Tag Archives: Production Homebuilding

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)


Homebuilder Event Season is Here!

Things have been pretty busy for us at Contrado lately, gearing up the past few months for some of our favorite annual events. Here’s a quick summary of what’s been happening, who was involved, and what we learned from these fun industry happenings.

Southwest Builders Show

Each year we look forward to SWBS as a great event to reconnect with local industry folk in a fun, social, and supportive environment. It’s a great place for local vendors to showcase their new products, technologies, and businesses themselves. Social in nature, but an opportunity to networking with local partners, we have been the recipients and the givers of support from local vendors and builders alike from around the Valley.

We had a booth in a prime spot next to the putting green, showcasing our Interactive Floor Plans, our interactive Customer Discovery Centers, as well as Aterra’s Design Tool.This year’s Southwest Builders Show itself had 20% more vendors than last year’s – new vendors being one of many good indications that the local homebuilding industry in Phoenix and Arizona is improving. The Forecast Luncheon was informative and positive – most of the industry experts outlining the signs of a market rebound for our industry. A strong comeback and a bright forecast definitely set the mood for a great day in Downtown Phoenix.

Builder MT

Held by our Alliance Partners Sales Simplicity (CRM) and BuilderMT (operational system), this year’s event in Denver gained momentum and doubled its participants – from 50 last year to over 110 this year. It continues to be a great place where builders nationwide can come to learn about and test the latest software updates from these companies. Among the events were showcases, trainings, future development demonstrations, and a suggestions portion from their current client base. Very technology-based, so we felt right at home!

We showcased our Interactive Floor Plans, our interactive Customer Discovery Centers, our Design Tool & Aterra Designs Kiosk, as well as our Interactive Model with Toll Brothers.

Hyphen Solutions

A new event for Contrado, this was a quick trip to Vegas for an opportunity for our company to provide a special presentation to an exclusive crowd in the homebuilding industry. Top builders and their information technology representatives came to learn about the different cutting edge technologies available to home builders today – and we were honored and excited to be a part of this powerful technology conference sponsored by Hyphen Solutions. The event centered around the technology supply chain management in our industry – highlighting interactive technology as the epicenter of it all. This change in our industry – interactive technology & integration becoming a mainstream standard – is what we have been looking forward to for years.
Our special presentation featured a step-by-step process of our enhanced home-buyer experience that showcases our Interactive Floor Plans, our interactive Customer Discovery Centers, our Aterra Designs Kiosk & Design Tool, as well as our Interactive Model with Toll Brothers.

 

Are You Catering to Your Home Buyers?

3 Ways to be more Customer-Centric in 2014

When asked, most homebuilders will most likely answer “yes” as to whether or not they consider themselves Customer-Centric. And why not? Being Customer-Centric is important, not only to the happiness of your customers, but to the long-term financial success of your company.
Not only that, but customer-centrism is huge in any industry that heavily relies on today’s ever-changing technology – we have to keep up with the times and the new trends of the home buying experience, or we will get blown off the road and fall by the wayside. But the truth is that only a handful of homebuilders have actually tailored their home buying experience to their direct customers. Why? Well, in the long, tedious, complex process of building a home, we lose sight of the big picture — of what is best for the customer. Considering the habits of today’s consumer, there are 3 distinct and crucial steps to sufficiently accommodating your home buyer:

1. Provide Useful Information

Buying a home starts with fact-finding, and there is such a thing as “too much.”  There is also such a thing as “too little,” and finding a good balance of the information you provide to your potential customer is the absolutely vital first step. It’s your initial hook. From the information you provide on your website, to the content you include on your marketing collateral, to the signs and displays you have up at your sales centers and model homes — all information provided should be trim, concise, and relevant. It absolutely has the ability to sway your customer’s decision!

2. Give Them Control

Letting your home buyer have control of the process gives them the opportunity to take ownership of their new dream home and form an emotional bond to it. Homebuilders often fall short on this step due to a lack of interactive tools provided to their potential home buyers. Today’s technology allows for most of the home buying process to be done online, just like everything else we do — from shopping for clothing, to managing finances, to dating. Not keeping up with today’s interactive online technologies could be losing your company a lot of money, and even worse: lifetime customers.

