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S1 EP36 | Homebuilder Website Updates With Greg Bray

Show Notes:

Focus Discussion of the Week:

The “new normal” has compelled our industry to go digital. But this move isn’t just practical—it’s what your buyers have always wanted. Greg Bray from Blue Tangerine joins Building Perspective to discuss a few much-needed updates you can make to your website that will stand the test of time.


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Two thought leaders come together to explore all things sales and marketing from their unique perspectives. Each week, Mollie Elkman, Matt Riley, and others from Group Two dive into a focus discussion to talk about the latest trends, changes, and best practices.

[00:00:00] Greg: The bigger issue I really see right now is. Understanding that things are going to change forever because of this, and therefore, what do you need to be doing to position yourself going forward that you haven’t done in the past? What can you learn right now? Because you’ve had your , you know, the Rose colored glasses had been ripped off your face, you know, and you can see the world for what it is.

What. Do you need to be changing in your business now to prepare yourself? So that number one, if these things happen again, hopefully not, but. You know, some of the projections are that we’ll have little periodic times or we need to shut down for a week here or there or whatever. Or even if it’s not a formal shutdown, people just being less willing to go out, you know, if they don’t have to.

And being more comfortable and pursuing as much of the process online as they can. how do you need to change your business to be ready for that? And, and that’s going to take you months. It’s not something you can do this week. [00:01:00] Okay. If you haven’t done anything, but you got to get started or you’re never going to get to the finish line.

Matt: Hi and welcome to building perspective with Matt Riley and Mollie Elkman. We’re here to bring

value to you and your team by exploring all things sales and marketing related

all from different perspectives. All right, and welcome back to another episode of building perspective. And like I’d said a couple of weeks ago, we’re doing these a little different right now.

We’re not doing the whole big production shebang and having all the different ideas and topics at the, at the front segment, and then bringing our guest in, or our actual focus discussion of the week. We’re [00:02:00] just getting right to it. And this week, I am very honored to have Greg Bray of blue Tangerine with us, and we’re going to talk about.

Buyer trends, web design, and where we are, from, you know, coven 19 era of website changes and updates. So, Greg, thanks so much for coming on the show.

Greg: Oh, my pleasure to be here. Thank you for having

Matt: me. Yeah, absolutely. And I do also want to point out that, Greg and I recorded an episode, I dunno, at least a little over a month ago that was scheduled to release, this week or last week, I think it was last week.

And, it wasn’t on topic. To where we were, cause we were just talking about in general, you know, website trends and, and, and, and, and design and all that kind of stuff. And it was just a little tone deaf to where we were. And Greg so graciously agreed to do a redo, and make it more relevant. So thank you again for a, at recording two episodes

Greg: with me.

Oh, it’s, [00:03:00] it’s terrific, man. And it’s, isn’t it amazing how much has changed to just a few weeks. It’s just, I still can’t wrap my head around it. There’s only been a few weeks. It feels like it’s been years. It’s just crazy.

Matt: It’s been, it’s, it’s been a month and it’s like joking around. It’s like, all right, we’re on day 3,724 of Corenti.

Greg: Yeah.

Matt: Cause that’s what it feels like. but yeah, I mean. Really where we are. you know, as far as people really having to make adjustments on the fly. And this, this is interesting because you know, you hear, you hear people talk about over the last couple of years in general said, you know, more is changed in home-building selling and marketing homes in the last, you know, five years than in the last 50.

And I would be willing to bet that Morris changed in the last year. 30 days and the way we sell and market homes then in the last 50.

Greg: Yeah. And, and I think a lot of that change is going to last beyond this. I’m, I, I don’t think we’re going to just slip back to the old way of doing it, you know, in a few weeks or months or [00:04:00] whenever this is done, it’s gonna be a longer term impact and some of these things are going to stick around with us.

Matt: Oh, without a doubt. I mean, the toothpaste is out of the tube here, right? You’re not getting an example.

Greg: Great example.

Matt: You’re not getting it back in the, when we, when this is over, quote unquote air quotes is. People aren’t going to go, okay, well, you know, we’ll go back to not getting any content and the old way of doing things.

And you know, basically we’re just revert back to the crappy way of builders have have provided buyers the a way to do business. It’s not going to happen. I mean, we are drop kicked into a new era of the way we’re going to sell and market homes online. You know, I read an article. The other day, it wasn’t New York times, but it was like a, a, a, a major publication.

And maybe you read it too. I just can’t remember the source, but it was talking about, you know, 25% of the transactions over the past few weeks [00:05:00] have all been virtual. Like everything from site, you know, basically sight unseen, has been virtual. And it’s talking about how buyers have adapted. And I would argue that buyers haven’t adapted.

Buyers have always been there wanting to do this. We have actually been the ones that have adapted and drop, kicked, gotten, drop, kicked into this era of the way that customers actually want to do business.

Greg: I think there’s a lot of truth to that. this has opened the eyes of a lot of, you know.

