This week on the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast, we had the opportunity to discuss the importance of creating a positive customer experience with the Co-founder of Bokka Group, Jimmy Diffee. He shares excellent insights and trends on making your customer experience stand out over your competitors. Creating a great customer experience will improve the customer buying journey and help you sell more homes.
Jimmy's passion is utilizing technology to create a better, more effective home buying process and most importantly, a better customer experience. He has a background in user-centered design and possesses an intimate knowledge of research and technological tools for creating memorable user experiences. With 20 years of experience, he uses customer data to improve home sales, reviews, and referrals through user-centered programs. As the author of the Home Buyer Conversion Report, he's responsible for conducting usability research at the Bokka Group. As Creative Director, he turns this data into customer experience strategies that work.
He also has been responsible for award-winning campaigns for a variety of industries outside home building. For the past 10 years, he's applied cutting-edge technologies & best-practices from these industries to new home sales programs. Jimmy is also the author of the annual Home Buyer Conversion Report, the industry's leading research showcasing technology's influence on new home sales.
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Editing by: KT Maschler
[00:00:00]Greg Bray: Welcome everybody to another exciting episode of the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg gray with Blue Tangerine
Kevin Weitzel: and I'm Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse.
And we are excited today to be joined by Jimmy Diffee from the Bokka Group. Welcome, Jimmy.
Jimmy Diffee: Hello, thanks for having me.
Greg Bray: Well, we are so appreciative of your time today and for those who haven't met you before, Jimmy, why don't you give us that short introduction of who you are and kind of a little bit about your background.
Jimmy Diffee: Sure absolutely. Well, my name is Jimmy Diffee and I'm one of the cofounders [00:01:00] of the Bokka Group and we're based out of Denver. So I live in Denver here with my wife, my three little girls, and our lizard, which is also a female. And I'm proud to announce that we'll soon be getting a dog that is a male. So shooting for some balance in the household, but, uh, yeah.
Greg Bray: How do you go from a lizard to a dog? What, what makes it definitely, so
Jimmy Diffee: my middle child, she just. We went to the pet store and she started with a snake and then finally got me down to the seven dollar lizard that she could afford with her allowance. So we have a lizard, it's a green aknoll, and it's actually pretty cool.
She gets it out and it just sits on our shoulder and we feed it little baby grasshoppers and it's actually been turned out to be a pretty good bet.
Greg Bray: Awesome. Well, I was going to ask you to tell us something most people don't know, but the lizard seemed pretty interesting. Is there something else that, uh, you know, maybe more on a professional side that people don't know about you.
[00:02:00] Jimmy Diffee: Something that people don't know much about me. I mean, I guess I can touch my nose with my tongue. Maybe that's interesting. I don't know. Maybe, maybe more interesting is my oldest daughter has Spinal Bifida is in a wheelchair. So we go through a lot of interesting challenges, but, um, my outlook on life is just amazing as a result of that. And it's, um, it's kind of been a life changer obviously for her, but also for me and just perspective on everything. And she's great. I mean, she's super healthy. Uh, but you know, that's probably another interesting fact about me.
Kevin Weitzel: So I know this is just another, but how old is she and how many years have you been, had this as part of your, your life, your world?
Jimmy Diffee: Yeah. So she just turned 12 in July. And so, yeah, this was Spinal Bifida as a birth defect, so she's had it her entire life. Um, so it's just something that, you know, she's, she's used to, it, we've all grown accustomed to it. She's my oldest. So the whole family, you know, has kind of just [00:03:00] grown up with it. So, I mean, there was never any kind of rough transition at all. It's just, uh, you know, just been a different way of raising a child.
Kevin Weitzel: Awesome.
Greg Bray: Well, I can only imagine that like, like all challenges in life, there's a lot of lessons that come from kind of learn that. So, so I'm sure that it's, it's really been, you know, while, while you hate to have some of these challenges, they can be blessings in disguise sometimes too
Jimmy Diffee: 100%. Right.
Greg Bray: Well, Jimmy, tell us a little bit more about how you got into the home industry and kind of your path to, to become, uh, you know, Part of Bokka Group today.
Jimmy Diffee: Yeah. Well, so we at the Bokka Group. We started as a digital agency in 2001, and we were offering, you know, a full suite of services, all things to all people.
We actually worked with other ad agencies, primarily as a go-to resource for digital services, because a lot of them were outsourcing digital at the time. And then actually in 2005, we [00:04:00] are introduced to our first builder client, through one of these agencies, a local agency here in Denver, um, strata. And we took on Mcstain, who they're a local high-performance builder here, still in business.
And that was our first, our first builder client. And we loved it. We realized how we could apply so many other technologies and, uh, customer experience initiatives from other industries to the home building industry. Saw that as just a huge opportunity and then decided to go exclusively home builders in 2007 because of our impeccable timing.
