This week on The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast, Corey Brady of Kartchner Homes joins Greg and Kevin to discuss the value of staying connected to buyers during the home buying process with consistent and clear communication.
There is potential for sales and marketing managers to be too far removed from buyers’ wants and needs. Corey says, “Sometimes I think our marketing and our sales management is disconnected sometimes from what is really being said unless you're really close to those things….but I know there can be a disconnect.”
Sales and marketing teams need to communicate regularly with home buyers. Corey explains, “We get that buying a home has got a bunch of ups and downs and it's got a bunch of good parts and bad parts, but identifying those before they happen and then taking advantage of the highs and prepping for the lows, I think that is gold. You can gain so much traction when you say to somebody, Hey look, we're gonna do our best, but not everything's gonna go a hundred percent the way we want.”
The home buying journey will never be completely flawless, but communicating to buyers about delays and challenges is key to making the process as smooth as possible. Corey says, “You know, we are a bunch of imperfect people with imperfect materials and imperfect weather, and we're trying to build you a perfect house, and it just is not probably gonna happen. We're gonna do an awesome job and you're gonna love it in the end, but you have to realize there's gonna be some bumps on the way..”
Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about the importance of effective communication with buyers throughout the home buying journey.
About the Guest:
Corey is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Kartchner Homes. Kartchner Homes has been building homes in Northern Utah and Southeastern Idaho since 1996. He’s been with Kartchner Homes since 2019. He’s worked in sales, marketing, and sales management for the last 25 years.
He went back to school online while managing a chain of mattress stores and earned his degree in Entrepreneurship and Sales Management in 2014. He’s owned and run various businesses over the last 25 years and has come to love the real estate world, especially new home construction and sales. He is also a licensed Realtor.
He has been married to his wife for 22 years and has 5 daughters. They live in Wellsville, Utah.
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 we are excited today to have joining us on the show, Corey Brady. Corey is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Kartchner Homes. Welcome, Corey. Thanks for joining us.
Corey Brady: Thanks so much. Great to be here.
Greg Bray: Well, Corey, let's, uh, start out, help people get to know you a little bit and give us a little bit of background about yourself.
Corey Brady: Awesome. So, I do not come by the construction world naturally. I know a lot of people spend a lot of years in [00:01:00] construction. I've only been here for about three years, so it's a newer gig for me. I have been in retail, owned my own businesses, financial services for years and years, and just found a home here at Kartchner and love it.
Kevin Weitzel: Your pathway there was through financial, which is awesome because that allows you to understand the financial tools on the sales end of things. But could you do me a favor and just take one little tangent and tell us something personal that we can learn about you that we'll only learn on our podcast?
Corey Brady: Yes. So, interestingly enough, like I said, I'm a very entrepreneurial guy. I've done a lot of different things. About 2012, I actually invented, patented, and distributed an insulated hammock that I've now since sold to Grand Trunk. So, you can buy it on Grand Trunk's website. It's the Evolution Hammock. Totally created it, thought it up, got the patents, went to China, got the designs, [00:02:00] everything. Made it in a factory, and then ended up selling it to them, so.
Greg Bray: Insulated like, for camping or something to keep you warm or?
Corey Brady: Yeah.
Greg Bray: Okay. Got it.
Corey Brady: So, sleeping bag on top, insulated underneath. So, one of the challenges with the hammock is there's no insulation on the bottom. So, when you're sleeping in a down sleeping bag, super nice, right? You're compressing that down underneath and you have all that air underneath you. So, I spent a couple of really chilly nights sleeping in the mountains and was like, there's gotta be a better way to do this.
Greg Bray: There's gotta be a better way. Absolutely. The mother of invention. There's gotta be a better way.
Corey Brady: Yeah.
Kevin Weitzel: And did you seriously not think of the Arizona clients that you could market that in a completely different way? Own your very own personal Navajo sweat lodge. No? How did you miss that one? The marketing side? Come on.