Builders and other business owners as well as to what people are willing to do.  we can get trapped, can’t we, in this idea of, let’s say for example, I, I ran into clients a few years ago, well, I have no mobile traffic on my website. And I’m like, really? And then it turns out that their sites so hard to use on mobile that.

No one would actually use it, and so they, they were, this feedback loop was not giving them real information, right. They said, well, nobody uses mobile on my website because they didn’t have a website that you could use on mobile, [00:06:00] and so therefore, no one used it on mobile. And it just a simple example that I think some of that feedback loop.

Has happened in other areas as well. Well, I’m selling plenty of homes without having, you know, interactive floor plans on my website, for example. You know, I don’t need those. Well, now you’re starting to realize, well, you know, people actually like those just because you didn’t have them, and we’re lucky enough to still be selling.

It doesn’t mean that your customers don’t want that type of content.

Matt: Yeah. It’s been really dangerous cause a lot of, a lot of companies have been operating inside their own echo chamber

Greg: know. Yup. That’s a good word. Like,

Matt: Oh well I don’t have to do this because I’m already selling homes. And they, and it’s the old like, well you’ve had the market at your back.

You know, you’ve had the, the, the winds of the market in your sales. And, you know, it’s the old saying, a rising tide floats all ships. And then Warren buffet added to it. When the tide goes back out, we’re going to find out who was swimming naked and, and we’re finding out who’s swimming naked right now.

Right. And people, the, the, I don’t know from [00:07:00] what you’ve seen, but from what I’ve seen, the people that have invested in content, the companies that have invested in content that have invested in, you know, ha. A newer, a new website, something that is, you know, adaptable to the buyer. What they’re looking for gives them the experience that they’re looking for.

They’re the ones that are navigating the, the storm the best and seeing the best success.

Greg: And the ones that are able to simply keep operating because they’re, their whole business isn’t just in, in confusion and disarray right now. You know, they’re, they’re able to even just take the phone call because their phone system’s working in somebody.

They’re answering it because they, they figured out how to do that. you know, some of these basic operational things are, have kind of highlighted differences as well.

Matt: Yeah. No, without a doubt. Absolutely. Okay, so. Obviously what you guys do is, you know, Humboldt or websites. [00:08:00] So let’s, let’s dive in and talk about what are some of the things that you know, that you’ve seen start from the data standpoint of, as we’re started going into this, you know, changes that needed to be made.

What were the biggest changes from a website perspective that you were recommending your. Build or partners, to make right out of the gate?

Greg: Well, I think that the biggest thing that happened right at the beginning was, was how you planned and scheduled appointments. right. Just the, just the ability to say, I’m posting office hours alone on the site for the model.

Wasn’t good enough anymore. You had to have the ability to either schedule one on one appointments, or, or be able to do the virtual appointments with whatever, you know, video conferencing, tool of choice or phone, just phone calls, whatever it might be. You needed to reassure people that, that the appointments were available, but that they weren’t going to be in a crowded room full of other people.

And that was really been kind of the, the. [00:09:00] The first overarching, how do we get this message across? How do we get that simple notice on websites for those who didn’t have, you know, good content management systems calling up saying, Hey, I don’t even know how to edit this kind of a thing. and helping them.

So we’ve been, we’ve been running around really busy doing those types of updates, right at the first, for sure.

Matt: Yeah, no, I mean, I think there was some, I think there was some confusion at the very beginning of we were all getting flooded with emails from every company that we know talking about their coven 19 policy, and it was like all of a sudden like, Oh, I don’t need to know from my mortgage company.

That Bob and Jill are washing their hands more frequently. Like I don’t have any interaction with any of those people. I just don’t care. And it’s, it was, so, there was a lot of builders, there was a lot of confusion going, all right, do we need to communicate this policy and what we really need to communicate?

And I think what you were just [00:10:00] saying is. We really need to communicate to the customer, or I should say, allow them to be able to see how they can communicate and do business with us. Right.

Greg: Just that simple question, are you open. Right? You know, yes, yes or no. Are you, Oh, is somebody going to answer the phone?

You know, is somebody actually want to talk to me and answer my questions today? I think is, is one of those first questions, cause I’ve, I’ve run into that just in my own personal interactions. It’s like, Oh, can we do this? Can we do that? You know, this was before everything was close, but, But it was kind of like, can we go to the park?

We get to the park. Oh, the parks closed. Oh, I didn’t know the park was closed cause the website didn’t say the park was closed. The website said the park was open. You know? And so, you know, some of those kinds of frustrations to have just that basic communication of, of who’s open and who isn’t. Right,

Matt: right.

Absolutely. So I know we’re kind of work on our way forward in time, because if you haven’t done these things yet as a builder that you. It’s probably been a rough, it’s probably been a rough 30 [00:11:00] days, not communicating out to your PR, to your buyers that a, you’re open and be, if you are, how they can interact with you.

so getting into kind of present day of where we are, you know, from a call to action perspective, you know, a, what have you seen change be. What has, what have you seen that’s been the most successful from a, from a call to action perspective?

