone have changed this everyday way of getting things done and going about our day.  However, we as businesses often shy away from integrating our everyday processes with the available interactive technology that is on the market today.
Here are 6 huge reasons why Interactive Technology will positively change your customer experience, and inevitably sell you more homes.

1)     Curiosity

Interactive Technology for builders, whether it be a floor plan, a model home, or a design tool, will spike the interest of almost any prospective buyer. Curiosity is a crucial first step in the process of buying a home, and what better way to create it than to provide a new technology to your prospective buyer that they have never seen before?

2)     Engagement

Another important side effect of using Interactive Tech as a consumer is becoming engaged. Even something as simple as a website can help engage your buyer — where they will invest their time, brain power, and even emotions into whatever interactive technology you are providing them.

3)     Improvement

The option to improve a home — to have options for better lighting, new electrical technology, and floor plans specifics — is another powerful tool that is more likely to sell a new home than not.  Being able to go from “good” to “better” will win your prospective buyer over more often than not.

4)     Attachment

The interactive technology available to homebuilders today allows prospective home buyers to take control of the process and become attached, even during the early stages of online research. Attachment is another powerful emotion that statistically leads to more successful home purchases and closings.

5)     Personalization

For those in the market to buy a new home, interactive tech gives home buyers a strong sense of individuality. It may have started out as a generic base model, but after a few tweaks here and there, they aren’t buying a cookie cutter home anymore. They are buying a home that has been fully customized for their own specific needs. Making an otherwise cookie cutter home into one’s own personal dream home is a feature that many home buyers will tell you is invaluable. Especially for the control freaks of the world!

6)     Scarcity

These all might seem like common sense, and an obvious case to why each builder should be incorporating these technologies into their processes. But until it becomes an industry standard, it remains a very special addition that is unique and scarce. All the more reason to pay top dollar for the home of your dreams!

Bottom Line: Either way you look at it, virtual experiences & technology is the future. When we think about it, how much has moved online in the past 5 yrs alone?
Socializing (FaceBook), calling (Skype), videos (YouTube), meeting (GoToMeeting), dating (Match), car-buying (AutoTrader), movie-watching (Netflix).  There are interactive museums (Children’s Museum of Phoenix), interactive learning products, tools, & software.
The list is really endless. Everything is going online, including buying a home!  Okay, maybe not literally just yet. But who knows? We’re probably not that far from it.

Google Glasses aka we are really in the 21st century now!

 

The Housing Recovery: 5 Lessons We Learned

August means school is back in session, and it’s got us at Contrado thinking about what we’ve learned since the downturn. Although it was a time of struggle for everyone in the home-building industry, there was a silver lining — learning a whole lot about survival. Apart from learning how to embrace efficiency the downturn taught us how to adapt and how to use the proper tools that were key to our survival. We’ve compiled a list of the lessons we learned (with an inspirational flair) to help guide your post-downturn learning strategy, even if you aren’t going back to school this year!

 

1.  To Be an Industry Leader We Must Always Keep Learning and Improving.

Start with honing in on your company’s successes and failures, and educating yourself on current products/services in the industry that could make you the leader of the pack. Investing in the right product or service, like Virtual Option Sales, could be the difference between selling a home or not — putting you either ahead of or behind your competition.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” JFK.

2.  Don’t Ignore the Signs.

Be aware of market conditions and USE THEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. It’s hard to accept losses and to embrace a dark cloud — but always look for the silver lining. With learning comes a bit of vulnerability, but don’t let that stop you! There is room in every mind (and company) to learn something new that you will thank yourself for later.
“Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” Benjamin Franklin

3.  Use Survival of the Fittest to Your Advantage.

Take a tip from Darwin and recognize that if you cannot adapt and evolve to what is currently happening in the home-building industry, your company could eventually become extinct — but in this economy it could happen in the blink of an eye! Learning how to adapt, evolve, and change to be more successful is an ongoing, never-ending process that will lead you beyond survival, and hopefully to the top of the food chain.
“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” Socrates

4.  Learning Something New Will Benefit you Professionally and Personally.

It goes without saying that learning a new skill will widen your horizons, and learning in any situation is almost always personally rewarding. Happier employees, happier company.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Gandhi

5.  Take a Risk.

A calculated risk, that is. It might be the last thing on your mind when you are in panic-mode, but taking risks is a big part of survival. Simply reacting to your surroundings won’t get you very far in most cases. Getting to the top will require a balance of defense and offense.
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Picasso

So now is the perfect time to ask yourself: WHAT DO I WANT TO LEARN?

