This week on The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast, Jordan Brown of K. Hovnanian Homes joins Greg and Kevin to discuss how to create sales and marketing teams that work well together.
A successful home builder has a digital marketing team and sales team that collaborate. Jordan says, “…we're really tight with our marketing team. We all work very well together, and so whenever we're tackling a challenge, it isn't a, well, Hey, sales is going to work through this and, don't worry about it. Or, Hey, listen, marketing, this is your job. You know, it is a, Hey, how are we all going to tackle this together because everybody is pulling from life experiences and has some really great insight that they can bring to the table. So, I think that's what it's all about.”
One of the best ways a sales team can support the marketing team is by providing them with correct data to evaluate. Jordan explains, “As important as the digital marketing team is to us and our marketing department, it's equally, if not more important, to get them an accurate data set so they can run with it. That's what I always bark at our sales team is get us what you're seeing in the marketplace, give it to us so we can review it, and let's pass it up so we can see where are we gonna spend our marketing dollars correctly. That's the name of the game right now, so we can get the right traffic through the doors.”
Building a team is what counts. Jordan says, “…one of the biggest things was coming in and creating a culture that is one team, one voice, one heart,…not operating within silos, but operating as a team. And we're not just talking sales. We're talking, purchasing, marketing, construction, everybody being on the same page and working together, going the right direction.”
Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about creating sales and marketing teams that are cohesive.
About the Guest:
Jordan was born and raised in Sacramento, CA, and moved to TX to attend Texas Christian University for college! Funny enough, he had no intention of getting into new home construction fresh out of college, but he signed up for a couple of job interviews to get comfortable with interviewing questions and techniques…turns out one of them happened to be with Pulte Homes and he absolutely fell in love right off the bat!
Since then, he has sold somewhere north of 600 homes between 2005-2020 with Pulte, Meritage, and K. Hovnanian Homes...Rookie of the Year, Presidents Club, Sales Consultant of the Year along the way. He took the step up into sales leadership in 2020 with KHov and has thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it!
Greg Bray: [00:00:00] Hello everybody, and welcome to today's episode of The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine.
Kevin Weitzel: And I'm Kevin Weitzel with OutHouse.
Greg Bray: And today we're excited to have with us on the show, Jordan Brown. Jordan is the Area Sales Manager at K. Hovnanian Homes. Welcome, Jordan. Thanks for joining us today.
Jordan Brown: Hey, good morning, gentlemen.
Greg Bray: Well, and Jordan, why don't you go ahead and start us off by just giving us that short introduction and help us to get to know you.
Jordan Brown: Well, sure. Well, thanks, Greg. So, yeah. As you already mentioned, I'm the Area Sales Manager with K.Hovnanian Homes out in Dallas, Fort Worth.[00:01:00] Been in the industry for right about 17 years. Moved out to Texas to go to TCU for college and kind of fell happenstance into new home construction. Believe it or not. That's a fun story, but spent some years working with a couple of builders, but I've been with K, Hovnanian Homes for the last 12 working on 13.
Kevin Weitzel: That is a long time, number one, and that's also just the business part. As you well know, I need to know something, our listeners need to know something, about you that they'll learn on our podcast only that's not business related. Something about you, Jordan. What do you got?
Jordan Brown: Oh, sure. So I am, blessed. I have a wonderful wife named Becca. We have three girls between the ages of sixteen, four, and one. So, we have all the drama, all the emotion, all the everything going on in our life right now. It's a fun season of life, for sure. So, that's the family aspect of it. I am an extreme sports junkie, an adrenaline junkie. So, skydiving, bungee jumping, wakeboarding, snowboarding. All of that [00:02:00] is right up my alley if I ever have the opportunity. Little thing about me there.
Kevin Weitzel: So, just skydiving, or do you do any base jumping?
Jordan Brown: I haven't done any base jumping.
Kevin Weitzel: Or do you do one of those wings suits?
Jordan Brown: No. Gone skydiving once. My wife and I went for our 30th birthdays. We're actually gonna do it again for our 40th next year.
