Condo sales and marketing haven't traditionally been in lockstep. Marketing sat on one side of the office, doing the creative: creating content and visuals, setting up pitches, and planning for trade shows. On the other side was the sales team, doing cold-calls and otherwise working the phones. This is old school sales and marketing in a nutshell: buying lists, calling the C-suite, and hoping to convert even a handful of customers out of thousands of leads in your database. This approach hasn't worked well, or at all, for years. Power is in the hands of the condo buyer. In condo sales and marketing companies across the US, marketing has started to transform to remain relevant with this shift in buyer behavior. But sales has not.
Inbound sales is where that transformation's heading.
But sales and marketing can best adapt to changes in the US condo market by transforming together. In fact, there's no other way to remain relevant in today’s buyer context. Here are four areas to focus on.
1) Aim Smarter: Intelligently Target Accounts
In the old world of outbound condo sales, the top of your sales funnel was filled with purchased lists of supposedly good-fit leads. The lists would be turned over to sales and marketing. They would blast that list with cold calls, direct mail, and waves of spam until 1% or fewer leads admitted they need to buy your condo. Inbound marketing flips this Fit/Pain model on its head, and in doing so, avoids all the fruitless spam and unnecessary cold calls. The pain is identified before any of that can be done; only people who actually need a condo and are great candidates to buy yours enter the top of the funnel. They wouldn’t have downloaded your ebook, read that blog post, or conducted the Google search if they didn't feel the pain.
The issue is, not all these leads are good fits. Yes, some are condo investors in the US looking for great condos to rent. Perfect! But others are Ph.D. students doing research, and your ebook turned out to be a good resource. They will never buy your condo. The key here is to filter leads before passing them to sales. If you generate 1000 inbound leads per month, 200 of which are a good fit, and pass all 1,000 leads to sales, you've missed the point (and sales will be very frustrated). However, if you only pass the 200 good fit leads, sales will think you are the best marketing team in the world. They will ask your CEO to invest more in you.
2) Prospect Smarter: Research, Monitor, and Lead With Their Context
About 99% of the time, I get the exact same voicemail from a company. It's difficult to pay any attention to that. By the time a lead gets contacted by sales, he or she is already 57% of the way through the sales process, but most often a salesperson calls as if the lead has never heard of your condo project before. At the beginning of the prospecting process, sales needs to leverage the buyer’s context, who they are and what stage in the buying process they are at.
There are three things you need to do to transform your condo sales organization’s prospecting:
- Research your lead effectively – most companies are good at getting the prospective condo buyer's name and contact information, but this tells only a little about their context with your company. Research your inbound lead contact in social media to learn about who they are. Where do they currently live? Do they have a family? What do they do for a living, or for fun? How long have they been at the company? Equip your sales people with intelligence about the lead. Your CRM should be able to tell you what led them to your company--was it Google, social media, a blog post? What phrase did they search on in Google to find you? Which blog articles have they read? Which emails did they receive and which ones did they open?
- Monitor the lead’s interactions with your communications. When I visit most companies' website, open the email they sent me, or mention them in social media, crickets. If a sales person is about to invest weeks or even months in engaging with a prospect, they need to have the tools to know when the prospect is engaging with them. This includes knowing when a lead is opening your emails, visiting your website, or talking about you, your competition, or your industry in social media. If this type of engagement occurs, your team should reach out and ask how they can help.
- When making the call, lead with the buyer’s context, not the elevator pitch. An example: “Hey Anna, this is Roman from N5R. I noticed you downloaded our ebook to get more leads from Facebook. I looked at your company’s Facebook profile and have a few tips on how you can make it more lead-generation-friendly. I’ll email you these tips. Give me a call if you’d like to walk through them.”
3) Connect Smarter: Change How Your Condo Sales and Marketing Teams Interact With Leads
Old school salespeople call high with an elevator pitch, as per their training. They tend to focus their pitches on general ideas about the needs of a given condo buying demographic, and work with those educated guesses. However, a pitch that isn't directed at the individual can sound too general. Make sure sales gets the context they need to appeal to the individual being called.
So, which individual do you call? One classic blunder in US condo marketing is to assume that a husband is the head of buying decisions. The fact is, if you make the wife/mother happy, you're 99.99% guaranteed to make the sale. There are a variety of different kinds of marriages out there, so let's get around the husband/wife language and call this person the Influencer.
If you do get the influencer on the phone, lead with their context. “Hi, Shannon. I noticed you downloaded our eBook on lead generation through Facebook. What specific questions did you have?” Listen to their questions, help them, build trust. Once you have their trust, weave in questions about their personal context. “Where are you living at the moment? What one thing would you improve about it, if you could? What kind of space would you prefer?”
Help them first and they are more likely to help you by providing more context about themselves.
4) Look Smarter: Change How Leads Perceive Your Sales Team
Make your sales organization human again.
Inbound sales gives you the opportunity to change the way prospects perceive your salespeople. All too often, condo salespeople have interrupted prospects, pitched their development, and closed hard. That doesn’t work anymore. Your prospects can get information about your product, competition, and price right off the website. Why, then, do we even need condo salespeople?
Your sales team must become trusted advisors, helping prospects to understand why living in your condo would make life so much better for them. Try these two techniques to make that transformation happen.
- Train your condo salespeople to experience their prospects’ lives. This helps them put themselves in their prospects’ shoes and know how to speak with them.
- Help your condo sales team build up their personal brand as a thought leader in your space. Make it easy for your sales team to participate in your blog, eBooks, and the social media conversations in your space.
The best way to know you've succeeded is when selling feels more like the relationship between a doctor and a patient and less like a relationship between a salesperson and a prospect. When you go in to see your doctor and she asks you about your symptoms, you tell her the truth -- you trust that she can diagnose your problem and prescribe the right medication. When she says, this is what you have, take these pills, you don’t say, “let me think about it” or “can I get 20% off?” -- you take the medication! It's no longer about interrupting, pitching, and closing. It is about listening, diagnosing, and prescribing.
The best way to learn more about the realities of condo sales and marketing in 2016 is to download the 2016 Developer's Guide. Get it free today.
N5R's goal is to help innovative real estate developers accelerate the world's transition from single family homes to more efficient and sustainable multi-family residences with a full range of powerful and proven sales and marketing strategies powered by technology."I thoroughly enjoyed the days we spent training with Roman, I have already applied a lot of the things he taught us to my daily routine. I am now extremely motivated to see how well I can push myself." - Jordan Williams, Project Consultant