S1 EP38 | The Payoffs of Early Adoption With Chris Hartley

Show Notes:

Focus Discussion of the Week:

How does being first-to-market with new tools and technology give you the upper hand in selling more homes? Chris Hartley from K. Hovnanian® Homes joins us to discuss “The Payoffs of Early Adoption” and how he has found success as an early adopter by testing new technologies and getting buy-in from his team.


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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] Chris: You can’t force anybody to do anything, right? All of us, if we don’t want to do something, we may tell you we’re going to do it, but we’re just not going to do it. And salespeople are the absolute worst at telling you, or what’s the word? lip service. I’m telling you that they’re going to do it or telling their manager, Oh yeah, I hear you.

I’m going to do it. And then just not, so what we did, and we learned this, it didn’t take us long. Thank goodness. But what we learned is out of our team, there were also early adapters within the sales team that love to try new things. And then there were some of those. I don’t want to say more seasoned because even some of my seasoned veterans were the early adapters, but there are some people on your team that I’ve always done it this way.

I don’t need your new stuff. Like I’m successful. I’ve made several hundred thousand dollars a year for the last 20 years. This is how I’ve always done it. You can take your technology and put it to the side

[00:01:00] Matt: Hi and welcome to building perspective with 

Chris: Matt Riley and Mollie Elkman. 

Mollie: We’re here to bring value to you and your team by exploring all things sales and marketing related 

Chris: all from different perspectives. 

Matt: All right, and welcome back to another episode of. Building perspective, and as always, I am joined by my cohost, Mollie Elkmen, and we are diving in, which is my favorite word.

We are diving in and we’re going to be talking about 

Chris: the payoffs 

Matt: of early adoption with our guests. The one the only Chris 

Chris: Hartley of 

Matt: K Hovnanian homes. Chris, welcome 

Chris: to the show. Hi guys. I’m excited to be on a huge fans of [00:02:00] both years now for eight years. Can you believe it? Virginia Beach was the first time I met both of you guys at new home university with Myers Barnes and Group Two and Mollie had this.

Had this mascot. It was like this house that I don’t know who was in this house, but this house with around Chelsey. Okay. I kind of figured it was probably Chelsey. She was, what, 12 bins probably were breaking child labor laws. but she, you know, she would dance her out in this house and you could get a picture with the house.

Matt: It was called home girl 

Chris: home girl. Yes. It was 

Mollie: the main girl is actually hanging on group two’s wall. We had to, Chop off the front of home girl to make her into some artwork at the ages and say, 

Chris: it’s awesome. It is as well. I love it. And that is where I met both of you guys and eight years later, here we are.

Mollie: I never realized that. 

Chris: Yeah, love it. 

Matt: That’s funny. I had no idea that was where we first connected. 

Chris: Know we owe it to Myers Barnes. 

[00:03:00] Matt: Yeah, that’s right. We know the connection for sure. 

Mollie: That’s our Myers shout out. 

Matt: That’s right. There you go, Myers. 

Chris: Awesome. Well, 

Matt: Chris, I’ll tell ya, since you brought it up, it’s been eight years since it has been eight years.

And one of the things that I’ve always admired about you was your willingness to dive in to things early, early adoption, right? Like test out new technology, new ways of doing things, 

Chris: and, 

Matt: and see what works. And, I think especially in the. The world that we’re in today, how we’ve been dropped, 

Chris: kicked 

Matt: into.

Trying to catch up to the consumer finally. Cause as we, we’ve complained about like off the record on the record, everywhere anybody will listen. Like we’re always, we’ve always as an industry been behind 

Chris: and so like 

Matt: die jumping into these early things have really paid off. And so for you like starting, going, starting back, like what was [00:04:00] the reason?

What was the mentality for saying, you know what? We’re going to try some different craft than what everybody else 

Chris: is doing. Yeah. So there’s so, so many different directions we can take this. And I’ll start with one, I think, because I’m going to reference an earlier podcast that you guys did with our good friend Quint leers.

I’m an Enneagram three. Through and through, like there is no denying which one I am. So for the listeners that are listening to it, I highly encourage you to get on and take the Enneagram test because it is game changing to who you are as a person. So the core of a three is wanting to be first in everything you do.

Be first, we best leave everybody else behind. And what’s interesting is that I what? What numbers are you two. 

Matt: I’m a seven with an eight wing. 

Mollie: Okay. Mollie? I am an 

eight with a nine wing. 

Chris: Okay. Okay. So I have, I have eights and nines and mine as well. So if it’s just fascinating when you start to understand this, and I encourage the listeners to go back, listen, to [00:05:00] listen to Queen’s podcasts, we’ll go and research it as well, because you’re going to learn so much about yourself.

But when I started this, when I started Dunhill and Nathan Carlisle homes eight years ago. I went to new home university cause I was always a student of sales. I love sales. I’m a junkie for sales and I would sign up for any training and learning I could get because I’m a huge believer that you don’t know everything.