Kevin Weitzel: Where do you go?
Jordan Brown: Just in Dallas. I think it's called Skydive Dallas if I remember correctly. So, trying to do it every decade.
Kevin Weitzel: We have Eloy out here in Arizona, and in Eloy, there's like one of the biggest destinations for people to go skydiving. I might just go with you.
Greg Bray: Kevin's done a little skydiving in his day.
Jordan Brown: Come on. Okay. The more the merrier.
Greg Bray: So, Jordan, why don't you tell us a little bit more about how you got into the new home industry?
Jordan Brown: Oh, gosh. Yeah. So, okay. So, I was graduating from Texas Christian University and I signed up in my last, gosh, couple of months, for a round of interviews for jobs that I had absolutely no interest in. Just to get the practice of feeling comfortable in an interview and learning how to answer [00:03:00] questions, and one of them just happened to be Pulte Homes. The way that it was brought on and the conversation that developed just felt right.
I majored in college, double majoring in speech communications at the time, so interpersonal communications and sociology. So, the study of groups of people and it just fit really well, and it felt good. So, that's the end of that story. I hopped into new home construction. Never looked back. Started with Pulte for a number of years.
At the time, and I'm sure they still do, but they had amazing training and onboarding and the ability to just learn and deep dive very quickly into the industry, and that was 2005. So, as you can imagine, that was the height of that roller coaster, and then it just went down, down, down and rode it out. So, I learned a lot in the industry very early in my career from just life experiences and going through a lot of the different market demands.
Kevin Weitzel: So, you actually went from elated, out of school. I'm adventurous. This is fun. [00:04:00] Into some, you know, just some interviews that just vaporized and turned into a job and solidified a new job. At what point when the market was crashing, I've celebrity stocked you on LinkedIn, and you don't have any breaks in your employ. So, at what point did you think, man, did I go into the right industry? Two, the other question is, how did you stay motivated when the industry was literally falling apart around you?
Jordan Brown: Sure. Well, I gotta be honest with you, Kevin. I think it was head over heels at first sight. When I got into the industry, I had a lot of fun. Yes, there were turbulent times, but there were a lot of really great communities, a lot of really great sales consultants that I met, and mentors that took me up under their wing very early on.
So, I was very lucky, you know, for the people that surrounded me and the really the support system that grew from that. So, really to answer your question, I'd never really said, Hey, I don't know if this is the right industry for me. When I was in it, it was the work ethic. It was the drive. [00:05:00] I really got off on the hustle and the gosh, what would be it? I'm trying to think of the right word, but the initiative that it took to find the next sale.
Kevin Weitzel: I've known you personally now for a little bit. A lot of times, we interview people and we meet them just like we'll meet somebody on the street. We're about to ready to ask you some questions about the industry. Well, I've known you here, and one question I have, and this is one very beautiful thing about you is that every time I've ever seen you, even when it's, I'm holding finger quotes, even when it's off camera, you're always up. You're always in that mode of just being positive, friendly, having a smile on your face and a genuine one. Not one of those painted-on smiles. It's a genuine smile. What, in Jordan's world, where is your off time? Cause everybody has to have it. You can't be on 24/7. I know where my off cycle is, and it has affected relationships, believe it or not, but what is your off time?
Jordan Brown: Sure. So, when I drive into my driveway, you know, and can spend time with my family. So, there is a very distinct [00:06:00] road here as I'm driving into the community where I live, where I turn it off and put on my dad hat and say, Hey, this time is reserved now for my family, for my wife, and my kids. I think there's probably a lot of sales consultants that can relate to this, but I think there's a lot of extroverted introverts in the industry.
Where, you know, you got it on you're loving your job, you're having to blast, but man, when you're on full time on the sales floor from back in my experience doing that, if you're putting all of yourself into it, it's taking it all. So, when you get home, you know, I feel bad for my neighbors, cause I'm very extroverted, but the second I get home, it's I don't want to see anybody maybe for a little bit. I want to get into my driveway, get in my garage, and say hi to my family and just hang out.
