Building Perspective - Fueling Growth with Technology

S2 EP 17 | Fueling Growth with Technology

Show Notes:

Focus Discussion of the Week:

Adopting new technology and systems can be painful for any organization, but it’s critical to growth. Shawn Giddens, Senior Sales Coach for Schuber Mitchell Homes, joins Matt Riley to discuss how the fearless adoption of new technology has helped fuel his company’s growth from 100 homes six years ago, to 1000 projected homes for 2022.

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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.

Shawn: [00:00:00] I think that’s really one of the secrets of that success is that when we’re rolling that out, we can roll that out with the confidence that it’s going to work, because we’ve already built it and we’ve already tried to break it and we’ve already found 99% of the bugs are worked out. And, and that’s really, really important whenever it comes to.

Getting your team to adapt and to adopt that program is that you’re rolling out something to them that that is functional and not something that will get us by. And so we figure out how to fix it.

 

Matt: [00:00:48] Hi, and welcome to building perspective with Matt Riley and Mollie Elkman. We’re here to bring 

 

Mollie: [00:00:54] value to you and your team by exploring all things, 

 

Matt: [00:00:57] sales and marketing related all from different perspectives. All right. And welcome to another episode of building perspective. This is episode. I don’t even know what episode this is.

We’re just churning along here. But I am super excited to have. A very special guest with us today. So I have Shawn Giddens from Schuber Mitchell homes with us today. So, and we are going to be talking about evaluating your home builder tech stack. So those are. Big long fancy words, but we’re going to talk a little bit about a little bit today about what the heck that even means.

And then what the process looks like straight from the field, straight from the builders of kind of the, why, the, why, the how, and, and part of that adaptation. So, Shawn, thank you so much for coming on the show and joining us today, 

 

Shawn: [00:01:51] man. I got to tell you I’m I’m really excited. This is gonna be. 

 

Matt: [00:01:54] Yeah, absolutely.

So why don’t you tell, start by telling us a little bit about you, your role at your humbling company and your company itself a little bit about your location, you know, your, how many homes are you guys do? And then we’ll kind of dive into you know, dive into the. 

 

Shawn: [00:02:13] Yeah. So I live in Joplin, Missouri, and that’s actually where Schuber Mitchell is based out of is, is Joplin a lifelong resident here, Southwest corner of Missouri.

And most people don’t know where that is. And having an incredible wife and three awesome kids three boys there 19, 14 and my youngest will be nine this weekend. So You know, it’s interesting. I was thinking about this as we were, as I was just mentally getting in the space to have this conversation with you today that You know, my history before homebuilding and Shuber Mitchell I spent nine years with best buy and geek squad and whatever, whenever I made the decision to leave best buy geek squad I really felt like my future was going to be in technology.

A guy that I had worked with recruited me to come work at Schuber Mitchell with him, a small small company, no one could even pronounce it, let alone know what it was. And I thought he was crazy. I said, no, I’m not, I’m not going to get into real estate. Right. I’m going to get into technology somewhere.

That’s like, that’s what I’m going to do. And man, I gotta tell ya, this is the best wrong I’ve ever been. I’m glad that I trusted my friend. 

 

Matt: [00:03:23] That’s awesome. And, and we share a similarity. And so before I got into home building I was in the retail tech space. I was with the comp USA and certain city prior in a prior life, years and years ago.

And, you know, I really feel like that’s what, cause technology has been my it’s kind of hobby forever. And and that one of the things that I think was always. Fresh perspective, coming into an industry that is typically a decade behind everybody else. And so I, you know, that you coming in from that role, I think has had an amazing impact with Schuber Mitchell and, and obviously is, is directly affected by your all your all success.

So your location you’re in Missouri. Where, like how many homes a year are you guys building? What, like, how many communities are you doing? Just kind of give everybody some context. Yeah. 

 

Shawn: [00:04:14] So we were on track to build 800 homes this year, but, but like the incredible story there really is that we haven’t been in 800 homes.

Builder. Whenever I started with the company six and a half years ago we had sold less than a hundred homes. It was the next year we, we finally broke the triple digits and sales. And so a couple of years ago we were. Recognizing builder magazine as the fastest growing builder in the country.

