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Don’t miss this week’s episode of the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast as Greg and Kevin visit with Ingrid Prince of Shaddock Homes. She shares tons of valuable information about the unsung heroes of home builder marketing, or more commonly known as online sales counselors (OSC). They discuss the importance of finding the right high-performing OSC for your business and creating a seamless transition from the OSC to onsite sales reps.
With 15 years of experience working in the home building profession and over four years being an industry leader in sales leadership and online sales, she has developed an expertise in creating a meaningful experience for buyers using video technology. Ingrid has been a guest speaker at the International Builder Show and spoke on a key topic such as how social media marketing affects new home sales as well as the buyer’s journey from online to onsite. She has also received awards such as the 2020 Dallas Builders Association McSam Award for Sales Manager/Director of the Year, 2019 Professional Builder 40 Under 40, National Association of Home Builders Silver Award for Online Sales Counselor of the Year for 2017 and is a Two-Time Award Winner of Dallas Builders Association McSam Award for Online Sales Counselor of the Year in 2016 and 2017.
Greg Bray: [00:00:00]Hello everybody. And welcome to today's episode of the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine and I'm
Kevin Weitzel: Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse.
Greg Bray: And we are excited today to welcome to the show, Ingrid Prince, the director of sales at Shaddock Homes.
Ingrid Prince: Hello, how are you guys?
Greg Bray: I appreciate you spending a few minutes with us today and giving us of your time.
And for those who haven't met you, can you give us that brief introduction? Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you've been doing.
Ingrid Prince: Yeah. So [00:01:00] again, I'm Ingrid Prince and I'm with Shaddock Homes, a private home builder here in Dallas, Texas. I've been fortunate enough to be able to work with my sales team of 15 sales professional that have been with our company for for quite some time.
You know, one of the, the great things that I love about my team right now is that. A lot of them have been with Shaddock Homes for well over, you know, five to 10 years and some even 18 years. And you know, that really says a lot about that company when you have, you know, folks that are willing to stay around for that long. Right.
Greg Bray: For sure. So Shaddock is, in Dallas, what kinds of homes you guys build and what's your kind of your target buyer that you're going after?
Ingrid Prince: Sure. So we are in Dallas and we mainly focus on communities that are in the North Dallas area. So Fresco, Plano [00:02:00] Prosper, you know, McKinney areas.
Uh, we do have a couple of new communities coming on in the Fort Worth area, which that's a little bit to the West of us, which is a whole different world if you're not from Texas. Uh, but we're pretty, pretty excited about it. And mainly the, the. Texts at home buyers that we target our move up home buyers.
Right? So our price point ranges anywhere from, you know, the mid 550's to the million plus.
Kevin Weitzel: Well, you know what? I want to change gears just a quick little second. You're giving us a lot of the business, Ingrid and the Shaddock Home. I need to know something juicy, some secret that nobody knows. Let, let the world know all through our podcasts.
Something like, you know, Quint Lears, he juggles and he plays the piano. What's something about you. Like when you have kids?
Ingrid Prince: I do. Well, my husband, we have one son. His name is Ree. He's 12 years old and he is why I do what I do. [00:03:00] So you know him and my husband are definitely my why. And I'm fortunate enough that they are very, very supportive in what I do.
And cause you know, I mean home-building is not a nine to five job it's around the clock. So for those of you that don't believe it, it definitely is.
Kevin Weitzel: And do you know who shot JR. Just out of curiosity,
Ingrid Prince: I don't, I don't.
Kevin Weitzel: Dallas, I figured you might know. You might know.
Ingrid Prince: No, I haven't even been to that museum. I guess I should check it out shouldn't I.
Greg Bray: It's a museum now. It used to be a TV show.
And a half the listeners are going, what in the world is Kevin talking about?
Kevin Weitzel: They're not old enough to be a certain age bracket, to know who JR was JR Ewing I think was his name on the show. But anyway, I digress. Well, so what brought you into home building in the first place?
