Builder Radio Podcast: Selling More Homes – Episode 106
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Builder Radio Podcast: Selling More Homes – Episode 106

April 2nd, 2020

Episode 106 of Selling More Homes: The Monday Morning Sales Meeting features a discussion between Jerry and Scott with Bill Webb to discuss the topic, “New Home Versus Used: Redefining the Value of Energy Efficiency.”

But before they get Bill on the line, Jerry and Scott discuss an upcoming webinar with Melinda Brody, a sales trainer and mystery shopper. They’ll discuss the importance to follow-up in the sales process within builder digital marketing. So be on the lookout for that.

Sit back and enjoy this informative discussion on the differences in energy efficiency between new and older homes.

Click here to listen to Episode 106 of Selling More Homes: The Monday Morning Sales Meeting.

Contact us for more information.

FULL TRANSCRIPT (with timecode)

00:00:00:27 – 00:00:18:28

This is selling more homes than Monday morning sales meeting program number 106 this week, we’re joined by our special guest, Bill Webb, with the topic New home versus used redefining value through energy efficiency. And you’re listening to the Selling More Homes Media Network.

00:00:24:24 – 00:00:28:24

Welcome to Selling More Homes, the Monday morning sales meeting for Jerry Rulo.

00:00:28:26 – 00:01:00:19

I’m Scott Stroud. Every week we bring you interviews with sales and marketing professionals to help you find more buyers, close more sales and earn more money in this challenging housing market, whether you are a realtor, builder, sales or marketing manager or new home specialist. This program has been designed just for you, selling more homes. The Monday morning sales meeting is a production of the Selling More Homes Media Network. So get ready to listen, take notes and enjoy this week’s program.

00:01:12:29 – 00:01:25:13

Welcome to the Selling More Homes Media Network. I’m Gerri Willis. I’m Scott Stroud. Scott, we are going to another great interview this week after this interview. I’m heading down to New Orleans, to New Orleans.

00:01:25:15 – 00:01:26:28

Tell me what’s going on in New Orleans.

00:01:27:07 – 00:01:40:29

Well, I have an opportunity here to do some training with the Make It Right foundation. You know, the the group down here that Brad Pitt started to help the people in the Ninth Ward as far as building homes.

00:01:41:01 – 00:01:42:13

Oh, yeah. Nice.

00:01:42:16 – 00:01:52:16

So I’m going to do some training there on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday here and work with their people on how to do a more effective job, hopefully.

00:01:52:21 – 00:01:55:00

Oh, good. Good. Drew, that sounds exciting.

00:01:55:10 – 00:02:07:27

I’m going to miss the webinar that we’ve got coming up this week, which is on Wednesday with Melinda Brodie. You’re going to be able to handle at WWT this week. So we’ll take care of things here like you. Tell us about the program coming up this week.

00:02:08:12 – 00:02:28:01

Well, Melinda is going to speak with us, Melinda Browdy, who is a sales trainer, mystery shopper, and very well acquainted with the sales process and how to coach people on that is going to talk about Follow-Up and the importance of follow up. And we’ve already have quite a registration so far. This is going to be a very popular topic.

00:02:28:29 – 00:02:59:27

Yes. So if you haven’t registered yet, they’re still going to register for this coming Wednesday’s program. Let me just give you a little bit of background on the word. Melinda runs a firm called Melinda Brody and Company in Altamont Springs, Florida. And Melinda’s job over the years is she’s a professional mystery shopper and she does mystery shopping as well as have people all over the country who do mystery shopping for her. And she’s evaluated over 10000 salespeople in her mystery shopping evaluation.

00:02:59:29 – 00:03:06:06

So if anyone has some doubts about follow up here, it’s going to be Malanda.

00:03:06:10 – 00:03:24:24

Wow. Well, she’s promising to share with us 10 tips for getting results with your follow up program. So I want to find out what those 10 tips are, how to implement them. And she’s also going to discuss how to avoid common mistakes that our shoppers often pick up on. So we’re interested in that, too.

00:03:25:27 – 00:03:58:15

So I’m always anxious to get my. So it should be a great program. This week, Scott, we have Bill back with us. Yeah, Bill is also from Florida. He’s from the island, Florida. And Bill Trainer, management consultant and has worked with home builders and land developers and realtors all over the United States. And he’s actively involved in the Institute of Residential Marketing, which is part of the Sales and Marketing Council, which we have been promoting and talking about over the past few months, I guess.

00:03:58:21 – 00:04:07:17

Yes. Yeah. And he’s an excellent trainer, fantastic speaker, very well known in the housing industry. So we’re happy to have him join us today.