And if you think you do, you are way worse off than you, then you, you’re acknowledging. And so when I went to this, I got to, I met Matt and Matt was, gosh, you were probably only a year ahead of me. With your, with your previous company and how far you were coming along. And I quickly recognize that there are people in this industry, YouTube being two of them.

You have your will, Deuter stats and your Kevin Oakley’s and your mic lines of the world. You have these core people that are always evolving and being first. And I said, I want to be one of those people in the industry. Well, how do we get to [00:06:00] be one of those people in the industry? You just make friends with those that are there.

And what’s amazing is that everybody is so nice in our industry, like all of those people. I said, at one time I was always intimidated to talk to them, but they’re like the nicest and greatest people ever. So you just grab onto their coat, tail, hold off. And so I called Matt and I said, I got Matt’s number.

And I said, Hey, do you mind if we give have a conversation? About how you got to be where you are. but because I have a brand new home builder in DFW with a very ambitious owner, and I need to be able to keep up, and I don’t even know where to start, but you seem to have all of the answers. And Matt was, what was so cool about Matt and Matt, I don’t even know how many times we talked.

but it was like he was on a call with me every single week. Giving me guidance and advice on who I should be working with to get to where we need to be. To increase and grow the company and the organization. And without Matt, there is no way in the world we would have [00:07:00] gotten as far as what we got. Oh, I 

Mollie: love that.

So yeah, so I think it’s funny because you are so humble and I love that about you, but I love how you talk about like grabbing onto people’s coattails, because the truth is. You’re, I mean, so many people learn and grow from your relationship and they’re, they’re probably trying to learn from you. And I think it’s, I mean, it’s very nice and refreshing to see that at.

One of the things that Matt and I talk about is, especially right now, we are. You can’t hide your new home sales and marketing dorkiness and like when you’re obsessed with it, it’s not work. And, you know, we’ll send each other articles and, there are a lot of people in the industry who just, they live and breathe for this.

And I think that’s like, part of what really makes you stand apart is this is not a job for you. Like, this is. A passion and you’re, you know, you’re always reading and learning, like you said. So I think that comes across in everyone you with [00:08:00] everyone you interact 

Chris: with. Yeah. I really appreciate that. Well, and it goes back to my initial conversation with Matt because there’s a lot of opportunity in YouTube especially, and you guys said this at the start of, of, the pandemic is that it is your responsibility to educate people as much as you can for free.

Right? There are a lot of people that tried to monetize this mess upfront, and I get a lot of questions, from people, some in the industry, some without is, why don’t you just start your own organization? Or why don’t you charge to tell people your story or what you learned or the advice that you’re given?

And my answer is so simple and it goes back to Matt Riley didn’t charge me eight years ago, and if it wasn’t for Matt. I wouldn’t have gotten Dunhill homes. And what’s funny is, is the outcome that he had with Royal Oaks and selling it to a Mattamy, right? Matt was anatomy was the same as what I had with Dunhill homes.

Ultimately. Exiting what a [00:09:00] $65 million sale to try point group. Matt. Matt was just about a year ahead of me in everything, so I had somebody to watch and follow along the way and luckily he’s such a cool dude that he allowed me to do that. 

Mollie: I’m going to have to fight you on something. I am already Matt’s biggest fan.

Matt: This is quickly becoming 

Chris: my favorite episode of all time. 

Mollie: That is actually blushing right now. Like his face is like, he like doesn’t even know what to say. I 

Chris: think I don’t handle compliments, but if you look at it though, it was so simple because we got on the phone and, and Matt told the owner of my company was Richard Dixie said, Richard, luck.

I’m going to tell you exactly who you need to work with to get your company exactly where it needs to be. You just need to get out of Chris’s way and let him do it. And I was very fortunate to have an owner in Richard dicks that said, I’m going to give you the ability and the budget to make it happen.

Just make me a [00:10:00] lot of money on the way. And I did. And it was because of Richard’s ability to let go. Which as you both know, it is so hard for an owner or a president or a CEO to let go of the purse strings and let somebody else take it. But we had a saying at Dunhill homes and it’s then it’s something that you guys will know too.

It’s not a new saying, but it was out national, the local and out local, the national. So here’s what’s cool about this, because I work for a large publicly traded home builder now, and there are huge advantages to being what a publicly held home builder. There’s huge advantages to being small and midsize and private too.

And if you look back on that statement out national, the local, right? So we were trying to act bigger than what we were. And then out local, the national, which just means a maneuver quick, because when you’re in the toughest housing market in the entire country, in Dallas, Fort worth, you have to be quick and you have to do things differently.