Ingrid Prince: You know? I remember when, so I actually grew up in California and [00:04:00] I ended up moving to Tampa, Florida right after college.
And. I was, I was really, really homesick. So I somehow convinced my parents to move to Tampa as well. And when they moved to Tampa, we were on the quest to find them a new home and in doing that, I really found, you know, that the home search and home buying experience really enjoyable. And that's really how I got started in real estate.
So I decided to get my real estate license and sold, you know, general real estate. For a couple of years, then I decided, you know what? I think I want to get into new home sales. So I joined a national builder in Tampa and worked with them for about four years. And then moved to Dallas, took a one-year break just because I wanted to, you know, [00:05:00] get to know the lay of the land.
Dallas, Texas in general is a, is a huge market. And. I just wanted to make sure that I knew what I was talking about with regards to areas and really how home building worked here in the Dallas area. And then I decided to get back into home building started new home sales and worked on site then.
Went on to do online sales for a private home builder and decided to take the leap and get into leadership. So that's how I'm here today.
The home builder that you were working with in the Dallas market, who was that?
So, um, originally I started with, M/I Homes when they first entered the Dallas market and then actually went and transitioned to a private home builder Dunhill Homes, which was more recently acquired by Trendmaker Home.
Kevin Weitzel: And did you have like, now you're already considered industry-wide as a rockstar, [00:06:00] but weren't you also working with another rock star in the industry?
Ingrid Prince: Chris Hartley.
Kevin Weitzel: It might be Chris Hartley,
Your both power houses, and very dynamic people. So you know, that that company definitely had its fair share of, of turbocharged power when you guys were both there.
Ingrid Prince: So. Yeah. I mean, I definitely, you know, I'm very thankful for the opportunity that, you know, that Chris gave me because he was certainly a, uh a mentor to me and giving me the knowledge and the power and the ability to learn what I learned.
And gave me the training opportunity with some opportunity to work with them. You know, great industry trainers like Jeff Shore, Mike Lyon, Myers Barnes. I mean who can say that they've learned from the best of the best in the industry. Very rare.
Greg Bray: And today's episode is brought to you by the Chris Hartley fan club.
Well, [00:07:00] Ingrid. I know, I know you've had kind of a, an interesting transition from what you've described. Where you were doing a lot of the online sales, and now you've kind of moved more into kind of the sales leadership. If I'm understanding correctly, what's one of the kind of differences that you've seen in, you know, an online sales type of scenario versus the more traditional face-to-face, you know sales person and kind of talk a little bit about some of the similarities and differences.
If you don't mind.
Ingrid Prince: Sure. Well, you know what, for those of you that, that know me know that my heart and my passion is certainly online sales. And I think online sales is definitely the heart of the home building industry. And I think that is a very big statement to say, but I mean, let's be honest. Every single person that starts their home buying journey starts their research online. Right. And I would say that one of the biggest differences from online to onsite is that [00:08:00] when the online sales counselor. You know, connects with a buyer, they really have the ability to focus on discovery. Right. And I think that's an art that's lost when you're on site, because you're so focused on feature dumping and getting that person to just write that contract that the discovery process is completely lost, or it's just scaled down to such a short amount of time that.
The process is completely rushed and you don't have the ability to build that trust with that buyer. So with online sales, with those, OSC's they're really able to focus on just doing that discovery and finding out the true needs and wants of that buyer.
Kevin Weitzel: Now, I don't know how valid that opinion is. So if I were to consult with somebody, I want to like a real valid, so validation to that. If I wanted to consult with maybe the 2016, 2017 online sales counselor of the year, who would that be? [00:09:00]
Ingrid Prince: That would be me.
Kevin Weitzel: Then it was a valid point. I'm sorry. That was my fault, I was questioning the person that I shouldn't be questioning.
