Travel restrictions may make it impossible to tour show homes and emerging developments in person at the moment, but in today’s digitally connected world there are still ways of getting the best views of some of London’s most desirable new homes and neighbourhoods. Developer Ballymore has released a series of video tours showcasing four of its landmark schemes in the capital. Its creative director, Roger Black, gives his own personal tour of the London City Island development, on the Leamouth Peninsula, Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms and The Brentford Project, in west London. You can also enjoy a preview of Wardian London, the lusciously-landscaped high-rise development in Canary Wharf, which is set for completion later this year.
Looking at development websites, videos and virtual tours is a different experience to standing in a show apartment for real, but Eloise Solari, associate regional sales director at Ballymore, has a hot tip to help homeseekers get the best out of the process. “Speak to the sales team about what you’re looking for. They are there to make sure you find the right home for you,” she stresses.
Now is the time when a sales advisor can really prove their worth, giving the essential details about an apartment, its development and the broader location, says Solari. “We’re used to looking at plans on a daily basis, so can explain a scheme to potential purchasers and make sure they have all the information they need to reach their decision.” Ballymore’s sales teams are continuing to work remotely during usual office hours, but now rely on software tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to maintain face-to-face contact with would-be customers.
The software’s screen sharing capabilities allow advisor and customer to talk through plans in the same way as they would in the marketing suite. In fact, there can be benefits to meeting online, says Solari. “People can find it easier to focus on the conversation, as there are often fewer distractions. It is really a one-to-one opportunity to get answers and we are finding people are asking more questions.” She says that video meetings may last as long as an hour, as options are explored in depth.
“People can find it easier to focus on the conversation, as there are often fewer distractions. It is really a one-to-one opportunity to get answers and we are finding people are asking more questions.”
This new way of working has meant rapid changes behind the scenes for Ballymore’s sales teams, particularly those based in its marketing suites. Daily briefing and debriefing video calls, at the beginning and end of the day, are helping team members to stay connected, and some information has been simplified to help make it more easily accessible, particularly for marketing overseas. Good working practices are being shared, says Solari, to help constantly improve customer service.
Prior to the coronavirus crisis Solari, who looks after London City Island and Wardian, says sales were brisk. “We’d had a really good start to the year with sales up on the previous year. That has helped us more recently and given us a positive push for 2020,” she explains. Ballymore is planning for the future, with its Mill Harbour scheme, in Canary Wharf, gearing up for an anticipated launch later this year. “It will be a really exciting development that will really stand out,” says Solari. Without giving away too many of the details ahead of the launch, she hints, “It will have amenity offerings that you don’t often see in London to create community and enrich your life.” As the world adjusts to the challenges of tackling coronavirus, Solari says homeseekers are now optimistically looking to life beyond lockdown: “People are gathering information and doing their research while they have time. They are looking to their future”.
You can watch all the latest Ballymore videos on our YouTube page.