And in that seven years before we [00:11:00] sold that company, we grew to be the seventh fastest growing company. And all of DFW. And it was because we took the core values that Matt instilled in us eight years, seven years previous. But by the time we sold it and said, we are going to do things differently, we are going to be the trendsetters and the trailblazers and everything we do.

And it got to the point and this eight at my core being a three, it got to me when I saw a company do something cool before I got to do it. And so that’s the competitive nature inside of me is say, wait a second, why is there somebody else doing something that we should have been asked to do? And so we very quickly got a reputation.

And in home building too, if you want to launch something, go to Dunhill and Nathan Carlisle homes first and see if you can launch it there. Because if it works, Chris has an extremely big mouth. He’s going to share it with everybody. And that’s the same with lasso and inner now and Atlas are, I mean, the list goes on and on about the people.

That helped me get the company to where it needs to be. And when I say people, if you think about it, all those [00:12:00] people work for companies. But if it wasn’t for the relationships, the core relationships inside of those organizations, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to get the organization to where it needed to be and have a really strong supporting cast.

And Lindsey Bryson and Melanie Clark and Ingrid Prince, I mean those, those three girls there believed in the mission. And we did everything we could to support each other to get us where we needed to be. It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun. So 

Matt: what you’re saying is in order to be able to be an early adopter, you have to have 

Chris: a core level of buy-in 

Matt: from the people within the organization around, you know, above you that are going to support it by writing a check and the people around you that are going to help implement.

Said early adoption of whatever and everyone knowing 

Chris: first and foremost that we’re going to try 

Matt: a bunch of things. We’re going to have to change [00:13:00] a bunch of things. And there’s also going to be a bunch of things that don’t work. And, but what, when we do hone in and find the one out of the 10 that does work, it’s going to be a home run and we’re going to lead 

Chris: the pack.

Matt: And what’s really interesting, and I, and I do want to point it out. cause you mentioned 

Chris: that the 

Matt: Dallas Fort worth market is a really challenging market. And I think a lot of people will look that 

Chris: are 

Matt: outside of DFW, look at that and go challenging market. It’s huge. Have you seen the number of transactions that happen and the, and the number of permits that are pulled on an annual basis there?

And that is definitely an outsiders. Thought and an opinion, because in a similar market now, Dallas was much larger than Raleigh was. But in the sense of people look at the Raleigh market as well, where I was or am and say, well, that’s a really great market that you’re in. Yeah. Well, it’s also one of the most right behind Dallas competitive [00:14:00] markets in the nation.

and so to be able to execute and do what you’ve done in. One of the most competitive markets, if not the most competitive market in the country is incredible. so yeah. 

Chris: Yeah. I appreciate you saying the high end. It’s when you look at DFW. Yes. Everybody’s always like, Oh, things are so good there. You do 35,000 new homes a year.

Yes. I mean, there is a saying, this has, God bless Texas and I’m not from here, so I can, I can understand that statement. but we are very fortunate in the sense that we have employment records that are through the roof and we are one of the highest locations in the country for six figure jobs and so on and so forth.

But with that brings every national home builder that you can possibly think of. And what’s interesting though is that at the top 10 home builders in DFW, most of them are privately held. But you have Daryl Horton here in DFW that has 6,000 homes a year. Leonarda that does 4,000 homes a year. I mean, you know, we’ll do here at chaos Ninian we’ll do five [00:15:00] 5,600 homes this year and we won’t even be in the top 15 so that’s what’s amazing about that.

You put that anywhere else in the country and your number one, two or three. So it is competitive not only amongst the privates, but the public’s as well. And, and you are right. You have to have buy in and. To kind of sidestep this, where that bind is going to come from. And you said this, and our friend Kevin Oakley said this too, because we did work very closely with, do you convert the entire time and, and hats off to them for helping us with our online sales program and Kevin and Andrew over there.

But Kevin is very specific when he says this, and I want the listeners to listen to this very closely. The only way you’re going to be able to do anything new is to already have a budget set aside to do it. And this budget is called a research budget. And with Kevin, it was a, it was a non-negotiable. 5% of your budget at minimum was going to go to trying new things.

And I ended up speaking out so much about the research budget that we got that thing to 10%. And [00:16:00] that research budget, having that money set aside. I never once had to go to Richard Dix, the owner of the company and say, Hey, I want to try enter now, or I want to try Atlas RTX at a cost of $5,000 a month and ask permission or have to cut something else that was valuable to our business.

The money was already there. So rule number one, if you want to be somebody who is going to take your company to early adoption. Is you need to get a research budget in place because you need to be able to have dollars in place that you don’t have to ask for the youth. And that’s huge. That is huge 

Matt: line item thing for R and D.

Right. And also content, like those two things. And I know we’re not talking about content today specifically, but it really is part of an early adoption. Perspective of, you’ve got to have the content to be able to dive into new technologies and new ways of doing things. but yeah, so rule number one, have a budget for R and, D have a budget for, [00:17:00] you know, the, the content creation side of things.