Greg Bray: Sorry about that. Well, we're gonna work on Kevin's background prep work for our next episode, a little harder. So he knows that the guest is. Right. So, Ingrid, you just said that your heart's in the online sales. So, have you gone to the dark side or what is it that made you decide to move from online more to the leadership there?
Ingrid Prince: You know, I think, you know, one of the biggest things for online sales counselors, I guess I would say would be, you know, just getting that support from the leadership role. Right. And I think that was one of the biggest things that I knew that I wanted to make sure that I was able to provide, like specifically for you know, the company that I'm with Shaddock Homes right now, the reason why, one of the biggest reasons why I decided to join them with, [00:10:00] because they actually don't have an online sales program right now.
And it pains my heart to say that, but, you know, that's actually one of my biggest Uh, goals for 2021 is to, to get our online sales program running. Uh, because again, you know, many people know that there's a lot of missed opportunities when you don't have an online sales program. So I want to be able to be that support system and be that advocate to be able to to accelerate, you know, our, our growth.
Greg Bray: Now you know, you say they don't have one in and we all kind of go, Oh my goodness, how could they not? But there was recent, I don't know if you may be familiar to Ingrid, that there was a mystery shop research study that was done recently. And I know. Kimberly Mackey and Carol Morgan and Leah Fellows, I think were in, there was somebody else in there and I'm drawing a blank on the names, but
Ingrid Prince: Melinda Brody,
Greg Bray: Yea, Melinda Brody, that's what it was, apology guys.
And if I recall it was [00:11:00] something like 40 or 45% of the builders did not have an OSC program at all. And it was, I found that statistic shocking. Would you agree that shocking or are you not surprised by that?
No, it's really, really shocking to me. And it's funny because I do have a lot of friends and colleagues in the industry that still, you know, that reach out for me from time to time just to get some tips or pointers or what not.
And it's interesting to me that, you know, there are still some home builders that either, one don't believe in the program or just don't know enough about it to be able to start their own program. Right. And sometimes more often than not, what I'm finding is that builders really are just one overwhelmed by the thought of how am I going to train this person?
Where do I even start? Right. So I think they just, when you're comfortable and you're getting the sale, it's not really that important, but it became important when the pandemic hit. And [00:12:00] everything went virtual. Yeah.
So what do you say to that builder? Who's like, I'm scared to do this. I mean, how do you, how do you even begin something like that?
Ingrid Prince: You know, I think it's taking it step by step. Right. And it's really drilling down to figuring out. You know where their processes lie right now, for instance, you know, really lining out what their sales process looks like and really determining what happens to those leads that they worked so hard for and pay a lot of money to generate what happens to those leads and when they can definitively define what happens to those leads, when they sign up on their website.
Then they can come up with a program, because if they can't answer that question, it's really hard to come up with a program. Right.
Kevin Weitzel: Well, you're obviously, a very valuable resource. And, I know for a fact that you are very giving of your time to your industry, [00:13:00] compatriots and stuff that you do give out that info, if you will, or here's the steps you need to take, but are there companies out there that you would recommend that you've worked with?
You know, because there are companies out there that actually have online sales, counselor programs, you know, I know Jen, Barkan at Do You Convert, you've got Leah Fellows over Blue Gypsy, I mean, but do you have anybody that you recommended to this off the cuff?
Ingrid Prince: Yeah, exactly. So obviously, like you said, the two most well-known is, is Do You Convert or Leah Fellows with Blue Gypsy, but there's also ShareDrive who is an outsourcing online sales company.
For those, mostly builders that are small to medium sized home builders that can, that either can't justify a full online sales program. And just want, you know, assistance to be able to have turn key online sales services.
Greg Bray: I think one of the other interesting things that I think is happening this year [00:14:00] is we're also seeing this idea that the online sales counselor has always been singular.