3. Provide Many, Many Options

Buyers love personalizing, and they will often gladly pay more for it — in fact 60% of consumers will spend more for a better buying experience. We are living in a time where options are everything (flash to your neighborhood grocery store). Being able to customize your car, your phone, and your home are just a few examples of the desires and standards of your average consumer today. So when it comes to new homes, being able to choose your architectural style, your dining room lighting, and your cabinet materials either online or in the design center is the standard premium of today’s new home buyers. But the good news? All of these options reinforce ownership –  the most influential emotion in making that decision to buy.

All of these steps actively engage your potential home buyer, while genuinely understanding what it is that they want. Following through and giving them what it is they want will turn them into a lifetime customer.

At the end of the day, this is the business of turning houses into homes!

 

 

Imagine Integration

Speed to Market

How to Achieve the Results You Want, The Way You Want.

Picture This. The smell of coffee fills the air, you grab a seat in a room full of energized people talking excitedly among themselves…

  • To the left is your team — your departments of:
  • Architecture
  • Purchasing
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Who are sitting down & communicating with your:
  • Architectural Designers
  • Structural Engineers
  • Mechanical Engineers
  • Framing
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Energy Experts

Their main objective? Your Success. All these people are assembled here to help you complete your project faster than ever before, while at the same time lowering costs and improving accuracy.

This is Integration, at its finest. But is this even an option? YES. Not only is it possible, the Home Building Industry is finally catching on to this prosperous way of doing business and completing projects. It is called Integrated Project Delivery, or IPD. Coined in 2007 by the AIA California Council http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_project_delivery

IPD, is a results-driven collaboration between all people, processes, and technology. It increases velocity, reduces waste, and maximizes efficiency — the goal is achieving overall project SUCCESS. The people in this meeting make up your IPD dream-team.

They will take you through all of the phases of design, documentation, and final construction.

The results you can expect:

  1. INCREASED VELOCITY: Working collaboratively over the next several months, they will shave weeks/months off of your time-to-market schedule (refer to image).
  2. LOWER COSTS: Your IPD team will substantially reduce costs and improve efficacy by evaluating and perfecting the product development and delivery.
  3. IMPROVED QUALITY: Working together during all stages will ensure an end-product that is higher in quality & accuracy — a product with hardly any error.

So why is IPD important, and what are we currently doing wrong? For the past 50 years, most builders have adopted an ‘a la carte’ method to their home building process —choosing several different companies to complete the different processes, creating a hodge-podge team of different vendors instead of one team (IPD) that works on everything together. What results is a plethora of errors — multiple points of contact and a continuous back-and-forth of communication. Think of the game “telephone” — somehow the message always seems to get messed up. The costs increase, the deadlines change, and a good flow of overall efficiency is lost. Quality and accuracy is on the way out the door, too. And ultimately, the worst potential outcome is a poorly executed product and an unsatisfied home buyer.

Here is an example of an agenda for an IPD-managed project:

  1. Develop Project Agenda
  2. Set Main Project Goals
  3. Set Desired Project Targets
  4. Outline Project Milestones
  5. Create Project Checklists

Just imagine this integration taking place in your company, with your team, right now. This is the quiet revolution that is taking place in the Home Building Industry today, and yes, we at The Contrado Group are at the forefront. 20 years of industry experience has taught us how to embrace the process of integration to achieve the results that our builders want, when they want them.

New HTML5 Interactive Floor Plans

We are very pleased to be getting the notoriety of our new HTML5 Interactive Floor plans! As we approach the International Builders’ Show this month, it’s nice to be able to have articles such the one written by ConstrucTECH (click on picture below for full article):

HTML5 Interactive Floor Plan Article

Start The Dialogue With Future Customers

Engaging At A Prospective Level – Creating Dialogue

Dialogue marketing is a term that has emerged in recent years to describe companies’ efforts to engage willing consumers in an ongoing dialogue to create lasting relationships. For example, based on data, marketers target groups of consumers who exhibit a propensity to buy and invite them to connect with the company in a variety of ways. The engagement process provides value to both the consumer and the company. Marketers use these opportunities as automated data collection points. The companies use the data to further customize their marketing messages and personalize the experience for their consumers and market segments. In exchange for sharing opinions, buying patterns, product preferences, etc., consumers receive perks such as discounts, tips, and free trials as well as appropriate and valuable messaging from the company.

