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January 04, 2021

The Lessons Learned From 2020

While many of us are all too happy to put 2020 behind us and never look back, I thought it first appropriate to review what we learned in the past year so that those lessons are not forgotten.

Housing is Essential

This has always seemed inherently true, but last year reinforced the importance of better housing. Access to private outdoor space, acoustical privacy, and kitchens capable of being our temporary restaurants drove millions into new homes.

We are resilient

Even as buyers clamored for better places to live, the industry had to figure out how to show, sell, close, and build houses in a pandemic and lockdown. While we were all grateful for the surge in business, it was far from business as usual.

The power of staying positive

This was the biggest lesson for me, personally. I first had to protect my positivity. I stopped watching the doom and gloom news. I also cut off people who continuously ranted about how bad things were. Literally, I said I’m not listening or I’m hanging up. I wouldn’t let negativity bring me down. Instead, I sought out others who were positive and upbeat. It became my mission to help my team and our clients remain positive as well. Yes – I even started every Monday morning team meeting with pandemic playlist of one song that I’m sure the team never wants to hear again: Tubthumber by Chumbawamba, “I get knocked down. But I get up again. You’re never going to keep me down.”

Become Proactive

I then began to look for ways to be proactive. Instead of focusing on how bad things were for our small business, I decided to find ways to help other in the business who had it worse. Our builder clients had far bigger challenges to overcome including land, lots, houses, and no in-person selling allowed. New Homes Sales consultants had to learn a new way to interact and sell houses without the benefit of face-to-face meeting and without letting customers walk through their perfectly decorated models. Among other things, they had to become experts at selling homes primarily from floor plans – a skill that required a crash course in architecture that we provided.

We began to conduct “Mastering the Art of Selling From Floor Plans” training with several of our clients and their new home sales consultants. The first goal was to help them become proficient at reading floor plans. We need them to become experts so they could help their new online buyers read and understand the plans being offered. Our second goal was to then help the buyers project themselves into the homes and picture themselves cooking in the kitchen or relaxing in their private outdoor living.

Collaboration across a variety of platforms

Even as we worked remotely and in person meetings were taboo, we all learned new different ways to collaborate. Just yesterday, I had four meetings: two on Zoom, one on Teams and one on Go to Meeting. I have even used face time to connect – a tool I had previously only used with friends and family. Yes, even IBS is going virtual. That will be fascinating to watch and experience.

To say that 2020 was “challenging” is to put it mildly. But we made it through in better shape than we might have expected in the middle of it all. While a new year promises nothing, I am confident that the lessons we have learned will carry us through to better times.

Stay well, positive, and proactive!

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This post was written by Housing Design Matters