For sure, 

Chris: for sure, for 

Mollie: sure. Earlier you said, you know, you use the word trailblazer, and I think, you know, Chris, we’ve talked about this before. In order to really be a trailblazer, you kind of have to get comfortable. Failing sometimes and making the wrong choices. and I think, you know, having that budget aside is to really like, I don’t want to say play with or experiment with.

It gives you that room to not always get the answer right. And I think that that’s really important because, even though people talk about failure, they don’t always share their failures. And I think that that’s something that, you know, you’re not going to. Get it right a hundred percent of the time.

And I think true trailblazer trailblazers know that because you’re trying 

Chris: new things. Yeah, you nailed it. And you know, I w I was very fortunate that Richard Dix was, he’s one of these, there are those people in the world that can have a thousand good ideas a day, right? And this, this gentleman was one of those, and maybe two or three of those would be pure genius [00:18:00] and multimillion dollar ideas.

Right? But the majority of those where you would look at the manager, shake your head like, what world do you live in? Right. And so that’s the same thing with somebody who’s trying to be a trailblazer. Now, what I always struggle with, and this is because I am a three at the heart, and I’m so hardheaded, is I needed to be surrounded by those people that would slap me in the face and say, it’s time to let it go.

Like you. Your thought or your idea that you were right is not working and we need to move on because I so badly wanted to prove that I was right. And having those people on my team to say you weren’t was, and listening to them was key to the success. Well, 

Mollie: that’s the big differentiator between longterm success and longterm failure is really being decisive and being able to make that quick pivot and change when, when something isn’t necessarily working the right way.

So, you know, I think even surrounding yourself with those people, knowing that you [00:19:00] needed that, I think is, is a huge deal. And I think we all need that. 

Matt: What I dare say rule number two. So rule number one is budget for it, right? Dare I say rule number two could be be able to pivot 

Chris: quickly. Oh, absolutely. I mean, you, you look at that and it needs to be rule number two because you, you can live and die by a bad decision or a good decision, right?

But if you hang on to a bad one, you are going to continue to, what’s the saying? Throw good money after bad. And we had to make sure that we weren’t doing that. And really, when you’re, when you’re implementing something, so this was something that came at the, that the too. And I definitely want the listeners to hear this.

You can’t force anybody to do anything, right? All of us. If we don’t want to do something, we may tell you we’re going to do it, but we’re just not going to do it. And salespeople are the absolute worst at telling you, or what’s the word? lip service. I’m telling you that they’re [00:20:00] going to do it or telling their manager, Oh yeah, I hear you.

I’m going to do it. And then just not. So what we did, and we learned this, it didn’t take us long, thank goodness, but what we learned is out of our team, there were also early adapters within the sales team that love to try new things. And then there were some of those. I don’t want to say more seasoned because even some of my seasoned veterans were the early adapters, but there are some people on your team that I’ve always done it this way.

I don’t need your new stuff. Like I’m successful. I’ve made several hundred thousand dollars a year for the last 20 years. This is how I’ve always done it. You can take your technology and put it to the side, right? So what we would do, so for instance, let’s take Atlas. RTX did, this is a text message based system that we were the.

Third home builder in the entire country to try this. This is, this is how long ago we tried out with RTX and I got a hold of three people on my sales team. I said, where are you going to try something here that nobody else in the country is doing? And so that immediately got their attention, like, [00:21:00] Oh, awesome.

And then by the way, only three of you in the entire sales team are getting to do this. So we need to keep this on the DL. So what did I do? I just made them feel really special. Right now they’re in this exclusive little club. That they’re getting to try something new. So by implementing this through those three people, I asked the question, what worked, what didn’t, what can be improved?

So on and so forth. And then what ends up happening? Because salespeople have the biggest mouth in the world because they will start telling their other peers, Hey, I’m trying this new text message program for Chris. I’m seeing huge results. And it’s so what happens is other people, I’m like, Hey, why does Ryan have this text message thing?

And I don’t have it. And then I’ll say, well, you know, that program there is a couple thousand dollars a month. If you think you’re going to use it, I’ll be glad to give it to you. But if you’re not going to use it, I’m not going to give to you. Well, of course I’m going to use it. And then what happens is the entire team is bought in on something that I wanted them to be bought in on a day one, but it was their decision because it was their decision to do it.

It’s now a [00:22:00] huge success. And we were able to cut contact to contract down by 50%. With Atlas RTX and we were early adapters to it, and nobody else in DFW, no matter how big or small you were, were utilizing text messaging as a followup process for this. And this was, gosh, it would have been four years now.

so it’s, it’s, it’s just so many little things that you have to do to understand how people work to get them to do what you want to do. 

Mollie: So what do you do in order to find those kinds of opportunities? Is that from networking from the builder show, from reading? I mean, you talked before about people, but how is it that you are able to see these opportunities and adopt them when others aren’t?