Most likely you have always had something that you wanted to learn – after all, curiosity is human nature! If you are drawing a blank, a few common ideas and skills that would also potentially benefit your career are learning how to:

o   Speak a new language (whether it be Spanish, Sign Language, or HTML code!)
o   Network within your industry
o   “Let go” of things and embrace positivity
o   Integrate your business operations to increase efficiency
o   Strengthen your leadership skills
o   Create a research study to discover what your ideal customer really wants
o   Find a creative new hobby
o   Stay current on market trends
o   Tell jokes
o   Explore technology (especially if it will enhance your business!)  

We at Contrado have taken it upon ourselves to learn and embrace efficiency – which for us has included learning the cutting-edge technologies in the home-building industry today, Call us to hear more about what got us through the downturn!

 

Jump-Starting 2014

Why You Should Use the School Year to Get a Head-Start on Next Year’s “Business Resolutions”

We all know the feeling – the double-edged sword that the end of the year brings. On one hand you have a sense of hope for the new year to come; on the other hand you’re probably feeling a little guilty or anxious about all of this year’s resolutions that never came to fruition. Wouldn’t it be great to avoid those negative feelings entirely?

Some write out long lists of things they want to change or improve — both personally and professionally — others have a few simple things they know they want to work on but haven’t gotten around to. Regardless of strategy, New Year’s Resolutions are a pretty common part of starting off the New Year, and sometimes without realizing we are setting ourselves up for failure.

Starting on those resolutions now, at the beginning of another type of year – the academic year – will benefit you in a few ways.

Start the Lists Now. You will also most likely have several lists – to-do lists, checklists – for the new school year: New books to purchase, new professors to meet with, old friends to catch up with, new classes to sign up for. Why not start the business-equivalent checklists now? New learning/training materials to purchase for your staff, new schedules and meeting plans to create, new strategy or brainstorming sessions, meeting new business partners, and listing new customers or clients you would like to meet. Regardless of what your business goals are, try forecasting what you will want to change in January, and start now. You will definitely thank yourself come 2014.

Get Prepared Now. Sometimes the more prepared you are, the more likely you are to succeed. Think of it as training before football season starts – you can start training once the season starts, but you will be a disadvantage compared to your teammates that spent their summers at football camp.  Just like getting your body in shape for the upcoming sports season, you are getting your business healthy and prepared before the beginning of the New Year.

Benefits of Starting Today:

  • You will have a head start in the game – not only with your fellow resolutionists (aka competitors), but also with yourself.
  • You won’t be as overwhelmed with all the “newness” buzz that the New Year brings.
  • You will probably feel much more encouraged to continue on with your resolutions after a few months of determination and progress.
  • You will have more room in your life for personal resolutions come 2014!

The bottom line is preparation, and the more thorough preparation you have accomplished by December, the more likely you will be efficient and actually complete your goals next year.

Good luck!

 

Declare Independence from Tradition!

Embracing 21st Century Technology in our 20th Century Industry
(Or, why we do things differently at Contrado)

Thomas Jefferson once said that he liked “the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” He knew what they needed: independence from traditional political, economic, and religious oppression. By writing the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, he was expressing the convictions that were in the hearts of the American people – the need for change.

