Set Yourself Up for Success

When my three daughters were little and they used to say “I can’t,” I would reflexively and repetitively respond the same way every time: “Yes you can. All you have to say is, ‘I can do it, but I need some help.’” They must have heard this a trillion times growing up. I would then wait until they said, “I can do it, but I need some help,” and then I’d help them tie their shoes, reach something, finish a school project, cut their food, or accomplish some other task.

This was my attempt to instill in them a belief that anything is possible, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish, and that you never give up on something you want. You may not have the skills or abilities or tools at the time to accomplish something, but that is a temporary state. If you are resourceful and driven toward your goal, you CAN achieve it. And as the old saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

So, how does this relate to home building in 2013? We are playing on a new playing field, one that we’ve never quite seen before (although the savvy ones have known it was coming for years). The game has changed, and in BIG ways. It is no longer enough (well, maybe there are a few valid exceptions) to have an awesome land position and a quality-built home. Whether or not that SHOULD be enough is not the question. We can’t change reality, so it’s pretty futile to argue, as some builders try to do, that it’s not fair—that it SHOULD be enough. If our end goal is to WIN, we must embrace reality and play the best game we can within the marketplace rules that exist.

What is currently beyond the skill and ability level of you and your team? Is it the high level of marketing and presentation that today’s buyers demand? The necessity for an effective social media strategy? The design integrity that has become a baseline requirement in every facet of your architectural product and the finishes and features your buyers require? The required multi-faceted strategy for success, necessitated by the unwavering intensity of the competitive landscape in your market?

Embrace, don’t fight, that you will have to commit an unprecedented amount of time, energy and focus to turn today’s prospective buyer into your next customer. Today’s home shoppers are world-class competitive shoppers. They are unrelenting in their demand for detailed information before making a purchase decision. They expect a high-level of presentation and marketing savvy from the retailer of the most expensive purchase they’ll ever make. These are just some of the things that have been going on for a decade or more but have reached unprecedented heights in our industry—and they’re not going anywhere except higher on the scale of buyer requirements. Look at the builders who are succeeding today; they have been playing this new game. They have become retail-oriented, customer-focused purveyors of the most expensive consumer good: a brand new home.

2013 is going to be overflowing with some temporary opportunities for getting out in front of the pack, and some builder in your market is going to take advantage of them. It might as well be you. Now is the time to invest into your company’s future. The following post has been going around Facebook, and I love it: “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, try hiring an amateur.” The broader message is to not blow an opportunity by being short-sighted. It is 2013, the future looks brighter than the recent past, and it’s time to invest in the future. You can lead, you can follow, or you can get out of the way. The choice is yours. But it’s yours NOW. A year from now may be too late.

I invite you to step up and be resourceful, and beat them before they beat you. Get on the internet and find solutions, devour books on the subject, hire an expert, and be committed to the growth necessary to make massive progress. My mentor, Tony Robbins, says, “Success leaves clues.” What he preaches is to find a mentor—someone who has achieved success in a certain skill, within a subject matter, or by overcoming a particular challenge, etc.—and model what he/she has done. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You need to study who perfected that wheel, how they did it, and why, and adopt those strategies in a meaningful way for your business.

Stop for a moment and identify the three largest growth opportunities in front of you, and the three largest threats to your company. Then create a massive action plan that identifies the specific measurable goals that will enable you to triumph this year and beyond. Identify the resources you need and the action steps you will take to meet those goals. And go forward with intense and unwavering commitment to the end goal, being willing to adjust the strategy along the way if need be.

Kick off 2013 asking, seeking, and demanding the help, support, and tools you need to succeed. You can do it. Just go out there and get some help.


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