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The Value of a Customer
Sun 07/16/06 05:37:25 pm
by Jerry Rouleau

How do you value your customers? Do you sell them a home and then go on to the next sale? To really succeed in business, it is key to fully understand the value of a customer.  Most people are short sighted and look at a customer as an income, profit margin, or a commission. 

Customers are your biggest assets. They not only pay your salary or commission when they buy a home from you, but it can continue to help with the success of your business, if you treat them right.   

Consider the value of your customer, from the public relations standpoint. Word of mouth advertising, and the good will of your customers talking about their experience after they have worked with you and your company, can be the best advertisement. Customers are an investment in your company’s future! 

How often do you follow up with customers in the first year, after their new home purchase? I would hope it would be 3 or 4 times. If you’re afraid to call a customer because there might be a problem, that’s the very reason you need to be in touch! 

Let’s just use a fictitious number to determine the value of each customer. Let’s just say a customer is worth $20,000 to a company, when they buy a home from you. From there you need to add the public relations value, and the word of mouth advertising value, of a customer talking you up. Then add the value of your customer referrals, that turn into a sale.  

Using the fictitious number, I would estimate that a customer’s worth to your firm, is about $50,000.  You do your own math and estimates, and see what you come up with. The $50,000 number is probably low! What if a customer sends you multiple referrals, that turn into sales over time? If you were worth $50,000 to a potential company, what kind of service and after sale contact, would you expect? 

Keep in mind, that the cost of getting a sale, costs x dollars. Getting referrals from that sale just doesn’t happen by accident, you must work it.  There is a cost to getting referrals, but it’s really not an expense, it’s an investment that pays a high return.  When you start understanding the value of the customer and pay attention to them and their needs, you’ll find the return will be even greater than you can expect. 

Why not invest a few more dollars, and double or triple your money? You can get a 5 times better return, by investing in your customer, than you could get by increasing your margin 5%. 

In order for this to really work for your company, all your front line employees and subs, need to understand the value of a customer. Brainstorm with your team, and get creative on how you can service your customers better and more often. Once you establish a mindset of how important a customer is, you’ll see how easy it is to build your business. 

Questions for you to contemplate:

  • How well do you know each individual, potential customer?
  • Do you know what they need, in order for them to buy from you?
  • Do you know what their needs are, once you have received the deposit?
  • Do you know what their needs are, while their house is under construction?
  • Do you know what their needs are, once they have moved in?
  • What kind of emotions are they going through, during each stage of the buying process and construction?
  • How do your customers feel about you and your firm, after the sale?
  • What are some of the creative ways of staying in touch?

Consider the critical time frame in which a customer places a deposit for their home, until the time they move in. This time frame becomes the major focus of their everyday life. This is the time, when the issue and discussion of their new home under construction, is a key part of most of their conversations.  This is a time, that you can build the strongest bond between you and the customer. This is a time, when customer service has the greatest effect in building your business. Remember, the price of an unhappy customer can cost you additional service expenses, and it will. It can cost you a lot of future business! 

How about those customers I call evangelists, the ones that praise your business and service?  The ones that constantly give you referrals on a regular basis.  What little extra things do you do, to thank them? Remember, the more referrals you get from past customers, the lower your advertising costs will be! 

Next time the phone rings, think about the caller as the individual who will pay your salary or commission.  Put your ego aside, and understand that the only reason you are in business, is because you have a product and service, that the customer needs and wants. 

Best of sales success!  

About the author:

Jerry specializes in working with builders, housing companies and building product suppliers, in the area of sales, marketing and public relations. Jerry has been featured on the Today Show and in People Magazine. Special feature home projects that he has been involved in have been seen in USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers, radio, TV, industry trade publications and specialty consumer magazines like Country Living, House Beautiful, Country Home, and Home Magazine. 