Corey Brady: That's genius. I'm gonna send a message to them right now.
Kevin Weitzel: I think you should. You'd be doing them a favor.[00:03:00]
Corey Brady: Yeah. That's great. That's really funny.
Greg Bray: So, how do you go from insulated hammocks to home building, Corey? What's the leap there to make that career switch?
Corey Brady: Well, I mean that was just kind of a side hustle thing that I did. It was while I was working in a retail store. So, I was working, actually mattresses. Right. That's a great lead-up to construction. I moved into the neighborhood where the owner of my company lives and we got be friends and he's always looking for good people. I guess I qualify as one of those. So, we talked and he invited me down to interview and it's been a great fit so far.
Greg Bray: So, just really running into somebody, getting to know 'em, and deciding to go work together.
Corey Brady: Yeah, that's pretty much it.
Greg Bray: Awesome. Well, tell us a little bit more about Kartchner Homes, where you guys build, the kind of buyers that you're working with.
Corey Brady: So, we have been around 25 years. We mostly service Cache Valley, Logan, Utah, and then also southeastern Idaho. We are mostly production. So, we pretty much do all production [00:04:00] homes. We have our own communities, build our own plans. We're just working 'em like the Toyota guys do, putting 'em on the conveyor belt and running 'em down the line.
Greg Bray: So, coming from outside of the home building industry and doing some retail experience and even some inventing. What did you find from a digital aspect as you entered into home building? Did you go, wow, this is like state of the art leading edge? Or did you go there might be some opportunities here? You know, what was kind of your introduction to that?
Corey Brady: That's a good question. The real thing is there's a lot of things that other industries do that are common practices for them that home building we don't even understand what that looks like. So, there were a number of things in the marketing world as far as what retail does and how retail promotes, and presents, and packages things, that home builders, I just don't see it. So, there was a ton of things there.
Kevin Weitzel: Obviously, that's because none of those practices apply to the home building [00:05:00] world. Is that correct?
Corey Brady: It must be, right? Obviously, right? It's gotta be cause why would you do it if it wasn't the case? Right? I have noticed one thing is interesting about home building. It can be at times pretty old school, right? We have our way we've done it. This is how we've always done it. This is the way we want to do it. Sometimes introducing new concepts, new ideas takes a little bit of time, really. There's lots of things that are just common in other industries that are just not common in the home building world that would fit really good and do great.
Greg Bray: Have you been trying to bring those to Kartchner Homes, or have you felt like, well, I need to kind of wait and make sure I understand the old-school way before I try to change it too much?
Corey Brady: I've been doing it about three years now, so I think I have a good understanding of the way that home builders think and the way that they go about things, and we've started to implement a few things. One of the first things I noticed when I first came to home building was, we have this [00:06:00] language as home builders and not everybody understands it.
Not all consumers and customers and clients understand when you're talking about a spec home or you're talking about what's the difference between a pre-sale and an inventory home. Like they just don't sometimes naturally get that. A lot of it, in the beginning, was just making sure the communication is extremely clear. Like, this is what we're talking about. It's this.
Kevin Weitzel: So, I have a little bit of a question for you. It is more of a curiosity. So, being that you are relatively new to the industry, I mean three, and you're a veteran now, but I mean, it's still relatively new. With your position there, do you just roll with the punches and make sure that stuff happens and implement, or does Troy come into your office and go, Hey, who's doing this cockamamie thing? You know, or who said that we're gonna be doing this now? I mean, do you have some autonomy or how, how did you build your team is basically what my question is.
Corey Brady: So, I have a great team. We have a marketing manager. Her name's Tia. She's fantastic, and we have another individual that helps us [00:07:00] on that team, Kylie, and they come up with a lot of the content. So, basically what we'll do is once a week we have our marketing meeting. We'll sit down, okay, this is where we want to be. We look at the numbers. Lead conversion is the key, and so we're always talking about lead conversion.