Greg: I think there’s a, it’s about that reassurance concept that, that, you know, we’re, we’re not going, we’re going to be here.

we’re available to answer your questions and we are open and able to take the order. We’re, we’re able to show you things. I, I think the folks who have been doing these guided virtual tours or they’ve been walking around with, with the cameras, I think that’s a brilliant idea. I wish I’d come up with that.

I can’t claim credit for that. Where somebody can, can basically, you know, whether it’s FaceTime on an iPhone or, or some other tool where they walking around with [00:12:00] the iPad, showing people the home and answering their questions as they go. You know, those types of, of opportunities for the, for the, the, the individual tours and things like that.

So again, from a call to action, it’s. You know, schedule and talk to us. We want to talk to you. We have a ways to show you the information. You know, again, if you don’t have some of the tours, the virtual tours and the interactive floor plans and things already on your site, then you’ve still got some work to do to get to that point.

And I, and I guess where, where I would. Kind of on on that standpoint is the idea is all right. Some people go, Oh, well this is going to be over in a few weeks, so then we’ll be back to normal. Well, you probably need to make those investments anyway, and now’s the time to work on that while you’ve got a little more office time too, to kind of think through some of those things.

Of course, the virtual tour guys are all kind of busy right now. So, there’s that issue to deal with as well. So.

Matt: The content part, right? Like you actually have to have the, like this is the old a chicken or the egg, right? Like you [00:13:00] can build a state of the art high tech website that does everything that you need it to do, but if you don’t have the content on it.

Then it doesn’t matter, right? Or you can have all the content, but if you don’t have the architecture of the website right, in a fashion where people can easily find things in a method of how they want to operate, not how we want them to operate, how they want to find things and how they want to operate, then it doesn’t matter there.

I mean, those two things are absolutely critical. As a starting point for everything that you do, right. Website and, and content.

Greg: Absolutely. And, and Matt, what, what I, I think when I, when I sit here and, and talk to folks and, and they’re trying to figure out what to do next, there’s, there’s kinda two camps.

There’s this panic camp. Like I’ve got to do something. I’ve got to do it today. I’ve got to change everything in one day and have it all new. You can’t do that if you haven’t laid a foundation. Like you were saying. [00:14:00] You can’t do that, but then there’s the step back. Concept of, okay, wait a minute. What is the yes, I’ve got to survive today and we’re going to survive today.

People, believe it or not, are still buying homes right now. Not as many. Okay. And maybe not as fast, but they’re still buying. They’re still shopping. And there’s going to be a point where, because they’ve done their research phase, that there’s going to be a little surge that’s going to come out of this, I believe, for where, where all these people

Matt: find, I think it’s going to be a huge surge

Greg: and

I’m not a forecast. I don’t like to become a forecast or cause it keeps me in trouble. But, but, but there’s the, the bigger issue I really see right now is. Understanding that things are going to change forever because of this, and therefore, what do you need to be doing to position yourself going forward that you haven’t done in the past?

What can you learn right now? Because you’ve had your , you know, the Rose colored glasses had been ripped off your face, you know, and you can see what it is. [00:15:00] What. Do you need to be changing in your business now to prepare yourself? So that number one, if these things happen again, hopefully not, but. You know, some of the projections are that we’ll have little periodic times or any of the shut down for a week here or there or whatever.

Or even if it’s not a formal shutdown, people just being less willing to go out, you know, if they don’t have to. And being more comfortable and pursuing as much of the process online as they can. how do you need to change your business to be ready for that? And, and that’s going to take you months.

It’s not something you can do this week. Okay. If you haven’t done anything, but you got to get started or you’re never going to get to the finish line if you don’t start. Yeah,

Matt: no, it’s interesting because I was just listening to a podcast yesterday. the New York times, the daily, I don’t know if you listen to that or not, but they had an episode on there just yesterday and they were, it was the next year or two in parentheses of the pandemic.

And they have a doctor on there and you know, he was kind of basically had predicted [00:16:00] where we would be, where we are once this kind of happened, once this announced that with coven. But, you know, it was interesting cause he was, he called it the, the. The hammer and dance, I think is what he said. So basically it was like, what we’re going to do is we’re going to kind of dance out a little bit.

We’re going to venture out and we’re going to, you know, we have to do it, and a little bit, a little bits at a time. And he goes, what’s probably going to happen over the course of, until we get a vaccine is. We’ll open it up a little bit and then we’ll kind of see what happens. And then parts of the country or parts of cities or Metro areas are going to have to come back in for a week or two weeks.

So, you know, whatever it is, like it’s going to be this off again on again in and out to essentially keep the hospitals from being overwhelmed. and, and that’s the way it’s going to. That’s what they’re saying. I, like you said, I’m not getting into, predictions. but that’s, that was just, it was just an interesting, listen, and I think you should go check it out if you guys haven’t, if you haven’t listen to anybody.

Listen, anybody tuning into this? it was just an, it was an interesting [00:17:00] perspective and I was kinda like, I kinda, I, I don’t agree with all of it, but I, I, I agree. I can see it happening. Right? And so to your point is. We’ve got to prepare, like sticking your head in the sand. Being an ostrich here is not going to be the way that you’re get around this.