This past year for 2020, we we hit the, the 1 0 1 mark, not quite into the top 100, but we’re so close. So that, that growth to me really is the story. But yeah, so we, we anticipate we should build a 800 homes this year. And then hopefully be on track to hit the thousand mark next year.

 

Matt: [00:05:08] That’s amazing. Unbelievable success. I mean, and so when you go from roughly a hundred homes a year and you’ve been there for six years, so in six years, you’ve scaled from about a hundred to what will be 800 this year. So with that kind of growth Definitely some pain involved, right. 

 

Shawn: [00:05:33] For sure.

Yeah. That’s 

 

Matt: [00:05:37] right. You’re like, oh my gosh, what is happening? And so. So let’s talk a little bit, obviously your growth your growth trajectory has had an impact. And, and obviously with you having a technology background you know, your, the growth has had an impact on the type of systems and processes and technology that you guys have.

Decided that you want me to continue to scale, keep things you know, organized and, and get a really good ROI. Making sure that you’re, you know, building the right stuff, right? Like the old saying of, of sell what we build and build what we sell you know, and to be able to do that, you have to have the right systems in place.

So what I want to talk about with you today and share with, share with our listeners. Is really How did you guys go through the process of what made you start the process of evaluating systems? And we don’t have to talk about the systems that you were on that your left, because we don’t want to, you know, because one of the things that can be misconstrued in a conversation like this is, you know, different systems and, and and technology is great.

Four different scales sizing businesses. Right. So we don’t want to like, make it sound like, well, this, this company wasn’t good. So we went here, but essentially it’s scale. So we won’t get into who you went, who you were with. We certainly can talk about who you’re, who you’re using or implementing now, but let’s talk a little bit about what caused you to determine.

We really need to evaluate what system that we’re using and what’s the right fit for us. 

 

Shawn: [00:07:16] Yeah. You know, it, it’s funny, Matt. I was, I was actually thinking about those previous years and I know that whenever we, our initial email that kind of got us hooked up, the, the comment was made. Schuber Mitchell is an advocate for change.

And what have we got on the phone later that day? I remember saying, you know, that’s a big compliment, but, but yeah, I don’t think that’s, that’s the right description. I think that we’re advocates for improving. And oftentimes with improvement comes change. I remember one of our first charter was Schuber Mitchell.

Whenever we would price a home and choose options for a buyer, we did that in an Excel spreadsheet, which Damon Schuber had had built this master. Awesome spreadsheet to be able to do that with, but, but then we would, we would export that tab as a PDF and then that PDF would get handed to the guy who would draw the plans and he would draw those by hand.

And so as I think through whenever we’ve, we’ve made those change changes for improvement and kind of I dunno, I don’t even know if it’s official, but, but a lot of the way that we kind of measure that is, is. On efficiency to be a systems, builder, efficiency is, is the secret sauce, right? So what are the tasks that we have people doing today?

And is there a way to separate that out? Like, like, does this guy have to be the guy that does all of those things or I know. Our, our interactive lot map that we’re switching to here in the next couple of months by making that one switch, it’s going to create half the workload for our architecture team.

So whenever you figure the cost difference and then the workload for the team and, and how much better it’s going to make that team and they get to focus on, on what’s really important. You know, sometimes those things just make sense. Sometimes it’s a little bit harder to identify what that, what that need is.

And I think you hit the nail right on the head. Like, like there are different programs, different software, different technology, different things that you have to use through that growth. So what’s working today may not be what works tomorrow and what what’s going to work tomorrow. And you know, that. It may not make sense to do it today, but you know, it may not be in the budget or whatever that looks like.

So yeah, that, that, that technology growth is also a pain point along with the other growth. For sure. 

 

Matt: [00:09:35] Yeah. I mean, one of the things, I don’t know if you guys ever got caught up in this, because it’s very common in conversations that I have of builders is when we’re talking about the right systems and technology that took, make sure we put in place is a it’s easy to get sucked into.

Well, Implemented this system five years ago, and we spent all this time and money and, and I’d really just don’t want to bail on that. Right? Yeah. And so there’s that sunk cost theory, you know the, you know, an a, a con economic term of, of understanding like, Hey, my money’s already spent there like, It’s I already spent the money regardless.

