TRANSCRIPT (Note: This is a PowerPoint presentation with audio and is understood best when viewed in the video format above):
Hello, my name is Ben Keal, and I am the Director of Sales and Operations for PCR. PCR is also known as PrivateCommunities.com. We have been around since 1996 helping generate real estate leads and web traffic for lifestyle communities all over the country. What I wanted to share with everyone today is some insight that we have on the buyer behavior of our specific demographic, so we’ll jump right into it.
Why 55 plus buyers are searching for a lifestyle, not just a home. I put this together to introduce some ideas for salespeople and marketing professionals to understand the motivation of the consumer. From our perspective, the 45 to 65 plus buyer is an empty nester or soon to be. They are preparing for their retirement or they’re currently retired, and they may be considering a second home or even a vacation property to share with their families.
Lifestyle Consumers Are Active. Typically, what motivates this buyer is what the community can offer them in addition to the home. If it’s just countertops and cabinets and flooring that you’re selling, you may want to shift your process to be a little bit more focused on qualifying. What are their hot buttons when it comes to choosing a community? For lifestyle consumers, amenities are extremely important. Health and fitness are very strong in this modern age. People like to stay active. They like to stay as young as possible. Don’t we all? Social clubs and gatherings – So many marketers and salespeople are using social media. Think of it from the consumer’s perspective. They want to be able to insert themselves into a community that offers a lifestyle. Immediate friendships, immediate activities and so forth. And last but not least, if your community and homes that you’re offering are low maintenance and turnkey, so they can lock and go to visit family and grandkids, that’s a strong position to be in.
Search habits of a lifestyle consumer. Everybody knows that grandma and grandpa have Facebook. They know how to use technology. They have been using computers for a very long time. They’re searching Google, and they’re searching all the other major search engines, and as they search, you have to understand that they’re starting probably with keywords around the lifestyle. Lifestyle consumers do research a lot. Many of you that may be online sales coordinators or salespeople may get duplicate leads. We hear this quite often that some of the leads that we send to our clients they’ve already had in their database. The reason for that is that these people are very thorough. They want to take their time to make sure that they’re making proper buying decisions. If you get a duplicate lead, do not discount it. That just means that they’re nibbling at the bait. They are very interested in what you have to offer.
Mature Consumers are Experienced Buyers. With this slide, we gather this information from one of our consumer surveys trying to understand the motivations of these buyers. Since we’ve been in business for so long, we’ve got a fairly large database of folks who are willing to share their insights.
When you’re selling a house, I understand that you’re selling the features and benefits of that house. But what matters a lot to this age-targeted buyer is what is it going to cost to live in the neighborhood? Hoa costs, carrying costs, memberships. Also, proximity to everything; proximity to their health care, proximity to airports to travel and visit family and friends or experiences. Obviously, entertainment and shopping are on that list. Last but not least, be prepared to understand and answer questions about taxes. These lifestyle consumers are eventually going to be on a fixed income, so they need to know exactly where their money should be spent.
Lifestyle Buyers Have a Longer Sales Cycle. No matter how great you are at your job, understand that there may be other factors that motivate them to hold back. We understand that some people are a little skittish when it comes to economic issues, but more importantly, they may also have other homes that they had to liquidate before they can make a commitment. They’re shopping a lot of different communities, so they’re going to do their due diligence. But consumers do engage in many places. I want to emphasize this. We know from our experience with some friendly competitors and other resources that at the end of the day, this buyer will use multiple portal sites, use social media, they receive marketing emails. It’s an influx of information that they need to digest, so make sure you’re tracking that information if they do engage multiple resources with multiple source codes in your CRM; that’s specifically for marketers.
Discovery Packages Are Effective Sales Tools. This is extremely helpful for the communities on our site, communities that offer an opportunity to invite a consumer to their property to see it firsthand. I’m sure most of the salespeople listening to this will understand and agree that if you get the buyer to the property, your opportunity for a sale goes up dramatically. Make sure you’re prepared for that buyer. Showing them the floor plans and the models and the countertops and the cabinets is a great benefit for you, but at the end of the day, make sure you understand how to really sell the community as a whole.
Focus on Qualifying Lifestyle Buyers. I’m not telling you how to do your job. I just know from experience in sales, qualification is probably one of the strongest sales skills that you should learn. If you focus on where they’re coming from, when they’re going to buy, how much are they willing to spend, which are all those typical questions you’re going to ask, then focus on what their lifestyle goals are. Where are they going to see themselves in the next three to five years, and can you fulfill that goal?
Fill the Sales Funnel. When you fill the sales funnel, researchers do buy. Think of it this way, if, if Joe Smith from Schenectady, New York is filling out a form for $350,000 house, he’s probably not doing it for fun as he’s a legitimate buyer; however, he’s searching multiple platforms and multiple ways to search for his goal of a perfect community and perfect house. There’s a lot of competition out there, so nurture, nurture, nurture. We hear this all the time. Sales Reps will call a lead once, maybe twice; email once, maybe twice, and then they claim that the lead is not viable. The reality is, in this game you have got to nurture, nurture, nurture, especially with these age-targeted buyers. Marketers and salespeople don’t give up and understand that if you keep feeding that funnel you’re going to be successful with these buyers.
Lifestyle Buyers in Summary. In summary, the point is to make sure that you understand that an educated buyer researches and they use technology. They’re focused on lifestyle. The home is secondary. If someone is using keywords to find the best gated 55 plus communities in South Carolina, that’s their motivation first. They know that if they can find the right community, they can convert that engagement into the perfect lifestyle and the perfect home. Amenities do matter. Understand what your community is offering and really embellish that, and then understand that if it’s a longer sale cycle, you may have a little bit longer engagement with this consumer. But nurture, nurture, nurture and you will find success. I thank you for your time. We have a lot of data that we’ve acquired over the years, so if I can help in any way with your understanding of an age-targeted buyer or how they behave in the sales process, I’d be happy to share more. My contact information is on the screen, and I wish you good selling.
“Lead by Example” is Ben’s motto. Whether he is calling on prospects or working with current clients, Ben believes that being involved in his team’s activity drives a successful department. As Director of Sales and Retention, he is focused on winning new clients and maintaining a strong relationship with existing customers.
Ben also works with national developers and home builders to identify new communities that will benefit from PrivateCommunities.com and makes sure that active communities produce ROI. PrivateCommunities.com works with developers, builders, homeowners associations and real estate agencies that have a need to generate leads and awareness for their respective communities. In many cases, the PrivateCommunities.com team deals with full-service advertising agencies to achieve the marketing goals of the community.