The purpose of this document is to provide guidance on organizing tasks, priorities, and workloads for full implementation of the F.A.S.T. Buyer's Process.


There are four perspectives to look at implementing the Buyer process that are described below. Unlike the accounting and production modules where you follow a generally linear route from beginning to completion, the buyer process can be implemented from a matrix of directions.:
  1. The first perspective is WHAT STATUS OF THE CUSTOMER MAKES SENSE TO BEGIN WITH? Break the process of the buyer into three stages of control. This includes being a prospect, a buyer, and then a warranty customer. Which stage makes the most sense to begin with first? They don't have to be taken in order! Prospect = status 1, Buyer = status 2, Warranty Customer = status 3

  1. THE SECOND PERSPECTIVE RELATES TO BUYER CONTROLS. Within each "stage of life" for the buyer, there exist several features with master files and subroutines that are part of the buyer process. The features are common to any point of the buyer's process. These are outlined below, and detailed further in this document:

  • Demographic information and marketing analysis.

  • Control procedures for each "stage of life" (prospect, buyer, customer). In other words, what happens when? In FAST these are called procedural checklists.

  • Inter-office communication between our team in servicing our customer. We can make notes on the buyer at any point in time and use a FAST-specific E-mail system.

  • Standard letters and correspondence with our customer.

  • The above can be tied together by using "action items" to automatically generate the desired results from those responsible, as a result of messages and checklists.

  1. Now that we've evaluated what can be done and at what stage we do it the THIRD PERSPECTIVE OF PROCESS. For each "stage of life" for the buyer there are routines in processing the customer that are part of what the system does. Your readiness to "convert" to those processes will guide what area you will tackle. These are explained in more detail in another section of this document.

  2. The FINAL PERSPECTIVE IS THAT OF INTEGRATION AND DECENTRALIZATION. Plainly put, this means that any or all of the tasks resulting from implementing the above can be done stand-alone and hopefully linked later. Correspondingly, if we start with centralized entry or with a single community we work to a point where other communities are using the system and the entry can be made from sales offices.

MAKING THE CHOICES--an exercise:

In the next section we will break the four way task list into some details. First how will you determine where to approach this matrix? Consider the following, and even use the space provided to note your team's comments:
  1. A community finishing up may be a good one for implementing warranty but not worthwhile to implement marketing and prospecting.

  2. A community that is starting out, often using a new set of products is prime to generate marketing information because it's critical to validate the new product features in light of people buying the product.

  3. If you use a project coordinator for handling job starts and bids should that same person also handle the maintenance of the sales backlog? Why or why not?

  4. Note the three most common things that cause problems in getting customers satisfied and houses delivered on time. This will help point where in the process you want to implement better control and at what point system implementation will have the most benefit. If you can, measure your improvement objectives.

  5. Assuming you begin with central office operation, the person who learns the procedure must be able to communicate it and train others who are now providing information that person needs to run the system. Can they facilitate and train the "back loading" process? Can you identify the best people?

  6. Once you put the plan together there will be a need to write documentation based on YOUR particular way of running the system. Don't do this until you've run it for a while. Make sure the details reflect lay person's language and forms and procedures that are in YOUR context. Who will do this?

  7. Consider the fact that warranty and contract administration are a fact of life. It may take some time to consider the best marketing and prospecting methods. If this is the case it's advisable to start with contract administration and allow it to feed warranty.


This outline elaborates the second and third perspective noted on the first page.
  1. To implement the buyer controls as well as any part of the buyer process you want to do the following:
  1. Like you did for production, create a handwritten "critical path" for the buyer. This involves all the steps of control, the timing of them, the sequence, and the responsibility. You can create this on a spreadsheet or even use a product like project if a more visual presentation would help facilitation.

  2. Determine those steps that are redundant and highlight them. These may be consolidated as part of the implementation.

  3. Set up notes classes that match the buyer status: 1=prospect 2=buyer 3= closing. Practice putting some notes in the prospect record and print out the detail.

  4. Now practice putting in some action items. You will need to set up in-house staff as vendors if you have not done so already. Print the Action Item Report.

  5. At your option practice putting in a standard letter in the Marketing Master files. Use the Mass Mailing feature to practice printing them out.

  6. Next construct the Procedural Checklists. You might start with only one basis type at first to get the hang of it. Basis types follow the same three buyer status codes. Don't get overly detailed here. If you want to work with warranty control first, you still need a basic checklist with one step for the prospecting and buyer phases.

  7. Now practice running the process program and print of the Action Items. You can also begin making one of your standard letters part of the checklist procedure. When you do, use the "Generate letters" feature of the system as opposed to the Mass Mailing feature.
  1. To implement the prospecting part of the system, do the following:

  1. As you may have done above, start with entering new prospects or buyers into the system. It's best to start with one community or with "buyers only" at first.

