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

72 The Rise of Customer Expectations - Ben Smith

The Rise of Customer Expectations - Ben Smith

Join Ben Smith of Avesdo as the featured guest this week on the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. He joins Greg and Kevin to discuss the rise of customer expectations in the home building industry.

As President of Avesdo, Ben Smith oversees the development and execution of company vision and strategy. Prior to joining, Ben led Kinsman Partners, a strategic advisory firm for new home real estate developers and their project marketing partners supporting the launch and execution of hundreds of projects. As a long-time visionary who led the industry in its adoption of digital marketing, Ben did the same with its adoption of digital sales, overseeing the first fully online new home sale transaction over the internet in June 2020. An avid snowboarder and adventurer, Ben enjoys the beautiful outdoors of British Columbia as often as he can.

He has an insatiable curiosity and drives to succeed. He is not interested in the path others travel but is always looking forward, to a new adventure, and creative and unique ways to look at things. He is inclusive and wants to bring others along for the ride... people say they trust him because he is committed, pursues kindness, and is self-assured. 

Show Notes

Guest Links:

Ben Smith

Avesdo


References:

Polygon Homes

Avesdo

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Transcript

Greg Bray:  [00:00:00]Hello everybody and welcome to today's episode of the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine

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

Greg Bray: We're excited to welcome today to the show Ben Smith, the president at Avesdo. Welcome, Ben. Thank you for joining us. 

Ben Smith: Thanks. Yes. Happy to be here.

Greg Bray: Well, Ben for those who don't know you yet, why don't you give us that quick introduction and help us get to know you a little better.

Ben Smith:  Sure. Like you said my name's Ben Smith, been in an executive role in new home development business for the last 17 plus years. Actually started on the creative [00:01:00] services side, working with an ad agency.

Then I moved to the client-side and I worked with a large developer for many years. And then I went to the marketing project side after that, and then started a consulting firm about five years ago, which I recently sold to Avesdo and I've taken over as president as of this year, actually.

Greg Bray: Interesting. So, that's a merger that's just recently happened 

Ben Smith: So officially in April. 

Greg Bray: Okay. Interesting. Well, Ben, that was all great and professional, but we have to get personal. We need something a little more personal, not everybody knows. So, some little juicy tidbit, something, anything 

Kevin Weitzel: Where we can make sure that our listeners can learn only on this podcast about Ben Smith,

Ben Smith:  This feels like, you know, the naked baby photo at your wedding, that your mom shows kind of detail. 

Greg Bray: That's not what we want. No naked pictures. Yeah. It's a family podcast, right? 

Ben Smith: You know what I'll give you this one. I'm actually really into tiny spaces.

[00:02:00] So, uh, and I think it stems from the fact I'm a VW van guy. So I've got a couple of VW vans. Uh, my favorite thing to do is get out in the woods in my Westfalia, uh, which is one of them. But I also like small spaces. So our family lives in less than a thousand square feet. I'm just kind of really into that, that small space thing.

Kevin Weitzel: SWEET! What year is your Westie?

Ben Smith: My Westie is I've got an 87 synchro Westie. So for those that know that's a four-by-four Westfalia. And then I also have a 65 split window bus. Wow. 

Kevin Weitzel: That's yeah, that's a good investment, right there.

Ben Smith:  Yeah, it's a lot of fun. 

Greg Bray:  Now you just told us when we were talking before that you've got four kids, you've got four kids in a thousand square feet.

Ben Smith: Yeah. I mean, luckily, I mean, you can't see me. Well, you guys can, but the audience can't see me, but I'm a little older than maybe I look. Two of my kids are out of the house now, so that kind of makes it a little bit easier. But generally speaking, yeah, our process has been, you know, not to get larger and larger homes as we had kids, we tried to get different spots. So we chose to get like the mountain home and [00:03:00] you know, the beach home and the city home. But none of them are any bigger than 950 square feet. In fact, most of them are under 700 square feet.

Greg Bray: All right, well, I've got a little passel of kids myself, but I don't like to be too crammed together.

