Archive for the ‘Best Practices’ Category

Constellation OnLocation-Warranty Video Posted

Friday, October 15th, 2010
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We just put the finishing touches on the latest OnLocation-Warranty customer experience video.  The video describes our mobile solution for paperless PDI, inspections, and warranty walkthroughs.  Home builders can capture electronic signatures on a tablet device and immediately send deficiency information to the back office system in real-time to create a work order and process backcharges with fewer errors in less time.  Additionally, the signed customer copy is archived in the system for all authorized users to see. This new home warranty and customer service walkthrough software solution for homebuilders is available for NEWSTAR Enterprise.

The Value of a New Home Sales and CRM System

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
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Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with a client and was pleasantly surprised.  The Sales Manager explained that they weren’t currently using all of the features in their new home sales system to capture all the sales information, but then she explained that they did use it for many important functions.  She explained that even though they didn’t use it to its fullest extent, it was still a very helpful tool, and she excitedly described how it recently helped her land a very important sale.

A husband and wife had come into the sales office one day and told her that they had visited and taken a look around a couple of years ago, and liked what they saw, and they were getting closer to being ready to buy.  The Sales Manager welcomed them back, and invited them to take a look around the model, and politely excused herself, saying that she needed to take care of something in her office and that she would be back in just a moment.  She rushed back into her office and pulled up their names in their CRM system, and was able to refresh her memory by reading all of the detailed notes she had recorded during their earlier visits.  She returned to her buyers, and created opportunities to work the pieces of information that she had gathered from their visits 2 years ago, into the conversation.  The prospects felt very special and thought it was absolutely amazing that she remembered so much about them.

The Sales Manager told me that she ultimately closed a sale with them, and that the prospects mentioned they were very impressed with her ability to remember them.  While she recognizes that there were many other factors that impacted the final purchase decision, she was also confident that her effort to enter additional prospect information in the new home sales and CRM system played a large role in landing the sale.

Constellation OnLocation-Warranty Highlighted in Constructech

Thursday, October 7th, 2010
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We have known for a long time that warranty and customer service are extremely important aspects of the home building process.  Constructech highlights this with an article about the benefits of using technology to reduce the time it takes to resolve home owner PDI and customer service issues.  Specifically, home builders can use OnLocation-Warranty to easily track deficiencies and create work orders in a paperless process.  Combined with a powerful back-office system, deficiency tracking and supplier/trade quality control comes to life as well with detailed reports and the ability to backcharge easily. The result is an opportunity to improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs, and improve quality in the eyes of the home owner.

Join the Customer Experience Discussion

Thursday, September 9th, 2010
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Constellation HomeBuilder Systems is pleased to invite you to our first Customer Experience Discussion webinar on September 22nd at 2:00 PM EST.

– Click on the enroll now link to register

This webinar is an open forum discussion for you to share your ideas with several key benefits:

  • Learn how other builders improve the customer experience and increase referrals
  • Learn how different customers perceive quality (trades, home buyers, and employees)
  • Expand your network by connecting and building strong relationships
    with other home builders

Host and Speakers:

  • Brad Brickman, General Manager of Constellation BuildSERV
  • Chip Pennington, Director of Customer Services at Shea Homes
  • Brooks Powell, Home Advisor, Powell Custom Homes & Powell Renovations
  • Charlie Scott, Partner at Woodland, O’Brien & Scott
  • Craig Schweikart, Professional Consultant

Additional Online Resources:

In addition to this online webinar, a new online customer experience discussion forum has been created.  We encourage customer service professionals to login and share best practices and real work experience.

2010 Constellation Virtual Customer Conference is Underway

Monday, May 10th, 2010
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Today is the first of our 5 day virtual customer conference at Constellation HomeBuilder Systems.  We just wrapped up 8 simultaneous product update sessions for each of our major customer bases.  These sessions covered recent enhancements and updates to our award winning software for homebuilders and included a summary of the next generation of homebuilding software.

If  you haven’t registered yet, please register now.  We have guest speakers and industry consultants joining us in sessions for the remainder of the week.  We also have some free training sessions to cover specific topics in each product and help you get the most out of your software investment.

Enjoy the sessions. Learn from the experts. Let us know what you think.

Another Reason to Get Leads into Your Sales System Immediately

Monday, April 26th, 2010
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When your website is hooked up to your sales system in real-time, you can start to analyze data in powerful ways.  Without this real-time integration, you won’t know exactly when the lead came in… it would most likely show up as 50 leads every Monday morning, some of them may have expressed interest almost a week ago. (if they submitted their contact information right after you did the import)

Having said that, here is some aggregate analysis for lead distribution by Day of Week and Time of Day.  If you look at the charts and imagine how this fits in your prospective home buyer’s day, you should be able to decide when you want your sales staff available to answer questions by e-mail or phone and schedule appointments for your sales agents.

Lead Distribution – Day of Week

  1. husband/wife procrastination factor “can you look up that house we saw last weekend?” it looks like it takes a couple of days for the husband/wife to get around to it.