And, and when we talk like it's one person at the company, and I think we're starting to see some recognition. I might need more than one, you know that and these programs are in some builders are growing to become a team and, you know, there needs to be a leader of that team and we need to figure out how we kind of divide and conquer. You know, because the volume is such that one person can't keep up with it anymore.
Have you seen some of that as well ingrid?
Ingrid Prince: Oh, absolutely. And I think what, what a lot of folks don't know as well is that, you know, one online sales counselor can effectively manage around 250 leads per month. So anything above that becomes really overwhelming for that one online sales counselor. Right?
So if your lead volume exceeds 250 a month, then it's really time to consider adding another person to that team. [00:15:00] And I know. Since the pandemic hit. When even when I was with Trendmaker Homes, we had a team of two online sales counselors who was, you know, managing about 750 leads per month. And even that was at peak capacity.
So it's really important to find, you know, the, the. High performing online sales counselors who are really passionate about what they do. Because when you find those rare, what we call unicorn individuals you're able to have a really, really successful program.
Greg Bray: So what do you mean when you say manage those leads?
What gets included in that as you think about what they have to be doing there for that transition from the online to over to the sales team.
Ingrid Prince: Yeah. So I think that's certainly one of the I'd say most overlooked aspects of the online sales program is the seamless handoff from online to onsite.
You know, [00:16:00] one of the biggest frustrations that buyers will ever experience when they've had this amazing experience with the online sales counselor, where they've created this trust and have given them all the information that they could provide regarding their new home search. And if that transition doesn't happen from online to onsite and they walk in the door to that model and that sales person says, Hey, how can I help you?
All of that trust, that was there was done. All that work that was done by the online sales counselor just quickly, you know, went away. So it's important to have a transition from where, you know, the online sales counselor, you know, introduces that on-site sales person, so that it's a seamless handoff and that person knows exactly what this buyer is looking for.
So they can pick up and say, Hey, you know what Ingrid called me and said, you're looking for, you know, [00:17:00] ABC floor plan. We have that exactly for you. And as soon as that happens, that scary feeling that that buyer feels when they're walking into that model quickly goes away.
Kevin Weitzel: I just want to point out one little thing that I just plucked out of what you just said.
You said that they are two individuals are managing 750 leads. That's. 375 leads piece divided by 40 hours a week. That's 9.375. So call it nine and a half touches every hour. So that means every six minutes that person is on the clock. They're touching one of those leads and, you know, an email phone number or a phone call outreach, inbound touch of some sort.
If you don't think that's valuable to the sales process, every six minutes, somebody's touching a potential lead. Then you need to move to a different industry and preferably nothing in sales, because that is so [00:18:00] valuable to the pipeline.
Ingrid Prince: Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, again, one of the best parts about the online sales program is that it is a high touch point, you know, follow up process that you put into place.
And, you know, I think one of the biggest features that the survey found was that onsite sales professionals typically follow up only twice. With a prospect that comes into their door, but an online sales counselor follows up a minimum of 19 times in a 30 day period to convert that, you know, that lead into a prospect eventually into a sale.
So, you know, when the onsite sales counselors give up after the second visit or a second follow-up. The OSC's continue to follow up and that's how they are [00:19:00] able to generate more sales.
Greg Bray: Well, we'll say the good ones do right. The effect of,
Ingrid Prince: Yeah, exactly.
Greg Bray: So I'm envisioning now these, these poor OSC's that are touching something every few minutes and just scrambling to keep up and just feeling very underappreciated. Very what do you think those OSC's with wish that the rest of the sales team kind of understood better or the marketing team understood better?Any commonalities that you've heard when you've talked to them?
Ingrid Prince: Well, you know, it's funny because I think it really would, I would say that it depends on who you ask or who's asking this question, right? I think I'd say for a lot of the OSC's They would want everybody to know that they're not just appointment setters, right? If it was a realtor that was asking this question, I would say, Hey, you know what?