So there you go. Well, Ben, tell us a little bit more about kind of your journey into home building and how you got involved in this. 

Ben Smith: Yeah. So a funny start for me. I grew up in Ontario, Canada, in Toronto. And actually started in consumer packaged goods. So I worked kind of retail, consumer packaged goods, big brands, Walmart, Procter and Gamble, that kind of stuff.

And then, my wife was from out west, so she said, we're moving out west. And I said, okay and we moved to Vancouver in 2001 and for those of you that know anything about Vancouver, the economy is really driven by tourism, natural resources, and real estate. Real estate is a sport out here. And so very quickly, I just kind of found myself in this space.

And like I said, it sort of started with this ad agency I was working for. And so many of the clients were in real estate and then I caught them. [00:04:00] And so I got a job with a developer as VP of marketing for a company called Polygon Homes for seven years and you know, relevant for this conversation.

That's where I got my MBA in real estate I say. So they're very big. They do all product types from a townhouse to high-rise in every market within, kind of the Vancouver greater Vancouver area. And so I logged thousands and thousands of homes and transactions and every product type.

And that's where I learned the business. And then from there, I wanted to learn how other people do it. And so, you know, I kind of had done 15,000 homes or something crazy at that point and a whole bunch of launches. So I went and worked on the project side to get experience working with a bunch of different developers.

And that's where I transitioned onto the sales side as well. And so there, I kind of figured out, well, it's actually apple pie and we're all using the same ingredients. You know, mix them up a little bit differently. Um, but it's pretty much the same. And then from there, I went out on my own. So yeah, that's kinda the path I took.

And I guess for this conversation, [00:05:00] I really got interested in the digital side of things way back in kind of the early, mid-2000 when I was VP marketing in that marketing world.

Greg Bray: So help us then understand a little bit more about what Avesdo does today and kind of the services there. So we can kind of connect all that together.

Ben Smith: Yeah, sure. So, you know, not only am I the club president I'm also a member. Avesdo was a software company that I used with my clients. And so essentially a real estate services company powered by technology. We say its core product is transaction management software which manages the new home sales process from lead capture all the way to closing.

And that's built around, there is core functionality, which is a contracting system. That's where the company has started. So my clients have been using the contracting software for years. I got involved with them really heavily in the last year with COVID, trying to push that contracting software into some new product lines they were doing, which was trying to take it virtually.

And how do we sell homes online? How do we [00:06:00] take this digital system we already have, and then extend it into payment and all these other things. And in that process, somehow they got me to come over. So really we do a few things out of it, as we have software that manages transactions. We've also added advisory service, which was part of my company coming over.

And so that's really designed to teach developers and project marketing firms how to use the software and not just sell it to them. In addition, we're starting to mobilize some of the data we have with a new product. We call a realtor to connect, which is really looking at the data in the realtors who are helping to sell certain homes and trying to match developers and projects.

Those right realtors. 

Kevin Weitzel: When with the investment of the platform or that the platform that you guys serve to utilize we find that a lot of builders utilize an ERP if you will. And then what they'll try to do is they'll try to say, well, we invested in the ERP. Let's go ahead and use it as a CRM. And it's a half-assed effort at best.

[00:07:00] So with the investor protocol, do you have, within your platform, the ability for that to be used as a CRM? 

Ben Smith: Kind of, so CRM is a funny one, having grown up in this industry for a long time, I think there are very few people using CRM the way it's supposed to. And so really what we're trying to do is be focused on the transaction because not too many people are. There are some CRMs that are attaching what I would call digital signature digital contracting to it, but it's not a true transaction management system.

It's sort of, you know, the digitizing of a manual process. And so right now we're pretty focused on that area. As far as CRM goes, we want to make it the ability for somebody to use the CRM they want or not. in some cases, we're fine. Clients just want to pull out the leads, which we do have a leads module, and then use it like email or a MailChimp or something like that to do their email mass marketing.

