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Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast Digital Marketing Podcast Hosted by Greg Bray and Kevin Weitzel

65 Spring 2021 Home Builder Digital Marketing Summit - Recap

Spring 2021 Home Builder Digital Marketing Summit - Recap

Show Notes

Sponsors: NoviHomeAssociation of Professional BuildersDenim MarketingOpenHouse.aiDun TodayLasso CRMNterNowRealtor.com149 PhotosBokka GroupNew Homes Sales Solution ConsultingProHome.

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Production by: Josh Williamson and KT Maschler 

Editing by: KT Maschler 

Did you miss the Spring Home Builder Digital Marketing Summit or just need a recap? Join Greg and Kevin on this week’s Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast for a bite-sized recap from each of our amazing speakers. Want to see an entire presentation or rewatch them all, check out these video replays NOW!

Don't forget to mark your calendars for the next Home Builder Digital Marketing Summit on Oct 21, 2021. 


Greg Bray:  [00:00:00]Hello everybody and welcome to 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're excited today to do something a little bit different. Just recently, we were excited to host the Home Builder Digital Marketing Summit, which was four days over four weeks of some amazing presentations and panel discussions.

And we wanted to share some highlights with you today. 

Kevin Weitzel: And it started off with a bang brought to us by [00:01:00] NoviHome.

That was our day sponsor. And I can't tell you enough positive stuff about this positive person, Ronda Conger of CBH Homes. She went into leading and how to lead through extraordinary times and literally just floored the audience with how much awesome is she brought to 

the table. 

Greg Bray: It was really exciting.

Kevin she was so full of energy, just amazing to listen to. 

Yeah. It was really enlightening. And here's just a couple of snippets that we pulled out for you guys to listen to. 

Ronda Conger: Focus on the positive. I want you to focus on what you can do. I want you to focus on, stop focusing on everything that was taken away.

Everything that's changed everything, the different focus on what you can do. How about this? If you're so busy lifting others and helping others, right. And being the light and showing the way there's no room for anything else. There's no room for negative energy, for anxiety, for fear, for anger, for all those other things, because you're clearing the way, right?

[00:02:00] You're going first. You are inspiring all those that you come in contact with..

Greg Bray: And after Ronda, it just kept going. We had a panel discussion that was sponsored by Dun Today. And Kevin was our moderator and he brought the hard questions and he was joined by Brenna Ryan. Jennifer Cooper and Quint Lears. And they went into all kinds of topics about how their consumer behaviors have changed and evolved and how they're having to do things a little differently now to keep those home sales rolling through 

Kevin Weitzel: One interesting part about that was actually that I was surprised at how many processes that they put into place that they're moving forward with.

And then even a couple of them that they're like. Can't wait to wash their hands of it. Can't wait to stop doing X. Um, so there's some pretty interesting, you know, pluses and minuses in there as far as what they're doing and what they're not doing based off of what they learned from their interaction with the COVID aspect.

Ronda Conger: My biggest fear of 2020 by the way, was that success breeds complacency. Like [00:03:00] we all had record breaking years and we were selling houses and we were killing it. Right. But you need to be very, very careful. Success is an amazing thing. Don't get me wrong. But if you let it, it makes you lazy.

It's comfortable. It makes you arrogant. Like I got this, I don't need this. Right. Like I'm, I'm like, wow, I'm amazing. And here's the deal. I want you to stay humble. I want you to stay thirsty. I want you to stay hungry, right. For everything that's out in front of us. That's where I want you to take, because here's the deal.

All we have is just three things, three things. That's all we have. Right. All we can do is improve what we do, right. Improve what we do find new and better ways. I'm assuming that's why you're here. Right? Finding new and better ways and keep pushing forward. That's it. That's it. That's what I focus on every single day.

I want to prove as a human, I want to prove as a team, as a company, as a home builder, as an [00:04:00] author, right. As a mother, as a wife, that's it. And I want to keep moving forward. So I love, love, love, love that you're here today because I think you're right in line with all of those things. Do you realize that Google only hires learning animals?

Look at this. Google says they seek learning animals. People who are naturally driven to learn on their own, right. They only choose employees that are predisposed to learning and growing on their own one. So I was thinking of all of you when I put this in here, because you're just a learning animal. I mean, you're a learning animal.

That's why you're here. You're going to take all this goodness in this summit. Right. And then you are just gonna make it rain. You're gonna absorb it. You're going to write you're. You're just going to get out there. So thank you for being a learning animal. I feel like we could, like, we should totally. you know, hang out.