Kevin Weitzel: It works.
Greg Bray: Well, Jordan I love the tip if we've got any college-age folks, listening in to just go do all these interviews just because, just to learn how to interview. I think that nobody teaches you how to do that in school. You only learn it by doing, and so I think [00:07:00] it's a great piece of advice there. It's a little off-topic, but great insight. Thank you.
Jordan Brown: Listen, trial by fire. Right? I think you learned a lot just from life experiences. There's only so much that you can study and take in, but I'm a big believer in you're only as good as what you've experienced in life, and I think a lot of that comes randomly. You know, you just have to be in the right spot at the right time and time on the job and whatever you're doing, you soak in all those life experiences.
Greg Bray: So Jordan, looking back now, you rode through the 2007, 2008 fun, shall we call it? We're in a similar transition period right now where things are changing quickly, especially for those who are new in the industry and haven't really seen a lot of change over the last couple of years. What is changing from your perspective and how is that impacting the sales process?
Jordan Brown: Yeah, sure. So, the normalization of the marketplace in Dallas, Fort Worth hit us about mid-June. It was spotty at first. There were a couple of communities where we were [00:08:00] seeing, less traffic, less people trying to beat down the doors to get in. In Dallas, Fort Worth specifically, we have 21 sales consultants and really 40% of them have only been in the industry for three to four years. So, if you look at that, the experience they have, they were essentially blindsided by the change or the normalization of the marketplace.
Now, in Dallas, our executive sales management team spent a lot of time focusing on mindset, gratitude, because we knew at some point this was going to hit us. You know, it wouldn't be like this forever and more than likely it would hit us overnight, and so we wanted to make sure, as most as we could, be ready and be in the right mental space to be ready for this. Now, as a sales leader in having coaching opportunity, Greg, I was telling you earlier, I nerd out on this type of stuff because now is the opportunity to be able to jump in and get creative and coach and think through, Hey, listen, how can we stand out as a sales team [00:09:00] compared to the competition that's in the same community? What are we gonna do to drive our own traffic, and number one job of mine is how are we gonna focus on conversion. Yes, traffic is slowing down, but how are we gonna convert the traffic that we have?
Kevin Weitzel: I just think that in that market, you guys could have, I don't know, maybe a marketing person dress up in a gorilla suit. Do you think we could find a volunteer or force somebody, I don't know, just throwing a name out there, Chris Hartley, to possibly get in a gorilla suit or something?
Jordan Brown: And I'm sure Chris would reach out to you and see what your calendar looks like as well, Kevin, cause I think two gorillas in monkey suits are always better than one.
Kevin Weitzel: Two. Yes.
Greg Bray: For the record, Kevin does Elvis, not gorilla.
Jordan Brown: Oh, okay.
Kevin Weitzel: Correction. I do fat Elvis. I do the Elvis that when he walks by your table singing, possibly could take a bite of your sandwich.
Jordan Brown: Well, Chris has a closet full of outfits, so I'm sure he probably has one snuck in there somewhere.
Kevin Weitzel: There you go.
Greg Bray: So, but to the real meat behind [00:10:00] Kevin's question though, right? When sales leads start to dry up, there's this tendency to kind of start yelling at marketing, to do something different, do something unique, do something you haven't done before. What are you yelling at your marketing people to start doing that they haven't been doing because we need traffic, we need traffic?
Jordan Brown: Sure. We have a rockstar digital marketing team up at our corporate office, but quite frankly, before even we get there, my attention is on the sales team on how are we looking on our most recent competitive market analysis. You know, have you done your CMA? Who are you talking to at the competitors? What are they doing? There are, and I'm not gonna name any names, but there are a lot of really interesting things happening at our competitors right now, and we need to keep our pulse and we need to know exactly what's going on.