Greg Bray : Perfect time to start specializing in home builders. I just, I know it was going on in 2007 and, uh, yeah, I'm sure you're just, uh, really. Didn't think twice about that, you know, the next couple of years at all?
Jimmy Diffee: It went well, because, uh, you know, we were still, you know, our focus is on it, accountability and results, and you know, it actually worked out, I think to our advantage because a lot more builders were kind of refocusing on, uh, [00:05:00] you know, accountability and results.
And instead of just frivolously spending here and there, when times are good, they were taking a hard look at ROI and that's something that we take very seriously and we've built our business on, you know, investing in the things that actually deliver results. So, you know, we, we did see a slow down in budgets, budgets shrink, but, uh, you know, we powered through it, I think pretty steadily.
Greg Bray: Awesome. Well, tell us just a little bit more about Bokka Group and the kinds of services that you guys offer today.
Jimmy Diffee: Sure. So at the Bokka Group, we work exclusively with home builders, as I've mentioned, we vertical in '07. And so we've, since, you know, we work with some developers as well. Um, occasionally we're approached by some, uh, some other vendors.
So we might work in, you know, in a tangential way, uh, but exclusive to the home building industry with our primary mission being to improve the home buying experience. And so that's, we do that in three areas. We offer consulting services, for example, uh, journey mapping, customer experience programs [00:06:00] sales coaching, online sales programs, set those up and get them running.
Uh, and then second is digital marketing services. So this is again, kind of where our bread and butter started in digital marketing. So offering digital tools for online sales. Lead gen follows up sales funnel, conversion, that sort of thing. And then technology solutions has come about really, as a result of the industry, had a need for some digital tools for improving the customer experience.
So we jumped in and, and just decided to build some of those tools. So we offer some technology solutions as well.
Greg Bray: Okay. Awesome.
Greg Bray: So let's just take a moment and talk about the upcoming 2020 home builder digital marketing summit virtual series. It's going to be starting on October 29th.
Kevin Weitzel: And if you don't want to be a knuckle dragon mouth breather like myself, then you better register now.
Greg Bray: That's right. I think it doesn't matter if you're an experienced [00:07:00] chief marketing officer, or if you're brand new to the home building industry, we are giving you a chance to take your marketing and sales to the next level, by learning from the top home building digital marketing experts.
Kevin Weitzel: You're going to be able to do more and sell more homes by learning from the industry's best. And when we say the industry's best, we mean it. We're talking Jimmy Diffee, Angela McKay, Bassam Salem, Spencer Powell, Dana Kovach, Chris Hartley, Eric Martinez, Stuart Platt, Greg Bray, a builder panel. And of course myself, Kevin Weitzel.
Greg Bray: It's truly a star studded lineup, Kevin.
And for that, tell him how much it's going to cost.
Kevin Weitzel: $15,000. Now we're just kidding. It's only actually going to be nothing it's free. So get your whole team together buildermarketingsummit.com. It's all virtual. So you can learn from your home, your office, or your home office.
Greg Bray: We know you're busy. So we're trying to accommodate your schedule.
The home builder digital marketing summit virtual series will be two hours once a week on Thursdays for 40.
Kevin Weitzel: It definitely won't wreck your schedule, but you'll still [00:08:00] learn a ton of tricks that you can put into practice right away.
Greg Bray: So go to buildermarketingsummit.com today and register and
remember it's free and now let's get back to the podcast.
Greg Bray: Well, and today, you know, we're where we'd like to go is a little more into your experience, um, related to that, that customer journey and improving that customer experience.
Cause I, cause I think that is, um, you know, really some of the things I've seen you publish, you know, on your blog and other articles and things there, I've just really been impressed with your thoughts and how you guys kind of attack that problem. So, Oh, that's all right. I'd like to dive into that a little bit more.
Uh, today. So it's kind of a baseline there. How, when you use that phrase customer experience, what exactly do you mean by that? How do you define that for people?
Jimmy Diffee: Hmm, it's a really good question actually, because I think probably a lot of different builders would have their answer. I think buyers might have their own answers.
We, all of us as consumers probably have our [00:09:00] answer to what we think customer experiences. I think probably the best way to sum all of that up is. I would say customer experience is the story that a customer will tell their friends about what it's like to buy from you. I think that kind of encapsulates everything and it's really a good way to think about it.
There's, there's always the experience itself, which you know, we go through a lot of ups and downs when buying a new home. And I mean, there are just a million different interactions and touchpoints, and we've worked with builders on mapping, these touchpoints, and there are hundreds and hundreds of interactions that we have throughout, you know, buying, researching, buying, building, moving into and servicing a new home.
And so all of them yes do total up to be the customer experience. They are what the experience is. But, um, ultimately the experience is more about, we think about what [00:10:00] someone's going to write in a review or what someone's going to tell their friend if I'm going to go in and make a recommendation to somebody and say, this was great.
