Doublewide Dudes – Improving the Home Buying Experience
Mauricio: All right. All right. Welcome back to another episode of the Doublewide Dudes, kicking off episode two, season two, back at it AP. I’m excited about the episode. Technology’s changing everything, not just the home buying experience, but in general, right?
Alberto: It is. You know, we’ve got four kids so we don’t get to get out of the house much. There’s not a lot of people lining up to babysit our tribe. So sometimes our date night is finding an awesome movie and just grubhubbing whatever restaurant we wish we could go out to. And that’s just game changing in our world. You get to track the drivers, see where they’re at. When your food’s getting there, don’t even have to leave the couch. You can bring whatever restaurant you want into your house.
Mauricio: What’s your go to spot?
Alberto: Sushi’s our go to. You know, every month, every other month we try to do something. So, we go all in on trying different roles and then two or three we know we’re going to like.
Mauricio: Grubhub’s awesome. The first part of that was just a taxi part, right? Uber and Lyft. I mean, just a simple explanation or a really good understanding of how technology changed that, right?
Alberto: Well, can’t forget Amazon, they’re really the ones that led the charge one click buy, Amazon prime, everything. Now they’re getting into the streaming game. Yeah, the whole world’s changed and even locally, HEB, my wife, she goes on her phone, clicks all this stuff she wants to order from HEB and then she schedules an appointment, on the app and she just pulls into their parking lot. Someone comes and loads her vehicle and then she drives home and takes 10 minutes to get it all done. It’s crazy.
Mauricio: Yeah, I’ve seen that for the HEB, I haven’t used it.
Alberto: It’s sweet. You gotta give it a try. Well, you’re buying for you and Michelle. We’re buying for like a whole army at our house. Maybe a little more convenient for us than y’all.
Mauricio: Elsa goes into the HEB and then just bringing back, you know, 60 bags, probably easier just to use that app.
Alberto: Well, every time she’s going through the checkout line, you can just feel that the person that registered her groceries is just judging her. How many people are you trying to feed right now?!
Mauricio: A small army.
Alberto: But yeah, these, these experiences aren’t just driving how we get around and how we order food. It’s now, you know, Amazon, Uber, Grubhub, HEB are driving our expectations as consumers in all aspects of life. Right. I think we now know what a good experience is. And once we felt it somewhere else, we feel a bad experience even more.
Mauricio: Right. Just driving the behavior and how it was, I think none of us expected this. I sort of grew up with technology, you know, so it’s hard for me to kind of give a good underlying basis of how it was, but just in general, no one really saw this coming.
Alberto: Yeah. Well, and even for us, growing up with technology was playing Oregon trail when we were in elementary school. It wasn’t one click and bam, there’s our Sushi platter at the door. It’s nuts. I got to sit in a Tesla car for the first time. That’s out of control.
Mauricio: I’ve been wanting to experience that.
Alberto: Yeah. They’re wild. I’m sitting passenger and the gentleman I was with was driving and there’s a screen right in front of you in the driver’s seat where you see all the cars around you, what they’re doing, I mean, it’s all this internal AI that’s trying to figure out, you know, is it safe to go or is it not, but I, I don’t know how you drive in that thing. I couldn’t take my eyes off that screen. That’s the coolest thing I’d ever seen.
Mauricio: What about like the, the sound? Is it silent? Like driving down the road?
Alberto: It is.
Mauricio: Did you notice that?
Alberto: Yeah. It’s got some get up and go. The acceleration on that is out of control. Yeah. Technology’s changing everything. I was reading from the National Association of Realtors, they said 81% of millennial home buyers found their home through a mobile app.
Alberto: And at first I thought “well that’s nuts.” But then I look at at us, 70 plus percent of the people we help, we never meet. It’s entirely online and over the phone. It’s definitely where our industry is going, too. It’s not just the Ubers and Grubhubs of the world. People are now expecting that in the home buying experience.
Mauricio: Right. And that’s a strong correlation there. Mobile homes to regular site built homes. The 81% was for Trulia and things like that?
Alberto: Yeah, Trulia, Zillow, just homes in general. Right. Um, so probably wasn’t all new construction. Actually, definitely wasn’t all new construction. Most of it was probably pre-existing homes. But that just shows you where the markets going.
Mauricio: Yeah. I mean site builds, that had a headstart I think on app. Right? People finding that stuff through the app that wasn’t really accessible for mobile homes. So you know, us going towards that directions is huge.