And one of the things that's interesting, I don't know if I mentioned this, but I have found that I am totally unique in the building world 'cause I still sell. So, I still take leads and I still am out in the field helping customers. Most sales managers I've noticed, they're like totally out of it. They just teach and train and help the sales team, but they don't do anything with the actual customers for the most part. I don't know if that's generally true. That's kind of what I've seen, but maybe you've seen more people than I do. Is that kind of the case?
Greg Bray: I think in general, people move into management and training, they don't have the time as much to deal with actual buyers. But I think the opportunity to stay in touch with what buyers want and what they're asking [00:08:00] for and what they're expecting is a huge opportunity that you can see only by talking to them.
Corey Brady: That was what was important to me. So, I said, yeah, I'll do the director of sales and marketing, but I still want to sell, and I think it's that connection for me. You know, I think it'd be beneficial for sales managers to just take a lead every now and then. Just actually talk to a buyer and see what they're saying.
Kevin Weitzel: There's two schools of thought there. School of thought number one is wartime. If you're stealing a lead, watch your back. You're gonna get a frag grenade when you go into the bathroom. Just the way it works. I'm sorry, I gotta use marine corp talk. That's the way it works. You're gonna get blown up 'cause you're stealing a lead from some new salesperson. Or school of thought number two is that if they're not getting the job done, you have to go in there and do it for them because they're not getting it done. Show 'em how to do it. Lead by example.
Corey Brady: Very much so, and I mean, I'm pretty chill. Like, I would help somebody and I would just turn the lead over at the end. I'm okay with that too. My goal is to stay connected, right? I wanna stay connected. What are buyers saying? What are they talking about? [00:09:00] What do they need?
That was one of the things that I noticed when I was in retail. The buyers are coming into the store, they're telling you things so you know how to market to them. Sometimes I think our marketing and our sales management is disconnected sometimes from what is really being said unless you're really close to those things. Some are great like some spend time with their salespeople and they listen and they're with them and that's great, but I know there can be a disconnect.
Kevin Weitzel: And even though we're more focused on the marketing side, what are you using as an implementation for your team to help train them to make them more seasoned and better and more efficient at what they do?
Corey Brady: As far as sales go?
Kevin Weitzel: The sales side. Yeah.
Corey Brady: Well, one, we plug into a couple of different people. You know, Jeff Shore is fantastic. His training is incredible. We talk every week. We go through his stuff in our sales meeting, and then we just got done with Roland Nairnsey's training. That additional training and those things are huge, and then we do [00:10:00] roleplays and things in our sales meetings and try and keep it. Everybody hates role-playing. Why is that like the worst thing ever?
Kevin Weitzel: Everybody does. Hate it.
Corey Brady: I swear, it's like you say, role play and it's like, all of a sudden people are like, I got an appointment during sales meeting. I can't come.
Kevin Weitzel: I was the top salesman in the country for Harley Davidson one year. I mean, even with my stature in the company, I'd still have to go do these role plays. So, basically I would always take the turnaround question for just looking. I would make it a demonstration where I would grab some and go, just look, oh that's fantastic. Here follow me. I need to show you something. I would literally walk the entire team all the way through the whole dealership back to where we have all the repairs and I'd show them some super duper hot rod bike and I'd go, check out this new exhaust the team just put on this bike.
And then they'd go like, but your not selling me anything? I'm like, yes I did. I just sold on the, that we do a lot more at this dealership than just looking. They're not here to just buy a t-shirt. I'm gonna show them everything. Just looking. Great. Let me show you how we insulate these walls. We have a little [00:11:00] project on our end model down here that we're just finishing up. Boom. Whatever. I hate role-playing.
Corey Brady: Great sales is implementing those things the way that you talk and the way that you are. Right?
Kevin Weitzel: Exactly.
Corey Brady: Which is what you've done there? This is what you are excited about. This is what is passion for you, and you translate that to customers, and then as you're going through the process, you find out what they need and what their passions are, and then you help them find what they are after.
