What if I said, "Hey, let's just not target 15% of the available homebuyers out there!"? That would be silly wouldn't it? That would be like ignoring every sixth person that comes into the sales office. When we don't do anything to cater to the fastest growing demographic in the U.S., that's essentially what we are doing.
A 2006 Harvard University study shows that Hispanics represent 14.6% of U.S. homebuyers, and this number is growing rapidly. I did not have a more recent stat handy (this is a blog, not a thesis), but one can only assume this percentage has increased as the Hispanic population has increased.
But you would be amazed at the excuses I hear in our industry about why we don't do anything to cater to this very critical and increasingly critical demographic...it almost becomes comical at times and sounds very much like the whining I hear at home about brushing teeth or doing homework or wearing underwear. (Well, he is only 9.)
Probably the most pervasive excuse I hear for not targeting Hispanics in the new home industry is that there seems to be this fear that we have to go completely Latino in all aspects -- translate our website, our collateral, and our contracts; have bilingual sales agents, and, and, and,...Slap yourself. It is almost as if we are fearful that a bit of Hispanic marketing might work, and, oh gosh, what will we do if we get a lead?!
Take a breath -- You don't need all of that; nor would such efforts be expected. Hispanics who live in the US are fully functional day-in and day-out in a bilingual world. Just take some small steps, which, in and of themselves, will be truly appreciated.
We are all human and get a real jolt when someone has taken a bit of extra care to appeal to us specifically. For example, it's not that the breakfast-in-bed that your kids bring you is all that tasty (and actually it can be quite scary). It is the thought and intent that was there. The same applies in any aspect of marketing. It's all about showing extra care and appealing to another human.
Take that first step, mis amigos, even if it's a baby step. Why not start by listing on Casas Nuevas Aqui?
Melissa Morman, VP & GM, is one of the Founding Executives of Builder Homesite and New Home Technologies