This week on The Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast, Kerry Mulcrone of Kerry & Co. joins Greg and Kevin to discuss how becoming a specialist in your home building area of expertise will build trust with home buyers and will ultimately lead to conversions.
Consumers look to experts in almost every facet of their lives and when buying a home, it should be no different. Kerry says, “…I tell people there are specialists for all the things in life that we want. Whether it's dental, whether it's heart ... why are new home sales seen as different than that?"
Home buyers want a specialist to assist them on their journey to purchase such a significant asset. Kerry explains, “…people are more afraid to make a mistake than to buy. When they have gotten to you, they have some indicator in a life event or in their heart, or in their ego, whatever it is, something has triggered them. They just don't want to make a mistake...It's come and see us and let us help you.”
To become a particular home builder specialist, it's imperative to know the messages your competitors are sending your potential clients. Kerry says, “…you have to know what your customers are barraged with. You need to know the noise that's out there for them. If you don't know the digital messages of your, let's say, three to five competitors. If you don't time block time every single week to see what your competition is posting that is overwhelming these people. Because when they come into you, you don't talk about what that is, but that makes you keenly aware of how to show your uniqueness.”
Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about how to become a specialist for your home builder company.
About the Guest:
Kerry Mulcrone owner and President of Kerry & Co., a New Home Sales, Management and Coaching Company, celebrates over 35 years in the Home Building Industry at the National level. Kerry continues to stay in the trenches at a leadership level and shares her personal “hands on” experience and knowledge coast to coast developing company synergy, processes, and powerful sales teams. Kerry’s energy is infectious and her compassion compelling in making a difference every day in the New Home Industry.
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: Today we're excited to welcome to the show, Kerry Mulcrone. Kerry is the owner of Kerry & Co., which I'm sure tells you exactly what she does, but we're gonna get into that. But Kerry, welcome, and please give us a little introduction, help to get to know you better.
Kerry Mulcrone: You guys are so funny. This is hilarious. I'm so excited to do this with you two. I feel kind of honored. I'm like, whoa, I get to talk with the boys. For [00:01:00] those of you that haven't been living under a rock, you will realize that I've just been around for as long as possible. So, I'll take you back for 30 seconds.
I have a master's in education. I was a teacher. I built a home, and the builder came to me and he said, you sold more homes on your driveway talking to people than anybody I put in a model. Would you become a hostess on weekends? Sure, I'll do that. So, I did that. And then they came back to me a year later and said, you might wanna know that you've made the guy that sits in the model very rich this year. You might wanna consider becoming a salesperson. So, I took a year leave from school thinking, okay, I'll do this and then I'll be back cuz I was a teacher at heart. Well, the rest of the story is history. I never went back to teaching. I sat on site. I was a sales manager, VP of Sales and Marketing, and then started Kerry & Co., I don't know, 18, 19, I don't know, but enough ago.
Kevin Weitzel: So, [00:02:00] number one, just out of morbid curiosity, who was the builder and are they still around?
Kerry Mulcrone: The answer is they're not still around. So, I'll just leave them to be quiet.
Kevin Weitzel: Gotcha. Okay. All right.
Kerry Mulcrone: They are not around in the company that I worked for. They are a similar company under a new name, which we all know happened a lot.
Kevin Weitzel: So, before we get into your consulting company and like what you do and you know how it ties into some digital marketing, we need to know something personal about you that people will learn only on our podcast that is not business related about Kerry Mulcrone.
Kerry Mulcrone: First, I'm gonna tell you two that was not in my sample questions. Thank you very much. So, I'm gonna just say I was a gymnast in college.
Kevin Weitzel: What?
Kerry Mulcrone: Yeah. That legacy went on. My daughter was a Division I gymnast herself at the University of Iowa.
Greg Bray: Fun, fun stuff. What [00:03:00] events? Any particular specialty?
Kerry Mulcrone: Everything but bars. I hated bars. Specialty probably would have been balance beam. Scary. Whoever considers that a specialty, you know, four-inch wood beam. Here's the deal. I've always figured out how to make it work, right? And if you conquered not falling off the beam, you could always be pretty good. Your tricks didn't have to be as good because if you didn't fall, cause bring out the big trickster. She falls, she loses a half a point every time she falls. So, I just learned how to stay on the sucker.
Kevin Weitzel: Well, you know what's crazy, a crazy coincidence? Is that I was not in gymnastics. However, I avoid the balance beam like nobody's business, but I can go to a lot of different bars. Let me tell you.
Kerry Mulcrone: Oh, there you go. Good job. So, you picked up for what I didn't do.
Kevin Weitzel: That's right.