As important as the digital marketing team is to us and our marketing department, it's equally, if not more important, to get them an accurate data set so they can run with it. That's what I always bark at our sales team is get us what you're seeing in the [00:11:00] marketplace, give it to us so we can review it, and let's pass it up so we can see where are we gonna spend our marketing dollars correctly? That's the name of the game right now, so we can get the right traffic through the doors.
Greg Bray: You are using the sales team to inform the marketing department about what's going on. Did I understand that correctly?
Jordan Brown: Yep. You know, obviously an info-intensive deep dive as to what's going on in the market, we just want to make sure that, Hey, if we're gonna be reporting anything up, it's accurate, it's relevant, and it's timely.
Greg Bray: So, as you look at these prospective buyers that are coming, how are you also seeing their expectations, from a digital standpoint, change as far the information they're looking for, or they've already found before they're coming to meet with the sales team? What's been your experience in that evolution, if you will?
Jordan Brown: Well, we're working with a more educated prospective buyer than ever before, right? Just because with the websites, and as it should be with new home construction builders these days, there is a plethora of information out there on our websites. They can [00:12:00] review, plans, features, site plan, really everything on a macro and dumping into a micro level environment on the website.
So, when they're coming into the community, they already know, in a lot of cases, the plan that they're most interested in, and then our sales consultant is spending less time trying to do a lot of that discovery, and more so being the human element and the aspect of getting to know the prospect, listening. So much listening is involved, at least it should be, so you can really get to know the prospect and make sure you're pointing them in the right direction.
Greg Bray: We haven't told a lot of people this yet, Jordan, but Blue Tangerine did a survey this year, trying to understand buyers and what they're looking for digitally, and we'll be releasing more and more of that over the coming months, as we dissect it all. But one of the big takeaways that we saw is even those who like the online process still want somebody to help them with this purchase and this process, because it's so big and so scary and something they only do [00:13:00] once, twice, maybe three times in a lifetime. They really do want that guide. So, do you find that your sales team members are threatened by the digital and the extra info that the buyers have, or do they welcome it and want the buyer to come with all this information?
Jordan Brown: So, they are welcoming it. We've had conversations only because, back to the human element. Listen, there's only so much information that a prospective buyer can get online. Someone is going to go through a situation during the construction building process where there's some heartburn and what are you going to do as a sales consultant to make sure that you're setting proper expectations up front, you're giving them the information?
Listen, everybody who is coming in and looking to build a new home probably has a friend or a family member who has either done it before or heard a horror story and that's what they're coming in with. They're fearful, and they're looking for someone to ease their concerns and make sure that, Hey, listen, is this the right builder for us? Our sales [00:14:00] consultants are the front line of defense and they need to be there knowledgeable, knowing how to handhold and really walk these people through it in a good situation.
Kevin Weitzel: So, what you're saying is your team has a philosophy of allowing the client to come in already knowing what the sizzle is. They already know they want the sizzle. You just have to let them know when the steak can be available, how easy it is to purchase the steak and help them with the process of moving on in to getting that steak.
Jordan Brown: Well, and why us as well, Kevin, because there's a lot of competitors out there who have just as much information on their websites as well. So, let's say they're walking into a master-planned community and there's four or five or six builders within that community. Well, why K. Hovnanian Homes? You know, you're gonna get that question.
So, you've got to know how, as a sales consultant, to identify what is our USP, or our unique selling position, to make sure that they understand we're going be the right builder for them. Whether it's the right home design, the right experience, the customer experience, and deliver it to them at the finish line for a seamless music [00:15:00] closing.
Kevin Weitzel: You know what I heard right there, Greg? I hear a man ready to ascend in the K. Hovnanian ranks to national trainer. That's what I hear. That's what I heard. Right there.
Jordan Brown: Oh man.
Greg Bray: Well, Jordan, as you work with your sales team and you're trying to motivate them, what are some of the concerns that they're struggling with right now? Is it just market change? Is it technology? Is it new tools? What is it that kind of gets in their way that you have to help them with?
Jordan Brown: So, there's a lot to unpack in this question. I want to start first with to our sales consultants who are younger in the industry. Let's just be very transparent. For a long time, it was very easy to sell a home, and there was less that you needed to do to deep dive into the weeds with your prospect who is in front of you.