Chris: Yeah, so today it’s a heck of a lot easier, right? Because those companies will generally come seek me out. Whereas before, when I was first starting out, that was definitely not the case. And I would use people like Matt. Or we’ll do to stat or Kevin Oakley, whatever, whatever it may be. to find those things.

But I’ll [00:23:00] tell you this, get to conferences outside of your industry, right? So far too often we focus because home building is generally thought of to be a behind times. Now I do think we are rapidly catching up, right? Especially with the pandemic that’s kind of, it took an, world pandemic for us to pay attention.

what I would go to conferences outside of our industry, one of which is the, Silicon slopes in salt Lake city, Utah. I mean, this is a tech conference with the most techie tech people in the world. All they’re sharing how they were able to get buy in on the things that they were doing. And you had people such as the founder of Peloton talking.

Traeger grills. I mean, the list is ridiculous. The people that come and speak at the Silicon slopes conference in Utah, but has nothing to do with home building. But that’s something too to gravitate to. You know, you can go to the consumer electronics show in Vegas. You can, I mean, there’s so many things that you can do that you can say, how can I take this and [00:24:00] implement it into the home building side?

Because Atlas RTX did not start out as a home building platform. It didn’t, it started out, it may have been healthcare or education. But then they quickly realized that there was a home building application to it. it’s really just keeping your eyes open, reading, reading a lot. I don’t sleep a lot.

Four to five hours is a normal sleep pattern for me. you know, I know that’s horrible and there’s going to be people that are gonna shoot me a text message to tell me that I need to sleep more. I get that. But I, I am a true believer that you get 24 hours in a day. That’s what we all get. How do you utilize those 24 hours is what’s going to separate you and for me.

I don’t sleep a lot. I have to get other things and maybe I, you know, my sister’s the opposite. She works smarter, not harder. I work harder, probably not smarter. So I need the extra hours to make up for what my sister gonna accomplish on a regular time. So 

Mollie: how much coffee do you drink? 

Chris: Oh my gosh. Well, I mean, because this is on audio.

I was almost showed you my coffee. probably two Starbucks a day and probably three red bulls a day. which I [00:25:00] know is not good, which is why I train for marathon, so I don’t drop that, have a heart attack. That’s so funny. 

Matt: I first off, the very scientific word you used was techie tech people. 


that’s, that’s a very scientific explanation for that particular person.

Chris: I’m going to quote that later for something, some reason. but 

Matt: you know. Understanding, where to pivot. I think one of the things that 

Chris: people get caught up in 

Matt: is when they invest in something new, it’s like they’re in it for life. 

Chris: Like we’ve, 

Matt: and that’s a conversation I’m sure that you’ve had with people to Chris as well, but it’s like, okay, well this, we’re using this, is it working?

Not. Sucks. We hate 

Chris: it. 

Matt: Well then stop it. Like, 

Chris: stop it. 

Matt: Change, do something different. It’s like, well, we’re already invested in 

Chris: X. Well, 

Matt: guess what? That 

Chris: is a sunk 

Matt: cost. That is an economic, that is economics one Oh one business 

Chris: one Oh one that is a sunk 

Matt: cost. You’ve already spent that money. [00:26:00] You’re never going to recover it and continuing to use something that doesn’t allow you to operate at your full potential.

Chris: Is literally costing you more 

Matt: money. 

Chris: And you start looking at what 

Matt: is the opportunity costs for continuing to use crappy technology and not even same technology, but 

Chris: something that people aren’t actually 

Matt: using. It can be the best piece of technology ever, but if you don’t get people on board within your organization to use it, it’s all.

Wasted money. It’s all a cost 

Chris: and the 

Matt: opportunity cost 

Chris: of not 

Matt: switching gears into something else 

Chris: far 

Matt: outweighs the, the, the money that you’ve already spent on said tool. And that even can apply to people sometimes too, 

Chris: right? No, I mean, you, you nailed it. I’m, I’m looking at this from two different avenues.

One, you have a system that no longer works or you have a technology that people just happen to stop using. And I’ve had that did work [00:27:00] and does work, but for some reason, because salespeople are salespeople, they may just stop doing something. a great example to the second part is BombBomb video emails, right?

We were one of the initial adapters to BombBomb video emails. Huge response to these, right? Nobody else in the marketplace was doing them. The sales team loved it. We were running contests, we were running competitions to keep them fresh. Who can do the coolest BombBomb Halloween video? Who can do the coolest a spec home, video, whatever it may be.

But over time, as we started adapting more stuff, more technology into our business, BombBomb video, emails started falling off. We were spending $700 a month as a division on a system that fewer and fewer and fewer salespeople used. So as you’re saying. We had a great technology, but we were spending hard cash on this that the team just found something else more valuable.