I’m not, I’m not continually spending money on something that’s not working. So whether or not I continue to use this or not, the money’s spent and it’s gone and now we just have to focus on, you know, it’s easy to lose sight of the time value. Right? So how much it’s actually costing you in man hours or people hours to accomplish said tasks.

And like you said, like you’re gonna make, you’re making a switch to an interaction. Site map product, and it’s going to save your architecture team. Tons of time because they probably are not having to do the same thing two or three times to make sure it translates from the backend to what’s represented to the buyer on a, on a web.

 

Shawn: [00:11:06] Yeah. You run into the, like you said, sunk costs, but then as much as we don’t want to admit it, oftentimes there’s pride involved in that too. Like. Oh man. Yeah. So I mean, I can relate to that very clearly the CRM that we were with. And so we changed at the beginning of the year. I went out and shop CRMs and I found, and I did all of this work and then whatever, we, we made that, like, I worked with the CRM to set up our account and I worked on the rollout and I implemented it and, and, you know, I built like all of the backend stuff like that was my.

And that CRM company is still incredible and they do a great, great job. And it would have served us well for a long time. So when our marketing team came and said, Hey, we want to change the CRM. My initial response was stat in my business. Like, you don’t know what we do, right? Like, just go tell people about our homes and we’ll work on selling them, you know?

I initially didn’t have any interest in entertaining, anything different because I’d already done the research and the CRM that they brought that they wanted to use. I have seen on social ads and things like that. And, and it’s marketed as a free CRM tool. And I thought there’s no way that this free tool is going to be able to do what are as well.

And. That’s true, the free version doesn’t, but the paid for version is awesome. And I had to swallow my pride after 40 minutes on a demo. I knew immediately that that this new CRM would be our future. And it’s been, it’s been good. 

 

Matt: [00:12:41] Yeah. And so what CA I mean, so your marketing department was the cause like, Hey, we need, we need something a little bit more powerful, right.

Or more conducive to what the things that we want to do. So was that really the, the catalyst cause you weren’t, you thought what you had was. Right. Yeah. Especially since you are the implementer. 

 

Shawn: [00:13:05] Yeah. I mean, I thought it was awesome. But yeah, so our marketing team uses marketing hub which is HubSpot’s marketing engine.

And they had been for a long time. And so what they were finding was some of the double work that they were having to do because the CRM and the marketing engine weren’t connected. So. They, they knew that I wouldn’t be really excited about the idea of changing CRM. So they did a lot of the groundwork first to really understand it before they, they brought it to sales.

But you know, really the. The major component there was once the CRM and their, and their marketing engine were connected, the, the marketing power that was gained through that is just incredible. And so and then on the flip side of that HubSpot really does serve our sales needs better than our previous CRM was doing.

So I, I was just so convinced that our current CRM at the time was so good that there wasn’t anything better because whenever we signed up for it, there either there wasn’t or we just didn’t know about it. Right. So It’s also difficult to remember that technology changes so fast and just because there’s not something better today doesn’t mean there won’t be tomorrow.

And so understanding that and, and being willing to go through that with an open mind is really 

 

Matt: [00:14:30] important. Th there’s definitely a fine line between finding that fine line between just bouncing back and forth, just for the sake of bouncing back and forth, and also keeping your eyes on the horizon.

What’s coming, you know, what it can do and what the real reasons are, you know, and the Ram and the real ramifications for making a big switch. Because, you know, as we talk about, we’re talking about CRM at the moment, but CRMs ERP. When you, when you’re already in one, right. And you’re going to make a change, you are willingly walking into brain damage, right.

It is a painful process to switch. And so it’s gotta be really compelling. To, to make that switch and sometimes really difficult. And sometimes even more difficult to get ownership on board or that whoever the decision, the ultimate decision maker is you know, it, it can be, it can be a challenge sometimes.

So when you, so your, your marketing department is already using HubSpot. Marketing engine when, when they brought this opportunity to you, because understanding HubSpot, when you’re now, when you’re connecting. You were talking about bringing in the CRM side to it. Now you’re connecting human beings into the same database is what this powerful marketing engine is.