And it was great because of this. So that really becomes the customer experience and Daniel Conman, who's a psychologist and Nobel prize winner. Probably one of the most influential psychologists alive today, um, has written a book called thinking fast and slow. That's kind of about this and it's about, he really talks a lot about the experiencing self and the remembering self and the experiencing self is the part of your brain that goes through in time, all of these different touchpoints and then your brain filters out so much of it that you create a story that you'll tell other people and that's formed by the remembering self.
So I think, you know, customer experience, we should focus more on that remembering self and what that experience is that someone's going to write about, and it helps us, you know, it's not just this big, giant thing that becomes overwhelming.
Kevin Weitzel: So while you were addressing, uh, reviews, cause you did [00:11:00] mention a review and that's highly important in my, in my mind, if a builder X builder X buys the right dirt in the right hot area and they happen to hit the right price point with the product that people are looking for.
Why should they give a crap about customer experience?
Jimmy Diffee: You know, that's, that's a, actually a really good question. And I think, you know, the, you bring up, you brought up land and land such a critical part of this, that that is as a wild card. And, you know, probably I think the industry is becoming commoditized.
Um, homes, new homes, new home sales, there, they are a product and they're becoming a commodity as we're using the same trades we're using mostly the same materials. Uh, no floor plan is really unique. You know, we're using the same, you know, styles and, and all of this. So, I mean, really the homes themselves are becoming commoditized.
And I think the only things that you can differentiate. Uh, based on where we are today, are location. So, you know, the [00:12:00] land and location, design, which I would also say starting to become quite commoditized as well. And then third and probably most importantly is the experience that you deliver the customer experience.
That's what you become known for. It's the people that work for you. Um, it's, you know, becomes part of your ethos and most important to you and something that's meaningful. So I think, you know, really caring about the customer experience is how you're gonna differentiate yourself from everyone else.
That's just kind of, you know, buying and dirt, building houses getting them up as fast as they can. And I think the second reason that builders should care is because, unless you're doing a hundred percent spec, um, the customer experience is going to dictate the future of your business. And online sales it's only a matter of time. COVID has I think, fast track this where you know, this online buying process, and being able to do this without having to go in and go through the old sales process. I think that we're starting to see that. [00:13:00] You know, buying homes a hundred percent online, it is the future and it's closer than we think.
And so your customer experience is going to play a huge factor in that because of the trust that you know, you have to have to be able to buy a hundred percent online.
Hey, Greg, I don't want to have to, uh, Give you a little Tootsie here on this thing, but, uh, Greg is so far ahead of the curve on being able to set up builders buy and do their whole process online.
Kevin Weitzel: It's ridiculous. So there's my shameless plug to Blue Tangerine and Greg Bray. It's, it's actually silly. And it's funny that you mentioned that it is closer because it is it's, it's the point almost to the point where customers are expecting these types of technology. I mean, look at Amazon it's nuts. I agree with you, Jimmy.
Jimmy Diffee: You know, and I think customers have expected it for a long time. It's just, now that builders are starting to really take it seriously and you know, some more than others, obviously. Um, Greg, as you well know, as do we, you know, we recommend a [00:14:00] lot of, you know, the similar types of virtual tours, um, you know, Matterport, um, the, the online, you know, the interactive floor plans that are provided by outhouse.
We use, you know, our builders use that product. We love, you know, being able to offer these types of tools to customers. I mean, we've offered it and tried to recommend it to customers for years, or, I mean, to, to builders for years and the ones that have again, gotten ahead of the curve and that have been investing in those we've seen, you know, just bringing up COVID we've seen the ones that have invested in these technologies are kind of already there and it's been a smooth transition they're selling just as much, if not more than they did last year.
And the ones that have not the ones that have been behind, I always said, Oh, well, you know, we're fine. We just, you know, we just need to, we need to expand into this market. And we, you know, we're, we're more focused on, you know, buying up more land and getting more vendors. Those are the ones that have maintained the status quo and are now finding [00:15:00] themselves struggling.
Because as I'm sure you guys at outhouse know, now everyone's rushing to get all of these online tools set up. And now there's a line, there's a waiting list. Prices are going up all of these things. And so the builders that have waited are really the ones that I think are, are hurting the most right now.
Greg Bray: Well, Jimmy, I think I agree with all of that and, I especially love the way you define customer experience. So succinctly, because for me, as soon as somebody says customer experience, I start thinking of all the big list of touchpoints, right? Especially, especially with a new home purchase, because it's a much longer process than most of our retail interactions.