I just love, love, love. I'm going to wrap it up. I'm going to get ready to say my [00:05:00] goodbyes here because I have absolutely loved our time together. Like I said, I just wanted to fill your tank. Love you up because you're delicious. You're amazing. All those wonderful things that you're doing. Right. And then becoming Bulletproof, right?

You're going to queue up print, but let's leave you with pit bull, right? Of course. That's who I would leave you with this pit bull. I love this quote. Are you ready? Small steps, long vision, small steps, long vision. So home building requires small steps towards a bigger goal, a bigger vision, right? You want to have a prosperous vision and you want to do big things, right.

But I want to know what are you going to try this year? Right? When you take all this information and what do you in this current climate, what do you, what are you going to try? I want you to write like adapt, try, adjust, learn, do it again. Right. And do it in small steps. It's not big grand gestures. I didn't do everything at [00:06:00] once.

Right. We have the tour. Now we have buy online. We have the heart system. We have all these fun things with online. Right. But that didn't just happen in one big gesture. It was like, we tried a little bit, oh, I like that. Let's do that. Let's do more of that. Right? I like that. Let's do a little bit more of that.

So I'm excited for you and your small steps and your long vision, right. And your big vision.

 Greg Bray: And after Ronda, it just kept going. We had a panel discussion that was sponsored by Dun Today. And Kevin was our moderator and he brought the hard questions and he was joined by Brenna Ryan. Jennifer Cooper and Quint Lears. And they went into all kinds of topics about how their consumer behaviors have changed and evolved and how they're having to do things a little differently now to keep those home sales rolling through 

Kevin Weitzel: one interesting part about that was actually that I was surprised at how many processes that they put into place 

and then even a couple of them that they're like. Can't wait to wash their hands of it. Can't wait to stop doing [00:07:00] X. Um, so there's some pretty interesting, you know, pluses and minuses in there as far as what they're doing and what they're not doing, uh, based off of what they learned from their interaction with the COVID aspects.

Greg Bray:  And here's just a couple of snippets that we pulled out for you guys to listen to. 

Jennifer Cooper: yeah, there's been a lot of things that we were even doing pre COVID to try to get a little bit more technologically advanced being a newer production builder coming from a more of a custom side.

But, you know, I came in with it, really with the philosophy of. Be where the buyer wants to be. And if you always think about you're going to buyer in a different, you know, do I want to be online chatting? Do I want to be on my phone, digging for research? Do I want to be in person? Do I just want to be driving around and finding great signage?

So just think about being where the buyer wants to be. And do we have enough of that technology in place to make that happen? So some of the things that we looked at when we thought about kind of putting ourselves in the true buyer shoe is how can we start to lift our website, which is also still [00:08:00] a work in progress since last time I talked to you, but you know, how do we add a little bit more of a dynamic experience to the website?

 Brenna Ryan: we really put in place like, you know, the competitions of, okay, who can do the best digital sales presentation. And we, our wholesales team, we did this like once a week, one person from each division had to, you know, whoever their star was, had to do their digital sales presentation to the whole company.

And that really forced people to be ready to do a digital sales presentation for the customer that didn't want to come into the house, but it still needed a place to live. So now that we have still a little bit of that going people either relocating or just still not feeling a hundred percent COVID safe.

Our teams are prepared to do that altogether. And you know, one of the things, like how to tie this full circle is we've always wanted to push more digital enhancements. And [00:09:00] it wasn't until COVID happened that, you know, the executive teams and the leaders of the company were like shirts say no more, go ahead.

 Quint Lears: do I, how do I tell them, look, take a deep breath, slow down. Don't buy used, the right, the wrong home with the right interest rate is still the wrong home. Let's slow things down and make sure we get you the right home and really, gather the information.

So with tech and with the digital presentations, we're very good at giving information. Um, we're in the information age, they can get everything they need on our website, but we're not good at gathering information. And so what I would encourage everybody to do is to stay humble, practice decreasing urgency, slow things down.

Let's make sure we get into the right home. We're not selling incentives. We're not selling refrigerators. We're not selling, even we don't sell lots of houses. We are helping people to change the destiny of their lives in a positive way. So slow down information. Stay humble 

Kevin Weitzel: Day [00:10:00] two was brought to us by Association of Professional Builders. And we started off with our first session with Ali Webster of Zillow, She brought to us a lot of factoids about the changes that happened in 2020, what drove buyers in and out of home sales and how everything was affected. 

