Ronda Conger of CBH Homes brought amazing energy and insights to this week’s episode of the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. Greg, Kevin, and Ronda explore how to embrace the ever-evolving world of Home Builder Marketing and so much more. Not only does Ronda share some incredible marketing strategies for home builders, but she also shares inspiration focused on reaching your goals both in life and in business.
Currently, Ronda Conger is the Vice President of Idaho’s largest home builder, CBH Homes. As Idaho’s #1 Home Builder, CBH Homes is dedicated to turning all of their customers into raving fans by doing all they can, to make the buying process simple, pleasant, and fun. She's also the owner of a real estate company, a board member of the St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, and a cabinet member for the Treasure Valley YMCA.
Not to mention she’s also known as an electric professional speaker, and author, publishing her three books Better Human, Better Thinking, and her newest book, You Go First: Become the Leader Your Team Needs. It’s clear Ronda is on a mission to spread a movement.
“I'm on the hunt for better in all areas of my life.” -Ronda Conger
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Editing by: KT Maschler
[00:00:00] Greg Bray: Hello everybody and welcome back to another edition 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 thrilled today to welcome as our guest, Rhonda conquer the vice president of CBH homes. Welcome, Rhonda.
Thanks for joining us.
Ronda Conger: Hello. Hello. So excited to be here today, talking about all my favorite.
Greg Bray: Yeah. Well, we're really excited to have you and really appreciate you, making the time for us today. So for those who haven't met you yet and are [00:01:00] familiar with the, why don't you give us that quick introduction of who's Rhonda?
Ronda Conger: So Rhonda Conger, I would tell you I'm a full tank of gas. So I've got a lot of energy, a lot of love, a lot of give today. vice-president CBH homes for the past. 17 years, the number one builder in Idaho, I'm also an author, a speaker. I'm a mother of two delicious sons, married to this really incredibly hot husband.
but I would tell you that home building is my jam. I've been in new home construction, uh, for probably what. 25 years now, close to. So it's, it's my passion. It's my thing. And everything else I do on the side is just cause I want to give out as much love as humanly possible to all those that I come in contact with.
my first book is, was called a better human it's a full-time job cause I'm on the hunt for better in all areas of my life. So I'm in that's my jam.
Greg Bray: So just to clarify, you started. [00:02:00] In the home building industry in elementary school is that you're just clarifying that cause that's, that's unique.
Kevin Weitzel: now that's the business Ronda, and that is also the family Ronda, but we need to know a little secret about Ronda, tell us something that nobody knows, or at least, you know, nobody that's going to listen to the podcast, but now, like, are you into juggling?
Are you into archery? Uh, do you like to flip quarters off your elbows?
What's one of your secrets. Little talents or whatever,
Ronda Conger: whatever secret things. Yeah. Interesting. Well, I think most people are surprised to learn that I'm a Canadian, but I'm the only one in my family. I came three months early and they were in Canada, so I'm a halfbreed.
So I have American citizenship and Canadian citizen. So there's that.
Kevin Weitzel: And you speak both languages.
Ronda Conger: I do. I do. Right. So if you've got that, I think I would not, I think is interesting is because of my love of people and all that good stuff, I think a lot of people think I'm naturally an extrovert, but I would probably tell you, yeah.
Quietly secretly, but I'm [00:03:00] an introvert. So, you know, if, if I'm not working, speaking or writing, I'm definitely with my family, I'm writing, I'm reading, uh, I'm recharging, I'm hiking. So I think that there's this, this, like, it was like, you must be so much fun and that's, you're out every weekend and you're doing this.
I'm like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I'm not doing any of those things. I'm actually an introvert, don't telling anyone.
Kevin Weitzel: That is awesome. So you did mention that you, your first book better human. You also have you go first and better thinking and two things I want to point out before we go into the dive into a little bit about your books.
One is thank you for sending these to me. I thought they were awesome. That is so classy. And number two, thank you. Because I am not the best reader I have. I'm dyslexic, so I don't have a large attention span when I do read. And you make them very easy to, but in fact, it's better thinking. Yeah. I breezed her this thing because it's affirmations, it's positivity.
and honestly I just, I flowed right through this and honestly, I'm, [00:04:00] I'm going to re-gift this one to my daughter because I think it's just a good thing to do is I love re-gifting books and then last. Just a touch of these things. They feel so good in the hand. Just a great book seriously. And I'm not pitching your commercial here.
They're not just great books and an easy reads. So for any of you struggled with reading, like I do, they are very easy reads, very. Very relevant information and they feel amazing in your hand when you're holding them.
Ronda Conger: So I've got a fun story to tell you. So I am a book junkie and I'm a paper junkie.