Kevin Weitzel: Yeah, just looking. Man, did you see these new sub-zero fridges that we just put in this place? What?
Corey Brady: I got something to show you to look at.
Kevin Weitzel: I got something for you to see. Look at this split air handler. This thing's awesome. Yeah.
Corey Brady: You know, a lot of that is just helping, you know because I hear what the buyers are saying a lot. When one of my salespeople will say, every week we'll go through their top five people that they're helping right now, they're working with. We'll talk about what's a challenge you're having right now. You know, inevitably somebody's come across it. [00:12:00] We've heard that objection before or that challenge before, and so we're able to work together to move through it. Do we sell everybody? No, but we get a lot more because of that.
Greg Bray: So Corey, how do you take that feedback from those customer conversations and translate it back to the marketing effort that you were just talking about sometimes gets disconnected, and so you're trying to stay connected with it. What's kind of your process to keep those things connected and to improve that messaging over time?
Corey Brady: One of the things that we just did earlier in the year, you know, we started hearing rates, right? I started hearing from buyers rates. I started to hear this grumbling underneath and we started to see what was happening in the market. We started talking about we gotta start doing something like back in April. So, we were talking March, April, May we started making adjustments.
So, we were one of the first builders in our area to start offering a concession. We started offering a concession. We did 3% of the purchase [00:13:00] price towards closing costs to help people buy down their rate and do those types of things. That came directly because we were hearing from our buyers, this is what's happening.
This is what we're seeing. This is where we're at, and so we implemented that directly into a marketing shift, into a promotion. Which for, I mean, how many years we've not had to do any promotions? It's like, Hey, you wanna buy a house? Well, good, I got one. Like, that was our promotion.
Kevin Weitzel: You know, Corey, I see you wearing a BYU football shirt. You know what they have in football? They got points. You know what else has points? Finance companies. Let me show you how you can buy those down. Boom.
Corey Brady: Yeah. Very, very smart.
Greg Bray: Corey, as you have been working towards enhancing the home builder way of doing things, shall we say, over the last few years. What are some of the things that you decided to focus on first as far as engaging more digitally with your prospective buyers?
Corey Brady: Well, one of the things that we were not great at, that we've become better at is identifying exactly where leads are really coming [00:14:00] from. I think that's so key, you know, where your marketing dollars are gonna be spent, and so our team really did a deep dive. Now, we track exactly where leads are coming from.
We used to put all of the Zillow leads and the realtor.com leads and all these other leads in like this bucket of online or Google, right? It was like, Well, how do you really know where they're coming from? You gotta track that stuff and make sure. So, we really have narrowed down that, and then I really have scaled down to, okay, what are the main things?
So, we focus on online, we focus on realtors, and we focus on signage. Those are our big three. Then everything else is just brand-building for us. It's social media. We don't get a lot of social media. I mean, referrals. That's one of the things that we're working on right now. We're not great at getting referrals, but there's been a couple of books that have been written recently about earning the referral, Contract to Close, and different things like that that have really put that in the forefront of my mind.
You have to earn that referral and then you have to ask for it. They're really the best, [00:15:00] right? People that like you and trust you, that their neighbors have said, yeah, these guys aren't gonna take advantage of you. That's the best lead you could ever get.
Greg Bray: Definitely. Referrals are gold. Are you doing anything to invite referrals more actively as far as seeking out reviews or talking to your past buyers?
Corey Brady: Yeah. I don't know anybody that's tried to get reviews in the business, they probably feel my pain. It's constant. I swear I have to ask 12 times to get a review. Most people just give up, right? I sadly have this weird thing about me, I never give up. So, I just keep asking until someone says, Hey, don't text me again. Stop.