Greg Bray: Kevin's really good at the bars. There we go. There we go.
Kevin Weitzel: I'm good at the bars. I can order drinks at almost every [00:04:00] bar you can name.
Kerry Mulcrone: Good job.
Greg Bray: Well, Kerry, I know we're still early in the conversation, but I need to take issue with something you've said already. You said I've never gone back to teaching. I'm gonna disagree with you. I think you have gone back to teaching because I think that's the heart of everything you do, isn't it? So, tell us a little bit more about what you do and kind of how you serve builders.
Kerry Mulcrone: That was spot on, Greg, and yes, I didn't go back to teaching fifth and sixth graders in a school, but I do teach adults and there are sometimes that my fifth and sixth graders were easier than some of my adults are. I will tell you. You'll often hear me say, you guys just for today, behave and stay haved. I promise you at the end will have learned something and then they do.
So, that is exactly what I do and that was a style that was created from my choice from college with my degree. People will tell you, cuz you guys have been around and when I've spoken at the Builders Show or an [00:05:00] HBA, I'm kind of known as a teacher speaker because as I speak, I try and get a litmus test of the audience. Even when it's public speaking like, are you with me? Are we okay? Just like I did with my classes versus total speaking at someone. So, I try to speak and teach to and with people instead of at them.
Greg Bray: So, then what are the subjects that you are teaching today? How do you work with these builders and help 'em get better?
Kerry Mulcrone: Today, it's an overused word, but it is about relationship. I am comparing the relationship that you want to get and achieve. Because everyone talks about relationship selling, right? But that's all they say. You need to create a relationship. You need to get a relationship. What is the behavior that you need to have to acquire a relationship? So, I'm writing training right now on the behaviors that will get you stronger [00:06:00] relationships.
Greg Bray: So, in today's sales environment, Kerry, we've got a lot of sales and marketing teams that, you know, they've only been around in the industry three or four years. The last three or four years have been different, shall we say, than maybe some of the other times that have been out there. So, how do you help with some of these training materials and coaching and things that you do? How do you help these sales and marketing teams find kind of what's normal, how they should be reacting, and how to be successful?
Kerry Mulcrone: Great question. The starting point, based on your question, is the majority or many of our salespeople today have not experienced what we are experiencing right now. And I will never buy into anybody telling a salesperson in the last three years that they were order takers. In fact, I get wild hairs up on my neck. But they were managing chaos and confusion and speed, [00:07:00] and it's not normal that speed would be part of a buying cycle of building a new home. Does that make sense?
Greg Bray: No, I like that.
Kerry Mulcrone: So, what they have to learn is what were all the touchpoints, what were all the milestones that I just passed right over because I had to because we did a rollout of a VIP program. I had to tell someone they had to come in and put a deposit down today to be able to reserve a spot. If they came to the appointment, they had to put down more money. They missed so many moments and milestones in that. So, it's helping them establish what is the buying cycle that is comfortable for both you as a salesperson and them as a buyer. What feels right when selling a new home?
A lot of them, the marketing department per se, is maybe not even there in existence in a company right now. Or it's [00:08:00] smaller and they have to figure out how digital marketing and social media and that presence is their lifeline. That's where they get their leads. You know, if you back me up to how many years ago, all of my leads in the beginning came from a sign on a corner. That's it. Signage. It was about 96% said from a sign. And it really was because there wasn't a website. You didn't have any of those kinds of things.
So, Gorilla Marketing came into play, down and dirty finding your leads, and that's what I'm helping people with now that there's more ways. Why would you sit in a model for that many hours and not have done something, not knowing if your door will open or it won't? Why would you? When I sat in a model, I just wanted to make sure that I could think, I called this person, I stopped by that realtor office, I did this, I [00:09:00] did that. I think that I'll probably see two to three people this weekend. There's an art and science to it, right?
Greg Bray: So, Kerry, you've obviously seen the evolution then of going from a signage to a website and digital leads and everything else. What have been some of the adaptations that the sales professionals have struggled with as they've gone through that evolution, and what have been some of the benefits maybe to the buyers that have come through this journey and change in the way it works?
Kerry Mulcrone: I think that what they have struggled with, which is just always has, I don't know when it'll get better, is wrapping their heads around a CRM and working their database and having really great notes in it, and working it, not as just a silo or storage unit for names. That it actually will alert them. They can wake up one day and know these are the people that I need to contact and their customer relationship management system helps [00:10:00] them through their days and their weeks. Instead of them having, like we had to do was just invent these people and dig this.
