The Art of the Sales Center

Thoughtful creation of sales centers can attract homebuyers and increase profit 

By JONATHAN WILHELM

You already know that designing the homes for your new community is essential to the sales success of the development. Careful thought and planning of architecture and floor plans is key to delivering the right product to your target buyer. The same approach applies when designing your sales center. The sales center is the point of entry to your marketing of the new subdivision and the place where the buyer develops a first impression of the lifestyle of the community. It is usually the first opportunity that your sales team has to interact with the buyer and provide information that will keep the conversation active. Overall, the sales center should be successful at the dissemination of information and lifestyle of the community to the buyer.

Taking the time and effort to invest in a well thought-out design will help you get the most from your sales office investment.

The process of designing the sales office is very similar to the process you used with your architect to choose the correct architecture, floor plans, and traffic flow for your targeted demographic. When designing a sales center it is essential that the colors, styles, and presentation are correct for the age and income range of your potential buyers. Understanding how color, fabric, visual elements, etc. are perceived by your demographic is very important. People have an amazing emotional connection with style, and it’s subtle. The following is a suggested plan for designing your next sales center:

  1. Plan Layout: Identify your sales center location and prepare a floor plan to optimize space. You will want to work with a professional, or someone with experience, to lay out the most effective and usable traffic pattern. Traffic pattern is important to ensure you avoid creating bottlenecks or situations that make it difficult for your sales staff to engage with the buyer while being simultaneously strategized to present information in the sequence that makes sense for your community. For instance, sometimes you might want the site map to be the first item encountered because you have a special piece of land with unique features that will peak the buyers interest. Of course, directing the buyer further into your project by design is essential if you have model homes.
  2. Structural Plan: Next you will need a wall-window-door design that identifies where the windows, doors, wall outlets, and fixtures will be located. This is necessary so your sales office designer can create the graphics and displays in a way that doesn’t conflict with the build out. This plan also makes it easy for your supervisor to build out the space and know exactly where to place thermostats, electrical outlets, vents, etc. It can save you a lot of work and a lot of money.
  3. Finishes: A paint and flooring schedule is designed to assure that there is continuity between the colors and styles that you are using in the homes, as well as to begin the process of creating the sought after environment and style of the sales office. This schedule again is useful to your construction supervisor in getting the facility built out and prepared in the most efficient manner.
  4. Specifications: The next piece of the puzzle is the furniture and display specifications and designs. Of course the furniture and displays were considered during the preparation of the floor plan, but now we get down to the actual details of the specific furniture call outs and display designs. Here is where the interior design creation is taking place in the choosing of fabrics, colors, finishes, etc.
  5. Graphics and Accessories: Finally, your graphic designers and interior designers will complete the marketing and display graphics, adding the final finishes such as window coverings, area rugs, and accessories. Be sure to consider “accessorizing” your sales center. It can turn a bland presentation into a more inviting and comfortable environment for a very reasonable investment.

Designing a sales center can be a big chore if you want to get it right. It also can be a fun and energizing experience for the homebuilder. It is, of course, where all your hard work getting the development to the point of sale will finally give way to the satisfaction of enabling your buyers to buy into your vision and their new family life.

Jonathan Wilhelm is Chief Digital Officer for Marketshare, Inc., helping builders with all things marketing for over 35 years. He can be reached at jonathan@marketshareonline.com

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