And so all of that is important. So thank you for noticing that. I also am, even though I'm an avid reader and I love it and it's my jam and what I do. I fully understand that that's not everyone and it's not a natural thing that we kind of laugh at, took me 14 years to get my husband to become a reader.
Right. So I'm relentless, I'm in for the long haul. But I also realized when I wrote my book, I wanted to keep you awake. So that was a really big objective. And so I know we all kind of have, add a [00:05:00] little bit focus. I've got the focus level of a ferret. So I had to kind of keep my font bag. I had to do a lot of pictures, the fun, the fun story behind, better thinking.
And it's, it's actually. Absolutely. One of my favorite stories is better thinking came out of, um, 14 years ago. I made the decision that every morning when I got up, Oh, that's 4:00 AM, 5:00 AM. Whatever it is, I would. Literally send out my thought, my quote, whatever was going on in my head, to my entire team at CBH homes.
So for every morning, for the last 14 years, I get up in the morning and I send out a quote, well, what happened over these last 14 years is that someone, it started with, you know, someone on my team would be like, would you mind adding my wife? To your list. I just really think she needs to start her day a little differently.
Would you mind adding my husband? My daughter, my mom, my uncle. And so here we are 14 years later and I've got thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people on this list that I get up [00:06:00] and send out every morning. So then what we decided to do is I would take my 50 favorites, thoughts, quotes, whatever they are, and I would bring them to life.
Um, in that book. So that is why better thinking, came to life. But I laugh people like where do you get your thoughts? Do you buy a list? Do you buy quotes? And I was like, you need to open up better thinking. It has like my Panda express fortune cookie in there.
Kevin Weitzel: Okay. I saw that one in there. There was probably
you've got a Mahatma Gandhi and you've got unfortunate cookie wrapper.
Ronda Conger: Right. Yeah. It's like, no, I saw a quote on a Lulu lemon bag. I thought it was amazing. Right. So I thank you for that. Shout out and love, but I think the better thinking when means so much to me, just for that reason.
Kevin Weitzel: So you've got your better human book, which is amazing, and definitely read it.
I'm going to repeat that it's readable, better-thinking affirmations, positivity. Uh, you go first. Can we get just a quick synopsis of that one? Cause that one I have not broke the binding on this yet.
Ronda Conger: So that's really my [00:07:00] leadership journey. You know, I've been the vice president here for 17 years.
I've been in a leadership position. I say my whole life because that's just how it was bestowed upon me. Uh, and so I believe that I wanted to share what leadership means to me, and what I've gone through on this journey, and the things that are in. According to me, and that guides me in my role as a leader.
And so that's really kind of the, I would tell you, at the end of the day, it's a, it's a leadership book that is kind of all the Ronda isms that I look in on how I want to lead myself. my team, my family, my community, all those things. Can
Kevin Weitzel: I give you just a quick plug if you don't mind?
Ronda Conger: Sure.
Kevin Weitzel: I truly love these books.
And where would somebody go to get them? Can they go to betterhuman.com?
Ronda Conger: They can, they can get a better human, betterhuman.today. They could go to Rondaconger.com or they could go to Amazon. So whichever is easiest.
Greg Bray: so I have a related question, Ronda. Once, once that, [00:08:00] at what point did the email list gets so big where you suddenly started to get stressed out about finding the best quote to send because of the pressure of all these people waiting?
Ronda Conger: No, and that's interesting. That's interesting. I think that's a great question, by the way, you know, that quote is for me. At the beginning of the day, I'm trying to set my head straight. I really am. And so I've always wanted to keep it that way. Like what do I need as a leader? And then I'm hoping and praying that there are other people that need the same thing as me.
And at one time I caught myself quite a few years back. Trying to like either change it or please, or what does this person need? Or what does this group? And I was like, Whoa, Whoa, no, no, no, no, no, no. Right. I've got to stay in the lane of, I knew that I had to keep my head straight. I was hoping my team would need it.
So I really just focused on where some people be like, you repeated a quote like I'll get people on my list. Like you did that. You know, four years ago, I'm like, well, evidently I needed it again. Right. So I do think that I really just [00:09:00] I'm past all of that. You know, there was probably a small moment here and there that I've questioned.
There are people who have left my list, right. That unsubscribed to them. And I'm like, God bless. They found something better, new something else that they needed. God bless go be free. I really had just said, you know what? I want to keep this. From the original thought was to fill my tank every day so that whenever I come in contact with whoever I come in contact with, my head is straight I'm ready.
And so I really just kind of let go, any other expectation or anything else. And some people are like, Oh my God, I can't believe you did that. Quote, I've done some racy quotes. Right? So there's that
Kevin Weitzel: because you do come here contact with a lot of people and tons of people look up to you. I know your entire team has nothing but the utmost love and respect for you.