00:04:08:06 – 00:04:12:12

Well, why don’t we get a bill on the air and listen to his words of wisdom?

00:04:13:29 – 00:04:16:18

Bill, welcome back to our program. It’s great to have you back with us.

00:04:17:02 – 00:04:26:06

Oh, it’s great to be back with you guys. I have such respect for you and Jerry and what you’re doing. And any time I can help, I’m only only too happy to try.

00:04:26:11 – 00:04:38:26

Well, we always enjoy hearing from you. You’ve always got something meaningful to share with our audience. And today your theme is selling value. First of all, Bill, why did you choose that topic today?

00:04:39:25 – 00:05:10:09

Well, God, I know that most everybody that is listening to this interview has had a challenging year, and that’s true of me, too. But in the midst of this, it has been an extraordinary year for me in that it has opened up a whole new avenue to be successful in what we’re trying to do, which has to do with selling value. So that’s why I chose that topic and that’s why I want to talk about it.

00:05:10:11 – 00:05:15:29

And if I can get the words out right, I think maybe the folks who are listening to us will gain some benefit from it.

00:05:16:07 – 00:05:44:26

I’m sure they will. You know, you brought up a point that I really hadn’t thought about in that is that we’ve kind of skirted around this topic and addressed it in the past. And several of our guests have talked about the importance of getting away from the price market that is out there and showing value. But even among those that have been in the industry for a very long time, such as yourself, value has taken on a new meaning, it seems, here in the last few months.

00:05:45:12 – 00:06:20:00

Yes. And certainly every customer who has arrived at the doorstep of every client that I’m working with has wanted to start the process by asking about a price if price was always important. Now it appears for many people to be the only factor that they have in mind. And when they want to talk about price, it seems that they don’t want to talk about paying more. They want to talk about paying less. And that may work for them, but it doesn’t work for anybody that I represent.

00:06:20:02 – 00:06:52:14

And and we have been driven to the wall this year on trying to figure out how to deal with that. And we’ve come up with some answers. That concern for price starts with the idea in the customer’s mind that all homes are the same, and asking a builder to confront the idea that its customer thinks his homes are no better than anybody else’s is is painful. Believe me, I’ve done it many times. And no one who puts this effort into building a house and takes the risk to be a home builder is comfortable with the idea that they come out at the end of the day with a mediocre product.

00:06:52:23 – 00:07:39:12

Mm hmm. And I have a tendency to use the word mediocre because of the shock value and then explain. I don’t mean mediocre in that it’s bad. I mean mediocre. And that is just the thing. And there is no measurable difference in how one builder puts together a homes and he builds as opposed to any of the competitors, unless a particular builder goes out of his or her way to create that difference. And the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of homes built in the United States today are built as code minimum homes because builders instinctively feel like they need to keep their costs as low as possible in order to have a chance to make a profit.

00:07:39:14 – 00:08:15:29

And there are lots of gurus out there, well-known, nationally known instructors, counselors and consultants who specialize in helping builders be more efficient in holding their costs down in value, engineering their houses on the premise that that is the best and most prudent way to assure a profit margin. But the ugly other side of that coin is that that condemned houses to be the same as our competitors house down the street or across town.

00:08:16:15 – 00:08:23:00

We were feeding the customers perception that our houses are the same. They’re all built the building code, aren’t they?

00:08:24:20 – 00:09:00:24

Is no reason to believe your houses are any better than anybody else’s. And so as marketers and sales coaches, we’re left with the fact that there is no rational reason. For a customer to prefer our house over someone else’s, and there certainly is no reason to ask them to pay more for our house unless we can somehow in some other way create a preference. Well, I’ve spent my career trying to figure out how to create that preference.

00:09:01:03 – 00:09:32:05

And I’m sorry, I have learned a lot about how to do that. And I believe strongly in what it is that I have learned. But at the end of the day, I have to admit that it’s smoke and mirrors. We’re trying to build relationships with people. We’re trying to have them want to buy our products because they like the salesperson they’re working with and they want to reward that salesperson for their energy and their expertise and their excitement by buying from them.

00:09:32:28 – 00:09:57:13

We pay a lot of attention to trying to understand motivation to make a purchase. I think I know as much about that side of the business as anybody, and I believe strongly in it. But all of it is a substitute for the fact that there is no rational reason to prefer my product over someone else’s other than location and architectural design.

00:09:57:28 – 00:10:24:17

So what you’re saying is that it’s getting more difficult to differentiate your product in terms of buyer preferences. And I think that preferences that’s got to be a fairly wide range. So we do it in other ways. We’ve talked about product and the importance of differentiating that service is obviously an issue. But I take it that there is more to selling value here. And that’s what you’re going to tell us, right?