And it literally now translates that information, that reporting down to a user level, you know, user meaning the end user of a buyer. And you really can see. To a very granular level of what’s working. What’s not, who’s engaging. Who’s not, but what were some of the things when you were evaluating it, that really stuck out that really stood out as.

Wow, this is the, the right decision for us, right? Because HubSpot or Salesforce or lasso or whomever, it may be, it can be a really great fit for some companies and not the best fit for another. So what were the, some of the compelling things for you guys that made you say, yeah, well are real. We really have to look at this.

 

Shawn: [00:16:39] Yeah. I guess the filter that I tried. To run that through is well, I run into sales folks all the time at the international builders show. And I feel like I hear the same thing in the hallways. Well, we had this CRM, but then we had this switch to this one and they’re not excited about it. And so one of the filters that I wanted to run that through was this has to be better for ourselves.

Yeah, or we just can’t do it. Like there has to be, there has to be some wild in here somewhere because if it’s not better and it’s, I, I’m not, I’m not interested in making a switch just because it serves our marketing team better. It has to serve everybody better. And so that gets tough, but you know, running it through that filter of course, you know, you can’t disregard the cost factor.

You know, had to compare costs from our previous year into that one and then understanding, okay, so this is this cost and we can do this. This is this cost, but we can do all of these things instead. So but you know, we we’ve, we’ve made a lot of those changes recently with with HubSpot. We changed our, our video email and text software.

With that switch you know, so, and then now our company is in the middle of, of switching our entire ERP, which is a major undertaking. And then we, we currently have an interactive lot map, but we’re switching to a different one. So man, we’ve, we’ve made a lot of changes here in in 2021, but You know, as far as running that, through that filter we, we just try to look through it as it’s it has to, it has to improve.

It has to be better. There has to be some wow factor there and has to be better for our team and it, and then ultimately it has to be able if we can provide something better for our team, that we can provide a better experience for our buyers. And if this change doesn’t do that, then it just doesn’t make sense for us to even get.

 

Matt: [00:18:33] Right. And so what was the, what was the big driving factor? Cause switching a CRM can be painful. Switching an ERP system is like. Knowingly walking into surgery without anesthesia. Right. So that was even, that’s, that’s a massive undertaking and not just for sales and marketing, but for the entire organization.

What was for you guys? What was the, what was the, what was the triggers of going? We were it’s really time to reevaluate what system that we’re in. 

 

Shawn: [00:19:09] Yeah. So from an ERP standpoint It’s funny. The, my first day was Shuber Mitchell home. This was also the first day that we were implementing our CRM that we use today.

So I talk about those Excel spreadsheets. I didn’t have to do that a whole lot. There was only like two plans that hadn’t been built out in the ERP yet. So I was pretty lucky whenever I came in, I didn’t have to do. The quote, unquote change. Cause it was my normal software that we’re using today. It still works fine and it would serve us for the next five or 10 years if, if we wanted to.

But. Part of what we’re changing too. We’re moving over to Microsoft homebuilder, one ERP, and some of the things that are helpful with it is it’s all, web-based it, it just flat out runs faster than user interfaces. A lot more simple. It’s very, it’s very customizable, which sounds great. But that’ll trick you because customized.

Yeah. There’s a lot of work in setting it up, but it’s worth it. And so what we found was with our current ERP, we could get that to where we need it to be the service in our current state of business. Today, we’d have to invest a lot of money to build the customizations that we need, but it just didn’t feel like our current ERP would be able to grow with us as, as we continue to grow where HB one.

Or homebuilder one once that’s set up and we deal with the initial, I think we’re on a 10 month build out program is what we’re doing to get that ready. Once that’s bill it’s ability to continue to grow with us as we grow it’s just set up for that. And so You know, it, it has been painful.

There there’s more people on our ERP team today than the number of people that worked for the company, whatever I started. And I mean, it’s, it’s a massive undertaking. It’s a massive cost. If you figure the cost of setting that up and, and the team that’s helping us do that and the labor and, and all of that.