So, I'll just keep texting. If you haven't let me review, you know, we'd love to have your feedback. I think it's just consistency. Consistency with asking and then following up and continually asking. You know, as a builder you have somebody move in, you have a warranty issue and you don't get to it right away. [00:16:00] You're done. You're not gonna get a great review at that point. You have to have good systems in place and you have to have a good process. You know, then they're gonna do that kinda stuff for you.
Greg Bray: You touched on that. Sometimes the warranty department doesn't realize how critical they are to the referral review process because so much of that is at the end is kind of that last taste that people have. So, no matter how good you do for all the times leading up to that. You blow it on warranty and all of a sudden they're grouchy and they really don't wanna be nice talking about you. It's the recency effect.
Corey Brady: A hundred percent and even we do an orientation before we have our buyers move in, and my superintendents do that orientation, and if that's not a good experience, that's it. They're in, orientation, closing, warranty. They're the last three that these buyers see, and if that's not a good experience, man, it's hard to overcome. I can do a thousand things right on the front end, but if that doesn't go [00:17:00] well, it's tough.
Greg Bray: For sure.
Corey Brady: We just try and get everybody on board, basically. We help them understand, I know that you're seeing them at this point when they're most frustrated, but you're key to this happy buyer that is gonna then send their friends our way.
Greg Bray: Corey, as you consider the things you've learned over the last few years coming into home building and combining that with kind of your past experiences, is there something that you know now that's like, man, if I had only known this three years ago when I got started, it would've made all the difference? Is there some little gem that you've picked up that you wish you'd known all along?
Corey Brady: Wow. I probably should have thought of that question before you asked me just now. That is a really good question. There's so much when it comes to building homes. I think the thing that I wished I'd known when I very first started that I kind of am starting to understand better now, is really the journey, the home buying journey. Understanding those highs and lows, the roller coasters that happen.
I think we all get that, [00:18:00] right? We get that buying a home has got a bunch of ups and downs and it's got a bunch of good parts and bad parts, but identifying those before they happen and then taking advantage of the highs and prepping for the lows, I think that is gold. You can gain so much traction when you say to somebody, Hey look, we're gonna do our best, but not everything's gonna go a hundred percent the way we want.
You know, we are a bunch of imperfect people with imperfect materials and imperfect weather, and we're trying to build you a perfect house, and it just is not probably gonna happen. We're gonna do an awesome job and you're gonna love it in the end, but you have to realize there's gonna be some bumps on the way. I wish I'd had known that. If I'd have done that and set myself up for success by that communication and identifying those areas and then making sure that the communication with the customer was really good, I think that would've helped a lot.[00:19:00]
Greg Bray: That's a great insight 'cause that's a little different than a lot of other products out there in retail is the length of that journey and all the moving parts that come into play. For sure.
Corey Brady: For sure. In retail, if you don't sell someone the first time they come in, I mean, Kevin, maybe you can, maybe it's the same with Harley's. If you don't sell 'em on the first time, like maybe the second time you'll get 'em, but after that, like you're done.
Kevin Weitzel: Yeah, the difference between the bicycle, motorcycle world is its instant gratification. So yeah, you know that if you didn't sell 'em two weeks, it was people, price, product. They either didn't like you, they either didn't like the product, or they didn't like the price. They got something better somewhere else.
In the home building industry, it's funny how much longer that sales cycle is, and then even longer than that is the sales cycle to home builders. You know, a home builder will come up with an idea and say, Hey, we'd like to do, I don't know a new website. You pitch the whole, we don't sell websites, but Blue Tangerine does, by the way. You'll pitch 'em a whole idea and literally months can go by. Sometimes a year, and then they'll contact you outta the blue and go, Hey, you know what, let's go ahead and move forward. Where'd this come from? Mark [00:20:00] that lead in your CRM, you know.
Corey Brady: Yeah, that has been totally weird for me 'cause retail is like, man, if I don't sell him that first time like I probably won't see them again.
Kevin Weitzel: They're gone. Yeah. They're gone.
Corey Brady: Yeah.
Greg Bray: Corey, where do you go for inspiration and new ideas? What are some of your sources?