You know, you can customer experience, maybe in a, in a retail environment is. Are repetitive visits to a store or, you know, or website, whereas with the builder, it's a single purchase that can take months sometimes to come to fruition between, you know, the, the process of research and then, you know, actually signing a contract and then watching it be built and that, you know, [00:16:00] going through closing and moving in, and then even some warranty issues, it might pop up after you've moved in.
So this idea of what will I tell my friends, which is, which is probably not an hour-long discourse, right? It's, it's a few sentences of how do I boil down this months, of interaction into just a few sentences of the story is a little scary, I think, from a builder standpoint of what, what are they going to say? Because is it only going to be. The last warranty issue that gets remembered, you know, at that moment. Yeah. After we did everything right. For the last six months, you know, what, any, any thoughts on that? Just kind of that length of that journey.
Jimmy Diffee: Yeah, and I think that's a, it's a really good point. And it's one that, you know, we do mapping with builders, and this is part of, you know, one of the consulting services that I've mentioned where we've mapped out all of these touchpoints.
And we overlay that with what customers are thinking and feeling at those touchpoints and so that we can find what these peaks are and what [00:17:00] the valleys are. You know, what the, what the objective being to increase the peaks, these emotional highs and fill the pits or the emotional lows and going back to Conman.
And there's also another, a really interesting thing that he had developed that's called the peak end rule. So if you think of a journey as sort of this linear from, you know, from left to right point a to point Z of your entire experience with a product or a service, and imagine sort of this heartbeat, heartbeat monitor going up and down to tell, you know, where the highs and lows are and the experience.
So there's the experiencing self. Again, that will be lots of, lots of highs. Lots of it was lots of dips and, you know, rollercoaster. Um, but the remembering self will remember. Uh, the peaks. So what are either the highest peaks or the lowest Valley, really just memorable moments and the end. So what has happened most recently?
So you brought up warranty and warranty is actually something that, you know, it's a, it's an inherent challenge with the way we [00:18:00] built our business. I can talk about it more later, but, um, the, you know, we're. It's really hard for a warranty department to just do amazing because it's more about just going in and fixing things that have gone wrong.
Right. And you know, it's not like we're going to just have an amazing, so we're going to, you know, bring you champagne whenever we fix the nail pops in your house. You know, it's not, it's not really about that. So it's almost, you know, just kind of covering all those up and eliminating those things that are happening at the end.
Because you're right. Those nail pops can turn into the thing that you remember that the builder never came back and fixed. And then that does define what you remember about that experience. So, you know, when looking at how, you know, you've got this journey map and these highs and lows, so what do you focus on?
Focus on the really emotional highs, which tend to, to be a design, designing the home, the sales process, making that just an amazing experience. Um, what's a lot of builders shove into a two-hour session that is whelming, where you're picking cabinets and knobs and flooring and siding and shingles and [00:19:00] everything.
And under the high-pressure environment. Nothing like the HGTV experience that they're used to seeing, right. That's their expectation, right? So that's often, you know, where the highest points in the journey are, and then kind of goes off a cliff as your home starts getting built. Um, but you can salvage it by filling the pits, keeping those highs, you know, as high as they can be.
And then really just, you know, keeping warranty as smooth as possible. And I think that's where you're going to get the most returns on your investment in investing in your customer journey.
Greg Bray: And I, I don't want to harp on warranty too much, but I, but I do wonder if our, if our marketing department shouldn't be a little more connected with the warranty department and recognize the influence it has on that referral and on that review and on that next customer that comes through there because, you know, warranty as a sales tool, as a differentiator between a new home and a resale home.
Is a, is a [00:20:00] powerful difference. I believe, you know, I'm getting this new home and the fact that it comes with a warranty is something better. Or then I might get, if I buy the, you know, the resale home down the street instead, you know, but we've got to execute on that or it's not gonna matter. Yeah,
Jimmy Diffee: that's exactly right.
Kevin Weitzel: And I think that there's a huge opportunity there for warranty. And I've talked to some builders, you know, you know, just being at conferences and kind of, you know, being all over the nation, talking to the builders of all sizes and, um, You know, hearing what builders are doing with warranty. Cause I think there's a huge opportunity on the service side, we talk about commoditization and you know, the future of new home sales.
I think that one of the biggest opportunities is on the service side. You know, how can, could we maybe take a loss on the cost of the home and now maybe look at used car industry, as an example where they have service departments all over and that they don't just service that brand of car, they service other vehicles as well.
So what if we have this warranty where now we'll serve, you [00:21:00] know, we'll, we'll warrant, anyone's home and maybe it's a 30 year warranty bumper to bumper where we'll take care of everything. And it's not just. You know, us nickel and diming you on what's included and what's not. And Oh, well you need to maintain your area filters and you need to go and fix your own, you know, shrinking cock, you know, that's, those are homeowner to dues.