So we were holding onto something that either I as a [00:28:00] manager needed to reengage or I needed to let go and recognize that something else was taking over for it. But on the flip side, same thing with, let’s say you have an awful CRM system and gosh, starting a company from scratch, we had several, and that was the number one complaint is because we would get purchasing to say, well, the CRM has already built into this system that ties into our system, so the sales team needs to use it.

It doesn’t work. It’s not built as a CRM system. So no, we’re not going to use it and we are going to use something that’s going to be better for that. 

Matt: And if we’re not selling anything, we don’t have anything to estimate. 

Chris: Right. That’s so true. I mean, you nailed it. So, and this goes back to, and maybe this is a very arrogant way of looking at things, but coming from the sales side, I’m just going to say it.

I believe that everything starts and ends with sales. Now. Construction, we’ll say that purchasing, we’ll say that. So on and so forth. But I believe that if you are not a sales driven organization, you are always going to be behind. Because if you’re not selling. [00:29:00] You’re not building, you’re not closing, you’re not generating revenue, and we need to make sure that the sales team is the ones that are able to push the early adoption onto things and get the items that they need.

We all, we always said 

Matt: that. The home 

Chris: building company was a three legged stool. 

Matt: It was sales and marketing, construction and finance, and without any of one of those three, the whole point of a three legged stool is literally you take one of the legs out from under him, the whole thing falls over, right?

And so sales and marketing has to lead the way, but it each department, those are the 

Chris: three pillars of the company 

Matt: that make it go. and if and with what you’re using, if it doesn’t line up to optimize, those things, the, none of it. None of the rest of this stuff matters at all. 

Chris: Yeah. No, you’re absolutely correct.

And I am very fortunate here in switching over here recently to . We have a phenomenal purchasing department here. And the gentleman actually just knocked on my [00:30:00] door while we were doing this. And I said, Hey, let’s check, cause I want to get your. Sales team, the best tools to sell the most amount of homes.

I mean, how cool is that that you have a purchasing team that says, Hey, we recognize that we need to limit the number of options, but I want to make sure that you have the best options to be successful. And that really works from having a respect amongst all the departments. Although I say it’s all about sales, I do recognize that, you know, we can’t sell anything if purchasing doesn’t set it up for us first.

so it’s a good point. There is something else that I want to, I want to say here, and I actually came up with this and I’m trademarking it, which is why I’m bringing it up again. I’m totally 

Matt: not 

Chris: totally not trademarking it, but I did a, I did a webinar with a company called runway and runway. has 95% of the home building business in Australia.

It’s amazing. And the girl that runs it and owns it, her name is Nicole Godfrey, and I love talking to her because her voice is so cool, and she calls me mate all the time. Right? It’s just fun to talk to her. But I did a webinar with her and it was about leveraging [00:31:00] technology for builders and developers, which is something that we don’t typically look at.

And Tom Woliver was the host of, of this webinar. And during that time we were talking about, he mentioned how there are some people that are just sitting back on the sidelines hoping that this virus goes away so they can get back to business as usual. And then there are those people that are adapting to the new norm.

And I got to thinking about it and I said, okay, well, there’s actually three A’s here. We call them the triple A’s. You have those that are going to avoid technology and everything around you to go back to the way things always were because they’re comfortable being there. Right? So those are the avoiders.

The next day is the adapters. These are the people that have seen somebody else do all of the cool work, and now they’re saying, Oh crap, we better jump on because if we don’t, we’re going to be left behind and we’re going to be those people that get mixed out or fired from our jobs because we’d need to adapt.

I think adapters. The other word for that is you are a reactionary person. I would much rather be proactive [00:32:00] than reactive. Right. And then so that third day is an accelerator. Trailblazer, trendsetter, whatever it may be, right? So it rounds out the three A’s. If you are an accelerator, you are the one that is seeking out different ways to do business to be better.

And if you are constantly seeking out a better way to do things, you’re not going to be that person that is stuck in an organization that says, well, that’s the way we’ve always done it. And I have heard that here at my current place. And I quickly said, look, no offense to everything that you have done in creative because it’s great, but we can’t look at anything and say, this is the way we’ve always done it, because we are going to be that company in two to three years.

That’s going to be looking at and saying, gosh, we had an opportunity and we missed it. So let’s not adapt. Let’s not avoid, but let’s accelerate and be the leader in change. And. That is for those people that are listening to this as part of a private or a small, build or whatever, you have the [00:33:00] best ability to do that.

You really do. 

Mollie: I think sometimes when you look back, even just a year or two, you know, you’re doing something right. If you think about a year or two ago and you’re like, Oh my gosh, can you believe that’s what we were doing? Because you’ve come so far in such a short amount of time. And I, I do that all the time with group two, like to think about two years ago or four years ago or six years ago.