Greg Bray: Yeah. I loved, I loved all the statistics that she had to share. Kevin, that study that Zillow did was really insightful. And I especially love some of the things she had to say about the tools that people are just expecting a standard now.

So here's just a few, few clips from what Allie had to share with us. 

Ali Webster: My goodness, what a moment for our industry. Wow. After more than 12 months of record breaking sales numbers, just last week, the consumer confidence board reported that more people express an intention to buy a home in the next six months than at any time in the reports, 43 year history. So I suppose the market isn't slowing anytime soon [00:11:00] and we are navigating largely unprecedented waters.

Consumer expectations are shifting all around us. And home buyers are more interested than ever in new construction, historically low interest rates and market starved of for sale inventory and huge demand driven in large part by a global pandemic have accelerated the volume of new construction sales.

So drastically that builders of all sizes are doing what they can to hit the brakes. And as if demand weren't enough supply chain constraints, rising lumber prices, labor shortages, and municipality permitting delays. Well, they're all making it even more difficult to keep pace. Talk about a black one event.

Now we could spend quite a while debating the concept of a Carvana for home buying if you will, and whether or not that seems [00:12:00] outlandish. I do think that we have a long way to go, but the research does indicate that perhaps it may not be just as far off as we thought. Why do I say that? Well, more than a third of new construction buyers in our survey report, that they feel either very or extremely confident about making an offer on a home solely after seeing it virtually.

And 49% of buyers, 40 years old or younger. So that's the millennials and the gen Z generation are comfortable doing that. Now let's pause to take that in for a moment. What I just said is that more than a third of your buyers and almost half of the younger cohort are happy to make an offer on a home of yours sight unseen after taking a virtual tour that just blew me away and think of the [00:13:00] implications here and think of the opportunity for us as an industry.

And let's be sure to educate prospective buyers on the process and be as transparent as possible every step of the way, because especially considering the large cohort of millennial buyers who are entering the market and they're 70 million strong, there's an even greater opportunity than ever before for us to focus on improving that customer experience.

Now, the great news is that they're becoming more and more comfortable with virtual tools. So, what does that mean? Well, we have a real opportunity to leverage technology in our favor. Okay. So I've promised some actionable takeaways. So here are a few ideas to consider, consider as we strive to make it easier for the home buyer to shop

Greg Bray: And following up right after Ali, we had a great presentation from [00:14:00] Carol Morgan with Denim Marketing that was sponsored by ECI Lasso. And Carol talked all about how to use LinkedIn, not just on a personal level, but also from a company standpoint of how to use it for promotion and marketing. My favorite part, Kevin, I have to confess is when Carol came up with that new hashtag the Greg Bray way. 

Kevin Weitzel: not only that the hashtag for Greg Bray way, which is now used in my household too, I'm just like, Hey, it's the Greg Bray way. Uh, my girlfriend is completely oblivious to what it means, but that's not the point. Well, what I actually went in to my personal LinkedIn and our company, LinkedIn, and found out that we're offenders of some of the common mistakes that people make.

So we updated and changed our LinkedIn profile based on that. 

Greg Bray: Well, here's a few of those tips that Carol had shared with us.


Carol Morgan: That's a good hashtag the Greg Bray way and tag people, both pages and [00:15:00] individuals. That's how you really get more traction. And again, he is fantastic about it. You will see that he's tagged companies and speakers and you know, when he's promoting the summit, everybody's tagged. It's fantastic. So you can see these posts here.

It doesn't have to be boring just because it's written in third person. You could still have a lot of fun with it. You know, this is your chance to showcase your skills. You know, talk about the percentage increases, you know, the percentage increase in sales, the percentage increase in leads, you know, whatever it is that you do for the company, you work for really shine show off, you know, your knowledge and what you do best

 Kevin Weitzel: day three was brought to us by Denim Marketing. And our first session was brought to us by realtor.com.

And our first session was none other than you Greg, Five Keys to Successfully Sell Homes Completely Online. Awesome, awesome segment. And we had a ton of questions on your segment. 

Greg Bray: Yeah, I really enjoy talking about that, Kevin, and it was fun to get all those questions. Everybody's really interested in this [00:16:00] topic they wanted, they want to sell more.

So, hopefully you had some great insights and that were helpful to people. And here's just a couple of a couple of those thoughts that I had.

