Success Stories

Relationship Marketing Weekly: Custom Home Builder Edition

In this week’s Relationship Marketing Weekly, I interview Custom Home Builder Paul Rising.  Paul lost everything due to the Real Estate bust of 2008… Starting over, deep in debt, within a few years, Paul rebuilt their business to over 5 million dollar per year. Paul and I discusses how a cost effective relationship marketing saved his business!

Kody Bateman: Again, relationship marketing at its very best, telling these amazing stories coming to us from all over the world. Today, we have a very special guest. His name is Paul Rising. Paul is with Tara Custom Homes based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Welcome to the call, Paul.

Paul Rising: Thanks, Kody. Thanks for having me.

Kody Bateman: So Paul, you do this business. You and your wife do this business and you’ve really turned things around. In fact, let me tell you a little bit about Tara Custom Homes. A lot of you listening today are going to be able to relate with this. That big bust we had back in 2008, the real estate mortgage and the home building got hit really, really hard with the economy back in 2008, 2009 and it really hit Tara Custom Homes really big.

In fact, by 2010, Tara Custom Homes, Paul owns this company. He tells the story about how he pretty much almost lost everything, was in heavy debt and really had to start from scratch. Now this is a successful company. We’re talking about 18 years before that, Tara Homes, Tara Custom Homes won a bunch of awards. They made a bunch of money. They’ve built some gorgeous homes over the years and it’s really hard to come from that environment and then kind of lose it through economic situations and then have to start over again.

Paul, I’ve got a ton of respect for you because you did that. You started over from scratch and stared about 2010 and you were introduced to a relationship marketing system that we talked about ironically around the same time and I’m going to jump in and just start asking some questions. People really want to know exactly how you turned this thing around. When you started over again, you did two simple things. With our system, you actually did two things that started generating immediate new business and new referrals for you. Can you share with us what that is?

Paul Rising: You bet. Thanks, Kody. Hey, what we did is when the building went away, the custom home building side went away, the only thing we can turn to really was remodeling and basically what we did was when we found the system, is we started sending cards to past clients of houses that we have built and prior remodel customers that we have worked with.

Doing that really started generating an online frenzy of letting people know, hey, we’re in the remodel company now and we could look at your project and kind of serve the community as far as remodel goes. So that and we also – number two, we started celebrating people in the community. Local businesses, real estate agents, celebrating people through awards that we found out about online and through Facebook and just sending cards to people and really showing gratitude and appreciation to people in the community.

Kody Bateman: So you shared with me one of those stories and it’s cool how you say you kind of stalked Facebook a little bit in your community to see what people – their accomplishments and then you basically thanked – or congratulate them, which is super cool and you’re saying – so you started getting immediate referrals from both past clients and people like this.

One of the stories you told me previous was about a realtor that had won an award and you sent her a card and that has got a really cool story to back – you know, a story that goes along that. Can you share that with us?

Paul Rising: You bet. This particular real estate agent that we had known prior, we found out that she had won a local award and was kind of celebrating that on Facebook. What we did is we sent her a really cool gift and a card, just saying, “Congratulations! You did a fantastic job. We appreciate you. We appreciate your contributions to the community,” and in turn, she called us and thanked us for that card and she said, “Hey, you know what? I have a client that’s moving here from California and I would like you to meet them,” and we got to meet those folks, developed a little bit of a relationship. They got to see some of our products and they hired us to build their next home here, their final home from – moving from California to Colorado Springs.

Kody Bateman: So that’s a big customer. That’s like a million dollar home, right?

Paul Rising: Million dollar home and what you get in California compared to the Springs, a little different. But they sure appreciated the opportunity to work with us and vice-versa and the real estate agent really appreciate it because she got a commission on a million dollar job.

Kody Bateman: Wow. That’s great. So just to recap real quick when you first started out, two main things you did, you reached out to past clients, thanking them for their business and you celebrated people in your community by seeing stuff on Facebook and just sending cards and gifts out to them and referrals started coming in to you.

You basically started another division which was your remodel division. That was what? In 2010?

Paul Rising: 2010. We started Tara Custom Remodels, you bet.

Kody Bateman: So it took a while for you to get back into actually new home building, right? What was the process of …?

Paul Rising: It took about four years. But we learned the system really well and started putting out the word that we could jump back in to new construction real soon and word got out and we got our – I think we got our first new construction, new custom home in 2013, 2014. So about three or four years after we started our remodel company.

Kody Bateman: Excellent. So now when you build a new home for somebody, obviously one of the things you do is you send a thank you card to them when the home is complete. Do you have an example of one of those that you could share with us, kind of what you do when you thank a new customer of yours?

Paul Rising: You bet. This is a card that we sent to our last client and basically it has a shot of the picture of the home on the front and inside, we just wrote a quick note at the bottom that says, “We appreciate you. Thank you for the opportunity of building your home. We look forward to many, many years spending time with you and having relationship with you.” Then on the back, we put our brand on the back. Branding is very important for Tara Custom Homes here locally.