So let's just take a quick little time machine and let's go back to 1993 in Las Vegas at KB home. What advice would you give to a young, you? To allow the young, you, a young woman in the home building [00:10:00] industry, because you know, it there, back in 93, there were less women in the home building industry. Yeah.
So what advice would you give to that woman that's wanting to get started that wants to have that pathway to success to a successful profession?
Ronda Conger: Go faster. Go faster. So don't hesitate. Don't, make your goals, you know, bigger, uh, go for it. Right. Like I felt like at the time I was playing big and I was going for it and I was learning and growing and doing as much as I could.
Now, looking back, I could have gone faster. I could have gone faster. And I think that people, you know, we have to be careful of what you kind of any limitations that you put on yourself or timelines or expectations. And I think that we all want people around us who are willing to step up and go get it.
And I think that you could even be faster. So I always say, you know, w I love that question. That's absolutely one of my favorite questions, because even right here, right now, the person that I am today, I want to go faster. I have bigger goals, bigger dreams. I'm just getting [00:11:00] this party started. So I have the exact same site, you know, advice then as I do for myself right now, it's just a great reminder that I need to go faster.
Greg Bray: That's awesome. I love it. I love it. That's just great, leadership and growth advice, no matter where you're at in your career, you know, or, and what, and what field you're in. Either whether own building or not. Yeah. That's that's that's terrific.
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 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. [00:12:00] 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 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. So, Rhonda, let's bring it back a little bit. Yeah. To, to, to CBH homes for a [00:13:00] second.
Tell us a little bit more about CBH homes, you know, the kind of homes you use. Build what, what's your buyer target is that you, that you try to serve and help us understand that a little more.
Ronda Conger: So I'll just give you some quick rundown. So we're a private builder, Corey Barton owner, founder, president, you know, we've been building homes for 28 years.
We are a 100% production builder. Roughly two years ago, we made the decision to go 100% spec. So we no longer do bill jobs. Um, any, any of that, we literally just flat put them on the ground, all that good stuff. This year, we'll start, close to 2000 homes. We'll sell right around probably 1800 homes this year when it's all.
Said and done, at any given moment, I have roughly 700 homes on the ground, uh, under construction done, sold, pending all that good stuff. So, I would say our market is the first, second, and third markets. We kind of hit all three. you know, I [00:14:00] just love who we have grown to become. I love that through all of these years, especially, you know, obviously the last 17 we've.
Are always meeting the buyers where they are, we're meeting the market where it is too. I think that's really important. I think you can meet the buyers, but you also better meet your market, right? Like what's needed. So right now inventory is low. So I would tell you we're meeting the market where it is, which means that we're pouring out as much inventory as we possibly, which then also serves the buyer.
Right. It's kind of, it's kind of hand in hand.
Kevin Weitzel: So you've moved to a hundred percent spec model, but that doesn't mean that you've taken away any of the quality, any of the upgrades that are available in certain neighborhoods. Is that, is that correct or no?
Ronda Conger: And you know what I think is interesting we've, I'm going to sound really cocky.
So just bear with me, uh, let that in for just a second. We've never looked so good. And it's because we have professional designers on [00:15:00] staff that are literally, you know, curating every single home with every single detail with a whole lot of love. And so everything is just, is planned out beautifully and it's done on a one-off basis.
So I'm not just picking one package and doing it 30 times in a row on one street. And you're, you know, you look all the same. We're literally like I was just in the kitchen getting a cup of coffee. And one of my designers was like, wait to you see these new fixtures and then based on elevations and based on all these new things, it's just beautiful.
So I feel like. You know, when you do build jobs, which I love buyers. I love with them. At the same time, there is different in your difference in your street scenes and the insides of your home when every single home is absolutely right. Professionally chosen every detail, every knob, every faucet, every fixture.
So I think that it's been a complete game-changer for us and how we look at it. And that's been really exciting to me.
Greg Bray: I think that's a, a real [00:16:00] interesting business strategy decision, you know, to, to go that direction. And, and I think that, that it makes a lot of sense, you know, that this idea that sometimes the customer doesn't actually know everything they want because they're not the professional.
They don't, they don't do it every day. You know, I, I, I think, you know, some people, again, some people know exactly what they want and that's, and you know what? You can't please, everybody, you can't. Sell to everybody, but you've focused in, on that group that, you know, what they come in, they go, wow, this looks even better than what I could come up with, you know, or whatever.
And so they love it and they're ready to go and they don't have to customize it because you've already made it better.
Ronda Conger: Well, I do. I think it's interesting. So we have this beautiful 5,000 square foot design studio and we blew it up two years ago, literally. And, And I'll tell you, I would walk through several times a day just to say hi to the buyers and watch, and kind of see what was going on.
