At John Rod & Co., we have seen many opportunities in emerging markets throughout the country for a smaller home builder to take the necessary steps and expand their business. When a builder has a “tiger by the tail”, many of the common denominators of growth and change can take a local home builder to a regional player, and possibly, a national home building brand. The fundamental growth for any home building firm, big or small, starts with these five pillars of success.

Finding Growth Factors that are Favorable in your Marketplace

When Ryan Cantrell, CEO of Trendsetter Homes, commissioned Market Perspectives to generate a market study on his marketplace in the Springfield, MO area, the first item to stand out was the overall population growth and steady increase over the past ten years. With an average of 3,669 new people moving into the greater Springfield, Missouri area and surrounding counties, there was a large demand for both single family homes and starter homes for first time home buyers. Other favorable factors included an incredibly low unemployment rate which has been stable at 2.5% for the past year. Overall “driving” factors found in the statistical data supported growth, which included an increase in building permits for single family and multi-family homes.

The study revealed, the Springfield, Missouri area had a lack of interest from national home builders and new home communities had no merchandised model homes (furnished or unfurnished) for buyers to experience. None of the existing home builders had organized presentations in the form of a sales center or in-house sales teams. Most local builders relied upon local realtors to meet, greet, register, demonstrate, qualify and follow up with home shoppers. Suffice to say, many of the builders showed a failing grade in the market study, and the Trendsetter Homes sales and marketing team was assembled with procedures set into motion by nationally renowned sales training expert Bob Schultz


The Home Design, Exterior Streetscape & Livability

The ongoing vision of Trendsetter Homes was to create something special. How can they take the local Springfield, MO home buying market to the next level and beyond? For Trendsetter Homes, the answer would be Change Everything! Ryan Cantrell would start off his quest by setting out to truly be a Trendsetter; starting with the home design and layouts, Ryan’s skill-set and past success as a third-generation home builder would take on a life of its own. Each new Trendsetter home would be designed both from an architectural standpoint and a livability perspective. The local exterior flavor of existing neighborhoods were severely lacking in design innovation, with only higher priced homes having the design style and look he knew his customers desired.

Making the homes more attractive and bringing the homes architectural design to life required a special touch. Ryan recruited the help of top merchandiser Chelsee Sowder of Nest Design + Interiors. The interior layouts were equally important; the open style floor plans and livability also had to be Trendsetting. Giving shoppers the ultimate in interior design and comfort, the homes would also require the ultimate list of included features. Shaking the box once again, the introduction of branded features like the “Trendsetter Homes Tech Package” would create modern style and blend in high tech features buyers would appreciate. Incorporating brand name products, introducing superior energy efficient appliances, and state of the art mechanical products would enhance the home-owner experience and allow them to benefit on energy savings.

Designed by John Rod & Co., the sales office environment inspired by Tesla’s modern look, this two-car garage features full-screen demo technology, interactive plans, and sales training by world-renowned sales trainer Bob Schultz.


Interactive Digital Immersion On-line and On-site!

Creating a new brand starts with the logo and would integrate colors which would insure a “pop” in print collateral, digitally on-line and on signage. Creating branding for builders large and small, John Rod and his marketing team understood the importance of how Trendsetter Homes brand would be perceived in the eyes of shoppers and home buyers. Reinventing home designs was not enough; capturing the homes exteriors and interiors as perfect “Instagram” moments would attract more buyers and engage them deeper into our presentations. “Having people engage with us on-line and showcasing the homes interiors and exteriors does become a challenge,” explains John Rod, President of his NJ based marketing & advertising firm John Rod & Company. He continued, “Social media has taught us that visuals (photography and Video) will capture and motivate audiences to take action, click to see more, pick up the phone and ultimately visit the community”. Creating digital marketing campaigns that are fun, exciting, and engaging to the audience is great, but we wanted Trendsetter Homes to become an influencer on-line through social media campaigns that inspire and showoff their unique voice and branded messaging.

Marketing new homes for home builders now includes effective email marketing, social media strategies, sophisticated website “calls-to-action” and a top notch search campaign complete with specialized landing pages. On-line specialists for Trendsetter Homes engage prospects and enhance capture rates. Once buyers are engaged and pay a visit to any Trendsetter Homes sales center, the interactive experience is strictly world class, complete with professionally trained sales people.


The On-Site Marketing Presentation

From the moment you enter a Trendsetter Homes community, the new community envelopes you. The visual cues and branding created for the website carry forward through the signage program, awning implementation and sales center environment. The functionality and layout of the sales office ensures the sales manager has continuous site lines to the outside of the home, walkways (trap area) and sales floor. Designed with hospitality in mind, and even a place for the kids, the sales centers warm and casual feel will delight all visitors. From the initial stages of greeting, the demonstration, each customer interaction is Trendsetting. Oversized screens immerse buyers in a virtual reality where they can experience the home. “We designed the community websites to work interactively on-line as a responsive website and also on-site as the main sales tool for the Trendsetter sales team,” stated John Rod. He continued, “It is by design; the interactive experience in the sales office indirectly teaches our home buyer how to use the sales tools, navigate interactive plans, and allows them a level of comfort to use the same tools later, in the comfort of their own home.”


The Sales Team and Presentation

All sales training is not created equal. New home sales take a special touch and a complete understanding of each phase of the home buying experience. “Take it from me, I love working with new builders who want to grow their companies and increase conversion rates of homebuyers,” explains Bob Schultz. ‘Taking care of the small home builder when they are small and they will take care of you when they become big’ is the biggest takeaway. How are customers greeted at the door? How do we pre-qualify, and most importantly, how do we demonstrate the home, the builder, the site, the plans and the features? Training the sales staff is perhaps the most undervalued part of a home builder’s sales and marketing arsenal, and can be the most satisfying part overall when it all comes together.

This is where Bob Schultz takes over. If you know or have met Bob, you understand the level of passion he has for his life’s work in training salespeople and how great he is in transforming sales-people into super hero sales experts.

Bob Schultz and his company link:


About the Author


John Rod is owner of John Rod and Co., an award winning dynamic and creative digital marketing agency. Located in Freehold, NJ the firm specializes in marketing residential communities for home builders. Specializing in website design, branding and all things marketing, his company has helped builders develop brands, launch campaigns and has vast insights and experience marketing residential communities.

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