Or they want to use more of a CRM-style program to just manage their digital. And then those that truly are using the [00:08:00] relationship management software. Uh, we have some basic functionality that we allow, but those people, we suggest, you need to use a HubSpot or a Salesforce or something that's really designed for those things.

So we try to be flexible within the system. And then similarly on the backend is that because we're controlling that contract, we want to help customers transition into their closing software. And, that's an area that's really just developing for DevOps, for developers. Which is the ability to manage warranty and ticketing and all these other things on the back.

Greg Bray: So Ben, as you sit there and look at designing software to do a process, one of the things that I think companies don't always consider is that when you implement a piece of software, in theory, you're getting some best practices because there's been more thought that goes into it instead of having to come up with it all on your own.

Right. Well, let's do it this way. So you, I'm assuming you guys, therefore, spend a lot of time trying to understand. How do buyers want this to work? What are they comfortable [00:09:00] with? What are you, you know, what are their expectations? So stop me if I'm wrong, but I think you've done based on the conversation, some of that.

So tell us a little bit more about what you see buyers expecting and wanting that you guys are trying to work into kind of that ideal transactional flow in the home. 

Ben Smith: Yeah, sure. I think there are two sides to it. One is what is the buyer and where's their journey. And the other is really as a software company, understanding real estate and how we do things.

And so, one of the first things I did as I came on as president, we hired over a hundred years of real estate experience in our company and said, we've got to understand that process as well as we understand the software so that we can marry the two and the buyer's expectation is interesting because we're one of the last industries to really start to adopt this stuff.

So they have buyers who have a very developed view on what they should and shouldn't be able to do. You know, COVID put that on steroids. You know, I go to the doctor now in 10 [00:10:00] minutes in a zoom call. So my expectation is that I can get quick service in just about every category. You know, I could buy a Tesla online.

I can do all these things online. So customer's expectation is high that you can translate. Simply you can perceive inventory. You can pay for that inventory. You can get all your notifications completely digital if you wanted to. And, you know, as you know, in, in the new home business, we're just scratching the surface of that.

So, now relate that to all the people in the chain. I always say, people would say to me at first, Ben, you know, this is a great idea, but, uh, people aren't ready for that. And I'd say, no, no, no. The buyers are more than ready, never have an issue with the buyer. The issue is all the people in the chain.

So that includes the developer, changing their processes. It includes the end up by the developer. You've got the VP of sales or marketing, who's managing a process. You've got the field, the actual sales manager, and the team on the floor who asked to [00:11:00] use the software and implement it. You've got the lawyers who have to set up all the compliance related to it.

You've got the realtors who have to bring their buyers and use it. So that's where the challenge lies in creating change among those people because probably the ones that are good at it are like me and they've been doing it for 20 years and don't really want to change how they do things, right? Or learn something new.

And even if you get one to do it, you got to get three more to do it. So I would say, you know, that the buyer's expectation is high. They're used to it in every other industry. They're ready to go there. They're never the issue. It's getting everybody else. 

Greg Bray: I think that's a great example of how many moving parts there are in home buying.

That's not quite the same as buying a new camera on Amazon, right? It's just not quite the same. So, when you talk about all those different stakeholders, if you will, is there one particular group that is harder to convince, or that's more resistant than any of the others? Not, to call anybody out, I guess, but... 

[00:12:00] Ben Smith: No, I would say they're all, they all have the same hangups but for different reasons.

So, you know, the lawyers usually are worried if this complies, right? Are we meeting all the regulations? And as you know, in home buying, the new home business, there are different regulations state to state, province to province, country, to country. And, the lawyers are really the ones who make sure that you guys are doing it right.

So that's usually where they get hung up. I would say the salespeople  either on the sell-side or on the buy-side. It's just habits, right? So I'll give an example. You know, our software allows you to literally email a piece of inventory with a couple of clicks and then for that buyer to literally click on it and enter their credit card and reserve the unit on the spot.