We [00:20:00] know everything there is to know about every single one of our communities. Because more often than not, when we're working with a realtor, they just say, Hey, I want to talk to somebody on site. You know what more often than not, OSC's know a lot more then the onsite sales counselors. So they have everything they need to know about that particular community.
So we're not just appointment setters. That's the biggest thing.
Greg Bray: No, I think that's a great insight that the OSC actually knows about everything and maybe the particular onsite person might not. And it's not our goal to disparage or insult any onsite salespeople as part of today's project. But so what are, what are some things, if we can tweak it a little bit, what is some things that builders could do on their websites better, that would help the OSCs in their job of capturing and converting those leads. [00:21:00] Any thoughts there on, you know, website tweaks that, could make a difference that we might not be thinking about? Obvious?
Ingrid Prince: Sure. Well, I would say one of the biggest things, believe it or not is just making your website. You know, mobile friendly and being really responsive, right. Because for those OSC's that are high performing, they are on the go and they don't just work the typical 10 to six. So when they are out running their errands and they're still answering their phones, they want to be able to look on their phone and see what's on their website.
So they know exactly what that prospect is looking at and can direct them to that website. And I think one of the other biggest things is that builders need to remember is that their website is basically their virtual model home. And that's one of the first things that buyers see when they're [00:22:00] doing their new home research.
Right. So it has to be responsive. It has to be simple and it has to be easy to navigate because when there's too much information on the website, it gets too confusing.
Greg Bray: Do you think the marketing teams pull in OSC for website feedback often enough? Is that a missed opportunity for a lot of builders to get some, you know, you think about user testing and the person who's on this website all day every day could probably offer some interesting insights that maybe we're not, maybe we're not getting enough feedback from them or are asking them for their, for their thoughts as often.
Ingrid Prince: Absolutely. I definitely think there is a lot of missed opportunity when it comes to collaborating with, you know, marketing teams, because like you said, OSC is live on the website daily. They know it like the back of their hand. So it's important to get that feedback from the online sales counselors, to be able to know what, you [00:23:00] know, what their buyers are looking, what they're, what they're hearing from those prospects.
Kevin Weitzel: Gold star on that question. By the way, Greg, because if you, as a builder, as your brass, your officers of the company, aren't paying attention to the opinion of those in the trenches, you are not serving your needs well, so I'm a hundred percent on board of that.
Now, how are you tracking all of this?
What metrics are you following to be able to know whether you're being successful outside of just, Hey, we made more sales, you know. What metrics do you actually follow?
Ingrid Prince: So, obviously we're looking at the lead conversions as far as as far as how many leads we get per month. Right. And from, from appointments leads to appointment and then appointment to sale is basically how we, we track that success.
Greg Bray: So Ingrid are you seeing, especially, I think with the pandemic kind of changing the focus to online and virtual even more, are you seeing some changes in buyer expectations?
As [00:24:00] to what they're expecting to find on the website that maybe wasn't as big a deal when they could just drop by, you know, for more information or questions what they're asking that are different than they used to ask.
Ingrid Prince: You know, I wouldn't say they're asking any different questions. They just want answers much faster.
Right. So they want it at their fingertips. So, which is kind of difficult to do when you're putting things online. Right. Because just, you know, the other question that you just asked me was, you know, what are we doing about our website? You don't want to put too much information on a website because you still want to be able to peak their interest.
Enough to where they do have to pick up the phone and you can have a conversation with them because it's always more, a lot more beneficial when you're, you know, obviously having that one-to-one conversation. But I would say that buyers nowadays just want to have transparency [00:25:00] and they want to have the answers fast.
Kevin Weitzel: And if you're going to peak their interest to get them to call you pick up the dang phone, right?
Ingrid Prince: Exactly.
Kevin Weitzel: Yes.
Greg Bray: Well, Ingrid, what kinds of things are you looking at? Especially as you try and build your, your program at Shaddock Homes, you know, for this next year, what are, what are some of the trends you're watching or things coming in the future?
