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June 29, 2022

Mastering Home Builder MarTech: Q&A With Kalee Davis

In continuation of our discussion of MarTech, we had the pleasure of sitting down with real estate agent and broker for Celebrity Custom Homes, Kalee Davis at this month’s Builder Town Hall to discuss the importance of implementing Martech into your business practices. In this session, we discuss the PRICE BLD-R tool and how Kalee has been able to use it to smooth out the sales process and improve customer experience.  

Q: Tell me a little bit more, Kalee, about your background in the industry. How long have you been doing what you’re doing? Why do you do it? 

A: I grew up in a construction family: lots of home building and home renovations. I wanted to stay far away from it, but I didn’t do a good job at that. So after college, I ended up getting my real estate license and then started working for Heritage Marketing, which is a brokerage. Now I’m the broker primarily for Celebrity Custom Homes. I do all their new home sales and I work on the marketing team.

Q: Kalee, I’m dying to hear about a tool you’re using on your website called PRICE BLD-R. Could you tell us about how long you’ve been using it, what it does for you, and how it works?

A: We implemented this on our website in January of 2021. So we’ve been using it for about a year and a half now. And one of the developers, Betsy, probably just got tired of me complaining about not having pricing information available to our buyers. But in all seriousness, I think it’s just a common frustration with new home sales. So Betsy and her team knew what was missing and created this tool to try and bridge that gap for buyers and home builders, and it has definitely done that for us from our website.

Q: Have you seen any frustrations or difficulties in sales because this tool creates a lot more questions or conflict?

A: I think it actually makes our process a lot smoother. I spend way less of my week answering basic questions like, “What is this home going to cost me?” That’s my most common question, and it’s a hard question to answer because we offer semi-custom floor plans, but we can customize them a lot. So there’s a lot of availability and options and pricing differences in the homes that we build. 

PRICE BLD-R helps with this confusion because it answers questions such as what the HOA is, what the average property taxes are, and what the base price, lot premium, and exterior elevation, are for any of the floor plans buyers are interested in. It also allows them to pick a level of upgrade. Then it totals up for them and gives them a summary of their new home. Even though the buyers are not picking specific options for their home, they’re coming within a few $1,000 typically of their total purchase price. It’s very transparent.

Q:  What would you say to people who are in the industry who would say, “Well, I think I would scare off people when they get this much information” to make them understand the importance of implementing technology of this nature?

A: Yeah, that’s what my builders and a lot of people in our office were concerned about with this tool. But the truth is, you’re going to lose those buyers anyway. You’re going to lose them in two months or three months, once they go to the Design Center, or once they get more in-depth with the process. And then it’s frustrating for me and the rest of you as salespeople to have wasted all of those hours with those buyers. So my explanation is, that I would rather not waste my time with them. And even though it may feel like we’re losing more people up front, we’re not losing people once we’re already invested in them as a client.

Q: How do you use technology to help provide a customer-centric experience?

A: We just found that a lot of buyers looking at new-build homes were choosing to go resale because of the transparency with pricing. And that’s the part that was missing for us because it felt like our buyers were just in the dark with pricing. And not because we wanted them to be but because it felt overwhelming to get them all the information that we needed to get to them, for them to understand pricing. Now, with PRICE BLD-R, it’s a simpler, much more user-friendly experience that they can do from home. 

Q: What advice would you give either to an organization or other sales and marketing teams on how to kind of adopt a new MarTech tool?

A: Be open and willing to learn something new. I will say that’s hard for a few months — gathering all of that information and making sure it’s organized — but then what it does for us for years to come is worth the work. It simplifies the whole process and makes our buyers happy, makes us happy, and saves us all a lot of time.

We look forward to seeing you at our next Builder Town Hall! As a reminder, we will not be meeting in July, but don’t forget to mark your calendar and register today for our session on August 5. In the meantime, be sure to join our Builder Town Hall Facebook Group and keep the conversation going!

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