Like you’re going to have to take this stuff head on and fix the shortcomings that you have. because I, you know, as what they’re saying, like the hot weather as we get into this is we don’t want to be, what’s the, you know, what’s the virus specialist, whatever they’re called. but, you know, we don’t wanna we don’t wanna try to be specialists here, but it makes sense that, Hey, you’re gonna, we’re gonna we could see another way, a wave or two of this come through in the next, like cold and flu season.

You know.

Greg: For sure. And, and again, it takes, it takes time. I mean, I’ve, I’ve been talking to some builders, okay, I finally get it. I’ve been putting this off. I want a new website, everything else. But then they’re sitting here going, well, but is now the right time to write a check for that? And I’m sure you’re going, well, [00:18:00] you know what?

This is a three to six month process. This is not a two week process for the kind of site that we’re talking about here. And if, if you don’t start it now. Where are you going to be three to six months from now? You know? And so it’s kind of a grant. I’m selling something. All right. I admit it. but, but I’m, I’m muzzle trying to help.

I’m trying to help.

Matt: It’s the truth.

Greg: And, and, and frankly, you know, I’m probably not the only guy doing websites. It’s a little busy right now. So my, my queue is not empty. and so the, the ability to get these things done, you need to get in line, you need get in the schedule, to, to make some of this happen.

Matt: Yeah, I mean, just as a, as a home builder, like a customer’s not gonna walk in your door or you know, however your, you know, do business, write a contract and, and you’re going to immediately next week, like start laying, you know, prepping the ground for foundation. I mean, there’s, there’s stuff that has to happen, right?

There’s a backlog of people and you go into a production schedule and it’s, it’s really the same [00:19:00] thing. So what I, one of the things that I’ve been kind of saying is, don’t let this. Don’t make longterm decisions in the short term. Meaning don’t, don’t put your head in the sand thinking that I’m just, I’m not, I can’t spend any money right now.

Or, you know, I can’t make any decisions right now because of where we are. Like, you’ve got to start prepping for what’s got what it’s going to look like in six to nine months

Greg: now. Now, I think the big advantage that you have right now, as you, as you look at that process, is it’s very. Easy to see the weak spots in your current structure, in your current process, where are those weak spots?

Sometimes we’re so busy and things are going well. We still, it’s hard to find time, first of all, to step back and look for those. because we’re, we’re just busy, so we’ve got a little bit more time, office time, I’m calling it right, you know, right now. and, and so you can step back and do a little more introspection, and then you can also see, okay, what’s broken.

You know what, what do we need to to fix? Whether that’s some operational thing, like, Hey, nobody can write checks [00:20:00] because they can only print those in the office, you know, so we can’t, we can’t pay people. That’s, that’s an issue. If you’re not allowed to be in the office, you know, that one might have shown its head very quickly when you, when you had to leave the office.

But now it’s okay. What kinds of questions are we getting from buyers at our website? Doesn’t answer. You know, what kinds of, what kinds of of opportunities are we missing? Because people can’t, do an electronic contract. You know, that where they have to come in the office to sign paper, you know, what, what kinds of things are we running into that, that you can identify and make those lists now and you don’t have to solve them all at once.

But get them on the list so that you can start working on those bit by bit and improve that. So each time you keep getting better and eventually you’ll get efficiencies from this digitalization, if you will, of the whole process. That’ll, that’ll help regardless of what happens with, with future stay at home orders.

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. I completely agree. all right. So as we’re, you know, we’ve talked about, you know, the chicken or the egg, the content, the [00:21:00] website, how, how those things kind of go hand in hand and how we have to think about what we’re going to be doing, what it’s gonna look like in the future, not just through, you know, may.

Through may. Basically, we’ve got to think about what we’re doing today and how we’re setting ourselves up for, you know, October, November, kind of thing. what are you seeing people now? I mean, the get into were allowing people, companies, builders, Schedule. You’re literally the, the schedule or on the website schedule your virtual cause.

Right now we’re still, the big focus is virtual. Some areas can still do private, like literally one-on-one, not even two buyers at one time, but one on one appointments. But are you seeing people enable an auto scheduler feature. which kind of leads us into the topic of, you know, buy now, buy online kind of thing.

Greg: You don’t, I have not seen as many folks doing the [00:22:00] scheduling as sophisticated as I thought. I, we kind of prepped for that when we saw this coming. Like, Oh my goodness, we gotta be ready to integrate all kinds of calendars and everything else. And, and people seem to be. Handling that a little more manually than I thought they would.

Now maybe they can get away with it because the, the number of appointments is down a little bit. Even if the quality is good when they come, the numbers are down. And so you can still kind of handle that, maybe one-on-one, or, or, or simpler. But, but there’s going to be a time where you, again, that’s one of those processes, right?

How do we schedule appointments today and, and what could be better? You know, it’s kind of what I was. Kinda hinting out there, that’s one thing you can sit and say, okay, who is in charge of the calendars? Is that something that you know, we can have a single person do for the whole team, or does everybody need to do that individually for their own calendars?

