EcoHome checks in with Ed Petras, sales and marketing director for Consort Homes, a St. Louis-based production builder.
What is your company's approach to green building?
Our goal is to provide environmentally friendly, money-saving, attractive homes that the general public can afford. Our involvement in green building started in 2008 with Consort’s founder, Howard Chilcutt, who recognized the fact that building green was an emerging trend in the business. More importantly, he recognized that sustainability was important to consumers, based on the growing popularity of green trends and increased interest in conserving energy.
We made a commitment to be the first green production home builder in the St. Louis area and quickly became involved with the NAHB's National Green Building Standard. Every Consort home built since January 2009 is certified by the standard.
All of our green features come standard and are included in the price of our homes. We offer townhomes and single-family units priced from the $120s to the $400s in highly desirable locations throughout the St. Louis area. Our product selection and pricing structure suit all types of consumers: first-time home buyers, move-up buyers, and buyers who are downsizing.
Consort’s year-over-year sales are up 13% despite a 12% decrease in traffic through your sales office. How are you selling so strong in a down economy?
We attribute our sales increases to exceptional customer satisfaction and dedicated sales, construction, and warranty staff. In a recent independent survey, 100% of customers indicated that they were happy with their Consort Homes experience and would be willing to refer. This is the second consecutive year Consort has achieved this rating.
In terms of customer service, we understand that buying a home is more than a business transaction--it’s a personal experience--so we work closely with buyers throughout the sales and building process. Our staff has helped buyers secure financing, sell their old home, and solve design concerns, and we don’t consider a sale the end of our relationship with the buyer. Even after move-in, we are there to help, and we don’t wait for the 90-day walkthrough to solve issues that may arise. Our 100% customer satisfaction has contributed to extraordinary referral rates.
What type of marketing promotions do you offer?
Consort Cash is a promotion that we offered last fall. The idea behind it was to hand cash to our customers and allow them to spend it as they feel would be the best use to them. Some of our customers used Consort Cash to purchase extra features in their home, some
used it to buy better interest rates, and others used it toward closing costs. Consort Cash offered flexibility to our customers, and has been very successful.
Our new Perfect Price promotion gives homeowners the best possible price on their new home upfront, eliminating the worry of having to negotiate price. We believe this is a much more customer friendly process and another way to build customer satisfaction.
Why do you believe it's important to have your green homes third-party certified?
It's important because it lends credibility to the process. It means another organization is verifying our green standard and that all products are installed correctly, which brings a level of comfort to the homeowner. We always point out that the certification also helps the home retain its resale value. What are some of your favorite eco-friendly products?
--low-VOC Green Label carpet
--Energy Star lighting fixtures and low-E windows
--perimeter basement insulation
Does your green building company have an interesting approach to customer service, sales, or marketing? Send us an email to share your story.