And I would have buyers, a husband, and wife standing in front of a piece of carpet, like two different Browns, for like four hours. [00:17:00] You can't just, I got to go to lunch around, carpet's taking me down. Right. I mean, then we'd have, you know, you know, people like fighting over white or, or little bit off-white and it was just like this isn't what you do every day.
This isn't right. Like, let us help. I think that's how we look at it. We're hoping that by us doing this, that we're making this. So easy, but we're still giving you actually the most beautiful home I would argue and say, we're putting more in our homes than some of our buyers even did when they were in our design studios.
Right. I mean, we want them to look amazing and I firmly believe this is the best of all worlds. There are people who you're right. They're really good at it. And they should go and get a custom build and spend all the time and do all of that because they're really good at it. But I will tell you, the majority of the population would really, really love to have a home that's professionally designed for them.
Kevin Weitzel: On the opposite end of that spectrum. So my girlfriend is that person that can actually outfit a house to the nines, to the tees, [00:18:00] right?
Ronda Conger: God bless
Kevin Weitzel: walk into the room. I honestly decorated and set up my whole place before she moved in. And I thought it was amazing. We took a before picture and then she comes in, she moves stuff around.
We took an after picture and it looked. The previous picture looked like Ronald McDonald lived in our house. It was ridiculous. So I, I, a hundred percent get that. There is a very large percent of the population. They can't do what designers do.
Ronda Conger: I'm one of them. I'm one of them.
Greg Bray: Kevin, Kevin, I think you just blew our chance for our McDonald's sponsorship.
Ronda Conger: so. Yeah,
Greg Bray: but Rhonda, I think, I think what's great too, in that is you saw a portion of your customer experience that wasn't ideal. Right. And you said, you know what, we can make this better and, and found a way to make it better to remove some of that negative piece of the process. Right. Cause that, that can be frustrating, you know?
Um, so, so I think that's, I think that's a terrific insight. So tell us a little bit more about, you know, since we are the digital [00:19:00] marketing podcast, let's get a little more into marketing.
Kevin Weitzel: Tell us a little bit more about,
Greg Bray: you know, how you have structured your marketing team and, and how you guys kind of, have decided, you know, Is that, you know, get to community level, is it a corporate type of structure?
You know, how, how have you put that together and why?
Ronda Conger: and I love, uh, all things beautiful, all things, marketing, all that, this isn't a really great topic. I was so glad that you invited me for this. So we have actually, our ad agency who is amazing and they've been with us for a very long time. We are definitely as one and, and, do great work together. And then we have our in house marketing department and I think it's always been this dance between the two. And I think both of them are very, very important. Um, I decided long ago that an ad agency's role is really on a big picture level, right? Like we've got the big picture where we're going, what do we want to do?
and then in my opinion, the, our in house team is really the executers. You know, you know, that they're doing all of our social [00:20:00] for us. Uh, they're doing any kind of events. They're doing our ads. They're doing, you know, we have an in house graphic design person who's as well, who is just magical. She actually did all my books for me as well.
Just literally one of the loves of my life and so we, I think we have just found a really good balance between the two because I feel like you need to know what each other's strengths are, what someone's good at, what they're timely at, what makes sense from a cost from money as well. And so that's how we've always bounced.
This workload is. Okay. Who, what, who is, what is the story of this? Like, what are they good at? What, what should they be doing? What's cost-effective? Cause that's important. Uh, and then we kind of find this dance and we say, you know, you're going to do this. We're going to do this, but we're going to be very, in sync with each other.
So our message is, you know, you can't have the adage, you do something. And then we do something completely different, right? Like. that would never work. So we're always making sure that we are hand in hand together and executing the [00:21:00] entire plan together. And everyone's working within their strengths.
Greg Bray: Terrific. So how, how have you seen your marketing activities evolve digitally over the last, you know, well, you've mentioned 17 years or so, you know, I met 17 years ago. We weren't doing a whole lot of digital marketing. you know, it's changed a little bit, you know, there were these things called newspapers and stuff that people have heard about that.
No one knows what, you know, how, how have you seen that evolve over your career?
Ronda Conger: Oh my God. And like you're saying, I mean, I feel like we've really worked hard, and yeah. I love watching other industries by the way. So I have always tried to yes, look within home building, but I'm always looking outside my own industry to make sure that I'm staying, you know, current and I'm staying relevant and I'm, I'm watching what other, you know, what other industries are doing because you know, the buyers are shopping within there and doing all that stuff.
So you kind of want to make sure that, that you're close. And so I think that. You know, it's interesting that you say that because I [00:22:00] worked really hard, not only to work on our marketing, whether that's our social, I would tell you that our social is predominantly done in house because I want us to have a personal touch to it.
I want it to have real people, real experiences, know what's going on in the field, and not just have this kind of hovering way above things. So that's kind of a in-person thing to me. The other thing I would say is even the way we set it, our sales centers, we do it completely different than any other national builder.