What tools are we missing? You know, can something like a Calendly do that for us or do we need something more sophisticated? Can everybody handle that just with their own outlook? How do we let that become self service [00:23:00] on the website? By having the links to it, you know? And that’s a, that’s a, that’s a process that you can suddenly spend a few minutes kind of working through.

it’s not just a, Oh, we need a scheduler and make it happen. You know, you kinda got to think through, well, what happens when somebody needs to change an appointment? Who’s responsible for that? There there’s all kinds of implications of how these processes work. That is a little bit more than just, Hey, Greg, put this on my website for me.

You know, and, and so, you know, because I start asking these questions and they kinda, their eyes glaze over like, I don’t know. You know, because, cause there’s a, we can’t automate a process that doesn’t exist without defining it. And so, so we’ve got to have that definition first.

Matt: Yeah. And, and honestly, calendars are a struggle.

Not, not the tech, not the technological side of things, not the plugging in of the tool. That’s, that’s pretty much the easy part. Like you said, you can’t, how do you automate a process that, that doesn’t exist? but the, the struggle with calendars, especially with builders that have OSC is that they struggle with.

[00:24:00] Getting the onsite salespeople, the community specialists, to actually keep their calendar up to date. Right. That’s something that the OSC has struggled with from the inception of their position is, I can’t, I can never know when the onsite sales persons is actually available. I’ll set an appointment for them because I see a slot open and then they have to reschedule it because they actually had an appointment and they didn’t keep their calendar up to date.

You know. Plus the whole factor of, you know, when you’re, when you’re in a community, not, not everybody has this scenario at the moment, but Mo, you know, going back to the way, you know, the good old days, 40 days ago, when the, you know, as you, you were in your model home as a salesperson, and I sold in the model homes for years.

So I know that. This is difficult, but when you’re in there, when you’re open, when it’s 10 o’clock or 11 o’clock or whatever time, your model’s open and you flip that open sign, your time is no longer your own. You can’t control if a customer just [00:25:00] walks in the door, and you may have had an opening from one to four on your calendar, but you can have three walk in traffic units at the time that just eight that eight those spots up.

Right? So it’s a real struggle. On how you keep that calendar updated, for a, just the OSC, the online sales person to know when your salespeople are available. And now you throw a wrench in there of actually letting customers schedule their own appointments.

Greg: It’s, it’s absolutely, it’s a, and it’s a business problem first before it’s a technology problem, to, to be able to say, okay, folks, these are the times that folks are available.

These are the maximum number we can have. And you know what? It kills all of us when we’re full and somebody else wants a spot and we don’t have one. I mean that, that just, you know, from a sales perspective, that just tears your heart out, right? It’s like, no, I want them all. I can’t, I can’t say no to somebody or push them off till tomorrow.

Oh, that’s, that’s awful. But you know what? That’s kind of what we have to do. There’s only, you can only serve one person at a time, individually. [00:26:00] There’s just no other way to do it. and so, so we have to start to get comfortable with that. And I think, again, that’s kind of a mindset shift too, from, from how we sell.

But again, can we. Can we change what an appointment’s purpose is by moving them further down the path online or with other tools so that our salespeople’s time can be used for what they’re absolutely needed for, and not just some of these trivial, simple questions that somebody just didn’t take the time to to figure out, or we didn’t provide the information.

And now we’re able to kind of. Keep those, those appointments for the most important part of the process. there with the, the final close.

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and like you said, the whole, the, the technological side of it, it’s a business problem before earth. A business equation to figure out before the tech side of it.

Right? Like before the actual, the implementation of said calendar integration is, is the easy part. You know, it’s like, all right, I can plug that [00:27:00] into the website, you know, and all we have to do is. Make sure this is linked to the appropriate persons calendar, but you’ve got a whole big conversation to have prior to this.

But tools wise, like if someone wants to know, all right, my process is dialed in or we’re going to go down this road. What are some of the tools that are available? You mentioned Calendly, if you feel like that is the easiest, do you have any custom built tools that you’re using? Like what you, how are you putting that together for your clients?

Greg: You know, if you’re going to have. Someone like an online sales counselor that’s, that’s managing the appointments as opposed to the self service for, you know, the, the website user. you can actually do a lot if you’re using like an office three 65 with shared calendars and, and delegation and some of those tools where, where you’ve got a person who can log in and look at those.

Calendly is a great tool. they, it’s, it’s really easy and inexpensive for those who. Just need one or two calendars. You know, when you start to [00:28:00] scale up from there, and looking for something a little more enterprise where, where you’ve got some integrations and, and you need it to push to multiple calendars, or you need to have something that can rotate between, you know, next available person type of thing.

You know, who’s up, you know, kind of a thing on the, as belonging to a person that, that gets into a little more. Complicated and there’s, there’s tools out there. I’m, I’m, I’m not in a position to just kind of. Recommend one per se without kind of looking at the pros and cons of everybody’s situation. but, but there’s, there’s ones and they’re not necessarily all free or cheap either.