I've spent, and our team has spent, a lot of time going through the idiosyncrasies of, Hey, what's a 5/1 arm? What's a 2-1 buy down? Let's talk financing. Let's really get into how do we run debt-to-income ratios. How do we help these people understand [00:16:00] and educate them on how we can assist them and what options are available to them? So, that's one aspect of it. You know, the other aspect is making sure that they're comfortable and knowing that we're going to be the right builder for them.
So, a lot of it too is making sure that they don't get in their own way. The mindset of the sales consultant is, Hey, X competitor over here is doing X, Y, and Z. They're changing it up. They're lowering based prices. They're changing incentives. Before we get into that, let's take a look at the confidence that we have on what we have to offer, where the dust settles. They may be doing that, but what are we doing to sell the value proposition that we still have, even though some of these builders are swapping it up?
Kevin Weitzel: So, you're saying that you don't even have to break into the smarmier things of doing, where you could say stuff like, have you ever seen a two-by-two interior wall? Do you know what that is Mr. and Mrs. Customer? Or have you ever lived on a street where nobody could park their truck in their garage because they purposely make the garage too small to park a truck into?
Jordan Brown: Hey, [00:17:00] listen. There's still some of that. If you have an engineer in front of you, get them out to a home that's going through seconds inspections and walk them through a home to show them the interior guts. If that's what their hot button is. Really get into the weeds with them on that. If it's someone who is all about prestige and wants the community, you know, dive in on the amenities of the community, and what the community is offering, and how we're pairing ourselves as a builder to provide that lifestyle that they're really looking for. You know, it's not a one size fits all. I think a sales consultant has so many tools on their tool belt, but they really need to be sharp to be able to go to bat, you know, and make sure that they're delivering what they need to deliver.
Kevin Weitzel: But Jordan, isn't your job really easy? Have you ever walked into a K. Hovanian? K. Hov Homes are ridiculously beautiful. They're pristine. The smooth texture into walls makes them amazing. I don't think he gets any easier, dude. How do you not sell that?
Jordan Brown: Oh man. It's, Kevin, you're right. It's just so easy. I have it all easy, easy, easy. [00:18:00] It sounds like you're our buyer, so we're ready for you, but no. There's always something different. I love every single aspect of this job because, you know, I have opportunities to go out and do one on ones with my sales teams. Every community is very different in terms of what we offer. We have a very diverse portfolio from first-time homeowners to, gosh, tri-level modern townhomes on the water. There's a ton out there.
Kevin Weitzel: Those are mine. Those are my favorite. I'm that market. Rooftop decks. Come on. They're amazing.
Jordan Brown: Yeah. Nice homes. So, we're in many different submarkets, many different buyer profiles. Sales consultants are moving around from community to community, so they get a good opportunity to work in different profiles as well. So, that's the fun part of it.
Greg Bray: Are there sales professionals who are worried that some of the buy online and other technologies are coming are gonna replace them? Is there a job security concern out there for at least some portion of that group?
Jordan Brown: I've heard it before, and I just don't understand it. You know, there was some [00:19:00] grumbling of it at IBS. You know, whenever you get into an atmosphere where you are meeting different people from all across the United States, there's a lot of thought processes out there with different builders and their different philosophies.
I just don't understand it because even in the world that we're in, with as much information is on the website, with as much AI that there is out there, there's still going to be the sales consultant who needs to help people through different, you know, opportunities that exist in the building process, different situations that arise.
Listen, construction's not perfect. Everybody knows that. The last big investment that's all built by hand, with a hundred different people plus more, walking onto the job site from start to finish. It's not all going to be perfect. Helping people going through the financing aspect of the loan, especially for folks where it's their first time building a home. There's still gonna be that need.
I would also argue that with all of the AI, there's a lot of online sales consultants and online [00:20:00] teams, booking appointments. So, never before has it been more important for a sales consultant to have that relationship with the online sales team for a really great, unique handoff for the prospect once they show up to the model home as well.