My leads were in a recipe box, A, B, C, and then everyone else. And I would just go to my little desk and rifle through and start calling people. We weren't texting or emailing. I think that it's really hard for them to understand, to get into that, to make it help you, not make it be an accountability function for your manager or your builder. When we turn that corner and some companies have. When they turn that corner, they're kinda like, oh my gosh, why didn't I wrap my head around this earlier?
But the second part of your question are what are the things that help them that we didn't have? That is the Facebook pages, the social media, you know, the E-blast. Do you know how [00:11:00] long it takes to go drop off business cards at 20 real estate offices? It takes a long time. Now all of a sudden you can put a property on and there's just so many things that can happen. You can only imagine, I think, and you guys know cuz you do it. I don't do it. I just hire people like you or refer people like you.
I want everybody to understand that the more people that see you, that know you, that get to like you, that understand what you have to do, they're eventually going to put you in the selection pile at least, instead of the elimination pile. And then it's the job of the salesperson to keep them in the selection pile, but we gotta get them to them.
Greg Bray: I love the idea of the recipe box is now the CRM. It used to be called dialing for dollars too, right? So, it was.
Kerry Mulcrone: It was for real. Yes.
Greg Bray: But your idea that this mindset shift that the CRM is not about tracking what you did so your manager [00:12:00] can see how many people did you talk to today, or how many people did you call today? It's a tool to make you more efficient and to not forget people that you know you need to follow up with because, you know, you can only talk to so many at once It's easy to forget some of 'em as you work through it.
Kerry Mulcrone: Well, when you think about, I liken it sometimes when I love somebody to get in a conversation with me talking about why they would never be on Facebook. I can't believe anybody's on. They just go on and on and I said, so I would like to tell you that I think it's how you use Facebook, what it brings to enhance your world. And it starts with your own posts and the people that you have.
For instance, I tell people personally, I have wished more people that I know throughout my life happy birthday, happy anniversary. If some of my friends, good friends in high school, lost a parent that I knew that parent when I was in high school, I get to tell them [00:13:00] how very sorry I am.
I have people that live in my world through my Facebook that can appreciate and love what I love. Like, anybody that's been on Facebook last week realizes that my granddaughter playing in regional basketball game this last week. My flipping heart has been so full watching that kid on the court be so good and love what she does and people get to watch me love that.
So, I'm not showing him the meal I ate yesterday. I think that it's how many, it's the outreach, right? So, the long and short of that question, Greg, cuz I always go random, is outreach is so necessary, and how else are you gonna get outreach without using all these tools?
Kevin Weitzel: So, I'm with you on the outreach, and I get that a lot of outreach can actually be passive. It can be just a social media post that maybe your employees share from the root company, instead of trying to post [00:14:00] their own stuff. You can have email campaigns. It can even be automated a lot of times. So, a lot of that can be truly passive. But what do you say to the builders, because I hear this so often, especially on the digital asset world, is that, oh, times are tight, we need to tighten our belt. Business isn't what it could be. There's some uncertainty. So, we need to pull back marketing spend.
Or on the exact opposite of that, this market we came out of, which I know it makes your hair stand up when you hear people say, oh, they were just order takers. I'm in the same camps you. That it's not necessarily that they're order takers it's that they're skipping parts of the process that are absolutely essential in making sure that you maintain that relationship with the client versus just passing their order through the system.
But then they've also said, oh, well, we're selling homes too fast now. So, now we need to pull back marketing spend. How do we convey to builders that it is important that they maintain that flow of marketing effort and spend for the matter? It doesn't have to be necessarily that top spend. It could, you know, ebb and flow, but they don't just shut off that spigot [00:15:00] because once you stop that train, it takes a lot to get it moving again.
Kerry Mulcrone: A lot of traction. To answer that question is, I'm not a super big numbers person because I'm such a feely neely kind of person, but metrics matter. They have always mattered to me. I've always trained sales teams for all the years that I need to know your sources and I need you to find those out in conversational ways, and then I teach 'em ways to find out. Because where they found us is important. I think that the behind-the-scenes analytics, they just speak for themselves.
And how could a builder, if you show on your monthly or whatever, SEO meeting that shows exactly like, I can lay all the layers on top of 'em cuz I sit in on those meetings with my clients and they all lay on top. Here's the peak, and then all of a sudden there's where my appointments [00:16:00] were. It's undeniable. You can see in metrics and numbers, year over year, month over month, where you spent your money. I'm never on a meeting where they don't go, so I probably shouldn't advertise this anymore and I should move it over to there, and let's add to this Google ad spend because they saw where it brought their leads. They have to see it. You can't tell 'em.