It's no we'll cover everything. We'll come out. We'll make sure that your air filters are changed. We'll take care of all of these things maybe you pay for that. Maybe there's a subscription service there. We took a loss on the home or maybe, you know, broke even on the sale of the home. But now we are getting you as a customer for life through service and it could be maybe it's servicing the home. Maybe it's other types of services, like, uh, you know, housekeeping services or lawn care or catering, or, you know, you name it, you know, living in the home. That's where the experience begins. And that's, you know, one year after we've moved in, that's where the current a home builder service experience ends. And so I think there's just, there's, there's a big shift that is happening and other industries towards [00:22:00] service and gaining more users and, and less of a profit on the sale of an object and more profits on the longterm experience of servicing in that product.
Did you seriously just create a completely new business environment.
Greg Bray: We need to hit pause now and go form an LLC really quick.
Kevin Weitzel: I want to, I want to on that one, I need to get into the ground floor. Um, so what kind of mistakes are you seeing out there? I mean, obviously, you know, warranty mistakes happen and things get put in, and that maybe aren't quite up to snuff. And it's just it's at that point that it's the builder's responsibility just to shine and say, yes, we're fixing that.
But what kind of on a customer service standpoint, what kind of pitfalls or shortcomings are you seeing on a regular basis?
Jimmy Diffee: The one that stands out land every builder I'm sure would that's read any of their own reviews or have dealt with any customers would, would likely agree. And we've, you know, we've done this, we've done these consulting services and journey mapping, customer [00:23:00] data for everyone from, you know, small local builders to national publicly traded builders.
And the number one thing that comes up the most is communication. And I know that's a, it's a very broad topic, but I would say specifically communication in terms of, you know, reactive versus proactive communication. Because really it's about when you have this, you know, Greg had mentioned that this could be a year-long process, right of selecting and constructing your home up to the time that you move in. So there's a lot, that's going on a lot of moving parts. And how often am I being communicated with, as a buyer, I'll give you an example here, a recent buyer that, you know, looking at some customer data, recent buyer, and they had gone on-site?
For their builder and they saw that the wrong windows and then installed, um, they we're supposed to have grids in them and they didn't. So if you know much about windows, those, you know, the grids are built into the windows. So these, these windows were put in and everything was great except for the grids.
And so the [00:24:00] customer noticed this and had, you know, said, okay, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, and had to reach out to the builder and right there the customer doing this like customers are doing this all the time. They're driving by they're visiting sites, you know, and one of the main reasons they're doing it is because they're excited to see their house being built.
Right. And the second reason why they're driving by sites is because they don't always trust that things are being done properly because they're not being communicated with, they're not getting timely updates. And there's some reasons for that, that I think most builders know we could go into, you know, who's responsible for these updates, how often you do them.
But ultimately in this particular instance, um, that customer, they had to raise their hand. And once they did that, they'd, you know, throughout the rest of the process, they felt like they needed to watch over the builder the entire time. And even getting that problem resolved, they had to go back. The builder said, okay yes, you know this, let me look into this. Did you actually even order these windows? I mean now it's you versus me. Okay. What do you mean? Did I, or did I get the order? Right? Did I pay for these windows? Okay. So now you're challenging me and this went down. So now it [00:25:00] was a, you know, builder versus customer builder versus buyer.
And that trust just that gap just widens. Right? And then the builder comes back and says, okay, you're right. We did it now. We'll get these ones. We'll get them replaced. Don't worry. It's going to be another month out. We have to order them dancers' excetera. And then a month goes by and the customer is calling saying, okay, so did, did you get them to order?
Did you get it right this time again with no system in place for proactive communication, the customer becomes responsible for doing that and that chasm of trust, that gap, the trust gap just expands exponentially. And it's going to carry over into everything throughout the rest of the experience. So. On the other side, had that builder proactively reached out and said, here's a picture of it.
The windows, your windows just went in, hope you love them. Or maybe the builder would have noticed it with caught it at that time and said, Hey, you know, these windows went in, I checked the order, we got it wrong. It was our fault. We're going to get this fixed. Um, just wanted to let you know. And it's going to be, you know, a little bit longer.
And then, you know, a couple of weeks go by, [00:26:00] they're still not in, they're still on backorder. You know, just letting you know that trust level now is much higher because of me as a buyer, I feel like this is a one-team mentality.
So I think just that these proactive communication touchpoints are so critical to the customer experience and it's, I think every single builder has them has these types of problems. And they're of course the next question is, well then what do you do to fix that? So our recommendation is always to have some sort of program for sending frequent updates, at least weekly.
We're not I would say, you don't necessarily need to do it more than weekly, but definitely weekly updates where you have some kind, a photo update or just some sort of update on here's where we are, your schedule, this has changed or this hasn't, um, it's tough because a lot of builders rely on a salesperson to do that, and they're busy selling.