So that's a really simple, seamless process. No, they don't have to come to the PC. They don't have to go get a bank draft. They don't have to do any of that stuff. So, you know, we had a buy-side agent realtor who took a screenshot of the email, put it into a social [00:13:00] media, forwarded it to the client. The client then went to the bank to get their money, took a photo of the money, sent it to you. See how it's like, they just, we had to change the process.

And we said, you know, you could have done this with four clicks. And they're like, I didn't know how. You know, they were too busy doing all this other stuff, so, you know, I just did it my old way. So I'd say that's what happens on the sales side is just they're used to their system and then on the sort of VP corporate level, it's changing.

How do you adjust your system? Because as you know, with digital, the first step is just the digitization of something that used to be done analog. So, the example I always give and I'm going to date myself again, is the typewriter. So before the typewriter became a computer, it was actually called a word processor.

And for anyone who's less than 40, the word processor, isn't just the program in your system that we now know as Word. Um, it actually was just a [00:14:00] digital typewriter. It didn't do anything else, but it was the transition period, right? And so that's what's happening with us right now where there's the digitization of a workflow, ie the contract, but that's leading to the computer, right?

And that taking this idea and being able to do way more with it. And that sits with the corporate strategy side of starting to say, "How could I run my program differently? How could I change my budget? How could I work with marketing? How could I work with these various groups to change how we do things based on the fact, we now have the ability to do X, Y, Z."

Does that make sense? So the other reference for the younger folks is, you know, the iPad. You know, you had started with the flywheel, which was really just digital music, and now you have a whole computer device in your car. And so that's that same transition we're talking about. It is first going to start with this digital workflow and then move into all the possibilities.

Kevin Weitzel: How quick are we going to be to adopt [00:15:00] this? Obviously, we're very slow, but then how fast will it transition? Because even one of the devices you mentioned, which was like an iPod. Nobody buys iPod and that was not, you know, a lifetime ago, that's just 10 years ago. 

Ben Smith: Yeah. It's quick. I mean, I think it's one of those things where like, let me just describe our process.

We're all familiar with and describe what we can do, even though people are hesitant and then what it used to take. So, you know, like I said today, I can email you a piece of inventory. You can or I can send it to the realtor who can forward it on to the buyer. They can put in their name, put in their credit card, and take it down digitally.

That's it. It's done within a matter of minutes. The old way is to call that person. The realtor then calls makes an appointment with their buyer. Then they have to make an appointment to come into the presentation. In that process, they have to go to the bank, get themselves a bank draft. Then they have to come in, do the deal, get everything done, then check the contract.

Everything gets couriered to a lawyer, [00:16:00] gets filed, gets dah, dah, dah, dah, all that stuff gets done. I mean, you know, seven days have elapsed. Time has gone by, and then there's reporting that needs to take place on all of that. So you can see clearly the four clicks scenario is much easier and once somebody does it, they're never going to go back.

So, the time lag is the first adoption, and then it's going to go quickly. Um, so one thing I'll say just quickly is, you know, last year was the first time in Canada that somebody sold a home online with a credit card. It was the very first one. Since then there have been many. So it's, it's going quickly.

Now, hundreds, not thousands, which is the number of units we process across Canada. So, but we'll get it. 

Kevin Weitzel: Number one, it wasn't a credit card purchase for a home in Toronto because in Toronto they cost like $3 billion. So let me ask you [00:17:00] this. So with your platform, especially when you have legal involved in getting everything done and dotting all the I's crossing all the T's, why are we still paying real estate agents?

Greg Bray: Ooh, he's going into a dangerous place.

Kevin Weitzel: We shouldn't have to pay $15 an hour for some kid to bag groceries, but you know what? That's somebody's job and once it's gone, it's gone. So now let's look at real estate, you're paying 6%, 3% front, 3% back to a real estate agent that literally isn't doing squat anymore. So if they're not doing the job and your platform covers it, why would the home builder need to pay?

Ben Smith: It's the question I get asked most, and there are two reasons. You know, let's look at, we can look at the developer side and we can look at the customer side. On the developer side, what is the developer doing? Well, the developer pays that money because they need the certainty of that sale, right?