And so you have to figure out what, what the right one is for your particular situation. You know, if you just got a couple people to schedule in one and one model, counselees probably a pretty solid tool. And there are some ways you can embed that on the website pretty easily. and if you search on Calendly alternatives, you’ll get a.

Dozen different, different choices out there. I, I, I have no affiliation with Calendly. I am not a [00:29:00] paid endorsement, so, so it’s just, it’s just a, I just want to be clear there. Maybe I should be now, but, it’s, it’s, yeah.

Matt: There’s a lot of sponsor this episode.

Greg: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. So, have to hit them up for that later.

But yeah, there’s, there’s certainly a lot of, a lot of choices out there. you know, and, and let’s, let’s not make it harder than we have to either. you know, this, let’s just understand the needs. How many people, you know, how many calendars are available, where’s the master source of the data? Some of those issues.

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. Now, okay, so we talk about the, the calendar integration. have you seen anybody exploring and you know, and obviously you don’t have to give builder names cause you, especially if things are in the works, but I’m like, are you, are you getting more serious conversations about how do we integrate some form of buy it now deposit, reserving a home.

Continuing the whole digital process.

Greg: Yeah, absolutely. A lot of interest there. you know, and, and I’ll, [00:30:00] I’ll be, you know, we’ve, we’ve been doing this with century communities for a little while now. They’re one of the leaders in this space. you know, CBH homes, has, has done some of these things to I, we don’t, we don’t work with them, yet I’ll say yet.

All right. Are you guys listening? but, you know, honestly, Matt, when. And again, too, for those who aren’t familiar with blue Tangerine, we do a lot of retail as well. We don’t just do builders. And so, so there’s, this overlap is really fascinating for me because of the, the two markets we work in. The idea behind buying online that that gets people tripped up is you’ve got to have this data infrastructure behind it that has the ability for you to clearly see what’s available, what’s taken, make sure prices have got to be accurate at that point.

You know, lot availability has got to be accurate. I can’t have two people reserving the same lot, you know, just just like, in an eCommerce transaction, if you’ve got a finite inventory. And things go on back order. You’ve got to tell people you’re going to have angry customers. So, [00:31:00] so you, where a lot of builders struggle is with that back end, data management piece that, that we have to have in place first before we can have a serious conversation about, about some of those transactional pieces.

You know, taking a credit card online, that’s easy. We’ve had that technology for a long time, you know.  easy comparisons, time, money, programming. I like to say, so, all right, but it’s, but it’s not, it’s not something we have to reinvent. but what happens when somebody says, I want lots, you know, 100 in community a and they say, and they’ve paid something for it.

And now. You know, somebody else in the sales office needs to be able to say, Oh, that one’s no longer available because somebody just reserved it. and again, it’s not that you’ve got 20 people after the same lot and you know, 30 seconds, but, but it can’t wait three days either. You know, before somebody gets the word into the sales team that that one’s not available anymore.

and they put a sticker on the map on the wall. You know, you can’t, can’t, can’t work that way if you’re going to do buy

Matt: online. [00:32:00] You really have to have, this is where, yeah, the plugging in into the website, taking a $500 deposit or you know, whatever it is to just to reserve, reserve a home site or take an inventory home off the market.

Like you said, that technology has been around forever. You can do that. Taking payment. That’s the super easy part. but this is where you have to really tie that into like an ERP system where then once something happens. There are workflow triggers that happened that alert people that this, you know, this has happened and better yet, if your site plans in your model homes are digital, that also connect to the website where it all updates real time.

And you know how that happens in an email goes out to the sales manager, the onsite salespeople ever like, Oh gee, you know, Matt Riley just took off lot 100 and community a a off the market. At least for a period of time. So everyone is now aware. Then there’s the old, you know, well or do [00:33:00] we take earnest money deposit?

Should we take builder deposits? Cause if you take earnest money deposits, how do you, how are you going to handle the money? Right? So there’s this whole thing from a legality standpoint that happens that you have to get with a real estate commission on it. It’s all very state by state, by state on how money is handled.

Because, and like where I’m at in the state of North Carolina. as a builder, we took non-refundable bill or we took builder deposit. So we didn’t have to worry about trusting non interest bearing trust accounts and what we’re going to do. And also kept us away from being, having to deal with being audited of our earnest money deposit.

So if you’ve got something like that, it makes it a little cleaner. But if you’re a strictly earnest money deposit state, there’s a lot of stuff you have to pull in your real estate commission. You have to pull in your attorneys. There’s like this whole big, like, you know, really like. Process before you can automate a process.

You’ve got to make sure you have one in place first of how you’re going to deal with and handle these along the way, but simply just [00:34:00] slapping on a buy it now and take $1,000 deposit. That’s the really . The easy part, the rest of it’s the behind the scenes,

Greg: right. And, and you know, to your point, some of those questions you’ve got to answer, even if somebody is bringing you a physical check, right?