00:10:25:09 – 00:10:27:28

I’m going to try real hard, okay.

00:10:28:18 – 00:11:06:15

Because what I’m looking for on behalf of my clients is the ability to charge a premium for their product and in charging a premium for their product, entice more people to want to buy it. And that seems like it would be physically impossible, but that’s not true. So on the subject of price, when it arises, never works to the builder’s advantage. And the only reason the buyers press that subject is because they see no particular reason to buy from one builder as opposed to another builder.

00:11:07:13 – 00:11:43:00

Therefore, prices left as a deciding factor. That’s to say that new homes are a commodity. Once the corn is in a silo. Julio’s corn is just as valuable as Mary’s. Corn is just as valuable as Tom’s corn. And if you’re going to decide who’s going to buy, you ask for the least price because there is no difference in the product. Well, that never literally true in our business, but it’s way too close to being true for comfort. So what we’re trying to do is create a positive differentiation.

00:11:43:02 – 00:12:17:27

This is hardly a new concept. That’s why so many builders spend so much time agonizing over the details in their design plans, trying to build in the right mix of excitement and space value and practical utility in their houses and create the differentiation on the basis of the product design. I’ve got long and dear friends in the architecture business, and this is when they’d be raising their hands and smiling with a big grin saying, Come over here and I’ll show you how to do that.

00:12:18:00 – 00:12:49:21

And if you went over there, they’d show you how to do that. Right. And they would be very good at doing that. But there’s only one problem. As soon as you come up with a design idea that is demonstrably superior and creates customer reaction. All of your competitors, unless they’re asleep at the switch. We’ll take note of the fact that you created something that makes a difference and they will duplicate it as quickly as we possibly can.

00:12:50:19 – 00:13:07:04

So any advantage you getting in architectural design is quickly lost, and if you’re going to take that path, you’ve got to keep pushing the bar, pushing the bar, pushing the bar, and it becomes more and more and more difficult.

00:13:08:26 – 00:13:33:26

That leaves location is the great differentiator. OK? And certainly there are lots of instances where we can say the location of this product, which I would expand to say buying the land at the right price, has given us our ticket to ride. We have a uniquely attractive and convenient location and or we bought the land.

00:13:33:28 – 00:14:20:01

Right. And that allows us to put more value into the structure and still meet the price point we’re shooting for. For the total package structure and land, and believe you me, right now, people are doing this everywhere I go, the market is remerging, land is still cheap. Now’s the time to be taking advantage of that opportunity to create a differentiation based on the land. But it gets even better, what has floated my boat in the last year is the almost accidental discovery of how much ground you can gain by actually creating a difference in the structure itself.

00:14:21:11 – 00:14:29:19

A difference that is clearly demonstrable, a difference that the customer grasps instantly.

00:14:31:06 – 00:15:04:13

Wants to our. And is willing to pay a premium for now as a marketer, I’m a happy guy, right? Because if I can combine a valid reason to prefer my product with a better way of presenting that product. That creates all of the psychic connections that I’ve been such a fan for all these years.

00:15:05:09 – 00:15:53:00

Then I have a double barrel shotgun, and when I pull the trigger on this one, both barrels are going to go off. It was. And it’s hard for me to miss it, both bells go off at once. So. The magic ingredient, at least in my experience this year, which I put in to all of the folks who are listening to think about, is energy efficiency. I’ve been through an experience this year where we have discovered that we can, through a combination of equipment, components and construction techniques, build a house that is markedly more energy efficient than a similar looking house we would have built by this builder two years ago.

00:15:53:10 – 00:16:17:04

And the instigation for following this program was exactly that. My staff, because we have followed sound business management principles, sound construction principles and sound marketing and sales principles consistently for several years, we arrive at a point where we have eliminated all of our competitors.

00:16:19:10 – 00:16:53:18

Market dominant builders. Who once controlled our destiny are gone and we now have their share. Now our biggest competitor is not other builders. Our biggest competitor is homes we built for other people two and three years ago that are back on the market now at discounted prices. Sometimes a short sales. Wow. And customers come in and say, well, why should I pay for both for your house? You want to build for me this year when I can get exactly the same house you built for somebody else down the street at a 40 percent discount?

00:16:54:16 – 00:17:00:26

That’s a hard question to answer, but it’s a question that you’ve got buildings all over the country being asked.

00:17:01:07 – 00:17:11:16

Well, I think so. And in my job as a marketing coach and management consultant, I’m supposed to come up with the answer and we’re all listening.

