P is for Position and that’s good enough for me.
There are also the marketing P’s (usually product, price, promotion and place) and the other P’s I recently wrote and talked about. But today, it’s position—what Apple does so well. And it’s something we in new home sales can learn from.
I would sum up Apple’s position as a premium experience at a premium price. Apple maintains this position by controlling both the software and the hardware and delivering an easy-to-use product that always works (at least in theory). Let’s take the iPhone, for example. In contrast with its competitors, the iPhone offers a thin design and great battery life. Case in point—I use my iPhone all day while I watch Droid users frantically search for an available outlet at every opportunity.
Apple isn’t trying to keep up with what competitors are offering (they still don’t offer 4G). Instead, they’re waiting until they can offer such perks without compromising their experience. Rumor has it that a 4G network is coming soon, but until Apple can incorporate 4G without compromising battery life, they’ll wait. And they’ll be very good at the 3G thing.
In new home sales, positioning is important, too. Too often, builders spin their wheels trying to be all things to all people or trying to keep up with competitors. Going green is a good example. Builders sometimes jump on board just for the sake of keeping up. It’s often less of a strategic move and more of a “We gotta go green because everybody else is!”
Miller & Smith, an east coast builder, has yet to jump on the energy star bandwagon, but they’re still selling more than other builders in their market. When the discussion comes up in their new home sales offices, the sales professionals say, “We’ve decided to take a different approach. We’ve decided to put the money into design instead of energy savings.” Their approach is to build art that you can live in—with large, plentiful windows and a nice flow. After all, even as gas prices continue to inch up, people are still buying gas-guzzlers because the cars themselves are beautiful.
If the buyers just have to have an energy star home, then Miller & Smith isn’t the builder for them. Like Apple, they’re not going to offer something just because a competitor does. They’re going to be great at what they do offer.
Strategic positioning allows you to say, “You can’t get this total product from anyone else,” or “If you’re looking for x, y, and x; then this is the only option.” It puts your salespeople in a unique situation and position so that they have something to talk about and can easily sell value instead of the deal.
Contributed by Jason Forrest
Jason Forrest is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning (rather than theory) to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform builders into sales organizations that build homes. A sales professional at heart, Forrest is the author of Creating Urgency in a Non-Urgent Housing Market and 40-Day Sales Dare for New Home Sales. As a consultant for many of the leading homebuilders in the United States and Canada, Forrest’s competitive distinction is his behavior-modification approach (which focuses on people, process, and presentation) and his focus on culture change. Learn more at http://www.forrestperformancegroup.com.