And I know some people are like, what are you thinking? Just follow the norm. Where's your trap, where you're two models, how you sell where's your Tuesday salespeople. And we do it completely different. And that's because of just, you know, over the years watching other industries and then really trying to, to make our own way here, which makes sense for us and how.
We operate. So I think you just have to co you know, if you look at over the years, I hope to goodness that even forget about 17 years ago, 14 or whatever it is, I want to be different than I was [00:23:00] last year. So can you honestly check yourself as a marketing person and say, am I different than I was last year?
Cause man, I better be right. Cause we're moving at such an accelerated pace that you can't be the same builder, the same company, the same person that you were last year. So I'm really fighting against that person. Not the, that that person is 1714, that the person is long on. I'm doing things so much more differently than that.
If that makes sense. Hopefully
Kevin Weitzel: it does. Now. I want to point out something because I met you probably three or four years ago at one of the Jeff shore events and your entire crew was wearing the, uh, league of her own baseball uniform. Which was amazing, by the way, because I was just like, what is this? Crazy group of people coming through here, they're all dressed the same.
It's insane. Fast forward to a year or so later. And I w my, uh, industry strategist and I take a road trip up to Idaho and we, you know, in the Boise market and the, it's, it [00:24:00] starts with an M
Ronda Conger: Meridian,
Kevin Weitzel: Meridian. There we go. So we stopped them reading and stuff. So we visit different builders and you guys are one of our stops, and I want to know where you guys have, and this is the crazy part.
Where do you have the secret room where you beat the snot out of your employees when they're not positive?
Every time in front of you, you guys at IBS at the Jeff shore event, it's you know, in your office and your design center, everybody is so ridiculously inviting. And positive and fun that there's gotta be, it was off days.
Cause you said, you know, you want to be better than last year. There's gotta be days where they're just, they're not better than last year and you have to go yeah. Beat them senseless and bring them back into being positive again. You have the room? Is there a secret?
Ronda Conger: There's no room, but there's plenty of red bull, but there's no room.
Uh, you know, I think what, this is a funny, My son says this all the time. Like whenever my son says something, like if he's doing something great or doing something I love, I'm like, how'd you do that? What are you doing? Like, this is great. We just tell him something that he did the other day in college.
And he was like, mom, [00:25:00] mom. I'm built different, different, right? And so I have to tell you, that's how I feel about my team. They're just built different and we hire for it. You know, I talk about strengths a lot. We're huge strength finders, two-point overs. And if you don't know your strengths, Go get them.
Cause you need to focus on those and stay there. And then you knew I shared a great quote the other day and I just love, love, love, love, love it. And that the greatest predictor of your success in life will be your level of optimism. And I think, you know, we pipe that in here. Like if you are a yes person on board and excited, I did and happy and grateful, and moving forward, we're going to get it.
And if you're not. Well, right. I mean, I'm reading this amazing book. I'm sure you guys have heard of it. the right of a lifetime Bob Iger of the CEO of Disney and I love, love, love his quote. And it says this you've two choices. You can adapt and prosper or you can fight and perish. And I think you can take that to marketing, right?
You're going to die [00:26:00] this world that we're living in. Right. Or you can fight it and stay away right way back there and perish. I think that's kind of how I look at it, but no, we do not have a room because were built different, built different. Well, we'll Rhonda
Greg Bray: to that. What are some of the adaptations that you guys have been doing just in the last six to eight months, you know, to, to avoid perishing, you know, what's been changing for you guys?
Ronda Conger: So we were incredibly blessed and I think it goes back to us really trying to stay ahead. So, roughly a year ago we had launched tour now our, instant access system, you know, the lock on the home. You go into an app, you get a code, you go in wherever you want. So we launched that. a year ago, uh, I think it was in July when we first started 10 locks, we were just kind of dipping our toes in it and see how it went, uh, in 2019.
And it was amazing. So about another a hundred locks in August and we were just clipping along. It was, you know, great showings, great feedback. The buyers loved it. COVID [00:27:00] hit. And we decided now more than ever let's throw on another hundred locks because you know, realtor stopped showing, uh, people, you know, wanted to do it on their own.
They were a little afraid, all those things. And so, you know, I would tell you tour now is one of our game-changers. You know, we have removed the entry of barrier, right? Like before you could only get into a home, if you had a realtor or if you had your sales. You know, uh, an agent with you and we're saying, no, you can come and go as you like, you can, you know, whenever you want, you just get off that sofa and you come to her, one of our homes.
So I would tell you our lock system, our tour now locks have been a complete, an absolute game-changer for us. They already were for co before COVID, but COVID just accelerated the results. Right. Accelerated the showings accelerated how many locks we buy. the second thing I would tell you would be our buy online program.