So, you know, get, look into, there are lots of tools out there. Digital tools for sending communication updates, these construction updates, probably one of the simplest ones is builder [00:27:00] signal where the site super can go take a picture, send it it's as easy as Snapchat or Instagram post that goes straight to the buyer.
Here's your update. Um, but you know, look at these tools for making these construction updates mandatory for everyone. And I think that's where you're going to see huge gains across the board. there was a second one that I mentioned where things go wrong. And I would say it's at collecting feedback.
A lot of builders, they're doing a couple of things wrong with collecting feedback is one the builder. Surveys that are being used right now are very focused on product, which is, which is fine. But they're typically designed to help builders reduce construction defects and to minimize warranty claims both noble causes, right.
They affect the bottom line for every single builder. Um, but the problem with that is it's very builder centric. So you're collecting all of this data about your customer and you're not really using it to fix that customer's [00:28:00] experience. And that really brings me to the second part of this is when you look, these types of surveys are reactive and they're done after moving where you can't actually fix it.
It's too late. So I think, you know, around collecting feedback, there's a lot of room for improvement on sending more frequent pulse surveys throughout, and then having some sort of program in place to follow up.
So just a quick example of that. If after a design studio, I am feeling very pressured and I'm feeling rushed. And I had to do it in a three-hour session with my kids screaming, and I'm going to have to live with these choices. Uh, I'm feeling a lot of anxiety.
And if the builder waits until after I've moved in to ask me about that, it's going to be too late. I may have made some wrong decisions. My trust was low. You know, I could have gone off the rails at any point. However, if that builder had just asked me after that appointment, How did it go? And I said, well, I'm really just not feeling confident about the selections that I [00:29:00] made because I felt rushed and you know, my screaming child and all of these other factors.
And then the builder says, okay, well, why don't you come on back into the design studio? And let's just go, we'll go over everything with you. And just, just make sure, because you want to get this right. That all of a sudden is a game-changer you have to be very, very intentional about doing that.
And I think a lot of builders again, do it at the end, whenever it's too late to do anything about it. So, these pulse checks I think, are critical to improving your customer experience.
Greg Bray: No, Jimmy, I think one of the, one of the words I heard you say over and over again in all of that was trust. You know, that, that so much of this is about trust.
And I think that's, I think that's awesome. A lot of the examples you gave there are during, you know, construction or production, depending on what you want to want to call it. Let's step back to this. This is a Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. Let's, let's go back to kind of maybe the marketing in sales piece before, before the contract signed, do you see any experience, common experience challenges there, and that part of the journey. [00:30:00]
Jimmy Diffee: You know, I think probably one of the biggest, and you touched on it a little bit earlier is, you know, using marketing to set the expectation. And I think having, you know, just either a sale like once you get onsite and a salesperson, the old school, there's a big disconnect. So marketing we're always preaching about, okay, you should have these great online tools online visualization.
So a customer, you know, let's get what the nineties or the customer can see their home online, great photos, uh, you know, virtual tours, all of that. Um, you know, and I think as builders are moving towards that marketing tends to be very separated from sales. Um, because of processes. So I think bridging that gap where marketing and sales are actually talking more and whenever we're investing in something and I'll use, for example, ill pick on Kevin a little bit, I'll pick on outhouse and let's say we're using your interactive floor plan. So marketing is investing in these interactive floor plans. If you're not familiar, you can go and you can add options. You can check out what that bump out for fireplace is going to look like, or the sunroom or [00:31:00] whatever, and kind of customize based on what options are available.
And then once you have that, I can save that to my favorites. I can go and save it so I can print it or reference it later. Um, in another example, might be if I just want to save the different plans to an online account, you know, so I'm building this profile online and I would say eight out of 10 builders that are using these tools are not doing anything with it when it comes time for sales.
So I'm a customer I'm using these great digital marketing tools. And I get in for my sales appointment and the salesperson says, what brings you in today? Or, you know, thanks for coming. And then let's see what we are looking for, and I'm going, I've already built out this entire profile. So I think marketing would be really well-served or to change that experience.
Make sure that that information is getting delivered to the salesperson. So as soon as I walk into my appointment, now, the salesperson has all of that account information. They pull it up and they can say, thanks for coming in, Jimmy, I'm glad that we noticed that you're interested in this Wellington plan and it looks like you [00:32:00] already have, you know, you're interested in that sunroom BumpOut, you know, you'd save that to your account.
I don't think it's creepy, you know, but it's just a matter of, well, here, this is what you told us you like, so let's go and look at it right now. We've got a model right over here. We can take a look or let you know, maybe even more quickly is they can follow up with an email. That's Oh, if you're interested in that, you might be more interested in this and start building that relation based on the data you're collecting through marketing. Because we're collecting a lot of data on the marketing side. And a lot of home building organizations aren't really doing much with that data to help the customer experience. And that's the important part is look at it from the customer's point of view, use that data to help improve the customer experience and make the customer did have to do less work instead of just using it to say, Oh, well, we see that 5,000 people are saving us to their favorites.