They say, Oh, we gotta get ready for this or that. What's what's on your, this or that list.
Ingrid Prince: Yeah. You know, I think what I would definitely like to see a lot more of, I mean, for, at least for Shaddock Homes is transitioning to be a lot more virtual friendly, if that makes sense. Um, because right now we're still operating, you know, very in the traditional way.
Right. But I think. You know, since the pandemic hit, everything's just going a lot more virtual. So focusing on our digital, you know, digital marketing [00:26:00] collateral, right? Whether it be virtual tours with in, maybe I'm not sure if I can name drop, but Will Duderstadtt with M/I Homes did this thing where, where they had these, you know, virtual I don't even know what they are.
VR boxes that you send out to process his prospects, which I just thought was absolutely brilliant. Brilliant. So, you know, moving back to being a little bit more different than what the competition has. With regards to being ahead of technology and being just, really just being ahead of the curve.
Kevin Weitzel: Well, if you're in a different market, utilize those wins from your buddy Will to your advantage. If you're in the same market, kick his butt and Will loves competition. So bring it on, you know, bring it on, I love it.
Imitation is the purest form of flattery. [00:27:00] Isn't it? Something like that. Yeah,
Ingrid Prince: Exactly.
Greg Bray: So Ingrid, where do you go for new ideas and inspiration beyond looking at what Will's doing? You know what else is out there?
Ingrid Prince: Well, you know, I think obviously that the International Builders Show is a huge resource.
And I think, you know, one of the best things about going there is really just collaborating with other people that are in the industry. Right. Because let's be honest. All the ideas that we see here, somebody came up with the idea and we all just share it. Right. So I think it's important to really collaborate with industry leaders to be able to get those ideas.
And then also I would say Builder Tech Summit, right? Because you get a lot of those, you know, those great ideas from, from folks that are That are just in the industry.
Kevin Weitzel: What about outside influences? Because, you know, we can obviously always learn from what people are doing, their successes, their failures, [00:28:00] but what about outside of the industry?
Like, you know what, like me, I'm not out there. Everybody knows I'm not an Apple guy, but I'm jealous because it's the love, the uniform perfectness of how everything's pretty and packaged properly. And their stores are always organized. It makes me want to be an Apple person, but I'm not. But what outside influences do you look at?
Outside of the home building industry to help influence the ideas that pop into your head.
Ingrid Prince: Oh man. You know, I would say that's just such a tough question because. I feel like I just don't have enough time in the day. Like I don't watch a lot of TV or anything like that. But if I were to say, if there was anybody that I was that I would follow with regards to just branding and simplicity and how I feel like they do a great job at, you know, at being ahead of the industry. I would probably say Southwest Airlines because I feel like they are always great at being ahead of everybody else in their industry. [00:29:00] Right. So I would, I would say I would probably follow Southwest. That's a good one.
Greg Bray: Yeah, definitely been a pioneer in their industry. For sure. Well, Ingrid, we are very appreciative of the time that you shared with us today. Do you have any last words of advice that you'd like to leave with our listeners?
Anything you just want to get out there and share?
Ingrid Prince: I would say. If you don't already have an online sales program, get on board and just get it done and hashtag ask Ingrid. If you have any questions, I'm happy to help in any way I can.
Greg Bray: No, no, I don't think we've had a guest yet have their own hashtag.
So that's a new one. Maybe we could offer that as a bonus to our guests Kevin. We can set them all up with their own hashtags. So yeah, Ingrid, if they want to, if they want to get hold of you, other than the hashtag, any other good ways to, to connect if they want to talk,
Ingrid Prince: absolutely. Feel free to [00:30:00] give me a call. My cell phone number (813) 727-2444. Or feel free to send me an email email@example.com.
Greg Bray: Awesome. Well, Ingrid, thank you so much for sharing some time and some thoughts with us today. We really appreciate it.
And please join us again. Next time on the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine
and I'm Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse. Thank you.