They want a buyer. So if you bring me a buyer, that's the most I'll pay you for. And you know, when we talk about digital, a [00:18:00] digital lead is the most worthless thing, right? Like what do you pay 12 bucks on Google analytics for a lead for somebody who may or may not buy? But I'll pay you 3% if you bring me a buyer.

And so that, that process is driven by a bunch of things. Part of it's the bank pressure to say, you need to hit a pre-sale requirement in a certain amount of time, or we won't give you any money. So that reinforces that behavior. So it's like, hey, I need as many buyers as I can get as quick as I can and the fastest way to do that is to tap on these realtors who have the ability to collect buyers or have them ready-handed.

We know that if we go and market to those people, yes, we can find them, but they take way longer. They hum and haw, it's a much harder process. The realtor can usually get them there quicker. So that's the developer side that's why they do it. 

Kevin Weitzel: And I understand that, but more of an argument on across the board of, in a typical home builders scenario, where they're building in areas that are highly sought after, they're not buying dirt in the middle of nowhere, that nobody wants to live in, [00:19:00] they're buying in areas that people want to live in. So with very simple tactics and with fantastic digital marketing tools, such as stuff that I've produced, but over here at Outhouse.

Um, no, but, and then having a website that's fantastic that is, you know, customer-facing. Once they get that in front of the clients, the clients are educating themselves. They're bringing, they're putting themselves into the buyer's seat. They don't need to have some...

Ben Smith: Yeah. So then, yeah. So then let's talk about the other side. That's a great segway. So that person, a lot of times is bringing that realtor, right? How often does that happen where the right it's being driven by that scenario? And so, you know, that's really near and dear or not so much dear, but in Vancouver and there are other places as well, but we have strict regulations around how that system works.

And so in Vancouver, if you try to do a deal without a realtor, you have to sign pieces of paper that disclose that you know, that I am [00:20:00] not on your team as the developer, that I am representing the developer that I'm not representing you. And basically, I'm getting you to say, I am an idiot for going this alone, right?

And so what happens in that scenario, which is driven by regulation. That buyer is forced with a decision to say, I could sign my life away and know that I'm going in alone. Or I could use this realtor that I don't pay for that, you know, maybe can even just do some paperwork for me. I don't know, I'll use the realtor.

And so when those regulations came in, our realtor co-op went from 60% to 99%. And so some of the reasons around compliance issues, which, you know, we may get to a little bit later in the conversation. The other side is on the customer side. Why else? Like, why not do it? Well, I think there's a reason why realtors have their faces plastered over buses everywhere because they know that their role is actually relational, right?

So a new home is [00:21:00] probably the most expensive investment a buyer's going to make in their life and so they want to feel that security, that somebody who knows better than them, who is an expert in real estate, who can guide them through that process is there. It's so, why do it? Well, because it's scary, you know, it's a lot of money and somebody who they can trust, who they have a relationship with, who can walk them through the process, who can tell them, you know what, I think you're making a good decision, you know, this is a good buy. Here are the homes around that I know really well, that I've curated for you, that support the decision you're about to make.

You know you can't, undervalue that. That means a lot to somebody on the customer side. So, I think there are still strong reasons on both sides. I don't think we're going to erase it, but we will change it.  

Kevin Weitzel: So Ben, I'm going to buy in just for full transparency. I'm arguing the opposite side of the fence that I usually fight for, because I do believe in personal sales. I believe in relationship selling.

I'm a firm believer. However, Amazon singlehandedly proves [00:22:00] that people do not give a crap about the relationship. They care about convenience and getting what they want when they want it. So, arguing toward the vessel system is that you can provide all that information and be legally transparent and have all of the information they need at their fingertips and completely be void of a real estate agent because that real estate agent is only in there, uh, based on the laws that are written, those legislative add practices because they lobbied properly to get to be included in the process.

That's all it is. They spent the money, they invested it in Senator to get that law written. 

Greg Bray: So, I'm gonna jump in here with a parallel fence, alright? Cause it's reminding me just to date myself, you know, back when I was first starting, you know, internet development, there was this cool new website that came out that we were all in awe of called Expedia, right?