But man, I’ll tell you our, our director of it is really, really good at this stuff. Project managing that. And you know, I, I have zero fear that we’re going to roll this out. Half-baked he just won’t allow for that. And, and I think in the past, and, and probably other companies run into this too, is you just have one person that’s kind of building it out.

And so what ends up coming up? Is a very buggy, clunky system. And when that’s buggy, the people you’re trying to implement that to get frustrated and they immediately hate it because not only is it different and as humans, we don’t like change. But then it doesn’t work like it’s supposed to, and then you spend the next five years fixing it.

Right. With our it director he just, he’s just, I’m going to allow that to happen. And I saw that firsthand, we rolled out our CRM at the beginning of the year. We spent the last quarter of last year getting that ready. And I was on that team with him. And you know I don’t always in the moment appreciate how hard he pushes for, for to make sure that that’s right, but the end result is always worth it.

And so I think that’s really one of the secrets of that success is that when we’re rolling that out we can roll that out with the confidence that it’s going to work because we’ve already built it and we’ve already tried to break it and we’ve already found 99% of the bugs. And, and that’s really, really important whenever it comes to getting your team to adapt and to adopt that program is that you’re rolling out something to them that that is functional and not something that will get us by until we figure out how to fix it.

 

Matt: [00:22:47] Yeah. And so, as you’re going through this implementation, excuse me, this implementation process. How, what does that look like for you guys? Are you bringing in, are you setting up different departmental teams to come in and kind of have different, I guess, champions of certain things to making sure that.

All departments are represented in this rollout or is your it person like the, the go-to like the only one, like, what’s that look 

 

Shawn: [00:23:15] like for you guys? Yeah. So you hit it right on the head. We have a champions for each discipline. So from sales to our, our architecture team to our, our systems, you know, a team Marketing.

Isn’t really involved in this side of things. They were, you know, we already changed their software, right. Our finance department is involved. So there there’s literally at least one person from every discipline who. We’re we’re pretty late in the build-out now. So most of us like, like this has become our full-time job and that’s the other part that’s really hard is you know, we’ve got construction managers that have had to ease into like, Hey, when we rolled this out, I need an hour a week from ya.

And then in this next phase, I need 10 hours a week from you. And now we’re in this phase where it’s like, no, no, no, like this is your full-time job now. You know, that alone is a huge commitment. And truthfully is probably the hardest part of this whole implementation is pudding handing my job off to somebody else or having to just understand that those things are on hold.

For example, our CEO made the decision at the beginning of the year that we weren’t going to increase production. This year, not because we couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to, but because we needed to invest our resources in rolling out this ERP. So we could be prepared for growth next year. Because if we try to do everything we, you just can’t do anything.

Well, when you’re trying to do. 

 

Matt: [00:24:45] Without a doubt. And I think that’s a really great point, you know, when you’re laying out your business plans and you’re talking about what your growth looks like, you know, growth, you know, most people, when you look at the, you know, you think about growth, it’s this linear line that is, that just kind of continues to go, go up, go, go, go, go up, up, up.

But in reality, sustainable and controlled growth is a little bit, yeah. Flat a little bit up, it looks more like a stair, a set of stairs than it does that. Continual like stock line of, you know, shooting way up, because you’ve got to have that. You, you, and you’ve got to have the discipline to say. This year is the year that we’re going to get our processes under control our feet under us better.

And to set ourselves up for the next tier of growth. And, and this is that, you know, this is for you guys is that year of investment, you know, and that’s investment in your systems and processes, investment in yourselves, because like you said, at the very beginning, Just a simple thing, like changing law, interactive lot site maps, you know, is going to save your architecture team time because they’ll have to do the same thing repetitively over, you know, to get, to get it to the end user.

And so that’s where you say, all right, this is this massive time investment in ourselves and our people because it’s going to make everyone’s jobs and lives better. Once this is, this is fully up. 

 

Shawn: [00:26:16] Yeah. And you know, it’s kinda crazy to think as a sales guy, right. It’s, it’s tough to think that we’re in an environment today where we’ve had to throttle.

Those sales. You know, we made a decision that, that we were going to only grow this much this year, so we can invest in this product so that we could set ourselves up for future growth. And then you run into a year like this, where, I mean, from a housing market in general, like you, you just can’t build enough homes, you know?