Alberto: Well, that was the whole goal. You know, if you’re buying $1 million, $2 million home, a lot of the stuff we’re doing, you can find that there’s other companies doing it. There just wasn’t a company doing it in the affordable housing space, right? And really, if that stuff’s out there for $1 million homes, it should be there for $30,000 homes.
Alberto: Clayton has been an amazing factory partner. They hosted the Elevate conference out in Tennessee this past fall. Rachel, Jeff and I, we all got to go and some of the stuff that speakers were talking about was just crazy, on how expectations are changing all across the industry. How we went from, you know, we used to be an eight to five shopping consumer mindset. Now it’s, it’s 24/7. If I’m about to go to sleep and I remember I’m missing some fishing line for my Sunday trip, it’s a one click buy, bam. It’ll be there in two days. It can’t get easier than that.
Mauricio: Yeah. Like I’ll be chilling at home watching TV with Michelle, and then all of a sudden I feel like I need to buy new shoes and I go online and search for it and bam, they’ll be arriving in a couple of days. So definitely that, that mentality has changed.
Alberto: And I think it really started with who has the power, right? If you go back even a decade ago, you don’t even have to go back that far. Salespeople had all the information, which means they had all the power, right? But Google changed all that. Now as a consumer, I don’t have to believe what someone who’s a
sales person’s telling me. In fact, most of the times I’m going to go into it not believing them, right? I’m going to read the reviews. You know, look at what they’re putting out. Are they putting out stuff just to sell me or is there some kind of message, some kind of substance there?
Alberto: And I think now people want to learn from brands, not just be sold. It’s a big part of why we wanted to get back on the podcast. Just show the world we’re real people running a real business.
Mauricio: Yeah, absolutely. I think that a lack of information when you’re out searching for a new product, you would rely on that salesperson or that person that’s helping you out, giving you proper information, and you would just cross your fingers, hopefully they’re telling you something right. Not just looking out for their best interests, and really looking out for what you need. Ideally, we all want the world to work that way, but we know that’s not the case in some instances.
Alberto: Well, now with the internet, you can’t hide. You know, if you’re shady your reviews are gonna tell the world and they’re gonna stop buying from you. There was a speaker, and I know I’m going to butcher her last name, but Mandi Mankfitz at this elevate conference said 77% of brands could disappear and nobody would know. And to me, that was just such a powerful statement. In a lot of ways, true, but there are those brands that you know, for example here in Texas, HEB, that’s the brand we’re all rooting for. They could do no wrong.
Mauricio: Perfect example.
Alberto: You see their Super Bowl commercial by the way?
Alberto: They’re giving away free groceries for life.
Mauricio: Oh, yeah, yeah. With that actress. She was promoting the app.
Alberto: I think Eva Longoria. My wife, that was the only thing she wanted to watch the Super Bowl for was to sign up for free groceries for life. And then I read the fine print and free groceries for life would cover about a quarter of our cost. There’s a million of us trying to eat, but yeah, they’ve just built such a powerful brand and part of it’s having those funny commercials with the spurs and the coyote and all that. But a big part of it is when things like hurricane Harvey happened, there’s a 10 mile long convoy of HEB trucks going to deliver water and groceries. And they really are a brand of the community.
Mauricio: Yeah. Right. I mean, they’ve been around for a long time, long time. And I think their mission or goal was to provide that customer service back in the day. And they’ve been in business 80 years without the internet. So having that strong foundation has allowed them to keep that reputation.
Alberto: Well, and I think kind of like what we’re doing, you know, they’ve definitely embraced tech more than any other grocery store out there, but it’s an extension of what their focus was, right? They’re not just building technology to be a technology company. It’s an extension of what they started with- a better customer experience. And when you go and ask somebody for help in an HEB, they’re going to take you to the aisle and make sure you find that item. Which if you’re, you know, we don’t need to talk about other companies, but there are other places you go and you don’t get that. If they even know they point and hope you find it, right? But starting off with that then led into the technology because that mission kind of transferred over.
Mauricio: What are some other your favorite brands that you can think of that are going to provide and hit 100% of the time or close to it?
Alberto: You know, on a smaller scale I think of this restaurant down the road from us, Viva Pho. Pho is like a Vietnamese comfort soup. Elsa and I first tried it on grub hub and then we went in.
