Housebuilders missing opportunities in prop tech – Peter Sherrard’s opinion column in Show House

August 20, 2020

Peter Sherrard, Managing Director of Prospect Generator, explains how housebuilders are embracing the prop tech revolution, but only part of it

Whilst Proptech has been around for quite a while now, it’s only recently that the industry became engulfed by a sense of excitement, anticipation and enthusiasm. Yet whilst great progress has been made – Forbes recently predicted that the sector was worth £6bn in the UK alone – it would be fair to conclude that that progress has varied significantly amongst different sub-sectors within the industry.

Some have even gone so far as saying that prop tech is just a bubble not far from bursting. That’s simply untrue. There is more truth behind the claim that the likes of the rental and planning sectors have been quicker and more deep-pocketed when it comes to recognising the huge potential of technological solutions in property. Take Geovation, for example, an area backed strongly by the government and one which has completely transformed the way planners think about land data.

For housebuilders, especially from a sales and marketing perspective, the waters are slightly more muddied. Virtual viewings, open houses and tools to create the perfect kitchen or living room have become part and parcel of the sales process, albeit some have needed the Covid 19 pandemic to serve as a reminder of just how important these benefits are and can really improve customer experience.

This is good news for the housebuilding industry, there’s no doubt about that. Any technological progress which improves the customer’s decision-making capabilities should be celebrated and virtual experience is a truly fantastic addition to the sales and marketing tool kit.

But that’s just one part of the picture. When it comes to housebuilding and prop tech, much of the emphasis is on technologies which offer brilliant visual experiences to the house hunter. And rightly so, but they often come as stand alone, bit-part experiences which don’t tie up with other parts of the customer journey.

Visual experience provides just a sneak peek into the psyche of the buyer and gives little away in terms of truly understanding their profile. What can they realistically afford? Could they be persuaded to our development a few miles away? What is it about this scheme that is really making them tick? The industry would do well to ramp up its enthusiasm towards prop tech solutions which answer these kinds of questions. After all, more insight and better marketing ROI should always be goals to aspire towards.

Housebuilders, whose ultimate objective is to build and sell homes to the public, need to truly understand what their buyers look like. Before the virtual stroll round the development or the selection of paint on the wall, they must strike up a relationship with the budding house hunter. They need a range of specialised tools and processes which ensure they are targeting the right people, pursuing the most receptive lines of communication and doing so in a way which slots seamlessly into their CRM systems. Advanced technological solutions can deliver this in a time and cost-efficient manner.

Capturing that information is still heavily reliant on traditional sales and marketing methods, and although they are methods which have undoubtedly served the industry well over so many years – and will continue to hold merit – they are often pursued at the expense of significant time and resource.

Surely now is the moment to embrace the range of opportunities available with an open mind.

Article courtesy of Show House ©

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