Charlie Scott has more than 25 years of hands-on homebuilding experience, much of this in senior management positions with an award-winning, nationally recognized Midwest builder. He credits a "Voice of the Customer" firm as instrumental in his homebuilding company's strategic growth and success. Today, Charlie is an owner of that "Voice of the Customer" firm – Woodland, O’Brien & Scott – and helps North American home builders grow their own customer-centric cultures, pursue operational excellence, and increase referral sales. Charlie
I often wondered why a consulting friend of mine wrote of his miserable air travel experiences, and now I get it. The airline industry, with its product and personnel scenarios are a reasonable proxy for the homebuilding industry. How? Read on.
As a Platinum level patron, I am often “upgraded” to first class. It is amazing how different the first class experience can be on the same airline, aircraft, and route. All else being equal, what is the determining factor? It is the personnel, of course!
Take for instance
The bottom of the market is clearly in and most builders know it, especially those that attended the International Builder Show (IBS) in Orlando, February 7-11th. At IBS 2012, there were scores of great programs on red hot topics like Social Media Strategies, Marketing Must Dos, Lean and Green best practices, and much more.
December is often the time of year that many home building companies finalize their 2012 goals and budgets. Management meticulously reviews past sales performances, hard costs, personnel budgets, etc., and set both goals and budgets for 2012. Once each line item is discussed and approved, these bugeteers ask managers to sign off on this plan as their commitment to 2012 excellence. Seldom do we see customer satisfaction goals handled with this same degree of foresight and commitment. Why is this?
When we look into our car’s rearview mirror we see where we have been, as well as the distant horizon; the vanishing point of times past. In the home building industry’s rear view mirror, I gladly see the depths of home building’s bottom slipping over the horizon. What makes me think so?
First, many sectors of the economy and their metrics are undeniably improving - employment, consumer spending, household formations, and most importantly, consumer sentiment. A long time ago, I remember doing a detailed study which plotted numerous economy and industry data p
The 2011 “Black Friday” sales numbers are in and show a pleasantly surprising 16% gain in year-over-year retail sales! Some economists, pollsters, and industry “experts” expected consumerism to be flat or even down this year; proving once again that rational surveys do not accurately capture consumer emotions.
Here are two Black Friday observations – first, asking consumers a rational rating question, i.e.
To home builders, speed is a highly valued commodity. It is not unusual to hear home builders boast about fast build cycles, lightening fast product development, near real-time custom pricing quotes, etc., right? Yes, it seems we are laser focused on, and maybe even addicted to speed in developing land, designing plans, and quoting homes, but is this speed really important to the customer? That is a tough question that I can't answer, but here's a speed question I can.
The idea of running a 100 mile race ten years ago was as inconceivable and foreign to me as the possibility of a 6 year real estate crash. As it turned out, last month I got to experience both of these.
While making sales presentations to three of our four most recent prospective clients, we were hired on the spot – three times! On the first two occasions, we did not have our start-up paperwork and consulting agreements on hand and ready to go. We had become conditioned over the past three years to home builders requesting a proposal, mulling it over ad nausea, requesting more information, etc. Even proven, time-tested, high return investments were being delayed for ‘safety sake.’ Many older-school builders were totally focused on reactive, ‘
“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” — Confucius
Want an excellent book to read? Try Dov Seidman’s “How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything... in Business (and in Life).”
This book wonderfully describes how products and services can easily be copied by competitors. The only “thing” that the competition cannot copy is human behavior — how you do what you do. As such, Seidman theorizes that the only way to consistently outperform the competition is to out-behave the competition.