It’s crazy. I mean, it’s a completely different company now. And, I think that. I think that’s a really good gut check. As you know, for our listeners, think, think about a couple of years ago and where you were, and if it isn’t drastically different, you probably can push a little harder. 

Chris: Yeah. And so I’m glad you said that because I listened to your guys as podcast.

I think it was April 15th. I’d have to look back on what episode it was. But Mollie, you as the owner of your company, and this is something where I’m so proud of you as a friend, is that you said that. Your success will be keeping everybody on your team employed. I mean, how cool is [00:34:00] that? How cool is that in an in a, in an error where small companies are getting their butts kicked.

You, I don’t even know how old you are. You’re, I know you’re under 40, under 40 and amazing. and you have Matt as your sidekick there, but I mean, your team is like the highlight reel of the 40 under 40, and talk about adapters, you know. Well, actually, screw that. Talk about accelerators because you know, I look eight years ago to the stuff that you guys were doing eight years ago, and I look at it today.

And we could all laugh 

Mollie: the whole night, can I can cringe, 

Chris: which is, you know, when I left, when I left Dunhill TriPoint trend maker, I posted something on LinkedIn with a superhero that was in a Dunhill outfit. And I kept that from year one in my office because it was a reminder about. How dumb some of the stuff was that I did in the beginning, so where we were today.

and it’s good to hold on to things in the past to say, look what we’ve accomplished. And for you, I think you took over a second [00:35:00] generation 10 years ago. Was it 10 roughly? Yeah, definitely. So you look at like your organization that’s 10 years old. You look at Spencer pals, that’s 10 years old. You looked at O’Neill, which is 10 years old.

I mean, you look at all the, you look at, do you convert this 10 years old? I mean, to think where all of you guys have come in 10 years. Is amazing, and it’s because you are accelerators, you’re not adapters or avoiders, and it’s just necessary to survive. 

Mollie: I really appreciate that. I do. I do have to say, because something you said earlier really is a key part of that, and a lot of our listeners are not the techie tech people.

Did I say it right? That’s what you said. 

Matt: Official word tech tech. 

Mollie: So you guys, you know, I’m sitting here and I listened to you guys talk and you are absolutely techie tech people and I’m not. And part of that is why Matt and I worked so well together because I’m more about branding and you know, on the creative side, and he’s all about like the data and the tech.

And I think it’s, it’s [00:36:00] okay. For our listeners. Yes, you want to learn what you don’t know and, but it’s also okay to be aware of what you don’t know or aren’t passionate about and surround yourself with people who are really good at those things. So I think that’s a big part of it as well. 

Matt: Agree. The other thing that, Chris, you said this 

Chris: in a roundabout way, 

Matt: and I think it’s.

So important. I want to 

Chris: clearly identify it, and you can 

Matt: add it to your list of a words. 


but it would, I think it becomes. Like the final statement in, in 

Chris: early 

Matt: adoption, adaption, adoption of whatever, however you say the heck you said that word. It was my son, my Southern accent 

Chris: coming out. 

Matt: so is 

Chris: accountability 

Matt: because you can roll out 

Chris: and 

Matt: test all you want new stuff, but if you’re not holding your team.

Chris: Yourselves accountable 

Matt: to use it the right [00:37:00] way. You can’t truly test whether or not it’s actually successful. And that is the one thing. Cause the one thing that I, I to this day still talk about, which is basic is this example, with sales managers, with VP of sales and marketing. And depending on the size of the company, even the owner of the company is.

As basic as a CRM, right? If you’re going to use a CRM, the person that’s driving the ship, has to know how to function 

Chris: inside of that piece of 

Matt: technology. Because if you can’t, if you can’t be the person to say, let me show you how to do this. You can’t hold them accountable. Because if you’re saying, Hey, you know what, you, this is really important.

You need to know how to do it. Hey, hi. And then I asked you like a week later, Hey, can you help me? Oh hell, I don’t, 

Chris: I don’t look at that. I 

Matt: don’t know how to use that because I don’t need to be in there every day. It’s definitely the do, as I say, not as I [00:38:00] do kind of mentality and without accountability.

And you were saying this and I just wanted to emphasize it. 

Chris: But 

Matt: without accountability, you can’t have any of the other things is you can’t 

Chris: test whether 

Matt: or not it’s truly working. Then you’re just throwing stuff at the wall, seeing what sticks. Do you agree with that? 

Chris: Yeah, I do. And here’s, here’s one here.

And this is embarrassing to say, this is why I agree with you, because this is where I fail. and, and I say that is, I am such a high level thinker on ideas. That, and I had such an amazing implementation team and Ingrid Prince and Melanie Clark and Lindsay Bryson, that I would come up with the high level idea and I would say go and Ingrid would be my champion of making sure that that worked in and out, and if people had questions on it, she knew the day in and day out.