Being able to click that button and buy a home online, right. Was huge for us. We had rolled it out, before COVID and it was just kind of trickling along. People gotta get [00:28:00] used to it. They've got to try it. We saw a lot of people putting it into their shopping cart and, and some clicking through, but not until COVID hit.
Did it accelerate that result of people actually using it on a regular basis?
Kevin Weitzel: So in the buy now riddle me this, what percentage of the purchase, if you will, is done online, is this all the way down to, here's your keys, Mr. And Mrs. So-and-so,
Ronda Conger: you know, it's interesting. So, I just got a survey in from one of our buyers and I loved it.
Cause they said, do you realize in my comments section, they said, do you realize that we bought one of your homes from out of state 100% virtually. Right. 100% like what that is, right. Like, think about that. So from the buy online standpoint, you click on a button. You put your, you know, I would really call it a reservation.
You fill out our paperwork, you give us the a hundred dollars deposit, all that good stuff. And then within 24 hours, you have to [00:29:00] connect with someone on the sales team. So we can confirm this is the house. This is the price. This is what you're getting. Are you good? Then we'll send you the contract DocuSign, you sign, you're done.
You don't have to see us. And then we'll see you at closing. So that buyer we never saw, we never saw.
Kevin Weitzel: So obviously that was not just a, Hey, let's do this. You've got to put a lot of backend prep into that. You've got to connect systems to each other. I see you have some technical partners in that, or
Ronda Conger: we do so our deposit is a company called earnest and it's great. It's just a digital earnest money system that we use. It's really simple, obviously, it's through our website. So it's just, you know if you think about how there are so many digital things in this world, right? Like just think of everything that you can buy, everything that you can do, right.
We're not groundbreaking here. People, I had to break this for people, maybe for the home building industry, but at the end of the day, if you look at, [00:30:00] you know, all of the websites and the capabilities and the different things that you can do this, I hate to say really isn't that big of a deal. I just think builders have to get their heads around the idea.
And, and, you know, the best thing that we've found through this, which I think is interesting is that it really just gives the buyer. It meets them where they are. They're on their sofas. It's nine o'clock at night, right? They're like, let's do this. Let's buy it instead. Yeah. We'd have to, you know, text or call the realtor or the sales agent and say, I'll do it in the morning.
I'll meet you, blah, blah, blah. And now you just say, okay, I'm buying it 9:00 PM. Here it is. Send me the contract. Then I'm done. I've taken it off the website. It's it becomes reserved. I can sleep tonight. Cause I know no one else is going to buy it or take from me. So it's really been. An urgency tool and a really good tool for the buyer.
I don't think it's that difficult on the backend. We had to get earnest and we threw it on our website. That was it.
Greg Bray: Well, and, and Ronda question,
do you feel that the fact that you guys are so, [00:31:00] spec focus has made that a little bit easier too than possibly some other builders who, who have a little bit of a different process, or do you think it can still work regardless?
Ronda Conger: I think it can totally still work. I think if you tell yourself at Canada, I think that's ridiculous because if I was a bill job, builder, I'd, I'd be doing this. I would make it simpler. I would say, pick your plan, pick your lot, put that in the cart and buy it. And then of course, because you're here, then we'll do everything else after that, but you can still pick your plan and pick your lot.
Right. I mean, even if I was doing a bill job, I don't think it's that difficult.
Kevin Weitzel: Well talking about other industries, as you say, you like to do. Cause I do the same thing. I like to watch. Look at watch companies and shoe companies and auto industry and the auto industry. They've been selling packages for decades.
50 60, 70 years, you know, the little letters you see in the back of your car, those are already predetermined packages. So what's to say that a home builder can offer a good, better, best, or an ABC package. It's not that big a deal.
Ronda Conger: And you're spot on. It's [00:32:00] not hard. We're making it too hard. We need to just like relax already.
It's not that hard. Don't ever bake this. Don't ever think this, like, uh, I think, you know, it's interesting to me, one of the industry, one of the. People that I follow are Carvana. Like if Carvana, I can do this, I just love what they do, their marketing, how easy they make buying a car, no matter where you are.
so I'm right with you on the car industry. And I follow car industry quite a bit because homes are, you know, there's some, some reality there. I just think it's interesting. I think you can talk yourself out of anything. You can worry yourself out of anything. And it was funny. I was on the phone with a builder the other day, a national, and they were like this tour now a thing, it just seems risky and it seems hard and you probably have theft and you probably have damage.
And I'm like, don't put that stuff on me. I don't have any of that. Like I put any of that on me. I don't have any of that. And it's how you're thinking about it is what's making it difficult. So where's your thinking, where's your head? and that's, and that's where you're going to end up. So, no, we've had, those are two game changers and my opinion for us, for sure.