Greg Bray: I think that's great insight that you have to be measuring, and you have to be comparing, and obviously there's not infinite budgets usually. I mean, hello, would the person with the infinite budget, please call? There's not unlimited funds, so we need to be smart with where that money is spent. And I think sometimes when we talk about pulling back, maybe it's pulling back on the non-smart spend. That's okay. But being sure that we keep that momentum going and we're always measuring, I think is a great insight and takeaway.
Kerry Mulcrone: Yes. Well, be an expert in [00:17:00] what you do. I tell everybody that. You're a new home sales specialist. Nobody should be better at what you do than you. You know, and I've told this story a bunch of times, but it bears repeating sometimes unless we're gonna get out of time if I tell an ancient old story.
The Cliff Notes of it is some years back, my husband decided that he didn't feel really good. Didn't really say anything to me. Was gonna go get a physical, that he'd gone to the doctor that I didn't know, and they said, no, you've gotta go in. We need to do some testing. So, we went in and they kind of prepped. We both drive two cars because we're going on to work after this. We didn't go on to work. He had quadruple bypass heart surgery within hours.
But here's where the specialist comes in. All of a sudden, this guy comes into me to say there's good news and bad news. And I'm like, well, I would prefer the good news. He said, you're [00:18:00] really lucky that you came today, but your husband can't leave. We're evaluating right now if we can calm him down and do his surgery tomorrow morning with our regular team, or do we bring in a team and do heart surgery later this evening? And I'm like, I don't even know who the hell you are, and you're telling me that you're gonna crack my husband's chest open and that he's got blockages all over. Who are you?
And he said that's a very fair question. I don't usually get asked that. I'll bring my nurse in. He couldn't even, his nurse came in and said, I just wanna tell you he's the best. He's this, he's that. She told me everything. I'm like, okay, I guess wheel him away. With that story, I tell people there are specialists for all the things in life that we want. Whether it's dental, whether it's heart, and we all wanna go to a specialist, right? So, why are new home sales seen as different than [00:19:00] that? Or social media or website people or all the stuff you do?
Which means if you, Greg, and Kevin, are specialists at what you do with OutHouse and with Blue Tangerine, you should make someone see how good you are at what you do. So, that they say, I trust you cuz that is the word, trust, that move my money around. Just like my financial planner. I don't open up one envelope they send me. Because I trust the guy that's playing with my money. But I trust him to just move it around. You need to tell them, as I see our spend last month, we probably could back this one off. We could either trade it here or we could just back it off and not trade it for right now and see what happens. They trust you. You're smart. Tell them you are.
Greg Bray: No. Building trust is the core of all types of advisory kind of sales processes, right? You only get one shot at it, right? It's not like you can buy the house and [00:20:00] a week later you can go, eh, never mind once you've moved in, and maybe you can in certain scenarios, I'm oversimplifying it. But in general, there's just one, right? You don't get to, well, I'll buy a different one next week and try that one instead, you know, or whatever. So, you have to work through that trust factor in that journey.
Kerry Mulcrone: When you realize, and this is a hundred percent true, and it's been true for me, for whatever, let's just call it 35 years, is that people are more afraid to make a mistake than to buy. When they have gotten to you, they have some indicator in a life event or in their heart, or in their ego, whatever it is, something has triggered them. They just don't wanna make a mistake. Is it now? Is it this? Is it that, all of that, not to buy? And we always tell them why they should buy. Like, an ad. Why buy now? Really? Well, that's just really not it.
It's come and see us and let us help you. Because it's always about the happening that's going on in their [00:21:00] life that gets them to you. The happening being there is something significant going on in their life and they need a new home. Something already went. It already happened. They moved their leasing. It already happened and now they're looking or it will happen. They're proactive. We talked about the 55-plus market. So, salespeople that figure out the is, did, and the will, will be able to convert those leads that you guys, behind the scenes, get to them. And they do that by becoming a specialist in their field.
And that ties up, you guys ask me what I do. I try and make new home sales a specialty for anybody that I work with, any company, any builder, any salesperson. I want you to be the best that you can be. It's not about me, it's about you.
Greg Bray: So, Kerry, connected with that then, how does the potential fear of that salesperson being replaced, at [00:22:00] least in part, by digital technologies or digital interactions, tie into that what do I need to specialize in conversation, and how do they need to evolve when it's not just me only talking to that prospective buyer, but I've got all this digital content coming at them, all this other information that I don't control necessarily, you know, not just from me, but from competitors and other alternatives? How does that change what I specialize in as a salesperson in today's world, maybe compared to a few years?