Well. Now, this is what’s very sad on my part as a leader, is I then became a pretender in the sense that I couldn’t [00:39:00] go in and help somebody on a day to day issue with X, Y, or Z because I may have come up with the, with the idea and the level, and I knew when it worked and I knew how to read the reports, what I didn’t know how to get in.

And it was one of those things. And I happened to know that I was leaving the organization, so I knew that it wasn’t going to be a core function of me learning. But one of the things that I loved about starting someplace new and it’s so, I love that you brought this up. As I said, never again am I going to allow myself not to know how to do everything in the company.

And it goes at one point when we were small enough, there wasn’t a single thing I didn’t know how to do. Yeah. And then we became bigger and bigger and bigger, and I kind of let more things go and I didn’t know. I’m so excited to come back to someplace, start fresh and to say, look, I don’t know anything, but I want to own it.

I want to know how to do it. If, if, if there is a customer that needs to have a contract written in, the sales person must leave. I’m going to step in and do that. I want to know how, whereas at the last place, after we switched [00:40:00] processes for like the fifth time, I forgot how to do. I didn’t know how to do it.

And that’s embarrassing. That’s a, that’s a horrible thing as a leader. And it reminds me of a story and you know, I’m 39 years old now. It reminds me of the story that my sophomore year in high school I was, I was very good at soccer growing up. And so I made the varsity soccer team super young. And so my junior year I was named captain of the team.

And back then you had to run two miles. And under 13 minutes. Now there is no way in the world I could run two miles under 13 minutes. So what did I do? I didn’t show up. Now this today at 39 years old, eats at my core. I hate this. I did. And show up. That’s not a leader, right? That is not a leader. I had an excuse for one of my classes that I couldn’t show up to run the two miles and under 13 minutes.

And as crazy as this sounds. I think this is what drives me to my core of why I run [00:41:00] marathons now. Because all of my friends will laugh from that soccer team cause we are still friends. My closest friends are my friends since the seventh grade, which is weird. but they will still say it’s amazing that the guy that refused to run the two miles in high school, and it’s amazing that they still talk about it.

By the way, people are always paying attention, which is my point. But it’s, they’re saying it’s amazing that the person that wouldn’t run the two miles in under 13 minutes is running marathons now. And it’s because at my core, it still bothers me that I was not the leader that my team deserves. And that’s where you need to step in if you’re going to implement anything, if you’re going to be a leader in anything, you need to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

And I had failed at that at, gosh, it would have been 1617 years of age, and it still eats at me at 39 so you got to live it. Yup. 

Matt: Absolutely. Awesome. That is really good stuff. And it’s, it’s interesting because, you know, we start off with the payoffs 

Chris: of early 

Matt: adoption, adoption, 

Chris: you know, the word. 

Matt: and I think that [00:42:00] turned into a really good paved the way.

Here’s some steps. But along the way, the, the interesting thing about it is that 

Chris: it wasn’t about the 

Matt: technology itself. It was all, it was all about the people, the people, the 

Chris: buy-in, all of that. 

Matt: The so getting early adoption to tech about regarding technology isn’t actually about technology. It’s about your mindset and the people within the organization that are actually going to execute 

Chris: on that piece.

Matt: And I think that for me is the big takeaway is we make it, it’s 

Chris: not about the technology still. 

Matt: It’s about the people because the technology won’t work without the people 

Chris: that are behind it. I think you should just drop the mic right there. 

Matt: Virtual mic drop. 

Mollie: I think we should make the title of this. Teki teki 

Matt: teki teki tech talk with Chris Hartley.

Mollie: Great information 

Chris: not to get this [00:43:00] mixed up with a tick tock. Yeah, tick, 

Matt: tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. Yeah, there you go. Anyway. Awesome, Chris. Well thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your day. I want to be, you know, aware of your time. You’ve carved out almost an hour to chat with us and I really appreciate it.

You’re a, you know, a busy man and your time and your time is in high demand, so I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us and sharing your wealth of industry knowledge and how you. You know, some of the steps you took to get where you are and how to be a leader in an innovator, in an industry that’s not known for 

Chris: that.

Matt: So really appreciate you taking the time. 

Chris: Well, I want to say thank you to both of you guys want for your friendship, but to, for always encouraging me. And I would, I would state this for the audience that’s listening. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out to anybody. because Matt, Mollie, everybody that we talk about is extremely kind and patient and willing to give back to everybody that contacts [00:44:00] them.

and it’s, it’s amazing. Whatever webinar I do or whatever, I get a ton of text messages saying, Hey, can you got, you have five minutes where you can talk to me? Of course, because I believe just like the two, you believe that we have an obligation to give back. and because of that, your careers are wildly successful and I’m gonna work really hard to keep mine going in that right direction too.

So just thank you for your friendship because you guys do inspire me and motivate me daily. So thank you. Thank you. 

Mollie: Thank you for being on. 

Chris: Thanks Chris. Thanks guys. .

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