Special guest post by Terri Hayley, “New Home Sales Whisperer”

With four to five million home sales every year, listings and features may often seem similar. But your ability to tell a compelling story can set a property apart and forge a deeper connection with potential buyers.

Using the transformative power of “storyselling” in new home sales creates narratives that leave a lasting impression.

What’s your ZMOT?

The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) is a marketing term that refers to when purchasers research our brand without our awareness before purchasing. Builders ZMOT is when potential homebuyers experience your brand online – whether that be on your website, a syndicator like Zillow, or see your listings on realtor.com.

The first opportunity for builders to engage potential homebuyers’ emotions is online with vivid pictures, virtual tours, and a narrative about the home. Builders who excel make it easy for prospective buyers to envision themselves in the home and create a memorable online experience. Not only are the pictures sharp, crisp, free of obvious errors like the grass needing to be mowed or a cable sticking out of the wall, the story told in the description breathes life into the property.

For example, the description, “A gourmet chef’s delight in a sun-drenched kitchen with stylish appliances,” conveys a much different portrait than “3 cm granite with ss appliances.” Using words to tell a story allows the homebuyer to bask in a hypothetical Saturday morning pancake phrenzy with the family, laughing and enjoying each other’s company.

Pro tip: Keep your online presence up to date. If a home’s description includes a special for the winter holidays and it is Easter, you could inadvertently send signals that this home has been languishing on the market!

Leveraging the unique appeal

Keep in mind one distinguishing factor of new home master planned communities is that they are a new phenomenon. Most people in the US do not live in a master planned community and it is something not mentioned often since it surrounds us daily.

When you include pictures of the lifestyle that awaits new homeowners, it conveys a much richer narrative. Including “storyselling” photos like people fishing at the local stocked pond, families on the jogging paths together, playing pickleball or hosting a holiday party at the clubhouse imbue a nice tapestry for dreaming up a new chapter in their lives.

Making it personal

Distinguish yourself from the competition by tailoring unique narratives to resonate with individual buyers, aligning with their distinct priorities and aspirations. Keep in mind their wants in order to tailor your stories to a specific target consumer group. For example, to engage families with young children, we may want to highlight local parks and the home’s proximity to an elementary school. In contrast, a young professional may care more about the proximity to a vibrant night life scene and entertainment options.

Inspiring ideas

Walk the home or through the blueprint to uncover story ideas for that home. Details you may want to focus on include architecture, how the intended family lives in that home, a unique feature or amenity, or lot location. Knowing the home inside and out allows you to portray a powerful portrait that can fuel the buyer’s imagination.

For example, a home featuring an outdoor covered patio with cozy fireplace and flatscreen TV invites prospects to envision family and friends cherished evenings hosting a fall football watching party – complete with snug blankets and warm cocoa. The story you craft lets the buyer step into the life they could have with this new home. Bringing these things to the buyer’s mind also differentiates you from the competition and the rote demonstration of pointing out rooms and tray ceilings.

Take buyers on a journey

You need to construct a narrative journey that makes sense for the client from beginning to end. As with a well-staged home and the importance of using professional lifestyle photos on the MLS, the description throughout the home’s footprint should be harmonious. With the actual presentation of the home, you will want to orient the homebuyer with the house by starting at the front door.

Or you may want to begin with the inspiration behind the home’s design before you ever open the door. You then can build on the lifestyle they can attain throughout the home, asking, “Don’t you just love the way the living room opens to the outdoor space? You can work on your laptop while keeping an eye on the kids playing outside.” Remember, you’re not just showcasing a space, but the way of life it offers.

The power of images

Seeing is believing. Use gorgeous visuals to complement the narrative of the home to create an immersive experience for the homebuyer. As you are creating spec inventory, think of the focal point in terms of an emotional connection you can make online and in person.

As we consider implications for the industry after the recent NAR case, builders should be doing everything they can now to attract more buyers and foot traffic by becoming more competitive online with their ZMOT.

One example: create an immersive experience for every home through virtual tours that include narration throughout the home – not just music and photo captions. This helps out-of-town buyers to emotionally connect with the home. It is also more emotionally engaging than simply listening to background music.

It’s time for “storyselling”

The impact of a well-crafted and thought-out story can bring a buyer in for a close-up panoramic view of what their future can hold. Builders’ sales reps should embrace the art of “storyselling” as a powerful tool for the successful sale of new homes. Telling meaningful stories shaped specifically for each buyer’s experience can help you create powerful emotional connections with potential buyers.

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With two decades of experience in new home sales, Terri Hayley has become a trusted figure in the industry. Known as the New Home Sales Whisperer, Terri provides valuable insights and expertise through her online course, New Home Sales Rockstars at sales.newhomesalescoaching.com. From lead generation to closing deals, Terri’s comprehensive course empowers professionals at every stage of the sales process. For tailored solutions to enhance your builder sales infrastructure, contact Terri at terri@newhomesalescoaching.com. Take your sales journey to the next level with the guidance of a seasoned expert in new home sales.

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