So why, why did I spend this time on, on history trying to kind of put this in context? What I really want us to understand is how the fact that, are we ready? Is it time? Can you really sell homes online? Where does that fit in this context of how quickly things have changed over the last week? 1990 wasn't that long ago and the web wasn't even here.

And the idea that we've really only had since 2007, with mobile devices and the iPhone that could really access the internet. We, really, you know, these tools are continuing to accelerate. And so now is the time. So the question is, can you really sell homes online? How does that work? And I would argue that one of the biggest pushbacks I get [00:17:00] when I talk to people about this topic is, will, people want to see it.

Homes are different. People want to see it. They're not, it's, it's a huge perk. And I completely agree. It's a huge purchase. It's something that takes a lot of effort and a lot of, research and time and everything else. But can you sell it online? And so my question is, can you, you sell this, dirt. You guys have been selling dirt since the beginning of home construction, right?

You've been selling vision. You've been selling a future that people cannot see today for ages. That's what we do when we sell new home communities that haven't been built yet.

 It doesn't mean that it has to be an unassisted completely self service purchase sometimes. Oh, well, no one will ever be able to do it all without asking questions. That's fine. They can ask questions.

They can get assistance. It doesn't mean it has to be [00:18:00] completely unassisted for them to buy online. It also doesn't mean that it has to be sight unseen. We talked about some level of customers being comfortable with not having visited, but it's perfectly okay. Acceptable for them to still go visit a community tour, a model two or more than one month.

I don't look at the home and then go back home and make their final decision. All right. So it doesn't mean that they have to go through this entire process, without ever visiting or coming to the model or community. It does not mean that it has to be a quick and impulsive purchase. Okay. Buying online is not, oh, I saw this home and I'm buying it today and we're moving in tomorrow.

You know, it can still have all the research and all the different touch points in all the journey, elements that exist and have existed in the buyer journey for forever. So it does not have to be quicker impulsive. It also does definitely does not mean that the first time they visit your website, they're clicking the buy now button and purchasing the home.

That is not what buying [00:19:00] online needs to me. And so we have to make sure that as we think about incorporating buy online into our process, that we're not ignoring all these other parts of that research and that journey that the website still needs to support the way it does today. Buying online does not mean that every single customer you have must be forced to buy online.

 And then we closed out day three with a presentation by Russ Stephens, from the Association of Professional Builders. And that session was sponsored by NterNow.

And Russ talked a lot about the discovery process for new homes sales, especially kind of aimed at that custom builder market and scenario, but he had some great ideas on how to make sure that you're really working with the right kind of client.


Russ Stephens: And they also end up with the project taking 30% longer. What do these people say, when they're halfway through their bill, they say, I wish I'd gone with you. And it's now costing me more than you quoted. And I can never get a hold of, [00:20:00]  my builder. And I'm definitely gonna build with you next time.

So let's get started with the qualifying. Think about this as a kid, you might have had one of those boxes with different shapes, and the goal was to teach you to put the round block through the round hole and so on, because if you try to put the round peg into the square hole, for example, it just simply didn't work.

They might say how hard you tried. You just could not force it into the box. And it's exactly the same with qualifying your prospects. If you get the wrong type of prospect, it doesn't matter how hard you try or even how good your offering is. You're never going to get that prospect to sign a contract with you.

And we end up wasting a hell of a lot of time on the wrong type of people, which is why it's so important to qualify your prospects quickly. Now, once you know that you've got, a round peg and you know that it has the [00:21:00] potential to go through a round hole and then onto discovery, but when someone isn't a good match and one pass through your filter, you need to disqualify them and then just let them go.

 Kevin Weitzel: And our final day, day four was sponsored by Open House AI. Our first session was brought to us by the Association of Professional Builders, and we have some outstanding data from the king of geo-fencing Justin Croxton from Propellant Media. 

Greg Bray:  Justin had some really interesting insights into some amazing technologies that everyone needs to be paying attention to. So listen to just some of his thoughts and go check out his full presentation. 

Justin Croxton: And so, you know, whether, it was digital advertising at the beginning of 2020, or at the beginning of 2021, you know, we always need to think, okay, you know, now that we're dealing within this COVID environment, how are we leveraging digital tools that can allow us to be both [00:22:00] innovative and get in front of that real estate buyer to Greg's point on the right device at the right time as well, which is really the biggest key 

The north star that I try to follow you know, as a, as sort of a, a digital expert, if you want to call me that, is trying to put more money towards those lower funnel tactics and then layering on top of that.

