Less is More
I began preparing for my Everest trek nearly a year before we departed: reading blogs, comparing sleeping bags, watching videos, purchasing warm clothes, etc. I realized I was limited to less than 35 lbs. on the flight into Lukla, Nepal. I quickly found myself thinking from a strategic perspective rather than a utilitarian one. I was prepared to throw everything in my duffel and pull out just what I needed. Super cold? Grab my Marino wool long underwear. Raining? Pull out my rain gear. Blisters? Take out some mole skin. But suddenly, I had to lay it all out there and consider the ROI of every piece I was packing.
Marketing is the same way. All too often we find ourselves heaving everything together just to see what works. Throw it against the wall and see what sticks. That doesn’t work in the Himalayas…and it doesn’t work in your marketing plan either.
Step back. Account exactly where you’re investing your hard-earned dollars then ask whether a return of either leads, sales or encounters are likely to occur. It’s tough to do! Nearly everyone out there will tell you social media will get you sales, but does it? Is that $1,000 a month in PPC expenses delivering leads? How about that $3,000 a month model home bill, is it closing deals? Does your sales person, the one with a 5% closing ratio, tell the truth about the number of leads they meet every week? Are you even keeping tabs on these metrics?
Take a step back. Stop the silliness. Move your dollars where they will produce results and finally be brave enough to stop what isn’t working. It’s time to think strategically. Lay it all on the table and decide what stays and what goes.
2. It’s Not The Strongest That Survive, It’s Those Who Understand The Rules
The unwritten rule in any Everest ascent (even if it’s only to the 17,800’ basecamp) is this—move slowly so your body has a much time as possible to acclimate. Regardless, it is often the lean, athletic, tough guys who press on like it’s a race and end up on a helicopter back to Nepal with altitude sickness risking death from a pulmonary embolism.
In case you haven’t noticed, everybody’s a marketing guru these days. Many of these so-called experts have only been in the marketing industry for 3-5 years, but they somehow managed to hang out their shingle: MARKETING SPECIALIST INSIDE! I’ve been in the marketing business for over 30 years. Not selling ads for the newspaper or the yellow pages, but creating front-line decision-making strategies for builders all over the country. I can assure you that even a blind hog finds an occasional acorn, but until your marketing partner understands true marketing principles—traditional ones and those that rule the digital domain‑your “guru” may end up giving you a financial embolism. Being the cool guy may impress some, but the mountain has no respect for how cool you are. Yes, youthful exuberance and grandiose ideas can be powerful, but without insight to back them up they can also cost you a lot of money with no return.
We have every reason to believe that 2017 will be a banner year in the housing industry. Don’t let blind excitement lull you into thinking you can just go it alone and find success. Get strategic.
3. Stop Doing What You Want And Start Doing What You Need
At high altitudes like Everest basecamp and its surrounding areas, you need to stay hydrated. I don’t mean drinking a little bit of water, I’m talking 5-6 liters a day. When I was there I didn’t feel like drinking that much water, but I knew if I didn’t, I was at a much higher risk of altitude sickness and likely wouldn’t achieve my goal. I understood what I wanted to do had to take second place to what I should do, so I drank.
In today’s world, we can generally get what we want instantaneously. If I want to hear a certain song, voila, it’s at my fingertips…‘Alexa, play some blues’. If I want to see a news clip, bingo, there it is. If I want to talk to my daughter in Britain, I simply FaceTime her. Easy peasy. The problem, though, is this convenient attitude can carry over into our business. When it does, we can easily find ourselves doing what we are accustomed to do, and most of the time that’s not what we should be doing. For example, too many builders focus more on sales than leads.
To this day, I still have clients tell me: “Hey, I’m old school. I just don’t need all that digital stuff.” My response is always the same: “Oh, so you don’t plan to be in business in 3 years?”
You may like the Yellow pages, but I promise you no one knows they still exist despite their failed efforts to enter the digital realm. You may like newspaper ads too, but no one buys homes that way anymore, not even the ‘old people’ so please stop saying that. I recently published a report entitled The Builder’s Sales Machine that highlights the strategies every homebuilder needs to embrace in 2017. Grab your free copy and read it. Trust me, it will help you get a leg up on the competition.
4. Yes, You Can Dominate in The Thin Air.
Although the Internet has been the dominant source for new home sales for over 10 years now, the digital domain is still considered a new, scary place by many homebuilders. Just like the thin air surrounding Everest, you can make decisions that will give you an edge over those who aren’t paying attention. Something as simple yet crucial as drinking enough water can provide the results you seek. Here are 5 keys to dominate in the digital domain:
a. Understand your company’s difference. Talk about it always and everywhere. Remember, different is better than better. Don’t bother trying to be better if you aren’t going to be different. It’s easy to forget better, but we rarely forget different.
b. Your website is like Grand Central Station for all your marketing efforts. Invest in your website first—and get it right!
c. SEARCH is king! PPC and SEO are simply two sides of the same coin. Check out The Builder’s Sales Machine to learn more.
d. The digital world is full of channels. Don’t channel surf. It is better to dominate two channels than to flounder on 6.
e. Attract – Capture – Nurture – Close – Wow!! The only way to do all these properly is to use a powerful CRM and marketing automation package. Check out Infusionsoft. We use it. We love it. We sell it.
5. It’s Windy And Lonely At The Top, But, Oh So Satisfying
At 17,800’ it’s really windy and plenty cold, but you must press on. At more than one point in our journey, both my wife and I heard our inner voices saying, “what the heck were we thinking going all the way up here?” The journey was longer, harder, dirtier and less fun than I had imagined. The moment we reached basecamp, however, was amazing. Sure, we were exhausted and found ourselves with very little energy left, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the moment. We overcame so many obstacles. We trekked for so many days. We plunged ahead with very little food. But guess what? We made it.
I understand shifting gears from the old way of thinking to the new can be tough. It’s hard to let go of beliefs you’ve held for so long. It’s scary to put your faith in something new. And yes, it can feel windy and it may seem cold.
Don’t give up. You can transition from a traditional thinking builder to one destined to dominate the digital domain. Pace yourself. Measure as much as you can. Whether you use PPC, Instagram, Facebook, email marketing, blog posts or all the above—these are the new tools of today. Find the ones that produce for you and you will reach the top.