Alberto: But the experience that this woman and her husband deliver, we go in and there’s six of us sitting at the table. Well, the next time we come back, she remembered what my wife wanted to drink, what she got to eat, what the kids wanted. I don’t know how she did it. I mean there was no app, no technology, purely the effort to try to engage with your customers. And so now that is one of the few restaurants that everyone in our family likes and agrees on. It’s hard with six opinions, but it’s also one of the few restaurants that we won’t order from online because we enjoy the experience of going into that restaurant so much.
Mauricio: Me and Michelle have similar experience in a Vietnamese restaurant close to our place. So we like to go there, but it’s consistent. You know, we didn’t have the opportunity to get recognized when we back in there. Knowing what we want. But just the consistency’s there and, and once you find a spot that you like going to, it’s exciting to go back and know that you’re gonna get the same service.
Alberto: Well, I think that what that shows is, even in a world of technology, you don’t have to be a tech company to live up to the expectations people expect. It is a little selfish as a consumer, but we expect companies to care about our wants and needs ahead of their own, and to make it easier and more enjoyable for us to interact with them.
It was crazy sitting up on this discussion panel at the Elevate conference, you know, there are over 500 people there from across the industry nationwide, and to be so new into our business and our company and to be asked by a company of that size to share what we’re all building with the rest of the industry was super humbling.
Alberto: But it’s a lot of what we’re talking about here. We just, we listen to the customers and we try to build stuff to fix their problem. Sometimes it’s technology, sometimes it’s hiring someone like Richard that just came on the team, that I know is going to help take some of those customer service calls off off y’alls plate so that we can get back to people quicker.
Alberto: When we’re helping over 200 families, it’s finally time to have a central person for customer service. I know that was a chunk of time off y’alls plate and you know, there were times where we weren’t getting back to people as quick as we would have liked. Our customer service score says that people are loving it. But I think internally we weren’t satisfied with it. We all knew we could do better.
Mauricio: Yeah. I think back to our process, I like to tell people that how we actually care is the most important part, right? A lot of the people have the same factories, all the same financial institutions, but actually caring is just the biggest input I want to tell customers. So applying that directly to our customer service and having Richard take that off our plate is exciting. It’s huge.
Alberto: Yeah. Well, I think right out the gate, we all started with the kind of mindset that we could build a company for profit and for people simultaneously. We didn’t have to pick one path or the other. We could do it all together. And a big part of that is this investment we’ve made over the last three years on just educational content.
Alberto: I think we’ve got, well I know we’ve got over a hundred blogs that Rachel and Jeff have written. We’ve got, I think 40-something video education series now on our blog series. Adam and the white cloud drone team are doing an amazing job producing that for us. And you know we’ve been cranking that out on a weekly basis for almost a year now. And now we’re back in the the Gameday Media studio getting the podcast going again. This room’s legit by the way.
Mauricio: It’s a long way from the living room back in my apartment.
Alberto: (Laughs) We’ve upgraded from your living room with the podcast for sure.
Mauricio: It’s awesome. But yeah, having content is great and every time I’m looking for new stuff, I think content is what catches my attention, whether they’re telling a story or highlighting details about their product,
it’s just captivating. Seeing a good well produced video so you can get their mission and just figure out what they’re trying to sell, what they’re trying to put out.
Alberto: Hopefully something you can learn from. You know, you know you saw me your fly fishing rod, but I’m on this whole fly fishing kick in in the companies I continue to go back to buy stuff from are the ones that have all of these how-to videos where you can watch and then go to the river and try something. And if someone’s helping me learn how to get better, then I’m more prone to trust them and trust their brand. And I know we’ve definitely seen that with the number of customers that have told us at closing or on their reviews that a lot of these videos or things we’ve made have helped them answer questions they had. That’s really where all this stuff comes from. What questions are people asking us that we don’t have answers for already on the website and how quick can we get those answered and thrown back up there.
Mauricio: That reminds me of a customer of mine. She was out in port Lavaca and at the very end after the service was done, we’re chatting about it. Like what made her choose us right so far away and she said she was researching a company for two years. Two years before she even picked up the phone. She’s like, yeah, I followed your guys’ growth and saw what you guys are doing and I just knew in my gut that I wanted to choose you guys.
Alberto: That’s powerful.