You know, if you put more money towards those lower funnel tactics, and don't put all of your eggs in one basket, you then are giving yourself more opportunities to spread your marketing risks around, it's kind of what I coined the term, marketing malpractice to expect that, you know, everything is going to be great.

Greg Bray: Then the grand finale. Kevin was your opportunity with another builder panel or you were talking about virtual events.

A young gal, Ashley D. Young and Shane Austin all joined you. And these guys have all had some terrific experiences pulling off successful events [00:23:00] without having people present. And so we, it was just a goldmine of information that you were able to pull out of them. 

Kevin Weitzel: We really appreciate it. EYA marketing Deon properties and Abrazo Homes for lending us these rockstars for our final session.

Shane Austin: Whenever they got shut down in the pandemic, it was right when March Madness was going to start and we have a very fun culture at Abrazo and we absolutely love March Madness and we were so disappointed that we weren't able to enjoy that.

So we were like, you know what let's do March Madness, virtually. And the idea was just created by, it will create an entire bracket. Anybody can join their bracket, you know, for free, just gotta throw in your email and all that. And then we would do play out the games with a roll of dice. And so it was completely luck and it was fun, but then they was just like, you know what?

People are joining these people having fun. I was kind of in the back end, the war room, making sure everything was going smoothly. and then they started [00:24:00] bringing on guests and interviewing people. Cause it's like everybody was stuck at home. It's like, what else did we do? We have now we have time on our hands.

And we have people online and on Facebook let's capture their attention and we just made it fun. We wanted to just spread happiness. Cause at that time there was a lot of fear, a lot of uncertainties. So we're just like, let's just bring joy. Let's bring some good vibes back into the community. And that was really the, the, the inspiration behind it.

Ashely De Young: Yeah, typically, you know, we do a bunch of phases throughout our community. So that first phase was 11 homes and we sold on the most recent one, the Verano to Soro VA, whole community. We sold 60% in the first four hours, but just shortly after a week later, we are already basically a hundred percent sold out in that community.

So they love doing that all the time. And, for us on the social media side, when we do grand openings, you know, our first ever virtual grand opening that we had was March of 2020. [00:25:00] we were about to launch the final phase in one of our communities. And literally the week we were launching this last phase is when everything shut down.

Greg Bray: And so Kevin, just before we wrap up now that everybody's so excited about what they missed. Why don't you tell them what's coming up in October.

Kevin Weitzel: Whoa. Oh boy. Can't wait. It's going to be live in person here in the Valley of the Sun and Phoenix, Arizona, October 20th and 21st of 2021. We're going to have the Home Builder Dgital Marketing Summit. Live and in person, 

Greg Bray: It's going to be amazing. Now we don't have all the details, but I'll tell you one thing Kevin's going to be there.

What else do you need to know? All right. So please mark your calendars and go sign up at buildermarketingsummit.com to get on the email list so that you get those first notices when everything's scheduled and registration opens, and we're excited to see you [00:26:00] there. 

Kevin Weitzel: Now, Greg, I'm guilty of registering for events and then only showing up or having something interrupt my schedule for the day. And I have to exit out of the, of the summit or any, or the webinar. And, what could people do if they registered, but didn't get to attend.

Greg Bray: Kevin funny, you should ask. You got all these amazing presentations recorded and available at no charge. All you need to do is go to buildermarketingsummit.com register and you'll get the link and you'll be able to watch all of them in the comfort of your own office home. I don't know, maybe I don't know the back porch.

I don't care where you watch it, but enjoy it and learn a lot. 

Kevin Weitzel: Wait a minute. So you're saying that even if you didn't register, you can register post event and still have access to all the content. 

Greg Bray: You can still get access to a Kevin. We are not content hogs we want to share so everybody can get better.

Kevin Weitzel: Fantastic [00:27:00]

Greg Bray: And just one last thing, Kevin just wanted to big shout out to our team at Blue Tangerine and Outhouse.

Jim, Mila, KT, and Josh who put this whole event together, did all the behind the scenes work, and really made it come together. Without them, it never would have happened. And also a big thank you to all our speakers, all our sponsors, everybody that participated and supported us. It was a great time.

Loved it. Can't wait to do it again. And thanks everybody for listening today to the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine 

Kevin Weitzel: and I'm Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse. Thank you.


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