So yeah, it, it, it definitely takes some discipline for sure. Man, the, the results on the other side are, are definitely going to be worth it. And that’s one of the things like I described this ERP rollout to our it director as it’s kind of like going to the gym, right. Maybe not for you, but for me, I hate the gym.

I hate working out. I hate being there. I hate leaving there. I don’t like any part of it, but I know I need it. And working on the CRP is just like that. I don’t like it while I’m doing it. I don’t want to invest the time in it. All I want are the results, right? Just like the gym. I don’t want to go. I just want to look and feel better in the morning.

And so but, but you don’t get those results without, without hard work and the sacrifice and that sort of thing. So that’s, that’s a tough place to be. But. I, every time I come away from that, I know the results are going to be worth it. And that makes the work worth putting 

 

Matt: [00:27:45] in for sure. Yeah, for sure.

So from, as we use this, we kind of wrap up, this is really good, good info for, for the humbling industry as a whole, but like, is your. What would be some, some parting advice if someone’s con either a actively considering or be like shit, you know, passively considering, like, what are, what were some of the things that you would say, you know, that you need to identify internally to make sure that it’s the right it’s the right time.

And then like, what are those internal, like what, what should their own set of expectations? 

 

Shawn: [00:28:24] Yeah. Man, I think a couple of things that come to mind and we talked about it a little bit already, but I, I just think about the filters, like, like before I want to consider this change or even this new technology, whatever that may be, it might be VR or whatever.

I want to run that through some filters of it. Is it going to be better for my team? And if it’s better for my team, it’s going to be better for the home buyer. Or sometimes you have to go the other way. Sometimes you have to go, it’s going to be better for the home buyer. My team’s going to have to get on board with it.

Yeah. But improvement, I would say is, is the big, the big theme there? Like, is it actually going to be better? Sometimes we want to do things because they’re cool. But the implementation and the actual use of it doesn’t exist. Like, like this will be really cool, but will buyers actually do that? You know we had that same conversation with VR in our model.

Like that is really cool to us techie people, but as the average, Joe home buyer are going to come in and put on goggles and immerse themselves into our virtual reality experience. You know, some of those filters are like that. But yeah, I would say improvement has gotta be one of those. And, and it was through, through what we have seen.

And this, I know you didn’t directly ask this, Matt, but one of the things that we saw was. We’ve always been really good friends with beaten bow homes out of west Texas. And they’re, they’re actually the company that, that God helped us get our start. And so we’ve always tried to model ourselves after beaten bow, but, but beaten bow builds a thousand homes a year and we were a hundred homes a year and then a 200 homes a year and then a 300 homes a year builder.

And so, so you couldn’t really directly translate what they were doing, what we were doing because they’re scalable. Yeah, for sure. So one of the things that’s been so helpful about being at the international builders show is running into people like you, Matt, that, that, you know, we can go up to and say, Hey, I’m a 200 home a year builder.

What other 200 home builders do you know that, that I could start to connect with? Because then I can look at builders that are equal size and we can start sharing some best practices because our scale is the same. I, I can’t scale myself. Twenty-five builders in the country because they’re there on a whole different level than we are.

And, and I shouldn’t scale myself to, you know, the top 300 builders in the country. Cause. You know, just playing at a different level. So finding those builders that are, that are similar to what you’re doing has been huge for us because again, sharing those best practices we’ve we operate very transparent.

We’re an open book. You know, we’ll, we’ll share whatever we can with anybody if it’s going to help them out. And so finding some, some building partners that, that are around your size, same size scale to us as well. Just huge. 

 

Matt: [00:31:21] Yeah, it absolutely is. Without a doubt. I love that. You mentioned cause you, you know, you mentioned stuff like testing VR and you know, and so there’s gotta be this willingness to carve a little bit of time and money out to test some new things to, like you said, see.

Well, now we’re talking about stuff in general, not just CRMs and ERP, cause you don’t just sprinkle a little money at that. But you know, like you mentioned, VR is really interesting because about with my old home building company it was like five or six years ago. We tested VR headsets and a model home and, you know, using Matterport tours and virtual, like actual renderings that we converted into 3d and all this kind of stuff.

