Thursday, 20 June 2013

Why new home builders must be prepared to handle the Help to Buy boom

With the government’s Help to Buy scheme getting off to a scorching start in the first two months since its April launch, new home builders are dealing with a welcomed period of demand.

Despite the uncertainty that’s surrounded the chancellor’s flagship scheme, the first stage of Help to Buy has attracted huge interest from aspiring homeowners, providing a well-timed boost to the industry.

But while home builders are welcoming the influx of prospective buyers with open arms, dealing with the added deluge of interest has proved difficult for some companies. With the UK’s tough economic climate currently showing few signs of respite, it’s absolutely vital that home builders are geared up to adequately deal with the Help to Buy boom.

Why it’s important to prepare for the continued boom

While the Help to Buy scheme’s affect on house prices remains contentious, there can be little doubt of the positive affect that it has had for homebuilders.

The first phase of Help to Buy – which allows buyers to put down a deposit of 5% and take out an equity loan from the government of up to 20% of a property’s value – has seen interest in new homes soar. Just this month, the Home Builders Federation (HBF) described interest in the scheme as “huge.”

Stuart Baseley, chief executive of the HBF, underlined the influx of interested that home builders were having to contend with.

“Four thousand reservations in just two months shows both the consumer demand for the scheme, and developers' commitment to it,” he explained. With figures like that and the second part of the scheme set to start in January, it’s imperative that home builders don’t underestimate the sustained influx of interest.

Why is this potentially a negative for home builders?

The boost in interest for home builders is of course an overwhelming positive, but for those who are struggling to deal with the unprecedented influx of enquiries, the Help to Buy scheme can produce some difficult times.

From sales departments struggling to reply quickly enough to enquiries, to failing to cope with responses over a variety of channels, the added interest means little if your company is unable to cope. Given the consistently competitive nature of the marketplace and the continued difficulties that the financial climate is producing, home builders cannot afford to miss out.

What’s the problem?

Sustaining an optimum level of service from the initial enquiry stage, all the way through to an eventual sale, is vital to keep your business at the top of the trade. Identifying when your sales arm is in need of of some help, possibly from an external source, is key to keeping this level of service the very highest it can possibly be.

But far from simply seeking an extra pair of hands, it’s important to consider the impact of increased interest across the entire sales process. Can you adequately

• Ensure that new enquiries are responded to promptly and assertively?
• Respond to all enquiries across multiple channels? (Email, online, phone, sms etc.)
• Accurately capture data in a dedicated database to seize the moment and help equip your business for potential follow ups and successful marketing campaigns.
• Qualify leads from a whole range of sources so that sales teams can concentrate on the most valuable prospects?

Making the most of the Help to Buy boom is important to all home builders, but with the continuous economic gloom refusing to subside, the incentive to maximise sales has never been greater.

It’s important that home builders can effectively manage enquiries all the way through from the first point of contact, to accurately reusing customer data for future marketing purposes. Maximising your conversions from enquiries to sales is always a key goal for businesses of any size. But given the golden opportunity that homebuilders have been handed through the Help to Buy scheme, now is as good a time as ever to re-evaluate how your company handles its enquiries.