Having a community sales center that “wows” is a vital part of converting prospects into residents. It’s the bricks-and-sticks part of the sales process and gives prospects a place where they can look, feel, touch and experience your community and all it has to offer.
Sales centers can be used to sell the product, house various types of lead-generating and conversion events (depending on size) and even serve as a customization space for prospective residents. Clients always ask us what they need to consider when building a sales center so we’ve identified a few must-haves to keep in mind when creating an effective sales space.
1. Develop the Right Sales Flow Strategy
A sales flow strategy is a key ingredient in creating a successful sales center. When you start thinking about your selling strategy, think about the tools, props and spaces that will create the most effective environment for connecting with the prospect. Identify the order in which the ideal sale progresses and the tools used at each stage, and then map the sales center to align with that process. Some of the most common tools include area maps, floor plan displays and site map to name a few, as well as space for intimate conversation.
2. Lead with Lifestyle
The visuals needed in a sales center go beyond floor plan displays and a site map. Prospects need to envision themselves living in the community; they are buying into the lifestyle first.
The truth is that only a handful of your community’s physical aspects set your product apart from all the other retirement options out there. What does set your product apart is the lifestyle available at your community. And that’s what needs to be reflected in your selling space. Imagery of people enjoying your amenities or building friendships in your community really helps prospects envision themselves there. As such, those are the displays that we want to show prospects first and often.
Lifestyle Displays: Amenities & Nature
3. THEN Show the Product
Showing the product is just as important as showing lifestyle. But the key is to show it AFTER the prospect has been exposed to the lifestyle. We have found that product displays are most effective in the selling process when they are shown later in the sales flow strategy.
We’ve seen situations where prospects will see a floor plan or customization options upon entry and then keep their focus there for the remainder of their visit. It’s critical to expose prospects to floor plans and customization options at the right time, once they are further down the sales funnel. Using this approach, they won’t get fixated on whether a floor plan offers a kitchen island or granite counter tops. Ideally, showing displays of the available floor plans, site plan, etc., is best. If your sales space is on the smaller side, hand-held options such as lookbooks or handouts can be effective as well.
Product Displays: Floor Plans & Site Map
4. Create an Effective Discovery Area
A discovery area is the space where the salesperson and the prospect can have intimate conversation that is critical upon first interaction. Discovery areas should be more secluded spaces, such as an office or a designated area away from other foot traffic.
Discovery Spaces: Closed off reception area
5. Build a Team of the Right People for Your Sales Center
Having the right people working a sales center is just as important as what displays are in it. When a prospect walks through the doors of your sales center, they should be greeted by a warm, friendly face. This is your prospect’s first impression, so your greeter should be as hospitable as possible.
You don’t want the first interaction your prospect has at your community to feel awkward or pushy. Your sales staff should be well-versed in your sales flow strategy. Knowing how to work through the sales space in an optimal manner is essential. So, too, is feeling comfortable fielding questions from either a brand-new prospect or someone who has already visited the community a few times.