Lead Distribution – Time of Day

  1. Look for homes online around lunch time
  2. During afternoon meetings, before leaving the office, they look for more homes
  3. Driving home and eating dinner, so no looking for homes at this time
  4. Look for more homes after dinner around 7pm.
  5. From 8PM to 10PM, put the kids to bed
  6. Kids are in bed, time to look for homes again.

Note: Although 8AM, doesn’t look like a prime time for leads, there is some opportunity on Monday mornings as you’ll see below.

Lead Distribution – Day of Week and Time of Day

  1. Around noon on Sunday, they look for homes online
  2. They might be driving around looking for homes in the neighbourhoods they like between 1 and 5pm on Sunday.
  3. Around 6pm they look up the homes that they saw on their Sunday drive
  4. At 8 AM on Monday, they get to work and look at more homes.
  5. At 4 PM on Monday they look for more homes before leaving work
  6. On Tuesday at lunch and towards the end of their workday, they look for more homes.
  7. They look for more homes on Tuesday around 10 PM, then they forget about it until Friday as they prepare for their weekend.

Constellation 2010 Virtual Customer Conference

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010
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We have a great virtual customer conference planned for May 10-14th.  This is our largest virtual customer conference ever with over 30 sessions, guest speakers, industry experts, Constellation staff and many opportunities for builders to learn from their peers.

We’ll cover many recent enhancements in our home building software solutions and offer product training sessions as well.  For a detailed agenda and registration information, please click on the link below.

Register Now

News from the 2010 IBS

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
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This year’s IBS was the best year in the past four for Constellation HomeBuilder Systems and the thought was echoed by many builders in attendance. There is a realization that technology will play a much more important role in the builder’s future.

There was talk everywhere about leveraging social media in homebuilding. It is a strategy you should adopt NOW! See what I mean…

One thing I learned is the importance of “claiming your business” on Google. There is a way to enhance the listing of your business on Google including maps, pictures content and even reviews. It is part of the Local Business Center… Who Knew? Check out this link to learn about Claiming your Business.

The response to our new Groundbreaker website solution was phenomenal. If you know you need to update your website or think you may need to change see what Groundbreaker can do for you. Announced at the IBS show Groundbreaker had builder big and small talking and agreeing the unbelievable value it represents.

It was amazing to see the response to the newest product in the Constellation HomeBuilder Systems line of ERP solutions. HomeDev is a project management and job cost system developed for the small builder and remodeler. It uses Microsoft tools and works with QuickBooks. Many builders stated clearly “this is exactly what we have been waiting for”.

BuildSoft Pro was introduced at the IBS as well. Current BuildSoft users were stopped dead in their tracks when we showed them the new product and how it will help them better manage job costs and complete projects on time.

Converting Website Prospects to Buyers

Monday, September 28th, 2009
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A couple months ago Builder G, not their real name, decided to change the way they follow-up with internet leads. They are already a successful builder, but this is still a big step for their company and their staff. Everyone involved in this will learn how to use the internet differently, identify and follow-up with prospects more consistently, and manage their sales teams more effectively. They will make better use of Constellation’s home building software.  I hope we learn a lot as well and we’ll share it with other builders in the Constellation family. 

For most builders, the time is right to make this improvement.  There is some optimism in the market, websites have probably been neglected, more potential home buyers are getting their information online, the length of the new home buying process has increased, and many large builders are attributing their recent success to a better website sales process.

Builder G will make the following changes:

  1. update their existing website so that it is easier for prospects to obtain community/lot/model/upgrade details and provide contact information
  2. utilize one employee to follow-up with all internet prospects immediately to provide friendly information and schedule sales agent appointments
  3. utilize their existing sales system to track each prospect and ensure that only qualified prospects are provided to sales agents

Builder G hopes to obtain the following results:

  1. obtain more prospects from their existing websites (pre-registration and existing communities)
  2. ensure that all prospects are the responsibility of one person and that their marketing database is properly maintained for future prospect campaigns
  3. use the software from Constellation to follow industry best practices and track every prospect from start to finish

We’ll let you know how it goes.

Online Marketing and Prospect Follow-up Best Practices

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009
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Just a quick announcement to let everyone know that the recording from our online marketing prospect follow-up session with Mike Lyon is available for viewing.

In this presentation, Mike does a great job talking about the changing habits of new home buyers and explains some practical approaches builders can follow to increase the number of new home sales.

To summarize, it’s all about:

  1. providing quick, personal follow-up for all online prospects
  2. ongoing periodic communication (e-mail, phone calls)
  3. bringing online prospects into the sales office

Fortunately, Constellation has sales and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions to help with this.  We can bring prospect information from your website into your sales system automatically, provide website redesign services, and even help builders go live with a new website very quickly. For example, Kaplan Companies and Stylecraft Builders have used our services to create some amazing websites that are optimized for search engine results.

We would like to thank Mike for conducting the webinar. He speaks with authority about the conversion rates a builder can expect and best practices that can be implemented to boost sales from internet leads. He is also the author of Browsers to Buyers:Proven Strategies for Selling New Homes Online, the home building industry’s authoritative guide on internet marketing, lead generation and leads management.

To learn more about Mike and how he can help your organization, you can visit www.doyouconvert.com.

Direct link: Online Marketing and Prospect Follow-up Best Practices