History of Dialogue Marketing

Dialogue marketing can track its roots to permission marketing and relationship marketing, and is similar to engagement marketing and double-loop marketing. A direct reaction to traditional push marketing, the goal of dialogue marketing is to develop ongoing and long-lasting relationships with the right consumers.

Dialogue marketing is based on the premise that engaging consumers in relevant and personal conversations is more important than ever. As technology arms consumers with new ways to ignore messaging, disconnect from branding and disengage from the marketplace altogether; marketers believe that connecting on a personal level with consumers who do or will buy because the company resonates with them helps companies differentiate themselves and stand out as leaders in the marketplace.

Gone Are The Days Of Push Marketing

Online Engagement

When one can provide content online that is of value to a prospective client, they tend to be more inclined to be willing to exchange more information about themselves and their interests. Now more than ever, we have to differentiate ourselves from the sea of information that is online. For example, in order to capture any interest at all, a website must be able to convey the message of a company’s product or services with in six seconds of viewing. On top of that, there needs to be interactive triggers that will engage the viewer. This can as simple as more detailed product information as a link, or as complex as using an interactive floor planning tool.

Interactive Space Planner

Click On Image To Go To Space Planner

We have witnessed but a vast many changes in the way we go to market, from the push marketing styles of the 1950′s to one of engagement through the use of many forms of today’s media. The key to reaching today’s consumer is to first have a product that is right for the targeted demographics. However, this is only the first step of a well thought out market strategy. Part of any successful marketing plan is to be able to have an engaging process that begins the critical first steps of building the initial relationship. This means a marketing plan that has key ingredients which will provide value-based online content to begin the all important beginning steps of the customer relationship – the dialogue.

Hybrid Marketing For Home Builders

Combine Traditional Media with an Interactive Digital Experience

Today we’re seeing a combination of forces merging into a singular platform that allows for a prospective homeowner to be more informed, engaged, and excited about their new home  even before they set foot in the community. With the varied tools available online from social media to interactive floor plans, one can easily get a fairly good grasp of a the type of home they are interested in purchasing. What can trigger this interest is the use of traditional media formats such as T.V., Radio, Print, and Outdoor. However traditional campaigns can be tricky in measuring the return on investment.

With a Hybrid Marketing approach, greater emphasis is placed on the reliance of a prospect seeking key informational components of the buying process. These components can be related to the geographical area, community, plat map, floor plans, and other critical areas to be considered when making a home purchase decision. One of these areas would be the actual floor plan selection and the associative options with that plan. Interactive Floor Plans (IFP) is a perfect way to engage a prospective homeowner online to make various option selections at their leisure.  In making these selections, the prospective client can save their favorite floor plans to their e-mail address which in turn begins the Hybrid Marketing Cycle from a Pull Marketing style approach.

As the saved floor plan is sent to the prospect’s email address, a copy of the saved floor plan is sent to the builder for future reference. Not only does this allow for a better prepared sales agent, but a builder can begin to assess through analytics which types of floor plans and options are right for a given community. With this data, a builder can optimize the right floor plan / option mix in a community and cut costly plan maintenance for under performing floor plans.

Customer Discovery Center – The Meeting of Two Worlds (Digital / Print)

Here’s where the magic takes place! Instead of being handed a registration card as way to gain access into the model park, and agent is already prepared with the floor plans that a prospect has saved. If this is not the case, then an agent can walk the future homeowner through the Customer Discover Center. This is a large format presentation (1080p) on a wide screen of the community, site plan, interactive floor plans, key builder information, and more.

 

The prospect will be given the opportunity to view various floor plans and options. Upon various selections, the agent will then be able to print a customized eBrochure for the client to place into the Hybrid Kit. Of course, before the customized floor plan is printed, the agent asks if the prospetive homeowner would like to have the floor plan saved to their email address. In which case, an eLead has been entered into the sales agent’s system. This same saved floor plan can be forwarded by the prospective homeowner to family and friends which in turn can create referral sales.

With the Customer Discovery Center, Interactive Floor Plans, and Print On Demand, home builders can provide a very engaging platform for prospective home owners that allow for them to control the buying process. Gone are the days of push marketing that relies on factoring a small percentage of success of a massive expensive ad campaign. Now we can rely on solid data of our target market, and focus our valuable marketing resource dollars upon those who are truly interested in purchasing our products.

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