And when it that's how old I am, right? I remember. And it was like this idea that you could schedule travel on your own and didn't [00:23:00] have to call a travel agent anymore to actually buy a plane ticket and to find out the schedules and the pricing and all that. And of course, now we don't even think twice, right?

All the airlines have their own websites. You know, there are all kinds of other travel sites and everything else. Travel agents are different today, but they're not gone there. There are still a few out there, right? But they, what they do is very different than what they did in the late nineties. And, so I can kind of see a similar evolution happening from a real estate standpoint, where some agents will go away because they're not providing any value into the process. You know, if all you're doing is paperwork and that paperwork is going to go digital, you're not adding a lot of value. If you're adding expertise, if you're adding guidance, if you're the trusted advisor and you're becoming this, then, of course there's a role to play always for a certain segment.

Yeah, some people won't want to pay for it, whatever, but I think it's going to evolve and that's going to. It's [00:24:00] going to take whether that's the real estate agent, whether it's a new homes professional that works for the builder, they're going to have to change what their role is to still add value and all that

Ben Smith: I hundred percent agree and I just want to piggyback.

You guys have brought up a bunch of great topics that I'll compartmentalize. So, some of the things you brought up are marketplace. So, what does the marketplace of the future look like? For real estate, part of that is what I would term distribution. So when you talk about Amazon, one of the interesting things to note about Amazon is okay yeah, did they get rid of retailers or did they just change the distribution model? Because I buy a lot of stuff on Amazon that doesn't come from Amazon. So the question is, what does that distribution look like for new home sales? Right now, the distribution is through realtors. Well in a digital environment, how does that translate?

You know, do you have a reseller? Just like, I mean, I'm using an Amazon word, but do you have a reseller [00:25:00] that is a realtor? Is that what that looks like? And how did these things evolve? Cause they don't get erased, they just get evolved. And I think that's what's still to be determined.

Um, one of the interesting things about marketplace, and I've had this discussion with a lot of people, is developers don't open marketplaces. They never have. If you think about how they sell homes, they don't sell it open. They sell to the public, yes, but I always tell people, they'll say, hey, can you help me sell my house? And I say, no way, I don't know how to sell one home. I know they only know how to sell a hundred. The difference with selling a hundred homes is you need to control the price, you need to control inventory, you need to do these basic functions, which is what makes great sales and marketers for new home developers great.

Because they know how to do that piece. They don't go one by one. And so, in that scenario, you can't just post everything to the internet and I think that's what people think will happen is you're going to go and you're going to take what you want on the internet and you're going to see a whole tower and away you go. Or you're going to see [00:26:00] the whole single-family subdivision. You'll just take the one you want, but that doesn't give the developer the ability to control the price and the demand and all those things.

And so I think the way the marketplace will evolve through distribution where one of those channels that you're going to push inventory through? How are you going to present to the public and be able to manage your supply and demand in a way that isn't just like a straight commodity? So, these are interesting things I have a lot of opinions on and we'll see where they evolve.

Greg Bray: Oh, this is kind of going in a little different direction than I was expecting Ben, but this is good stuff. Um, it's kind of got me thinking and I'm kind of reacting to the fact that, you know, a lot of people think of Amazon as a store. But Amazon does not define itself as a store, right?

They're a software company. That's what they really define themselves as, that they built a platform, you know, for people to sell. I remember that movie, the founder about McDonald's, right? McDonald's is not a burger chain, right? They're a real estate company that, [00:27:00] that buys locations and then they're a process company that creates efficiency and process and, and, you know, what are builders going to be? You know, in the future, it's kind of an interesting idea to ponder. You've sparked some thoughts 

Ben Smith:  Exactly. Right? And that's why we call ourselves, we're a real estate services company powered by technology.

You know, we're not a software company. Because what we found is when we sold people software, they didn't know how to use it and the adoption rate was really low. And so we realized, you know, we need to, we need to sell you advice and then we need to fulfill it with the software and since we've been doing that, it's worked very well.

