One of the key on-site assets for any residential property development is the sales office. Getting both the tone and the layout right is critical to engage properly with customers and help them to see themselves living in the development or the home. These rules apply equally to a residential land development, a townhouse development, a builder's display home or an apartment complex.
The reason it’s so important is simple – tangibility. In the pre-sales phase or while an estate is under construction, customers will have to imagine what the finished development will look like and trust that the developer will deliver an estate that matches their promises. The sales office provides actual physical evidence of the developer’s intentions. A quality, well thought out sales office lets customers trust the promise of a quality estate.
Related to tangibility, the tone of the sales office sets the vision for the estate. A slick white modern box with high-end finishes is perfect for a modern inner city apartment block. A relaxed “day spa” look is suitable for a lifestyle oriented development set near the beach. For family oriented developments, a clean modern look that reflects the homes that customers will build is a perfect choice. Don't scrimp on the interior design & fit-out. Quality furniture, decent floor coverings and carefully integrated sales material will stand the test of time and ensure the sales office maintains its appeal throughout the life of the development.
Location and Orientation
The sales office should be close to the entrance and visible from the main road. If possible the windows should be oriented to provide a favourable view over the estate or of a specially landscaped area. Don't forget the importance of car parking, flags and wayfinding signage. Make sure there is a clean paved path to get from the car park to the sales office.
For built form (apartments, townhouses, display homes) a sales office also needs to show the finishes, upgrades and give customers a taste of the finished product. For display homes this is more simple as the entire home is on show and available for customers to walk through.
In the case of sales offices with built in display suite elements, it is best to focus on areas such as kitchens and bathrooms where you can show the quality of specific finishes and inclusions such as stone bench-tops and European appliances to give customers confidence in the finished product. A top tip is to dress the balance of the sales area as an open plan living area with furniture and décor that reflects the lifestyle of the homes you are selling.
Customer Engagement/Customer Journey
Once the customer has entered the sales suite we need to lay it out in a specific way that engages the customer and takes them on a journey through the development. Let’s look at a typical sales office layout that effectively manages the customer journey.
1. Overview – include the logo and the positioning statement for the development. This section needs to immediately set the tone and nature of the development.
Company Profile – Information about the developer/builder. This builds the credibility of the development by showcasing the achievements, expertise, and heritage of the company – the aim is to show the customer that the developer keeps their promises, delivers quality and is a safe, trustworthy, secure and stable business.
3. Model or Masterplan – Showcase the Masterplan for the development – highlight the parks and open green space as well as the surrounding amenity. A model provides a great focal point for customers entering the sales office and draws their attention. If floor space is limited the model can be wall mounted.
4. Special Details – Focus on certain elements that set the development apart such as the heritage of the site, the plans for a park, the future shopping precinct or the proximity to a beach or sporting facilities.
5. Transactional Area – “Now Selling” - Shows customers what they can expect to pay for a property and the types of properties that are available. For a land estate or display home provide a space to display land and house & land packages. For apartments or townhouses show customers the different layouts and options that are available along with a guide price.
Top tip - Don't be afraid of showing prices for land or homes. People like to know how much something is before they ask in order to avoid embarrassment.
Interactive Display – Along with a model an interactive display provides customers with an anchor point in the sales office to increase their dwell time and give them more detailed information. For apartments, display homes and townhouses this could be a video fly though of the home that provides a virtual tour. In a land sales office an interactive Masterplan helps customers find the homes that interest them and links them to suitable lots within the estate. Interactive displays are also a great way to hold a customer’s attention if the sales person is busy with another customer.
7. Amenity & Benefits – Provide a section that sets out the internal and external amenity and benefits for the development. Show customers the vision for the park, landscaping, gym, and shopping precinct, as well as local points of interest. Paint the picture of what it will be like to live in the development and all the great things they’ll enjoy.
8. People – Its important for people to feel connected with the development. Generic “lifestyle” shots will do at a pinch however the goal is inspirational photos that let people visualize themselves living in the development. In the same way as a crowded restaurant attracts more customers, showing pictures of people helps visitors connect with the development.
9. Private Space – Be mindful that customers would like a private space when it comes to discussing the transaction. While a separate room is not essential, provide at least a more intimate setting away from the major traffic areas where customers can feel comfortable talking with the sales person.
10. Extras – In addition to the essentials, there are some extras that you can include if you have space and budget. A decent coffee machine is almost compulsory and you’ll benefit from seating areas to get customers relaxed and spending more time in your sales office. A kids’ area can be a bonus but most kids these days travel with electronic devices so a comfy couch or a couple of beanbags will usually suffice. Alternately if the budget allows, include a fenced outdoor play area including a basketball hoop for the older kids as part of the landscaping treatment.
11. Data Capture – A final and important point is to ensure data capture for customers visiting the sales office. This can be done by the sales person or achieved through a registration form on the interactive display.
It’s a well travelled maxim but we’ve spent a lot of money getting people to visit the sales office so it's critical that we engage with them effectively to maximise the impact of their visit. Remember if space and budget are tight then focus on doing the key things very well rather than trying to do too much.
Make sure that the sales office takes the customer on an exciting and impactful journey and helps them visualise what it will be like to enjoy living in the finished development.
MJH Group has worked for some of Australia’s leading property developers on dozens of developments. As sales and marketing experts, we understand how to effectively engage with buyers and secure sales.
To find out more you can contact MJH Group at
mjhgroup.com.au or on 1300 905 116.