As far as where you’re going to deposit that check and how you’re going to track it. And we can, we can overlay on top of some of those. Existing processes, if we’re taking it a payment online through, through the website. But, you know, B, credit cards are a tricky, you start to get into things like PCI compliance, you know, with security and some of those, Issues

Matt: is hosting your server that’s hosting the credit card information, like how liable are you if something gets hacked? Yeah. Oh my gosh.

Greg: Yeah. And it’s, again, these are not, these are not issues that are unsolvable. You know, the eCommerce world has been doing this for a long time, but it’s just.

Additional things that a builder needs to consider and, and, and don’t, you don’t need to be scared and say, Oh, it’s too hard. I can’t do it. But you just need to, you know, spend the time to, to [00:35:00] walk through some of those issues and implications of some of those issues to make sure you understand and have a process that supports it.

Matt: Yeah. Without a doubt. Without a doubt. So I think I totally got sidetracked on the whole buy it now. as is anybody that you had, have you been implementing any of that as of recent or is that triggered a lot of conversations of at least starting that process?

Greg: I think we’re, we’re having a lot of conversations, around that.

and, and again, where I, I really start those is with the data management piece that I already kinda. Hit on. And that, unfortunately, it slows down some of those conversations because cause people aren’t quite, aren’t quite thinking through some of the implications there. But, but again, you know, some of it too is all about how you structure, what you’re, what you’re promising.

You can, you can. Pitch something as a, reserve it now or buy it now where you’re really not guaranteeing something until you’ve had three business days to process it and make sure. So. So [00:36:00] again, some of that is about thinking through what are we gonna promise. how quick are we gonna promise? Are we claiming that it’s real time?

You know, and if we’re gonna, if we can’t do real time, that doesn’t mean that we can’t. Do something and, and just make sure that everybody’s clear in the quote, fine print, so to speak, of, of what’s happening. so that, so that we can, you know, and, and maybe the fact is, is that our volumes not moving fast enough, that if it takes us three days to figure out for sure that this lot’s really available, you know, that it doesn’t totally blow the sale, and tick somebody off, because most of the time it will be still, you know, so,

Matt: yeah.

Right, right. Absolutely. All right. Well, Greg, what else? What? What am I missing? I’m trying. I feel like I D are we covered? Did we cover the things that builders need to be talking about and thinking about as of where we’re at right now?

Greg: I think Matt, one of the big ones that’s. That’s probably easier to do and faster to do right now that we haven’t really hit on is just simply better photography.

You know, I mean, [00:37:00] it’s just, you look at it, you look at what Amazon offers from a photography standpoint for simple, simple products. you know, I think we talked about this a little bit last time we chatted, compared to what. We put out there for a lot of homes that are hundreds of thousands of dollars.

you know, this, this is not something, now granted, I don’t know how many photographers are locked down and can’t go do a photo shoot right now, but, but that’s going to open up. And that’s certainly a business where you can have just one person in the home by themselves doing, doing photos and get some better photography.

But, but I think that’s a, that’s a quick, a quicker, I guess, quicker. and, and not a super expensive way that you can make whatever you’ve got right now. Better. Is with better photography and and helping people see what they’re, what they’re getting.

Matt: Yeah, I mean, photography, it’s, it’s video content. It’s Matterport tours.

We use the map, you know, w w I just, we just did a Facebook live, I think last week that were, we had a Matterport photographer come on and literally walk through all the different pieces of content that you can, [00:38:00] all the pieces of content. You can create a one singular Matterport tour. And I think don’t just stop at photography, right?

That obviously that’s huge. But. Your, what we would call home detail page, right on your website. The, the, the specifics of that individual homes starting there. That should be F it should be a media rich focus page, right? And a lot of times we slap a photo one, you know, and we’ve got a couple of sentences or, and in reverse, you’ve got a couple photos and you’ve got way too much copy on the page.

But. Immediate media rich focused page when it comes to that product. Cause like you said, you go to Amazon or you go to, we were, I was looking at this, this was, I don’t know, 60 days ago we were, I was looking at a, a camera accessory, like for like a regular camera. And it was, I think it was a 20 or $30 item.

But. When I went to that page, the detail page of that product, there was a video of [00:39:00] someone talking about showing me, showing the user that particular accessory, how it works, how it snaps on and off, how it’s easy to get an on off and why they chose to make this particular product, right? Like what was the thought process and who is this for?

And I really, it really made me think about. All the care, attention to detail, all the thought, the careful and consideration and thought that goes into a community. Why we do, why we’re offering a floor plan, why we built this for plan, who, who we had in mind. When we did, when we designed it that we just don’t talk about, right.

Like there’s so much careful thought and consideration that goes into the products and the communities that we develop, but we don’t talk about it. And then when you go to a 20 or $30 plastic accessory for a camera. I get that experience, but I don’t get it on a, on a home builder [00:40:00] website. And I think going, you said it, and it made me go off on this tangent.

The, the photography is, is huge, but think beyond photography, at least that’s my, my opinion. What do you think?

