I met with a major Builder in our city a few days ago, and he said something that really got my attention.
We were discussing new upcoming development areas, and specifically, one particular area that will be very popular when it comes to the market.
The Builder confirmed that his company will be involved, along with a small contingency of Builders of his stature. But his next statement shocked me.
He predicted there will be a LOT fewer builders in the marketplace by the time this development comes on stream.
This was no idle speculation. I have lived through several marketplace “adjustments” and I have seen several very prominent, well established, seemingly solid Builders just disappear overnight in a fog of unpaid accounts and unfinished projects. All it takes is some unwise management decisions along with market pressures. Think 2008! When sales drop to zero a Builder’s overhead begins to drag everything...
I picked up a picture frame today, to display a certificate I earned a year ago with our local Homebuilders Association. I have a spot picked out for it in my office, as a reminder that I invested in myself so that I can return the benefit investing in others.
Tradesmen invest in safety courses as a requirement, in many cases, to maintain their certification, especially if they are foremen or women with responsibility over others.
Sometimes we don’t realize the accumulating benefits of training, skill development, and learning on the job by taking on a variety of projects or tasks.
Kolin was struggling in his job, feeling overwhelmed as the business he worked for went through a sea of changes. I mentored him for several years, and every time he had an opportunity to upgrade his skills, he took it. The problem was not with Kolin, the problem was outside his control. So many good trades and managers can relate, judging by the various conversations I have...
Had a great conversation with Erdman, a friend of mine that is a super skilled finishing carpenter. He is so in demand that when I asked him in June if he could help me with a project, his answer was “yes, if you can wait until October!” Great guy, but so in demand its hard to get him.
Erdman was excited to show me his photos of a renovation he just finished, on his own home. Sure, the cabinetry was amazing, the finishing details were all top notch. But what got Erdman excited was that this one small job introduced him to acting as a general contractor, co-ordinating all the trades, suppliers, inspectors, and working with the customer (his wife Adina!)
Why was he excited? Well, he just crossed the threshold between just being a great tradesman and becoming a general contractor. And he was feeling powerful as a result!
Moving from your comfort zone in any trade or skill, and taking it to the next level, is both scary and...
If you are following my blog, you know that I made a pivot in 2008 and hired a New Home Sales Rep, and that move saved our bacon in so many ways.
But let me give you the backstory. Up to that point, we had been served very well by several highly respected Realtors, one of whom is a great friend to this day. These Realtors got us started in our market areas, and opened doors while giving us the needed credibility while we grew our brand. They did nothing wrong at any time and served us well. But then the crash happened.
In 2008 I recall we were motoring along at a good pace and suddenly, in September of that year, everything went away. That fall I returned deposits on all the sales we had in the pipeline, and we did not have a whisper of a sale all through the fall and early winter.
In December of that year, I was approached by a New Home Sales Rep, who was staffing one of my competitor’s show homes. To be honest, I...
using licensed Real Estate Agents to sell contracts to build custom homes. The same would apply for other types of construction, but lets focus on new home sales, specifically new homes to-be-built.
Real estate agents are trained to list homes, and market them using MLS, social media, open houses, and the like. They usually attend weekly (and sometimes daily) training sessions, especially at the beginning of their career. The successful realtor (10% of them) will follow the track they are trained to run on, developing a portfolio of listings and a network of co-operating agents.
To a Realtor, the builder’s Show Home is just another listing opportunity, as is any product that the builder is currently constructing and which can be “shown” physically to a potential buyer. The traffic in the Show Home, to a Realtor, is a parade of potential listings and, more than that, potential buyers who need to find a suitable...
I could write multiple blogs on this one subject. There is no magic formula, from a builder’s perspective, but both types of sales reps have their limitations and their strong points.
Realtors: Within the licensed real estate world, there are effective sales leaders (no more than 10% of the licensed reps) and then there are the 90% who struggle. All of them dress the part, talk the part, and carry the same business cards.
Lest you think I am biased, I grew a very successful custom home building business from scratch with the help of realtors. I specifically chose a realtor whose reputation was impeccable, when the market did not know my name. they knew his name, and I unashamedly benefitted from his integrity and the value he and his team brought to the table.
At a different time in our growth, we were experiencing drastic sales (2008 market crash) and I knew we had to make big changes to how we were approaching our niche. I...
We see many examples of Builders doing their own sales, and for many of them, it is certainly a good way to develop business. No doubt about it, the public likes to sit down with the owner, the decision-maker, and these individuals can provide very quick feedback on pricing and other key questions.
In fact, many times I have done exactly this. When sales were slowing down, from time to time I would jump into the show home for a season and interact directly with the flow of traffic. Every time I did that it helped fill the sales funnel with prospects to talk to, and when I would hand the leads back to the licensed sales staff they would start closing deals with regularity.
This works especially well for the small builder, the five-to-ten homes a year level of the building. This builder has the time available to spend in multiple meetings with prospects, carefully massaging the plans and the budget until what emerges is a contract that satisfies...
Working with prospects for a new home or a renovation is very much a dance….one that can easily get off on the wrong foot.
In today’s connected world, prospects usually know more about you than you think they do, even before that first meeting. They know if anyone has written a google complaint against you, they know what their friends say about you, and they “know” just enough to make them nervous in a process that is foreign and scary to them as buyers.
That’s a huge uphill campaign to gain the high ground. And it can’t be won exclusively through social media.
Let me burst a bubble I see developing all around me. Some builders think social media is the big answer to drawing in sales. That is like throwing a fishing lure into the water, with no line attached and no rod and reel. just a shiny lure. Imagine it floating past a school of fish, doing its job attracting the eye of the roving...
Retirement! Not a word I use much, although I am well past what is considered retirement age in our country. Reading a good book this morning about navigating change, how we resist change, and the need to change to keep up with culture. Interesting stuff.
But I stuck my toe into “retirement” last week. A major account I was coaching, Discovery Homes, had reached a true milestone, lots of celebration going on, cheers all around. In the midst of it, a thought came to me. Perhaps this is the best time to “retire”, when we’re on top, ahead, and winning. So I did.
It's not so much a matter of letting a major account go, as getting my time back. Today I am packing for a business leadership conference in Florida, where my wife and I will meet some new friends, be refreshed with new inspiration, and soak in a little sun while we’re at it. Kind of a...
Its hard to know you are making progress, sometimes, even from the Coach’s perspective. Team Coaching is one of our specialities, and for the past 6+ months the team in the photo has been working through a major business transition and shift. Sometimes it feels like we’re not moving ahead, sometimes frankly it feels like we’re losing ground, but then comes a day like today. As a coach, my buttons were popping all night as the entire homebuilding industry in Manitoba gathered in the prestigious MHBA Parade of Homes Gala celebration to celebrate a Big Win for Discovery Homes.
The backstory is a business in transition, new owners, new staff, new vision. In the midst of that mix, throw in a decision to build a brand new show home in 90 days and enter it against the best of the best in Manitoba’s builder community. The odds were indeed stacked against us.
When our category came up, and I saw the...