1.  Understand that People Are Afraid of Change. When was the last time you changed the course that you were on? “Change” is a broad word that we can apply to many different things… a birth, a loss, a move, a new opinion, a new job. But ultimately it is a departure from tradition – which leads to a new way of doing things. For example, the change our nation went through during the 1700’s, despite being fought by many, led to a whole new world of possibilities and fresh starts. Regardless, change usually freaks us out. Whether it’s Good Change or Bad Change, we as humans are naturally afraid of the unknown. We fear failure. We feel doubtful about the possible outcomes. But we have to remember we always have options, and we can always CHANGE the outcomes. You don’t have to settle. “Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.” – Dalai Lama

2.  Understand the Technology. If we think of change as a software upgrade, what software are you in need of, right now? Do you need better online engagement with prospects, for example? Do you need to build more homes with limited resources? Do you need better software to help you meet your customer’s exact needs? If you don’t know, evaluate what isn’t working. Then inform yourself!  You can start by asking the question, what are the best tools out there for what I need right now? If you go beyond word-of-mouth and previous methods into the world of uncovering the new, you will find services, systems, software, companies, and tools that you have never even heard of (like Contrado’s new HTML5 Interactive Floor Plan system!). What are today’s game-changers? Incorporating iPad technology into their homes? Making it easier for you to do your job? Building homes in half the time? You will be surprised at how much newness is flooding the industry.

3.  Understand that nothing will change unless you Try Something New. Times they are a-changin’! We are living in an exciting time where technology seems to be accelerating at the speed of light, and we will be left in the dark if we don’t try to keep up. In other words: have you ever heard someone say that the definition of insanity is ‘doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results’? Trying new things can be scary folks, but how can you improve without even a little bit of change? Traditional tactics in the Revolutionary War ultimately failed the British; the revolutionaries were outnumbered, so they developed guerilla warfare to outmaneuver their red-coated opponents. They were forced to innovate the way they battled – thinking differently, operating more efficiently, using what they had and just going with it – which led them to victory.

You have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  So if after all of this you don’t do it for you, do it for our Founding Fathers!

How Do We Respond To Change?

Change_Homebuilding

Remember the book Who Moved My Cheese that was handed out by many companies back in 1998 during times of restructuring? The book had little characters in it named “Sniff and Scurry” and “Hem and Haw”.

Essentially, the book (synopsis) was about how these two groups dealt with change in their little maze. One group, “Sniff and Surry” just took the fact that their regular place that had cheese had changed and went on their way to search for new cheese. The other group, “Hem and Haw” held out that the cheese would eventually be in the same place and began to wait it out relying on their old familiar ways. The moral of the book is that “change happens”, and it’s best to roll with it and adapt.

It’s ironic that in those times of the Dot-com bubble and the NASDAQ peaking at 5132 we thought that the economy was in turmoil. Little did we know that there was one of the largest housing booms about to occur and that the “Great Recession” would be the follow-up. Or, in the words of Judas Priest the rock band, “You’ve got another thing coming”…………

So, what is it about change that rocks our worlds so much? It is certainly human nature to fear change, but this is not a good reaction. In an article by Sherri Bourg Carter entitled “Why We Dread (and So Often Fail to) Change”, she sites that the unknown or untested are primary reasons for this fear which is one of our most powerful emotions. However, shouldn’t change be a constant for a person and/or company if they wish to pursue a better way? If status quo was the norm, we would not have the advances we use today? However, she also sites that “when fear grips you, you become powerless”. That rings true when Franklin D.Roosevelt had to calm our nation during the Depression with the words, “Only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

We at The Contrado Group continue our changes as a newly merged company; we too are intimidated by what these changes in our industry are bringing about. However, we are taking these circumstances as a way to position ourselves with new industry alliances. These alliances are with companies that share the same vision of process integration. It is our firmest belief that we are in the midst of paradigm shift in homebuilding. This shift is going to involve more streamlining of processes, a tightening of the supply chain, and strategic alliances. In the end, we believe that tomorrow’s homeowner will be able to have a home that is more efficient, customizable, technology driven, and delivered in a manner that removes any false expectations. Builder’s margins will be able to climb due to increased demand, adjustment of the supply chain, and lower of costs due to operational efficiencies. The future looks bright…………………

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