Corey Brady: I'm gonna say this. He is not really known for the home world, but do either of you know Darren Hardy? Do you follow Darren Hardy at all? He's a leadership trainer, but he does this business master class. It might be the best thing I've ever attended when it comes to marketing. Crazy that it's just this leadership guy, but he was the top real estate agent in his company for years and years and years, and now he's been leadership training for a number of years. Darren is a mentor of mine. He does an unbelievably great job with everything. Just keeping your thoughts and making sure you're [00:21:00] doing the right things every day to stay energized and stay focused and stay motivated. But then this business masterclass that he does is a whole day on just marketing and it's awesome.
Greg Bray: Well, that's quite a glowing review. We'll have to make sure, make sure Darren knows about it. That's awesome.
Corey Brady: He is great, but you know, there's great leaders in the home building world. Like I said, you know, I follow Jeff, and Roland does a great job. The thing that's funny is like when I first started, even, I called Ronda up at CBH up there in Boise. She was like so awesome and gave me like 45 minutes of her time. Even that was just fantastic. A lot of these builders that are doing great things, that are doing things that you wanna do, they're willing to share their time with you, they're willing to share some advice. You just have to ask. If you wanna learn something. Ask.
Greg Bray: We've learned that because we ask and people share with us all the time.
Corey Brady: Yeah, right. Like, we get afraid that they're like, oh my gosh, I can't talk to Ronda, she's like Woman of the Year in business and she's so awesome and she's [00:22:00] incredible and she is all of those things. She is, but she is so kind and generous as well. Now Ronda's gonna be mad. Like, a bunch of people are going call, her but um.
Greg Bray: I think Ronda's already put that vibe out there, so I don't think you're telling people things they don't know about her, so that's awesome.
Corey Brady: But yeah, so that's what I did. I would call some people that I thought were doing a great job in the very beginning and just ask 'em like, Hey what would you say for a guy that's been doing this for four months? What should I focus on? And she gave me a ton of great advice and help
Greg Bray: All right. Well, Corey, give us one piece of advice for the people listening today then. That last thing from Corey now that you get to pass on, you know.
Corey Brady: Can it be from sales? I know this is a marketing podcast. I think we've all talked about sales the whole time.
Greg Bray: No, you're good. Whatever you think will help drive their success.
Corey Brady: Maybe my passion is a little bit of the sales side there. There's a quote that I heard one time just about follow-up, right? I think the key with this business is following up. If you ever have five people, for everyone that you annoy with how much [00:23:00] you follow up, you're gonna get the other four.
I'm a firm believer that, and this is true in marketing, right? It's when you finally feel like you're being annoying, they probably have heard the message the first time. We think that we're so annoying. We keep saying these things over and over, but man, outside of what we do, their lives are busy. People are being bombarded every day by millions of messages, and so usually by the time I feel like I've annoyed them to the point where they're gonna be sick of me, then they're like, oh yeah, the first time they're actually hearing what I'm saying.
So, don't be afraid to follow up. Keep following up, keep talking to them, and keep putting that message out there. You don't get instant gratification in the marketing world with a lot of things. Takes time to build that message.
Greg Bray: Great advice. Thank you. Well, Corey, if somebody wants to reach out, get in touch with you, what's the best way for them to connect?
Corey Brady: This year I have started doing, I took this challenge to post [00:24:00] every single day on Instagram. So, I post every day on Instagram. So, I'm on there quite a bit. If you wanna message me on Instagram, that's probably the best way. It's just Corey Brady realtor is my handle. That's probably the easiest way. You can find me on LinkedIn though, in those areas too. Call me, text me. I'll always answer. I answer every phone call that comes to my phone. I talk to all the warranty people from my car. I get all of the people that wanna talk to me about student loans. I talk to all of them.
Greg Bray: That's great. Well, thank you so much, Corey, for sharing your thoughts and time with us today. We really appreciate it 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.