And for our clients, we're now part of that process and we're adding value, we're not just, you know, the software geeks telling you that you could do this better. 

Greg Bray: Well, Ben, again, we've covered a lot today already and are appreciative of your time. Just a couple more questions. We kind of want to wrap up. When you're looking out there for kind of those new ideas or what's coming next, are there [00:28:00] sources that you're watching?

It doesn't have to be in the building industry? You know, what kinds of things do you look for that, help you kind of stay current or look ahead.

Ben Smith: Yeah, for sure. I think, you know, first and foremost, I always say, look to the youth and your companies look to your kids. They're digitally native, right? They, they know no other way of doing something.

I always tell the story of my one son who found my old, my very first iPad and he was touching the screen. He couldn't get it to work and he's like, why doesn't this work? And I'm like, oh, cause it's a flywheel like this, right? And he just, he was clueless, but they know, they just intuitively know how to use things and so look to them.

Ask questions about how do they see the world and what steps may they take in a decision because it's calming, right? They're the future for sound buyers? Um, the second thing is we're a retail business, right? We have retail stores. We call them presentation centers or sales offices, but we're in retail.

So, I always watch what's happening in retail. You know, the cliche one always is Tesla. We talk about Tesla a lot. You know they really [00:29:00] changed how you buy a car, but they're a great example for us. Like what are they doing? What can we learn about that process? And what can we learn watching the Amazons and these other people within the retail space that we can adopt and tackle?

And then the last one I'd say is, you know, China is a great source of information in terms of they have massive, massive scale. So they're able to bring in new technologies and adopt them quickly and get to scale a lot faster than anybody else. And they're just very technically savvy, so there's a bunch of cool things happening there that are worth watching, you know, compliance is different there than what we have, so they can't all work, but, some of them are really exciting and I think it's a great resource for stuff we're going to see here. 

Greg Bray: Well, Ben, any last words of advice that you wanted to share today while you got the platform? 

Ben Smith: Yeah, I'd say the biggest thing is, don't be afraid.

You know, the biggest thing that's stops change is this fear. This fear of, you know, this technology that either as [00:30:00] Kevin said, you know, I'm going to lose my job to this computer or this kind of thing. But, you know, I haven't had a really long career and I give the example of, you know, marketing manager when I started was great at doing print ads.

They knew how to do a layout. They could talk and CPMs and these kinds of things. That person's useless today, sorry to say. And I need somebody as a marketing manager who knows how to do Google analytics and knows CSM and knows how to manage a community and deal with influencers and this kind of stuff. Like that shift is a very short amount of time and it's an inevitability.

So, I always say, stop fighting it from happening and accept it and then get in its path. Figure out where it's going, be in the way and then you'll get to run with it. And, you know, since I started taking that, that viewpoint, it's a lot more fun too. It's a lot more fun to get excited about where we might head than living in fear about what might hurt us.

So, don't be afraid. It's okay. It's going to try to help you. [00:31:00] And then the last point I'll say on that is, it is supposed to make things easier. So, you know, one of the trips we get into is we trip ourselves up in software because we get excited about what if's, but at the end of the day, if it didn't make your life easier, or if it didn't make something simpler or faster or have some true benefit, then we're just doing it for fun.

And so, you know, let's not get too carried away, and let's make sure that it's just making things easier. It's making our lives better. 

Greg Bray: Great advice. Thanks for sharing that. If somebody wants to connect with you and talk more or learn more about Avesdo, what's the best way for them to get in touch.

Ben Smith: Awesome. Yeah, I'd say go to Avesdo.com. A V E S D O.com and connect with one of our advisors who would love to talk to you about what your project needs are, how we can help facilitate. And then if you want to talk to me personally, you can find me on LinkedIn. Um, if you send me an invite, please let me know that you're not spam, so I don't ignore you.

And, I'd love to chat. 

Greg Bray: Well, thanks again Ben so much for joining us, and thanks to everybody for listening [00:32:00] 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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