00:17:12:25 – 00:17:54:21

Well, I can’t claim credit for the answer. This was it was a collaboration. But it is it is the answer. The answer to that question is, well, Mr. Mrs. Smith, it may look like the same home, but it’s not. And let me show you why. And since this particular client happens to be in the state of Florida. The impetus for this comprehensive program. Came from a connection with the Florida Solar Energy Center, which is a research think tank that’s associated with the University of Central Florida and is funded by the state of Florida and the US Department of Energy in Washington.

00:17:55:22 – 00:18:27:16

And they’re scientists there who spend their every waking moment trying to figure out how to make homes more energy efficiency, energy efficient because it preserves natural resources and indirectly impacts global warming and and lessens the amount of oil we have to import from people that don’t necessarily like it very much. So anything that can be done to make homes more energy efficient is in their sights.

00:18:28:25 – 00:18:41:09

And they were looking for a builder who could put their ideas into practice and we were looking for a way to differentiate our products based on the structure itself. And it became an instant and happy marriage.

00:18:43:11 – 00:19:18:10

And we’re now building houses that are 40, 50, 60 percent more energy efficient, and from the customer’s point of view, there is no increase in price. Wow. So unlike the green concept, which frequently says, well, you know, you got to be a zealot, you got to want it, you got to want to do your part for the Earth because it’s going to take you eight, 10, 12 years to recoup your investment. With this approach to energy efficiency, there is no increase in the investment.

00:19:19:02 – 00:19:52:06

What you get is substantial cash saving from day one every month when you write your electricity bill. It’s the sixty one hundred dollars less than it would be for the same house across the street, operated in the same way as though the same family lived in it and live in the same manner. And the differences in the structure. We’re in a market where everyone demands a discount.

00:19:52:21 – 00:20:08:00

All we’re doing is doing less of a discount. That’s how we recoup our cost. From the customer’s point of view, they are not paying a premium, but they are getting a better product and they’re lining up at the door.

00:20:09:07 – 00:20:11:23

I would think so every energy bill has a discount.

00:20:12:12 – 00:20:46:08

Yes, you know, we don’t have enough time in this hole in this interview to explain how this works. But somebody is curious. I’m sure you’ll tell them how they can get in touch with me and I’ll point them to websites and talk to them on the phone. And it would be my pleasure to do that. But we start off with major components, like a solar hot water heater, better quality windows, more insulation, solar powered attic, ventilation fans.

00:20:46:28 – 00:21:01:28

And though the list is extensive of items that are in the house that are not the same as those components would have been if not in an energy efficient house. But we learned along the way.

00:21:03:13 – 00:21:37:24

That the bigger difference in creating energy efficiency in the home is the way the home is put together. The journey here is getting your trade to say good enough is not good enough anymore because Gudina lowers the energy efficiency score this house can earn. And our program requires every home to be independently certified and tested to a very high degree of performance.

00:21:38:06 – 00:22:22:15

And things that used to be OK aren’t OK anymore. I like that because this is an instance where marketers can go to the builder side of the business and say, we can’t do this without you guys. You have a role to play. Let’s get in this boat together and you grab your and we grab our OR and if you build it right, we will sell it right and everybody wins. In my experience in 30 years in this business, that there is an unfortunate this disconnect sometimes between the guys and gals who create the product and the guys and gals that market and sell the product, it exists in companies.

00:22:22:17 – 00:22:37:27

It exists in local homebuilders associations. It exists on the national level. And everybody says, oh, no, it doesn’t. But yes, it does. And one of my wife’s missions is to stamp that out because it’s silly.

00:22:39:16 – 00:22:55:19

We’re all in this business together and we all need each other to prosper in this business, and taking the journey of energy efficiency is a marvelous way to get everybody on the same page and get them pumped about what it is they’re doing.

00:22:56:28 – 00:23:32:12

You want. Yeah, what I’ve heard here is a combination of things that have that are all clicking together to work, and I think it’s a it’s a powerful idea that builders anywhere can put into play. Number one is that you’ve chosen energy efficiency because that’s a universal issue. There’s no place that energy efficiency isn’t going to get interest from a buyer. A couple of other things that you mentioned. I like the fact that you are involving the subcontractors, all the subcontractors, and making each one accountable for the finished product.

00:23:33:02 – 00:23:45:03

I think that unity is going to build a better product just in itself and getting that attitude. And then you’re educating your buyers as to what the real differences are and what what’s in it for them. It’s not it’s no longer business as usual, is it?