For more information on his book “Selling New Homes: Sales & Marketing Workbook for Million-Dollar Producers”, check out his web site: Jerry can be reached at 860 589-7391 or by e-mail at: [email protected]

The Complete Guide To Selling New Homes
by Jerry Rouleau

The Complete Guide To Selling New Homes is a step by step strategy that is guaranteed to improve your sales process. Generate more traffic to model homes while learning valuable information that will impact your business.

  • Increase results
  • Improve performance
  • Attend targeted seminars on New Home Sales
  • Achieve better productivity
  • Break out of the box
  • Get the name of your business in print through public relations
  • Increase consumer recognition of your product
  • This 200-page workbook covers all the key elements of selling new homes.

    Jerry's sales tools give you the competive edge in overcoming objections and closing the sale, screening and qualifying, question selling model merchandising and advertising. This is an encyclopedia of new home selling information. If you sell new homes this book is a toll everyone on your team must have.

    Table Of Contents

    Chapter 1: Human Relations

    Chapter 2: Model Homes

  • Model Home Set-up Checklist
  • Working a Model Home
  • Body Language & Dress Code
  • Showing the Model
  • Model Maintenance Checklist
  • Model Merchandising
  • Merchandising the Interior
  • Merchandising Tips & Ideas

    Chapter 3: Sales Aides & Sales Tools

    Chapter 4: Question Selling

  • Advantages of Question Selling

    Chapter 5: Screening & Qualifying

  • Lead Qualifying
  • Developing Creative Questions
  • Lead Follow-Up
  • Follow-up Time Frame & Tools
  • Creating Be-backs

    Chapter 6: Telephone Techniques

  • Telephone Techniques
  • Sample Phone Follow up Questions

    Chapter 7: First Appointments

  • Reasons for First Appointments
  • Utilizing Customer Recap Sheet

    Chapter 8: Finance Qualifying

  • Working with Financial Institutions Ballpark-finance Qualifying

    Chapter 9: Objections & Closings

  • Closing the Sale & Testimonials
  • Buying Signals
  • Closing Tips and Techniques

    Chapter 10: Advertising

  • Setting up an Advertising Budget
  • Developing Ad Copy
  • Do´s & Don´ts of Advertising
  • Advertising Sources

    Chapter 11: Sales Activities

  • Home Show Selling
  • New-home-planning seminars
  • House Raising, Parade of Homes
  • Promotional Activities that Generate Traffic

    Chapter 12: Public Relations

  • Benefits of a PR Campaign
  • What Makes a Story
  • Writing Press Releases

    Chapter 13: Business Plans

  • Setting up a Business Plan
  • Marketing Plan Checklist
  • Determining Home-buyer Needs
  • Game-plan Worksheet
  • Fast Track Sales & Marketing Plan
  • Sample Eighteen-month Plan

    Chapter 14: Miscellaneous

  • Customer Service
  • Time Management
  • Time Robbers
  • Controlling Procrastination
  • Goal Setting
  • Four Elements of a Goal
  • Types of Goals
  • Hiring Sales Personnel
  • Resume & Interviewing Tips
  • Hiring Pitfalls
  • Job Performance Review
  • Sales Job Description

    Chapter 15: Resources

  • What readers have to say about the workbook.

    " While most books on home selling and marketing are out of date before they hit the bookstores, this book has timeless advice that will keep you successful for decades."
    Charles Bevier,Editor, Building Systems Magazine

    “Great information! You can never revisit the fundamentals of selling too often. Thanks for taking the time to put together such a useful guide."
    David Allaire, C. M. Allaire & Sons, Inc.

    “I just received your book, and its great. It´s many things that I already know but its great to have in writing to read over and over. It also confirms what I have been telling my staff, now they can see its not just my point of view. Thank so much for the quick shipment. I will refer this to other people that I know in the field."
    Judy Owens, Wery Quality Homes

    “Jerry covers all the bases with this book. Our sales team has learned volumes from his teachings. It´s a very hands-on, practical approach."
    Bill Dudley, President, Carolina Model Homes and Homeworks Custom Builders


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