Sales & Marketing

Guiding the Homebuyer From Start to Finish

In their quest for a new home, mapping the homebuying journey allows for a consistent and optimized experience

By Linnea Chapman

To say we are living in the technology age is an understatement. With virtually unlimited access to data, today’s homebuyers are more informed when setting foot in a model home than ever before. We must keep up by meeting them where they are and utilizing technology to guide them in their quest for a new home. 

In our fluid world, this is proving to be our biggest challenge and, ultimately, our greatest reward.

At Trumark Homes, we strive to keep our thumbs on the ever-changing beat of the consumer, while simultaneously strengthening our relationships with our existing and prospective homebuyers. 

We are continuously assessing and observing, “Can we simplify the homebuyer journey, with its distinctly different stages, highs and lows, action and lulls, from acquisition to closing and beyond?”

The homebuying process involves an array of builder departments and contacts, so it’s not unusual for a homebuyer to become confused. Thus, we mustn’t lose track of them in the process – identifying all the touchpoints and creating a seamless experience, start to finish.

What have we done? First, we extensively mapped the homebuyer journey to better understand every stage and ensure consistency and clarity along the way. 

Through this process we validated that sales and marketing underlies each step as a common thread across the journey, laying the foundation for what a buyer encounters regardless of department or point person. This helped set our course for optimization and solidify our road map.

Next, we found (unsurprisingly), that it all starts at the top. Since 2020, we’ve launched several new systems and processes to modernize and enhance the homebuyer experience. Perhaps our most important move was creating a team of online new home specialists who became the first point of contact with many customers. This human touch is a cornerstone of our process and one that has been equally well received by homebuyers and our staff.

I tell my employees to read up on technology, listen to podcasts, notice how e-commerce shifts and monitor how that affects behavior. This gives us the ability to apply the same principles and modifications in our marketing stack.”

Additionally, we learned transparency is more important than ever. Our customers are savvy and well-educated, with so much content competing for their attention. We need to be immediately accessible, able to answer questions and discuss issues and build trust from the first touchpoint. This sets the tone for what they can expect during their homebuying journey, and we are focused on not only meeting, but also exceeding expectations.

We also discovered a need to refine internal communications. Breaking down silos and committing to always thinking from the buyer’s point of view first allows us to optimize our processes and deliver an exceptional homebuying experience. 

As customers become more digitally adept, we also need to remain a step ahead, identifying and utilizing ever-changing technologies that resonate with our customers in ways that are convenient, familiar and easy for them.

We are working towards creating a user-friendly portal that will house everything a buyer needs to see, know and do in one convenient location. They will be able to follow the timetable for their home and easily exchange messages with the construction, customer care and sales teams. By incorporating tools like video messaging, video walkthroughs and interactive floor plans, our homebuyers will be truly ‘connected’ to their home as it takes shape. 

Recently, one of our sales associates surprised a homebuyer when she sent a video as the new cabinets were being installed at the home. The buyer immediately began sharing it with friends and family, sparking a familial ‘viral’ video moment. As a marketer that’s very exciting for me, because it could translate to a new client. It also confirmed that messages don’t need to be slick or overproduced. Just authentic and personal to keep communication lines open.

We are constantly searching for new methods to create meaningful connections that provide the most traction and engagement while watching data to be nimble every step of the way. I tell my employees to read up on technology, listen to podcasts, notice how e-commerce shifts and monitor how that affects behavior. This gives us the ability to apply the same principles and modifications in our marketing stack.

It all comes down to the tools and techniques we need to create a positive customer journey. Our job, done right, enhances lives by creating inspiring living environments. 

Our customer is our North Star, and if we follow their lead, we are heading in the right direction.

Linnea Chapman is the corporate vice president of Marketing at Trumark Homes in San Ramon, California.