Mauricio: When she was ready to make that decision, she knew our company was the one she wanted to choose and she didn’t know anything about us other than the content and information we put out online. She had never talked to any one of us. Even then, she was still, once she got on the phone with us, she was a bit skeptical and rightfully so. Her dad was saying, “Hey, they’re online!” You know the old school mentality or feeling that it’s going to be a possibility that they’re going to not have your best interests in mind. But she drove up, all her expectations were met after developing something for two years. Think about it. Thinking of something for two years and finally reaching out, getting it done and everything goes as expected. It’s gotta be a good feeling.
Alberto: She didn’t call you out for letting her down on the podcast? (Laughs) We definitely fell off in that two year period.
Mauricio: Yeah. I don’t know if she was a listener, but yeah.
Alberto: Yeah it’s critical. And that’s really where the journey starts. And I know our team has really done what they can to put themselves in the shoes of the customer. I mean heck, Ern went through this process as a customer first. So, you know, seeing the world through their eyes, you see that the home buying
journey starts a year or two years before they ever call us. And it starts with a ton of questions, and I think it’s our job, it’s really our obligation to them to allow them to answer these questions without talking to us. Right? People don’t really want to talk to sales folks, and we should allow them to answer questions without having to talk to them. And I think that’s why we made some of these changes on our website. Our website’s been completely rebuilt over the holidays, Josh and Jeff up there in Wisconsin are doing a heck of a job.
Mauricio: Amazing job. I love the way it’s turned out. I can’t even think of January 2017, how our website look then.
Alberto: It was a spreadsheet.
Mauricio: (Laughs) Yeah, it was rough.
Alberto: Definitely doing it on a budget. It’s come leaps and bounds from where it was, with the instant delivery estimator. One of the things in that research phase, whether it’s two years out or whatever, you want to know what something costs, even if you’re dreaming. Right? Can I afford this? I think back 10, 11 years ago when my wife and I bought our first home and we must’ve looked at two, 300 homes just in this dreaming phase. Seeing what was out there, what we could afford and what our budget was. And we can’t live up to our goal of helping people have an educated home buying decision if we don’t have pricing up there. And just putting the price without an easy way to see what it costs to deliver, that wouldn’t really serve that either. So I think that delivery estimator has been huge. And what about new option and pricing tool?
Mauricio: Yeah, I mean that was feedback from customers. How it’d be cool if they could do that. A lot of different factories have all types of options, but we’re right now dealing with a few that have few options. So putting that on the website and allowing them to price that out is great as well because then that lets the consumer just know what the final price is going to be.
Alberto: We almost said, do you ever use the subway app to order a subway sandwich?
Mauricio: I have, yeah.
Alberto: We almost have the subway app of affordable houses. (Laughs) Do I want to add one kind of thing, I know it’s going to be an extra 50 cents, but I really love some avacados. Throw it on there. Do I want hardboard siding? I know it’s going to cost extra, but it is extra insulation. Click the button. Bam. There’s a price.
Mauricio: Yeah. I mean a lot of people have expectations of what things should cost before they go into the search of something. They talk about what their family, what their goals are and what they want out of life. So now they start a new journey and they have expectations on what it should cost. I constantly come across people thinking, “Oh, it should, it should cost this much to deliver” and their expectations aren’t really in line with reality. So us providing the tools to help them get that before even taking a gamble and trusting somebody in person or over the phone is amazing. Right? So clearing that up out of the gate and not playing games and gimmicks and trying to tell people that they’re getting the best deal just going through us. I mean, it’s just incredible. I mean, that’s, that’s huge.
Alberto: If we didn’t have the best deal, we wouldn’t put it front and center for the whole world to see, right? But you know, aside from that, it’s the experience. And again, going back to that, no hassle, people just don’t want to talk to salespeople. We’re in sales. It doesn’t hurt our feelings. It’s the reality. We don’t want to do it either in our lives. And it just goes back to trying to see the world through their eyes. And really, I think a lot of that is what’s gone into this new hybrid dealership concept where we’re building out a full on mobile home dealership, what everyone else has out there in that there’s homes you can walk through. But the only difference is there’s not gonna be salespeople there.