Greg: Oh, I completely agree. And you know, just, just kind of thinking about some of these, builders who have done this great job of these personal kind of video walkthroughs where there, where they’ve got somebody on the phone and they’re walking through showing them.

on the camera or whatever. If you do that, like with a tool like zoom or something to hit record. Yeah, just hit record and, and have that as a video and maybe somebody can clean it up for you a little bit and, and, and do a little bit of editing, but even if you don’t, now you’ve got it worse. Other people can just watch what you did.

And it was more of that real time. It was more of that, you know, more personal description of what’s happening here. This is why this is real. Oh, look at the beautiful whatever, you know, answering questions that somebody is really having. I mean, we’ve, we’ve all watched recorded webinars from time to time, right?

And, and yeah, it’s

Matt: a lot of them. More [00:41:00] recently.

Greg: I really, but, but it’s, it’s. It’s not quite the same as being in the, in the live one, but you still get 90% of the value from the recording. And so why not record some of those? and just, and just keep that available, even if it’s temporary while you get something better later, you know, if you, if you can find something better, I don’t know.

Those are, those are pretty powerful when, when people are just sharing their thoughts and, and pointing things out. I, I don’t know. I think, I think that’s a pretty easy thing to add right now. 

Matt: no, I totally agree. Totally agree. Awesome. Okay. Well that was a, that was a really, really packful of good info.

Appreciate the conversation, Greg. What, is there anything else that you feel like that, you know, build or you need to know you need to be focusing on this as we kinda wrap up our conversation.

Greg: You know, I think the other piece that that people could consider is a little bit more of the posts and [00:42:00] more of the design center type.

challenges, you know, again, this is another spot where we have in the process where we have people kind of coming to visit and, and can we move more of that piece, online, whether that is, and again, when you’ve got a thousand options to show somebody, it’s hard to put all of that online, but some, and if your product is totally custom than, than, this may not be for you.

But for those who, who have a little bit more of a production focus. Maybe it’s about designing packages. So you know, you get package a, B, or C and no, we can’t swap everything. But now we can, we can put the details of package a, B, and C online, and you can pick through them and click through them and see all these pictures and make your choices about which cabinets you want and, and which, you know, whatever option, you know, the faucets you want or what, because there’s only three to choose from, you know, or what, or whatever it might be.

And again, that’s not for everybody, but, but there’s an option opportunity there too. To maybe think [00:43:00] beyond just the sales process and into the production piece as well, and how, how digital and online and website can support those pieces as well.

Matt: Yeah, no, absolutely. And we focus primarily on the sales and marketing upfront aspect of it.

But you’re right, I mean, we’ve got to think about the digital process all the way through, not, you know, not. Just not just stopping at the contract. Right? I mean, the, the design, the selection side of it is just as an important piece of the overall experience from the customer. And they’re going to be spending more money too.

and making sure that they feel comfortable. Doing that. and really diving in and making sure that those, that stuff’s available for them. I really like, you know, the, any as much video content and photography is of Matterport or I’m sorry, of a design center, options as you can. One of the things that I, I [00:44:00] did for my design center is we actually, we did a Matterport tour of it, but we made sure that we did, you know, did a camera scan.

Directly in front of every single selection station or area, so that way someone could go in there and actually go directly to the flooring section and zoom in and see those options and see how we got so much feedback, positive feedback from buyers. That would. You know, it was, it was mainly utilized after they came into the design center the first time at the time, this is how it worked.

Then they would go home. They’re like, Oh, what did that other, well, what did that other flooring sample look like? I don’t quite remember. And they could go there. They could zoom in and see like, Oh, that’s what it was compared to the one that I think I want. but we got such good positive feedback because it was set up.

Each scan was set up in front of each. Area or each station that allowed people to, to really see the selections that they were considering. And I think that kind of stuff can [00:45:00] go a really, really long way, especially right now.

Greg: Yeah. It’s just about thinking again through the whole process, that whole buyer journey, we, lots of times we talk about, and we end at the sales contract, but there’s a whole nother piece to it.

And how can we better support people, you know, with the technology. Again, not just for today, but, but going forward as, as our expectations as consumers evolve and change from this.

Matt: Awesome. Yeah, I totally, totally agree. All right, Greg. Well, I want to be mindful of your time, especially since this is the second, second podcast.

Take two recording and really appreciate you coming on and chatting through again to get a more relevant and on. Point conversation than what we had planned on doing just to just a few short weeks ago. and yeah, so if anybody wanted to reach out, learn more about you, learn more about blue Tangerine, what is, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Greg: Well, our website, of [00:46:00] course, blue, Tangerine, like the fruit. Dot com. Yep. my email is Greg, G, R E g@bluetangerine.com. I’m available on, on LinkedIn as well. and love to love to chat, love to see how we can help. You know, I think really right now it’s just about don’t freeze. Don’t stop. Just because things are so confusing because we’re going to come out of this, things are going to be different and if you start now, you can be in a better position when that happens in the future.


Matt: Totally agree. Totally agree. Awesome. All right, Greg. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. And, next time we’ll only do the next time we have you on. We’ll only have to do a one-take.

Greg: My pleasure. Thanks so much for the opportunity, Matt.

Matt: Hey, thanks, Greg. Have a great day. [00:47:00] .


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