Kevin Weitzel: Whos going [00:33:00] in to spec home, stealing stuff.
What are you going to steal the floorboard,
Ronda Conger: if you need it that bad, I say, dig it,
Kevin Weitzel: rip it up the carpet. I mean, what are they doing
Greg Bray: well, and I got to say, I'm a big Carvana fan too. I actually own two Carvana cars. So I've, I've been all the way through that. And again, just on the record, I could give them some advice on how to improve their website.
Just a little bit more.
Ronda Conger: I have no doubt
Greg Bray: a couple of bumps there, but, but overall though, the idea of not having to go. I even had to make a phone call and one of them, you know, and that's okay. I think sometimes one of the things that get in the way of this buy online concept is the idea that it has to be totally self-service and doesn't have to be where we're eliminating all contact or all people. And I don't think that's the right vision to have for it. It's just supporting the process, but I can still chat with somebody or call someone or even tour and then go home and buy it later, you know? Um, [00:34:00] and, and I think, would you agree with that? Are you comfortable with that? That's really where the buyers are at that they may not be totally self. Sufficient, but rather just supporting the online purchase process.
Ronda Conger: And Remember, I said with our process is that I'm giving you the ability to reserve it, take it off the market, call it yours. And so that you have this peace of mind that I have it right when people want that.
I want to make sure that it's mine. And then the next step is truly with the person we're going to reach out and just confirm that. Did you push the right button? Are you sure that you want that out? And so there is a person involved we're just helping with, um, urgency. We're helping with allowing them to do it on their terms when they want do not just, you know, tend to five when the sales centers open or right.
Let do the thing. So it's just meeting them where they are. But I think you always have to have a person in there somewhere to make sure that we're all on the right page.
Kevin Weitzel: being you're already ahead of the curve there. What trends are you watching right now?
[00:35:00] Ronda Conger: Oh boy.
Kevin Weitzel: Cause you are ahead of the game. You are you're way ahead of the game.
When you, when you look at, cause I trust me, Greg and I, we interface with builders all over the country and there's everything from hillbillies build none of the back of a truck all the way up to, you know, buy it now, never see anybody, you know, the whole, you know, both ends of the spectrum. So you would be in the already there.
What are you looking at as far as a trend or some sort of new fangled Gidget gadget? What are we looking at?
Ronda Conger: So our passion right now is you know, Providing housing for all in the sense that right. We've launched this past year CBH rentals and so really want, you know, uh, so we'll do 2000 single-family homes this year.
We'll also bring on 2000 multifamily units as well. And so it's important to us. I want to see those two marry each other. I want to get people in a home no matter what that looks like for them, whether that's a rental, whether that's, you know, a single-family [00:36:00] for sale model. And then I want the two to play really well together.
Right. Because you're, you know, you're all gonna head that way sooner or later. And I want to be a part of that, part of the conversation, part of the marketing, connecting those two and making it really seamless, but we just want to provide homes for people. That's what we want to do. So that's kind of been my new challenge.
Kevin Weitzel: So when I owned a bicycle store, I had challenged myself to allow children or people that were in that growth plate time, build a life, to build a move from bike, to bike the bike. So I offered a trade-in program where if they bought the bike for me and they turned it back in and a clean, you know, serviceable, they got half of the value of the bike.
No questions asked. No matter what, and trust me, bikes, aren't worth half of what they are two years, three years down the road. They're just not. So do you have in place or are you guys working on having a program to where people that maybe can't come up with a down payment to buy a house, but they can move into one of your rental units and have some sort of incentive program to move up into homeownership.
[00:37:00] Ronda Conger: Absolutely. I'm working on a program right now. I would love it's exactly what you're saying. You're you're speaking. My language is I want to give them back apart, their rent. So what they're, you know, it's kind of like they're building their equity, they're building towards their down payment as they're renting and they're getting their credit rating there.
Ready? They're finding their dream home. and then I want to participate and give them back towards that so that they can trade. Right. So they can trade-in, as you say, trade out, whatever you'd like,
Kevin Weitzel: love it.
Greg Bray: Yeah. That's that's terrific. Ronda. That's really amazing. And, and just, the vision, you know, affordable housing is such a challenge in so many areas right now.
And, and, you know, homeownership is such a. A big part of the American dream and, you know, quotes, whatever that means to everybody anymore. But, but to be able to play a role in that just sounds terrific and amazing. So thank you for, for your leadership there. I really appreciate that. Well, we want to be mindful of your time runner.
We've been so appreciative. We've covered a lot of ground, but as we kind of wrap up, do you have any last piece of advice you've already given so much? I hate to ask for more, but, um, you know, [00:38:00] any, anyone last. The thought you want to leave with our listeners today?