Kerry Mulcrone: That's a great question, and that goes back to sales teams wanna know, why do I shop my competition? And the answer to the question is, you have to know what your customers are barraged with. You need to know the noise that's out there for them. If you don't know the digital messages of your, let's say, three to five competitors. If you don't time block time [00:23:00] every single week to see what your competition is posting that is overwhelming these people. Because when they come into you, you don't talk about what that is, but that makes you keenly aware of how to show your uniqueness.
I probably should tell you that when you work with me, this is something that we'll do together. They might not have seen that in that other digital message. So, it goes back, Greg, like I said, I think that the world of digital has gotten people needing to just reach out to multiples and eliminate some to get the decision smaller. When you go to a restaurant and you look at a menu, you cannot eat everything on the menu.
Kevin Weitzel: I'll take that challenge.
Kerry Mulcrone: Okay. You know, as soon as those words are coming out, Kev, I'm like, Kevin is gonna say, I have eaten a menu.
Kevin Weitzel: I have eaten a menu. There's Sushi San Restaurant in Gilbert, Arizona. I've eaten the entire menu.
Kerry Mulcrone: There you go.
Kevin Weitzel: It took me many visits, but yes.
Kerry Mulcrone: So, my point is, [00:24:00] you whittle it down. I had meat last night. I don't feel like a salad. Oh, I think we're gonna have burgers this week, and all of a sudden you're looking at 10 items instead of a menu. That's the same thing with digital marketing. Be aware. Know what the noise is, and make your noise very specific.
Kevin Weitzel: You know, it's funny cuz I, when I'm talking, you know, interactive floor plans or whatever with a, with a potential builder client and then I get this pushback and it always comes from the salespeople. And they're like, well, that'll be giving 'em too much information. You're basically doing my job. I'm like, how bad are you at your job where just showing the price of something is taking away your entire craft? That's why I really appreciate what you're saying about being a specialist and not just being a, an order taker, really. Not just being, oh, you want the number six with no onions? No problem. I'll write it down
Kerry Mulcrone: You know we live on Information Highway, Kevin. I did live in that day where you do not give them the price and you do not give them the room measurements. [00:25:00] If you don't give that information now, you are already eliminated. You will never have your door open to them ever. Understand where they're working from. They're going through all this stuff while they're at work, a lot of them. And so they need to know it again to get in the, who should I go see. If they pull up a website and they don't see interactive floor plans where like with you guys, I move the couch, I do all this stuff. You know, over here tells me I can throw this bathroom on this closet. They want to do that. They want to be involved. So holding back is donezo.
Greg Bray: Well, Kerry, this has been a great conversation. I think we could keep going for a long time. One last question before we kind of wrap up. When you're talking to the sales and marketing leaders who are trying to motivate their teams to get better, to become these specialists, to embrace the technology, what are some of the tips you give them to help them motivate that growth in their teams?
Kerry Mulcrone: [00:26:00] Be there. Get away from your desk. Don't manage reports. Go onsite and find out how they're doing. Wrap your arms around them as a person. You wanna tell them, build relationships, be personal, and then you don't show up? Any good sales manager should have the administrative help so that either they or someone can go see people on-site.
You have to compliment people. I'm a big complimenter and salespeople are wired that way. It's too often that I see more like, what have you done for me lately? Like, someone sold three houses last month. Isn't that great? So, now let's get into our hot leads. I'm like, why don't we find out what they had to do to get those three sales? Tell us the best thing about it. Tell us where your biggest hurdle was. Don't regurgitate, don't have meetings that don't [00:27:00] matter. Just don't have 'em. But create really good meetings that people wanna come to and meet them where they live, in their models.
Greg Bray: Love it. Love it. Be present. Kerry, any last words of advice you wanted to share today with our audience before we finish up?
Kerry Mulcrone: Oh gosh. I just wrote my NSMC post, cuz I write the first and last of the month. Laura Hansen writes the middle two with me now and I realize we're gonna turn the page to March. Can you believe that? Tomorrow. So, March is the lucky month. I'm a hundred percent Irish. Like, seriously, a hundred. That's why Kerry is spelled like it is. Grandparents from County Kerry. With it being the month of luck and all of that, I've always believed that preparation and opportunity, that's when luck can happen. When you put yourself in the right place and you are prepared, then you will be the lucky one. That would be my advice. Be the lucky one by preparing and getting yourself into new [00:28:00] opportunities.
Greg Bray: Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Kerry, for sharing with us today. We really appreciate it.
Kerry Mulcrone: My pleasure. You guys are awesome.
Greg Bray: If somebody wants to connect with you, what's the best way for them to reach out and get in touch?
Kerry Mulcrone: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greg Bray: All right. And we'll drop that in the show notes as well for people so they can find it easily. And thank you 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. [00:29:00]