We just won the 2017 Reader’s Choice and Best of Spring. So I think it’s a direct result of doing this kind of thing.

Kody Bateman: Wow! That’s great. Now, that looks like a pretty detailed card. I mean you have a picture on the front. You had four pictures inside, which I think there’s some like interior shots and what not.

Paul Rising: Yeah.

Kody Bateman: You’re celebrating that home with the new homeowner, which obviously is big in their heart right now. This is the new place of living. Looks kind of complicated. I mean how in the world do you create a card like that? You got to be super busy, right? I mean you’re a super busy guy. How do you have time to do that?

Paul Rising: Well, I try to avoid the office at all costs. So we have a mobile app that can do just about anything. I could take pictures virtually of any room, any exterior and drop it on a card on my mobile app and a quick note, a signature, and it’s done. Five minutes and I don’t have to go home and do it at my computer.

Kody Bateman: So you were mentioning the other day, most of these cards you send out from your mobile phone, right? In your truck, at the curb of the place you’re leaving. Isn’t that right? I mean it’s like the card sample before you even get home.

Paul Rising: That’s how convenient it is. We get done with customers. We can react on prompting that quick. We can come out of a job that we just bid. After we just met these customers, jump in my truck, I can literally send them a really, really cool card and two packs of brownies in five minutes.

Kody Bateman: Yeah. Your wife Tara, she’s a great lady and it has been an honor to get to know both of you. She jokes that if we really want to hear from somebody, you add the brownies and then – there will always be a response. So how do you add the brownies?

Paul Rising: After we write something in the card, the system prompts us, “Do we want to add a gift?” and of course the brownies are amazing. The brownies have made me a lot of money and they are amazing tasting and people sure appreciate a small gift in the mail.

Kody Bateman: Wow, that’s great. All from the convenience of your smart phone. It happens very quickly. So one of the things that you shared with me, especially with your remodel work, you know, you start out by – you meet somebody. You go take measurements and you end up giving them a bid and what not. You made a comment where you said, “We thank people through the process.” I thought that was really cool how you said that. We thank people through the process and you attribute that to a lot of your success. What does that mean, thanking people through the process?

Paul Rising: Well, like any customer, you appreciate anything from the person you hire. But basically what we do is we start out with a, “Thank you for the opportunity of bidding the project.” This is before we start the project, before we’ve signed a contract, before we even have the job because there are four other competitors coming in behind me.

Typically what I do is I go curb side and send them a really cool card and the two packs of brownies and basically that’s the first thing they receive before we get the job. After we get the job, we say – send them a card and we say, “Thank you for putting your trust in Tara Custom Homes and thank you for the opportunity of working in your home.” Basically that’s saying thank you for the job and then when we start the job, about halfway through, we take before and after pictures. We put them on a card. On one side, before and on the other side, put the after of where we are at currently and it’s kind of a – you know, a projection of where the job has gone and then where we’re going.

Then after we’re completely done, we send them a really nice gift. There are plenty of gifts to choose from in the gifting department and a really nice card at the end saying, “Thank you for allowing us to work on your project,” and it’s just a benefit to everyone involved.

Kody Bateman: Wow, that’s great. You know, last week, we had a guest. Linda Walters was in the mortgage business. She shared the same concept of thanking through the process and I think a lot of people don’t realize how powerful that is. People think, “Well, if I’m going to send a thank you card, I will send it when the business is done or when I get the business.”

But it’s through the process I think that really makes a huge difference. By the way everybody who’s listening, less than three percent of people in the business world today send a thank you card, yet a thank you card is the most impactful marketing touch by far. They’ve done studies. By far, the most impactful marketing touch you can send to a prospect or to a client to get referral business is a thank you card. Less than three percent of people do it and those who do it, obviously you see the results.

So Paul, we really appreciate you being on the call today. Any final words of wisdom for our guests today? Go ahead.

Paul Rising: Well, we love the system. We love what we do. It’s a direct result. Tara and I, the last six years, this is a true testament of a comeback story and this system is the only system we use for marketing. I always tell people I feel that SendOutCards and doing this type of system is the ninth wonder of the world. The 8th wonder of the world is compounding interest and those two go together because not only is it good for your business and good for what you do. But it puts out a lot of happiness, gratitude and appreciation in the world. When you’re doing that, the direct result of that is business. That’s not what we’re totally after is money, but the direct result is business and that is a fantastic thing.

Kody Bateman: So basically what you send out in life is what you get back. Paul and Tara Rising are perfect examples of that. I want to thank everybody for being on the show today and Paul, again, thank you. Your words of wisdom have been incredible. Love your stories! I always love to hear your stories. Now everybody else has a chance to hear them too.

Relationship Marketing Weekly: Building Contractor Edition from Bart Ratliff on Vimeo.

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