We were absolutely the first ones to do it, at least in our marketplace, but what we, and I thought, cause I’m a complete nerd. I thought that was super cool. But what we found was buyers didn’t want to do that. Right? Like they were like, I don’t want to put like, Like, I don’t want to share that, like put that over my face.

It’s just like, you know, you’re like, oh, well, wipe this down. And it just became this cumbersome thing and you come to a re the kind of realization of all right. Buyers are, they don’t want to do this here. What are the odds that your average consumer has their own personal VR set at home? You know, which is slim to none, unless they have like a 12 year old playing the PS4 or the V you know, you know, but like my kid, but you know, and so anyway, that’s what you’ve got to test, things like that.

The determined, like. What’s the buyer think of this, you know, like what, what’s the impact that the buyer is going to have on the buyers is this pause. And if it is, what does that change look like upstream to our company? And if it’s a big enough impact to the buyer is it going to override like maybe it’s a little more painful than we’d like for ourselves or the transition or whatever, but if it’s a better overall experience for the buyer, is that experience great enough?

Did you override the negatives for the company? You know, like, well, ultimately we’ve got to do what the buyer wants. The buyer is going to benefit the buyer and, and all that to be said, really? It’s like a quote out of Dan Collins. Good to great, but also is another great book is great by choice Jim Collins and Jim Collins.

And he mentioned, he talks about it. You know, firing a rifle shot before you fire a cannon. Right. And so you’ve got to throw a few rifle shots out there to see, really see what’s going to work before you launch the big cannon ball, blow up the whole ship kind 

 

Shawn: [00:33:58] of thing. Yeah. Yeah. It’s you know, the VR thing.

One of the things that I’m really excited about for ours and, you know, I may be way wrong here, but, but I think, I think. Our VR thing that we’re going to roll out to me where I see the value in that. I think that it’ll be really cool to take that on the road. So, you know, here in Joplin, they do something called third Thursday where they shut down downtown and, and it kind of turns into like this, I wouldn’t say a party, but, but it’s like this, this deal downtown where there’s lots of vendors and all this stuff.

And so. You know, I could see we’re getting, getting that VR out of the model home and basically taking the model home on the road, so to speak or, you know your local HBA builder shows where, you know, people are walking around that thing, trying to pick up free rulers and yardsticks. If we could bring the experience to them there to me, that’s where I get really excited about the VR stuff.

Hopefully that we’ll see that workout. 

 

Matt: [00:34:59] It’s interesting. Cause one of the things I, I, I didn’t send it to. Sometimes when you test something. So like, I did this, I mean, it may have been six years ago sometimes when you test something, the market’s not, you’re early, you’re too early. And so there’s not a high enough adoptation rate in the market with consumers as a whole.

And so sometimes you’re like, oh, I tried that a long time ago and that didn’t work. Well, sometimes those things catch on later and you have to circle back around and be like, all right, well, let’s go, let’s go give this another shot. So I’ll be really interested to see, you know, what you guys, how that, how that ends up working for you guys, because you know, you can come too early and then it’s all about timing, right?

Me personally, I think a really cool thing is going to be, I think. A big thing is going to be AR you know, you get a lot, cause I’m all about reducing the friction for the home buyer or the home shopper. And what does everyone have that they already know how to use on them and that’s their phone. Right.

And so the downside is you don’t have that same immersive experience. Right. Cause you’re, you’re not limited by screen space. But the upside is. Put this home in your pocket and take it and like put it on your kitchen table kind of deal. Right. So we’ll see. I, I we’ll have to have you back on and talk about how the, what the process was from a VR per se.

We’ve gone like way down a rabbit hole now. Cause you’re talking about, but now, now I’m just talking because I want to talk and this is what I want to talk about. But no, I, I, it will be really interesting to see. I think that’s great. You’re taking it to the, taking it to the buyer. Bringing that, and just having that in the model home.