00:23:46:10 – 00:24:27:25

No. Anthony, as a professional marketer, this is what marketing is all about. This is all about branding. This is what lies underneath the concept of branding, and I love brands. I love Rolex. I love BMW. I love John Deere. I love my blonde pins. And the greatest brand of all is Harley Davidson. The premise behind all of those brands is that you should be enthusiastic about paying a premium for my product because my product has a charisma that is unavailable in any other competitor in our product line.

00:24:28:28 – 00:25:01:10

Well, there’s my psychological approach, my values and lifestyles, motivational approach to making a connection. Different people have different values, sets and will value different attributes of the product. Well, that’s a powerful way to make a connection with people. But how much more powerful when you combine that with demonstrating or superiority for the product? Rolex is the superior rotch.

00:25:02:12 – 00:25:07:06

It has the charisma, but it has the credentials to back it up.

00:25:07:20 – 00:25:10:21

Exactly. Now, I’m a happy guy.

00:25:11:20 – 00:25:44:10

So the exciting thing this year for me is that the pressure of the challenge in the marketplace has forced me and folks around me and I’m really fortunate to be in their company to dig deep, go outside the box and find an answer. And now that we know the answer, the phone for me is to share that because it works for one client or for any client, energy efficiency works in any market in the United States of America.

00:25:45:00 – 00:26:21:27

It delivers financial benefits. Increase in comfort in living and a huge increase in indoor air quality. And we can demonstrate and say truthfully, the worst air that most people breathe, the most toxic air that most people breathe is the air in their own home. And if you care for yourself and you care for your family. You cannot turn away from an opportunity to knock that problem on its plate.

00:26:23:11 – 00:26:38:02

Because part of being energy efficient. Is increasing indoor air quality, reducing humidity, regulating temperatures more more evenly and filtering all the air that moves.

00:26:38:15 – 00:27:12:23

It comes with the deal, so it’s a chance for people to save money, live better and do good at the same time, because every dollar they don’t pay, the electric company represents a gallon of oil or a pound of coal that’s not burned. It’s a good deal. It’s a way for home builders to take their position in leading this economy out of the doldrums. It’s a way for individual builders to gain a competitive advantage in their local marketplaces.

00:27:13:11 – 00:27:41:28

It’s a way for us to provide a better quality product that costs less to run to our customers. Everybody wins with every one of these houses that’s built. And I’ll tell you the brand name. Some smart tell you the name of the company. Lifestyle homes. And if you call me up, I’ll point you to their website and you can learn everything there is to know about how this works.

00:27:42:21 – 00:27:51:24

Because everybody wins with every one of these houses that’s built and it ought to be our mission to get more of a built.

00:27:52:24 – 00:28:22:18

Bill, this has been a fascinating discussion and both the ideas that you’ve shared with us here, like you said, it wins on every level for every every person the emotional in. Is there the rationale, the reasoning. Boy, thank you for sharing this with us. And I’m sure that every every listener here is sitting up and taking note and thinking about how they can apply these things into their own business. Thank you so much for sharing these and for being our guest again, Scott.

00:28:22:21 – 00:28:23:13

My pleasure.

00:28:29:16 – 00:28:39:29

Well, Scott, just a few more different angles, a few more different questions, you know, a lot of different approaches and some of those things, you know, it’s just so obvious. I wonder why I didn’t think of.

00:28:40:24 – 00:29:01:14

Well, you probably would have if you’d have been there on the on the scene. But, you know, the points that he makes that we need to differentiate ourselves are not only reasonable and practical ways that our bias can justify, but also in ways that engage the emotions that make it exciting for people to look at our homes in one own them.

00:29:02:11 – 00:29:25:21

Well, you know, another great interview with Bill. And, you know, you know, he was doing a program, I think it was last week or the week before. I forget where I was already. But I keep telling people I, you know, just amazed how much you and I learn each week when these individuals, people like Bill and Melinda Browdy coming up this week. I just want to share with people about people all over the country.

00:29:25:27 – 00:29:38:25

Just some things happen, more so I think, than in the last three years we’ve been doing this. If I could put agreed to it, I must have gotten three college degrees just just from the speakers. We’ve had been able to listen in all of these.

00:29:40:05 – 00:29:56:14

Well, great. And for our listeners, you know, Scott mentioned earlier in the program here, if you haven’t signed up for the lenders program, they’re still paying to do it. It’s just coming Wednesday. You can go online and register and build a radio broadcast. So until next week, I’m Gerri Willis.

00:29:56:18 – 00:30:00:26

I’m Scott Stroud. And thanks for listening to the song My Home Media Network.