Ronda Conger: You know, I would say we have a motto here at CBH Homes that has been our mantra since COVID hit.
And I think it's pretty powerful. And I have been trying to share it with as many people as, as I can. So when I share it with you guys, uh, is we just said, You know, when this hit and these are extraordinary times and we all need to be leaders in this extraordinary time, in my opinion, you know, how you lead yourself, whether that's your attitude, your actions, how you leave your position, that you're in, how you lead your team, your family.
And I always say your community, cause it affects. Everything. And so we said there was four things that were going to guide us through this. And it's, you know, it's in my launchpad, which is our training pad, our training room. So we have a launchpad it's all over this office. You see it, several places and it's this well, we wanted to make sure that we survived covid We want to make sure that we are adapting right to these new times new experiences. We want it. Then after we've adapted, we want to make sure that we advance. We wanted to [00:39:00] keep moving forward. We didn't want this, these extraordinary times to stop us in any way. We want to make sure that we were advancing.
And then last, we want to make sure that we thrive. And so I think that if you could stay focused on four things, Through all of this, instead of doom scrolling, instead of listening to, you know, the panic and the worry and the anxiety just, and everything else. I think if you could actually just change that script to those four things, I think that you would, we'd all be in a different place.
So I think that's my biggest thing is that. We are going through extraordinary times. And I hope that everyone is leading through these extraordinary times, right. Through their attitudes, their actions, their mindsets. And of course, you know, uh, with a level of optimism because that's, what's going to guarantee all of our success.
Kevin Weitzel: So you thank you. Um, you are somebody that a lot of people look up to. A lot of your mentor. A lot of people you've helped develop a lot of, uh, women, especially [00:40:00] in the home building industry professionals.
Who do you look up to?
Who do you, who is your inspiration? And it could be one person, 5 billion people.
I know there's a lot. We all take inspiration from a lot of different people. I mean, fortune cookies. but, uh, but yeah, who are just a couple of key people in your life. That's a that motivates you and makes you who you are.
Ronda Conger: You know, I, I would say, well, one, because I'm such an avid reader, I'm literally, uh, all over the board.
I feel like I have so many, like Bob Iger, I'm listening to him right now. So he's just filling my tank is absolutely someone that I look up to. We've had the pleasure of having some amazing, we do a company kickoff every year. So for example, this past January, we had Shawn Achor, an of the happiness advantage.
He's a Harvard professor. I mean, like. That man. I, I just loved everything he has. We've had John Gordon, I mean if I could go through every, all these, and it's funny, a lot of them are authors or [00:41:00] speakers or, you know, and then how about, let's do a shout out to home building Larry Webb, my brother, like I, that man inspires me and everything is his attitude, his actions, his culture, the companies, right.
He's built. So it's kind of, I would tell you my inspiration comes to whatever I'm listening to, whatever conference, whatever I'm attending, the companies that I'm watching are Carvana, that type of thing. Uh, I would also tell you what drives me and pushes me is also my sons. I mean, I love them and I want to, you know, be the best person I can be, you know, for them.
My family for myself, for my company, my whole team, like people are like, who fills your tank? But I'm like, man, my team, like you said, you saw them in their league of their own outfits. They're a fool good time. So I think inspiration, hopefully, it comes to you. In all shapes and forms and it's not like I would never just say it's one person, it's all these things that I'm filling my tank with them watching and listening that I need.
Right. And it never stays the same. I'm constantly, [00:42:00] right. So I'm not going to be the same person that I was last year that I am right now. So I'm always watching, listening to whatever I need right here. Right now. And it's a full-time job.
Greg Bray: Well, I am sitting here wondering Ronda, how you get it all done.
That's as I listened to all this that's, what's going through my mind, you know, I, I, you mentioned red bull, I guess maybe that's a secret. Maybe we can get it. Could get more red bull out there, but if someone wants to reach out, run and connect with you or, or chat hows the best way for them to
Ronda Conger: connect, you can absolutely find me on CBH homes.com, just going to meet the team.
Click on me. There's my email address. And I'm an open book I love sharing with other builders. I do quite a few builder visits a year. Uh, I share a lot of emails and phone calls and ideas. So, if there's anything I can help with, I would encourage anyone to head on over to CBH homes, click on Ronda Conger.
You'll find me. You can also find rondaconger.com. That's how you send that sign up for my daily quote, better thinking. That's where you can buy my books, blogs, videos, my podcasts around the Conger show. [00:43:00] So you can find me. Awesome.
Greg Bray: Well, thank you again so much for your time today and thank you, everybody, for listening.
Please join us again. Next time on the home builder, digital marketing podcast. I'm Greg gray with blue Tangerine. I'm
Kevin Weitzel: Kevin Weitzel thank you.
Ronda Conger: Thank you so much. Love, love, love.