We should be selling more of those.
Kevin Weitzel: I'm actually amazed you, you actually touched on with some of my selling points. One I'm amazed is that you have builders that will invest in, you know, [00:33:00] see that have a forward thought into investing into technology, and then they don't hold the sales teams accountable for actually utilizing the technology.
It almost makes me sick to my stomach when a sales team. Sure. They know you have IPS. They don't even know how to use them. That's just it's mind blowing that they're not held accountable to utilize that tools that the owner group company has invested so heavily in. And then on top of that to not use the data, you know how often we have, we provide free Google analytics with our IFPs.
You know, often we see where a builder doesn't even read their analytics reports or have at least hire somebody to help you. If you don't know how to read the reports. Get somebody that knows how those you'll consult with Bokka Group and say, how do I use this information to my advantage? How do I use the fact that people are clicking, walk in shower and owner's bath 90% of the time?
How can I use that to my advantage, improve my product in the future and improve my customer's experience in the future. You're right on it. Right on it.
Greg Bray : Well, [00:34:00] Jimmy, you want to be mindful of your time today. You've shared a lot. Um, one thing that I wanted to touch on though, um, tell us a little bit about that, uh, home buyer conversion report that you guys, uh, do, and when when's the next one coming out, because I, I love those i, I look forward to it.
Kevin Weitzel: Greg. That's also called the home buyers Bible.
Greg Bray : Oh okay,
Jimmy Diffee: if you're not familiar with the conversion report, um, where we're in the process of filming it. Now we took a couple of years off on it just to kind of retool some of the things that we're asking and, um, reformulate some of the questions around, uh, the, the technology that's being used.
It was very similar year over year. So, you know, it's getting an overhaul right now, but if you're not familiar with its the tools digital tools that affect the home sales conversion funnel. So for example, at the top of the funnel, you have all of these sorts of inbound things. So what banner ads, how influential, how influential are banner ads and converting buyers to get them to come to visit your website.
So from a click-through rate, um, and then [00:35:00] once you get to the website, what are all the digital tools on the website that, uh, influence homebuyers to convert and give their information? Shouldn't become a lead so that, um, you know, a visitor to lead ratio. And then once they're a lead, what are all the digital tools that the, the online sales team or sales team are using to convert them to an appointment?
So it might be live chat. It might be, you know, online scheduling tools, you know, those sorts of things. And then once they're onsite, what are the tools, for example, you know, kiosks or, um, you know, walk, model walkthroughs, and, you know, these, these different types of the technologies that convinced. The buyers to buy, what are those tools?
So, um, it's really throughout the entire funnel, what are the digital tools that influence conversion? And so we're in the process of getting that research completed right now. So we're still a few months out, but you can look at old reports conversion-report.com. Should be able to go and download the most latest we [00:36:00] haven't seen we didn't see a lot that have huge swings year over year, but there's some really great stuff in there to show, you know if you're not sure what you should be investing in. Um, there's a lot of just low hanging fruit on, you know, what, what buyers have said influences them to become a buyer.
Greg Bray: No, I, I love the report and I have to confess that I've, I've screenshot it a couple of things in some PowerPoints I've done before, too. So just to, just to get out of the copyright lawsuit, you're about to send me your proper credit there. So,
Jimmy Diffee: No problem
Greg Bray: so it's, it's great stuff. Well, um, Jimmy, as we kinda wrap up any, any last thoughts or piece of advice you want to leave with our listeners today before we finish up.
Jimmy Diffee: You know, I would say just from I'm an overall perspective standpoint, it's I would just give this advice, think about what it's going to be like in the future whenever your company homes. And of course, again COVID has, has sort of nudged us in that direction now, but I still think it's, it's, it's a baby step with [00:37:00] virtual appointments that we've all been able to do, you know, in the past, anyway, we just haven't done it. And, you know, zoom calls and stuff like that.
You know, there's a lot of low hanging fruit there, but I would say sit down and you'll get a team together and think about what is it gonna take, like for us to sell, what would it take for us to sell homes completely online and just start going through the list?
Cause they're gonna be lots of obstacles to doing that. Um, but what you're going to come up with is this huge list of things that you can be doing right now. It could be, we just need to give virtual tours online could be something as simple, small as that, so that people can view our product without having to come in.
You know, it could be, you know, well, we don't have any kind of sale, so maybe it's just a, you know, we need to have a way for a customer to put a deposit online, you know, where they can just send us a deposit or maybe it's paperwork and where you use DocuSign could be something as small as those, because of all of these things.