And I will also say that your buyer adoption is also going to be heavily, heavily dependent on in this case, your sales team’s buy-in like, if they’re looking at this going, man, this sucks zone, nobody’s going, gonna want to do this then? Guess what? They’re right. You know, and so it’s, it’s all about having, you know, getting, getting the right buy-in, whether it be CRMs, you got to show them what it’s about, whether it’s about ERP, you’ve got to show them why we’re going through this pain, why we’re doing the things that we’re doing, or rolling out new, new technology, like VR AR, or, you know, VR, whatever, whatever you’re rolling out into the models.

You know, you’ve gotta be able to show them the benefit of why they should change what they’re doing so well 

 

Shawn: [00:37:22] in the. You’re absolutely right, Matt and, and, but the same is true about everything else we do. If there’s that one floor plan that the sales team doesn’t like, you’ll never sell it. If there’s that one neighborhood.

They, they are convinced that nobody wants to be in, or that it’s priced too high. Guess what nobody wants to be there and it’s priced too high. And so you’re right. The same thing is true with technology, just like it is you know, with your sales team and your marketing team, that is, they’re not all on board with, with any of it.

It won’t move. And, and as a sales leader, that’s been one of the hardest things to navigate through is Hey, this neighborhood isn’t selling. Is it really the price or is it the perception? Is it really the floor plans or is it the perception? Is it really the location or is it the perception? And so having to overcome some of that can be tough for sure, but you’re right.

That, that translates right into tech. One 

 

Matt: [00:38:19] of the things. So this was a back into a regular market where you might build a spec home. You might have trouble selling it sometimes. And so one of the exercises, this, this is almost like afterwards after the show, like after the credits post credit talk here.

But like, you know, one of the things that we used to used to do was if I was going to have to reduce the price on an inventory home before we reduced the price, we would call it, if you love your specs, it’ll love you back. And so I would go out there and be like, yeah, You’re going to have to, before I reduced this house by five grand or 10 grand I need you to sell me.

I need you to sell me this house. Yeah. And they would have to walk, demo, walk me because then at the end of the day, you’re like, Hey, it’s. Is it the lot because let’s face it, not every lot’s perfect. Right. You know, is it the color sometimes? Yes, we miss on cabinet colors. Right. Whatever it may be. Or we try something new and it didn’t work, but more times than not, it’s going to be what that individual sales person perceives the value of it.

Yeah, 

 

Shawn: [00:39:24] my, my good friend, Amy O’Connor taught us that same thing and it was happy eyes. So go to that spec, that community, whatever it is, it isn’t selling and you take the team. And the one rule is only good things. You can’t say anything negative. So, and it was started the curve. Only happy eyes. What do you see that you like about this?

What is great about the city walk, every single room, the backyard, everything. And it sounds so elementary, but I’ve done it with the team before. And it’s really powerful whenever you put yourself in that mindset of only positive vibes, only happy eyes. You know, sometimes it can be difficult to have happy eyes on somebody.

Spots, but it is really helpful. You may still end up having to do a price reduction or, or incentivize, or, or add a fence or whatever, but man, it is a powerful exercise for sure. 

 

Matt: [00:40:17] Yeah. Very good. Very good. All right. Well, I can talk about this kind of stuff all day. But we’ll have to do that a separate episode, but anyway, Shawn, so thank you so much for coming on.

I think that was unbelievably insightful. And impactful conversation for, you know, our fellow peers within the industry, anybody that’s considering, or even remotely, remotely considering evaluating their, their tech stack and the systems and processes, processes that they use. I think he added a ton of value to them.

So thank you so much for that. And thank you for agreeing to spend about an hour with me today. 

 

Shawn: [00:40:53] Hey, Matt. Thank you very much. Thank you for everything you do for just the, the home builder community. Like I shared with you before I’ve looked up to you for a long time and always appreciate your insight and just, just the knowledge and wisdom that you bring to all of us in, in the field is, is priceless.

So it’s an honor to be here with you today and I’m sure, really excited about it. So. 

 

Matt: [00:41:15] Awesome. Thanks so much, Shawn, and greatly appreciate that. And I’m very humbled, so awesome. All right. Well, I hope you have a great week and everyone else. Thanks for listening. And I hope you guys have a fantastic week and we look forward to chatting with you again.

Have a great one.

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