The times have changed in land sales, according to local sales manager Deborah Wright, who works on AVID Property Group’s East Maitland community Harvest and will soon move to neighbouring community, Waterford.
Ms Wright, or Deb as locals know her, who has been working in land sales for the past 12 years, said when her career began, it was still common practice for sales managers to hand out pamphlets, sit back and wait for the sale.
“That approach just isn’t good enough anymore as there are 31 developments within a 20-minute drive of Harvest and the challenge for every sales manager is to communicate what sets the community apart, and the challenge for developers is to make their community stand out,” Ms Wright said.
Harvest recently released its final neighbourhood, offering buyers the last 50 lots in this sought-after community, which hasn’t had a ‘for sale’ sign up since 2015 due to high demand from buyers.
“You have to create that atmosphere from the start. I always say people buy you, you’re the one that’s on sale,” she said.
This change is part of a shift of the role of sales managers in developments, with many sales agents acting more as community managers. AVID regularly engages with community members at Harvest, hosting welcome events, Easter egg hunts and Christmas carols. Ms Wright attends many of these events, and even sings at the Christmas Carols.
“I really feel like I’m a part of Harvest and I think I always will be,” Ms Wright said.
“I still go to community events at the development I worked at previously – I really like building relationships and becoming a part of the community.”
To complement the work of their national sales managers, AVID has set up AvidConnect – a customer service program that connects buyers to information and educational content from when they start the buying process to after they’ve moved into their home.
AVID’s approach to community engagement, will continue along with the AvidConnect program at their newly acquired neighbouring community Waterford in Chisholm.
AVID Property Group CEO Cameron Holt said AVID was committed to doing more in communities than just selling land.
“We want to make sure buyers are connected and feel supported at every stage of the buying process,” Mr Holt said.
“Beyond that, we want to ensure that they feel like they’re a part of a real community once they move in, and we really work hard to facilitate that community – to bring it together and to help it to thrive.
“That’s why our sales managers do so much in the community, helping residents, organising events and even just being there for a chat.
“We’re excited to bring this community-centric approach to sales and engagement at Waterford, continuing our community building work in the Hunter Region.”
In a fast-selling industry that’s dominated by balance sheets, rates of return and yield calculations, according to Ms Wright, people expect more emotion and guidance from their sales managers to feel connected to the community. They don’t want to be treated as another number.
“I want to drive past Harvest and Waterford in 10 years and be proud of what we’ve achieved,” Ms Wright said.
“That’s how I approach my role and that’s how AVID approach their developments as well.”