Are going to be A moving you in that direction, which we are going and B, it's going to be making your customer's life easier. And it could be something as big as, you know, improving [00:38:00] trust and reviews because that's a that's a big, big thing, right. Um, where we just, you know, what can we do to improve trust?
And so from that start outlining everything underneath there. Well, we could, you know, maybe from a construction standpoint, we need more certifications printed on our shirt or from a marketing standpoint, you know, we need to, we're going to put a BBB logo on our website just to boost that trust. I mean, again, the it's limitless, what you could be doing to build trust.
And all of these ideas, I would recommend getting them out there, getting other people to build on those ideas, take that idea sheet, put it into an effort versus impact matrix. And you can look that up. You're not familiar with what that is, but it'll help you understand, you know, how to prioritize those based on this is going to be the easiest and have the biggest impact.
So let's start with that versus this one is going to, you know, this is going to take us years to ever do. Um, and it's barely going to move the needle. So maybe that's a low, low-level priority, but. You know, get this list. And from a marketer's standpoint, anyone can do [00:39:00] it. It's going to make you seem more innovative if you're taking it to your boss.
If you're the marketing director, then the same thing. Whenever you take it to, you know, to the C suite there. You're going to be innovating and it's going to get everyone else excited about that too. And I think that's probably what's most important is to have the mindset of an innovator. And once you do that, it's going to really help you start to look at things in terms of the customer experience.
And it's going to improve all of the offerings that you can employ, you can offer to your employer as an employee. Um, and I think, you know, help you do a better job and really just it's a win-win scenario. Whenever you have that. Innovator's mindset.
Greg Bray: No, that's terrific. I, I love, I love your idea and I agree with it completely that, that there are a lot of these pieces that are a little bit standalone that you can implement now that will help move you towards that buying online, opportunity.
Like you said, just, just learning how to use DocuSign in your process, for example, or, or [00:40:00] improving your tours or all these little things. And, you know, when we talked to builders about that whole buy online opportunity, Kind of the biggest obstacle that, that so many seem to have is just kind of that data management, that, that back-office data of who.
Who's got the master list of how much, each lot costs and, you know, on some of these things and how do we get that onto the website and inform everybody when the lots available and not available, you know, reserved and things like that. So, but that's a topic for another day. So sorry. I got a little, well,
Jimmy Diffee: I think that's a good point because you mentioned the obstacles and I think, you know, part of the advice that I gave there is, you know, from an innovation standpoint, you have to start by going wide and covering everything.
Right. And you don't need to go deep on everything until you realize that they're, you know, what is the opportunity here? What is the impact going to be? So if, if it's too big of a project, so this effort versus impact, you know, is as critical to help bring these ideas, still be able, you know, it's a safe place for ideas come up. There are no bad ideas. They [00:41:00] just might take us longer and it's going to be more difficult for us to do so it's going to maybe get. The back burner, but create a safe place to innovate and a safe place for the ideas because all the ideas are good. Just some might end up being more feasible than others. So that effort versus impact, I think, is a critical part of that. You know, don't be afraid to just go blue sky carte blanche, come up with all the ideas, but then for that big data, heavy longterm one let's back burner that one for a little while
Greg Bray: Awesome. Well, Jimmy, if somebody wants to connect with you, learn more about Bokka Group or just have a chat about some of these things, what's the best way for them to connect,
Jimmy Diffee: um, our website, you know, BokkaGroup.com. That's B O K K A. So to case, um, and you know, we've got contact forms on there that you can reach out.
And any of those will end up getting to me, if you just, just put my name in there, um, or simply email me, firstname.lastname@example.org. So you can contact me through my email address. Jimmy J I M M Y@bokkagroup.com.
And you know, I appreciate you guys giving me the [00:42:00] opportunity to be a part of this happy to come back anytime we can either go deeper on these or touch on a different subject, but I appreciate you having me on today.
Kevin Weitzel: I Appreciate your jimmy. Hey, uh, uh, number one, I know that you've, I've actually heard you speak at a couple of different events. Uh, one was right here in Scottsdale at the, uh, uh, sanctuary. That was a pretty, pretty poignant speech you gave there. Um, but your obviously, as a keynote speaker, do you have any upcoming speaking events that you'd like to mention?
Jimmy Diffee: Um, you know, everything is virtual now, so yeah. the only one that I have to recommend is through, uh, Blue Tangerine, but we've got an upcoming one here. I don't have my calendar in front of me.
Greg Bray: Coming up in October.
Jimmy Diffee: October that's right. So if you want to give some details there.
Greg Bray: Yeah. Well, we'll definitely have some links to that. We should have some announcements on registration coming up pretty soon here by the time this episode comes out. Um, so, so that'll be awesome. We're looking forward to having you.
Well thank you everybody for [00:43:00] listening today. Please join us again. Next time on the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray from Blue Tangerine
Kevin Weitzel: and I'm Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse.