By Erica Christoffer, Contributing Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
For all those who have been burned by the economic downturn, the “Success Out of Ashes” session of the International Builders’ Show Wednesday provided some advice for getting back on track.
John Geoffroy, president of Atlanta-based Construction Data Control, was one of three panelists who shared how he has found success through 42 years of industry ups and downs.
Connect With Customers: Write cards or pick up the phone and call past clients – let them know you are still in business; let them know you are survivors.
Talk With Your Staff: Brainstorm ideas with your team and be creative. Consider diversification, such as refurbishing foreclosed homes. “There is an opportunity here for someone,” Geoffroy says.
Rethink Your Plans: When are you losing money? Do you need to approach your business differently? Geoffroy emphasizes cutting unnecessary office costs. Do more online.
Go Green: Understand what consumers want and what they are talking about. Buyers are educated today, Geoffroy says, so be able to explain what green is and know how your clients are going to save money in energy costs. Consider writing a white paper on each house that explains the green aspects, why it’s sensitive to the environment, and the cost savings.
Know Your Customers: Today, quality and reliability is triumphing over quantity and extravagances. People are shopping seriously because budgets are not what they used to be, Geoffroy says.
“If you think things are bad, you have company,” said Bill Allen, owner of a management consulting company that focuses on the home building industry. He estimated an overall 15 percent drop in net profits nationwide. “And the economy is not turning around quickly.”
In addition to Geoffroy’s recommendations, Allen suggests recruiting members to your sales team who have a little “street smarts” in the community. It will help you gain credibility and notoriety.
And practice makes perfect. Facilitate practice sessions with your co-workers and practitioners.
For more coverage from the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, also visit our Styled, Staged & Sold blog.