Is it land buyers that hold the key to successful customer experience?
Land buyers are perhaps the forgotten element of the whole home buying purchase, but probably the most key. Without land, there is no pipeline, so it is crucial that land buyers up and down the country and constantly looking for new buying opportunities to hit build quotas.
But what elements really go into the purchase and how much do they think about the end customer? We spoke to a land buyer for a national organisation with over 20-years’ experience, to understand where the gaps and opportunities are for connecting the beginning to the end of a property’s journey.
The Land Buyer Perspective
Purchasing land can be very competitive, with many different home builders in the conversation trying to acquire a ‘good’ piece of land. This means that so much of the focus is on getting the best price before anyone else buys it. In many cases, you have less than 48 hours to turn around a decision which leads us to wonder – where does the customer data fit in?
Turns out that after the initial research on location using insights from CACI, little further is done to involve the customer/buyer. There are opportunities with CACI to run focus groups etc however due to the time restraint, the data used is mainly location and depth of wealth.
The next stage that any conversation with potential customers happens will be done at the public consultation, as planning application. Here the public that live around the proposed development gets to voice their concerns as a group, and the feedback is used to help applications get approved or denied.
Doing a bit of follow on research to our interview, we found that the land buying process is often focussed purely on two factors: what you can get through planning and what is going to drive the biggest profit into the business. It feels that at this early, but crucial stage, customers and land buyers are kept as far away from each other as possible.
Where are the opportunities
Access to Customer Data Insights
Once land is bought and designs are approved, the marketing teams are left to try and piece together their product with a target audience…that might not want either. By providing past purchasing behaviours and feedback that can be quickly accessed, it can be used to decide on whether to purchase land or not.
Ultimately, the opportunity to make better purchases that will improve off- plan and post build sales will drive profit into the organisation.
One of the key insights has been around the need for a shared vision – with marketing, land buying, sales and the architects all having conversations and sharing the same direction of travel and goals. Opening the lines of communication between land buyers and marketers earlier would prevent buying in the wrong areas, and gaining deep insight into what your specific customers want.
In a demanding market, where competition is high to get good sites and maximise profit, it makes sense to introduce customer
Using benchmarked data is good, but you aren’t getting to know your customers on a more personal level, anything from your brand, your reputation, the build design or your approach can have repercussions on selling out a development. Connecting the dots between where you want to go and where your customers are is the key to homebuilders being successful.