Sales training and management guru Bob Schultz offers a blueprint for improving your sales and marketing efforts.
Business guru Tom Peters long ago pronounced that leaders in business must relentlessly strive to increase revenue while simultaneously reducing unnecessary costs. I suggest that while accomplishing this, it is critical to do both without sacrificing integrity, quality, or sound business practices, and to wisely invest financial and human resources for the maximum ROI.
This is the theme and focus of a series of live, hard-hitting, fast-paced seminars being produced by Professional Builder in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders, the first of which will be in Raleigh, N.C., on December 12 (Click here  for more information). I’m honored and excited to be working with Scott Sedam as a featured presenter for this timely and important topic for our industry. Here is a preview of what I will present.
Home builders are primarily engaged in at least these business activities:
• The manufacturing business
• The marketing business
• The retail business (sales)
• The financial and administrative business
• The customer experience and satisfaction business.
Constantly ask yourself: Doing what we’re doing, the way we’re presently doing it, how many sales and how much revenue and profit are we missing? And how much money are we wasting in the process? Competence will not be accomplished through change, which is an event, but rather through transformation, which takes place over time.
If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process you don’t know what you’re doing.
With that said, here are my 13 sales and marketing strategies for 2013:
1. Understand where you are now — evaluate your sales organization, assess your market position, and evaluate and assess your website, marketing, and advertising programs for effectiveness. It’s not about the advertisement or the website; it’s about having the correct strategy.
2. Hire and retain only the right people — hire using a methodical process of elimination, not by instinct, intuition, or feelings. Always topgrade, build bench strength, and never be held “hostage” by an employee.
3. Utilize a targeted compensation program — do not use a percentage of gross sales price as a basis. Sales compensation should be targeted to levels of profitability. Target quarterly objectives and provide other targeted incentives.
4. Provide proper staffing — remember, you are in the retail business, not real estate. That means you need to be open for the convenience of the customer, not the convenience of the company, and provide adequate representation for traffic generated during retail hours.
5. Establish and maintain a culture of sales education and training with high accountability — understand the criteria, implement the processes and systems for effective training, and inspect what you expect (i.e., role-play, mystery video shopping evaluations, customer-in-process analysis, and follow-through activity). Finally, be willing to be “unreasonable” with your sales team.
6. Properly price land premiums — let price differential direct inventory control, and don’t sell off all the good lots too fast.
7. Sell more options — think retail and train all personnel on how to sell options.
8. Don’t go crazy with buyer incentives — create incentives through a solid strategy, not a knee-jerk reaction to the marketplace. Don’t follow the herd.
9. Establish and maintain an extraordinarily high standard for franchise excellence — embrace the concept; set the standards; establish a senior sales council; hold franchise meetings frequently and consistently; manage contingencies; and measure and improve.
10. Develop a passion for the critical business numbers — you can’t manage, and therefore improve, what you do not measure. Constantly measure and analyze sales activity against pre-determined goals and by conversion ratio, using an automated customer relationship management system. Constantly measure and analyze the cost of traffic generation and sales by source and by activity. And if social networking activities are not producing a reasonable amount of contact information, it is “social not working.”
11. When placed in command, take charge — be proactive, be willing to be “unreasonable,” and think “tough love” sales management.
12. “Sales generate revenue. The sales organization is the CRP.”
13. Take action — plan it, then do it.
Bob Schultz is president and CEO of Bob Schultz & The New Home Sales Specialists, a management consulting and sales firm based in Boca Raton, Fla. Schultz is the author of two best-selling books, “The Official Handbook for New Home Salespeople” and “Smart Selling Techniques,” and was named a Legend of Residential Marketing by the NAHB. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.