Alberto: And some of this stuff, it’s going to be in the testing phase and beta phase, and I’m sure we’re going to get a lot of this wrong out the gate, but with what we’re doing as a team now where we have these, these chats with Jeff or Rachel, we can give somebody an iPad and let them live video chat with you. For instance, if you were their sales rep while they’re inside the house. But it gives them the power of clicking that off button. If they’re done, you know, rather than, going back into an office being asked 50 million times to buy and then the manager comes in and asks you again to buy. Nobody wants that.
Alberto: So I think giving them the ability to see homes, of course put on the goggles if they want to see the virtual tours of other models we don’t have there. You know, what John Perry was able to do with that augmented reality stuff that we’ve got in HEB, it still blows my mind when I see a home pop of a piece of paper, it’s out of control. But it’s part of, part of that whole theme, right? Getting it fun, making it fun and exciting to go down the road of buying a home.
Speaker 2: But from another standpoint, not having salespeople at every dealership we build allows us to keep our costs down as a business. And just like we’ve done since day one, that allows us to pass those savings on to the customer and it’s just a win win all around, right? The company wins, the customer wins. And I think, you know, one of the more important parts that doesn’t get talked about a lot is making sure that team members win. I am extremely proud of the fact that our team members are some of the highest paid team members in our industry because I think we found that secret recipe, right? Using technology to make our business efficient keeps our costs down, even while paying for the best talent out there. Which allows the customer to have a better price but also the best experience.
Mauricio: Right. And it goes both ways because you want our team members to have a good experience as well. You don’t want us feeling like shady individuals trying to catch that big customer. You like fly fishing, it’s like on the line, like they got the hook and they’re trying to reel it in. But I hate feeling that way. I’ve been in the industry for quite a while and in sales before that, just feeling like you want to sell something, and you just go to work to sell something. That’s not the way to live, at least in my opinion.
New Speaker: It’s kind of grimy. Yeah, it definitely wears on you. That I think the core of what’s led to our success over the last few years is everybody’s bought in. Like we’ve always talked about, we’re building the team we all wanted to work for. And part of that is, you know, having that balance between work and our life outside of it. I think we’re all running about a 40 hour work week now, which is huge. I mean, when I started in the industry, I was easily 90 hours a week.
Mauricio: 80+, yeah.
New Speaker: Out of control. But I remember starting off in my early twenties at other sales jobs, I just remember looking around and if you didn’t feel secure in your position at the company or didn’t really feel secure that the company gave 2 cents about you, it’s almost like we didn’t even have the luxury of caring about the customer. And I think that’s what’s so critical about what we’re building, making sure that our team members feel that they’re super valuable in what we’re building, and that they’re secure, that they’re gonna give their all the company, the company is going to take care of them. And that frees them up to focus on taking care of the person on the other end of the phone.
Mauricio: Yeah. They’re not watching out for their neck, right. Where in other places it’s all individually focused and based and just look out for yourself, make money and go home. Where there’s no churn at our place.
Alberto: Zero turnover.
Mauricio : Since we started, not one person has left and, you know, in 10 years I don’t know if that’s possible still, right, with some unforeseen circumstances possibly having somebody leave. But uh, building a company where everyone’s focusing on improvement and excited and even someone new two, three months in, being able to give input to the company on what direction we should go. I think back to John when he started, you know, someone at a new company, like ideally it’s growing and you want to input, like “uhh, just do what you’re told”, at any other place. But him, he’s come up with some really good ideas right off the bat and him coming in and seeing that we’re not transitioning and putting into play is great. So having new team members kind of dictate and see how they want to create this space for them. I mean, that’s incredible,
Alberto: Well, and that goes a long way to making people feel like they’re part of what we’re building. And I mean, we’re honest with everybody, we don’t know what we’re doing. (Laughs) There’s no way we could have predicted where we’re at today if we went back in time three years ago and told our past selves.
Mauricio: Yeah, how it’s gonna turn out and what we’re doing.
Alberto: So yeah, team member feedback’s critical, and as always that customer feedback, you know, constantly asking the folks, how can we get better? I know David and his team are going to be working on that for the new software, but like the conversation you have with a woman in port Lavaca, you know, it’s great to know that some of this stuff we put out there led to making her decision a little easier so that we can do more of that. I know a lot of people like to work on weaknesses, but I think, you know, one thing we’ve really excelled at is focusing on what’s working and just doing more of that stuff. Right? Let’s build more of that cause people like that.
Mauricio: Alrighty. Well I think that wraps it up for episode two, AP. Thanks again for listening guys. And we’ll catch you on the next one.