  2. Review the Marketing Master files as well as the various Marketing Reports in the system and in the documentation. Some of the demographic parameters are used commonly in these marketing reports such as traffic sources, family status, age ranges, etc. These are the ones for which you want to set up tables in the marketing master files. Your current traffic cards should be matched to the marketing master file they correspond to.

    • Don't create too many parameters in any one file.

    • Be ready to enter the parameters on ALL selected prospect records for a given slice of time, or the statistical reporting of the marketing reports will not be as meaningful.

  3. Use the "Control A and B" exits to fill in the parameters on those prospect records you've created.

  4. Use the price book as early as possible to put in selection of plan and options. Use the Consolidated Sales Agreement at first as an internal routing tool.

  5. Develop a procedure for handling change requests (especially custom quotes). Use the change request entry to generate prospect quotes on change orders.

    • Warning!! Don't mix contracts that are not entered with the price book with change order requests, as the Consolidated Sales Agreement will not work properly. Always use the price book if you use the Change Request system on a given prospect or buyer.

  1. To implement the "buyer" part of the system you will want to do the following:

    1. Enter the buyer as a prospect in the Prospecting menu. If you have chosen to, follow the steps outlined in prospect maintenance, above. Get current buyers entered first.

    2. Maintain the project master file to ensure that the "project to use" features are keyed to the right prices and exit into the "more" screen to see that prices will update correctly on any existing prospect records. To use the Job Profit Worksheet reporting, you should also consult the "Lot Defaults" parameter to decide how to handle soft cost projections.

    3. Run the sales entry program and practice using the deposits exit. The Customer Deposit summary can be run from this. Determine if sales administration or accounting will actually enter the deposits into the earnest money journal. This screen also allows modification of the soft costs if the lot has been set up to allow changes. Decide how to use the "promise date" parameter.

    4. Begin working the Update Buyer Data screen, and determine which parameters you want to enter and report on.

    5. Work with the Change Request Process, including the acceptance and posting of change orders. This requires coordination with sales and production. Consult the operating instructions for details.

    6. Practice running the Contract Status Report, Lot Inventory or Detail reports, and various prospect reports sorted by status 2, and run the Job Profit Worksheet on all sales that have used the price book.

    7. Review the checklist procedures to prepare for following the action item procedures related to contract to closing.

    1. To implement the customer service part of the system you must do the following:
    1. Make sure all warranty customers have been entered as prospects, have had contracts "sold" through the sales journal, and have been "closed" through the closing journal. It is not necessary to use the price book if you are entering past deals.

    2. Determine the point in time that you want to start running service orders on FAST.

    3. Review the checklist procedures to see if you want to use action items to remind follow up points or generate letters.

    4. Use the customer service system to enter, maintain, and report customer service requests.

    1. To implement any of the systems above from remote or multiple locations, you should cover the following bases:

    1. Hardware and networking requirements.

    2. Develop site-specific operating procedures.

    3. Get input from sales on how to use the marketing parameters effectively.

    4. Manage compliance and results from the checklists.

    5. Most importantly, develop easy to follow operating instructions for the locations.

    1. You have now integrated the buyer process! There are some features that have been left out that represent the final steps of full implementation. They have been left for last, as they build off of what you have already done. This is not to assume you can't work on some of the points below beforehand, but it is suggested you wait with implementing them until the above processes are working smoothly.

    1. Selections: This begins with determining the STANDARD selections for each community, and building the selection events and items. They are built as part of the resources file. A selection, by definition is grouped into one resource that has the same price. This is what separates a selection from an option. Each "set" represents a point in time when selections are made. Build your selection resources with a code starting with "z" so it sorts separately. When the file is built you will need to practice running the "Process for selections" and Selection Worksheet routines.

    2. Pre-qualification and loan packages. If your salespeople work with prospects in qualifying and selecting loan packages these can be set up in the loan package master file. From here the qualifications exit in prospecting is used to detail equity, debt, and down payment options and match to the priced plan and option combinations in anticipation of generating a sales agreement. The qualification worksheet can then be run for the buyer. This should be undertaken only when sales is thoroughly familiar with the routines noted above.

    3. Special backlog reports: This is a common need, as the standard reports are limited. Use the documentation to determine the file/field names you want and either download into a spreadsheet or other document, or use FAST reporting tools to generate within the system. This step can be taken most any time in the process.

    4. Specially formatted letters: The standard letters in FAST are not flexible to formatting and font design. FAST's new SQL release makes this easier. Action items and letters can now be loaded down to a file into Microsoft Word more easily, and then processed. Keep in mind that the label program within FAST may still be useful if you do this.
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