Greg Bray: So, where do you go, Jordan, for your new ideas to learn, to grow, and to improve yourself? What are your sources?
Jordan Brown: Sure. So, first off, I am part of the Jeff Shore Roundtable. I'm a huge believer in that only because listen, it's an opportunity to surround yourself with other sales leaders across the organization and the United States, and meeting other thought leaders who have been in the industry for a very long time. Everybody is very open to sharing creative ideas, what has worked for them in the past, what hasn't, and so having that opportunity to call someone, you know, who might be across the United States. Hey, what's going on in this submarket to get a pulse?
I also like watching all of the John Burns information that comes across. RSI, you know, we have [00:21:00] those quarterly meetings, at least here in Dallas, Fort Worth, looking at the data coming across, and then also looking across industries. Not only just in new home construction but what's working elsewhere in tech? What's working in other industries that's out there to pull from to get really great creative content to be able to apply to us?
Kevin Weitzel: So, obviously, Greg and I, because we sell to home builders, we deal with the marketing teams more often than sales teams, but one magic that I see, honestly, I don't know if that's been paralleled anywhere else, is the magic between you and your marketing team in that particular DFW market. You know, you've got the Hughs, the Meredith Chapmans. You've got the Chris Hartleys. How do you replicate that companywide instead of just that one division?
Jordan Brown: Yeah, so, so much of it, and I've gotta give a lot of credit to Chris, and Meredith and I, we have A, learned a lot from that, man, but one of the biggest things was coming in and creating a culture that [00:22:00] is one team, one voice, one heart, and that's kind of our mantra at Dallas, Fort Worth, is not operating within silos, but operating as a team. And we're not just talking sales. We're talking, purchasing, marketing, construction, everybody being on the same page and working together, going the right direction.
So, really to filter it down to your question, Kevin, is we're really tight with our marketing team. We all work very well together, and so whenever we're tackling a challenge, it isn't a, well, Hey, sales is going to work through this and, don't worry about it. Or, Hey, listen, marketing, this is your job. You know, it is a, Hey, how are we all going to tackle this together because everybody is pulling from life experiences and has some really great insight that they can bring to the table. So, I think that's what it's all about.
Greg Bray: Well, Jordan, we appreciate you giving us so much time today. Before we wrap up, what's one last piece of advice or thought that you wanted to share with our audience today, before we go?
Jordan Brown: I think authenticity is the biggest thing, and this is what I'll always hang my hat on is be you. People can [00:23:00] see right through if you've got that slapped on fake smile. If that's not, you don't be it. Be you, and you're going to get the rapport from folks. You're going to get the respect from everybody if you are truly being yourself and coming from a good place, with a good heart.
Kevin Weitzel: So, what you're saying is embrace for the people out there that suffer from RBF, because it's not child appropriate, I'm not going to say what that means, but people that suffer from RBF, they should just wear that RBF with pride and just walk through the office with it. Is that what we're talking about here?
Jordan Brown: I think it's got its place, Kevin.
Kevin Weitzel: I love it. All right. So, when are you signing up for Ironman?
Jordan Brown: Oh man. Are you gonna be there to help support me because I'm going need all the help I can get?
Kevin Weitzel: If you do it, I will be there. Yes. At least in the run, I'll ride my bike around while you're on the run.
Jordan Brown: I'm going to start with a few 5Ks. How's that?
Kevin Weitzel: Oh, okay. All right.
Greg Bray: Well, Jordan, if somebody wants to reach out and connect with you, what's the best way for them to get in touch?
Jordan Brown: Yeah, so I'm very active on LinkedIn. So, definitely hit me up on [00:24:00] LinkedIn. Send me a message. Uh, also my email is just fine. JoBrown@khov.com. K H O V.
Greg Bray: All right. Well, thank you so much, Jordan, for joining us today, and thank you everybody for listening to The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine.
Kevin Weitzel: And I'm Kevin Weitzel with OutHouse. Thank you.