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Are You Losing Half Your Referral Prospects in Your Remodeling Business?

Relying on referrals is NOT smart.

Marketing correctly for referrals is.

I often hear remodeling business owners say they invest little time or effort in marketing, instead “relying” solely on referrals. This statement says a lot about those businesses — and not in a good way. I’m going to demonstrate why simply hoping for new business from referrals, without truly understanding the referral process, is a dangerous business strategy. In addition, I’m going to help you learn how to stop losing the referrals you’ve already been given. 

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How Underestimating the True Cost of Field Labor Can Kill Profit with Melanie Hodgdon

Are you a remodeling company with plenty of work but you still can’t seem to turn a healthy profit? Taking a hard look at your labor estimating-true-cost-of-labor-remodeling-melanie-hodgdon1costs is essential if you hope to stop bleeding profits.

"Labor is the hardest thing to estimate, and you really have a lot of uncertainties. That's where most contrators slippage occurs. So if you're not estimating using the actual costs, if you're underestimating that, then you can wind up with a price that is also too low."

-Melanie Hodgdon, founder of Business Systems Management, Inc.

As a contractor, remodeler, or construction specialist, you know that Melanie is right, labor is the hardest thing to estimate due to numerous uncertainties. If your assumptions are off, your costs will be off, which can give you a false sense of profit. If you don’t know how to correctly estimate labor costs, you may continue to reproduce this cycle of errors, killing your potential profits.

On the PME 360 Powering Business Growth Show with remodeling marketing experts Ryan Paul Adams and Ron Rodi, Melanie Hodgdon, founder of Business Systems Management, Inc., tackles this money-draining issue, helping remodeling and home-building contractors understand labor costs, price work to make a profit, and bring business costs under control.

Don’t miss this opportunity to get some indispensable insights that will save your business money!

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How Underestimating the True Cost of Field Labor Can Kill Profit with Melanie Hodgdon, founder of Business Systems Management, Inc.

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You are probably losing over a million dollars per year or more from bad marketing or NO marketingGet instant free access to my new webinar, cheat sheets, and 26 page Google+ reputation marketing guide. I also have a couple of additional bonuses I want to put in your hands as well. I am not sure how long we can offer this so sign up today to get on my schedule. Click here to find out more....

Getting Good Referrals is an Important Part of Marketing Your Remodeling Business

Ideally, a great business is built on being great at marketing, sales, and production. Being too focused on any one of those areas would surely create a top heavy or bottom heavy business. But I would much rather have an over flow of new prospects and customers wanting to do business with me than twiddling my thumbs and wondering where the next job was going to come from. One of the most important marketing strategies you can implement in your business is a well planned and executed referral marketing strategy. 

The mistakes I made early on in my remodeling career were that I spent 90% of my time worrying about getting the jobs done and my business would go through big ups and downs. That isn't fun! And we had incredible customers that absolutely loved us with consistent referrals (but I was using the "hope and pray" method at that time), but that does not build a predictable business that grows every year. 

I do not agree that there is no "right" way to do this. There are many proven ways to succeed in this industry and if you study most of the top remodelers they made a huge commitment to sales and marketing early on and used that revenue to fuel the perfection of their services. This is pretty standard stuff in most industries. 

What most business owners miss is that getting referrals and doing this the right way is marketing!

Understanding and implementing a solid referral marketing strategy in your business is key and 95% of remodeling businesses that I talk to are completely missing this. 

What is your process when you finish a job?
I would recommend that everyone does an exit interview which is a perfect opportunity to record a video testimonial or collect a written one.
Explain your warranty/guarantee and what to do if they have any problems.
Ask for a referral (or 3) right there. 

Send them a nice gift to show them you appreciate their business.
Send them a referral letter explaining your referral process and if you compensate them when/if you land a new job from that.
In that referral letter, ask for an online testimonial (link out to 3-4 of your review profiles).
Follow up in a month to see how they are doing.
Follow up in a year, or better yet, schedule a once a year review and inspection of your work and fix any issues that are product or workmanship related (make this part of your guarantee! - and if you do, you can charge more). 

Canvass the neighborhood and drop off a door hanger or information. Turn that 1 job into 5. Thank all of the neighbors for putting up with you and your crew for however long it took to get that work done. Send them a thank you note and a box of chocolates and when they need the services you provide, who do you think they are going to remember and refer to their friends. 

This is marketing. This is work. This takes a lot of time to implement and do correctly. It might even take someone outside of your organization to help you do this or at least hold you accountable. Find a way to get this stuff done now. 

If you aren't doing this stuff you are using the "hope and pray" method so hopefully your customers liked you enough to go out of their way to market your business for you. Doubtful if you didn't even say thank you and show some sign of appreciation to them for hiring you. 

And if you tie this all back to a great online web presence there is NO competition in your local market. None. Don't give your best prospects a single reason not to do business with you. Make it easy and if your web site stinks and you have no information or reviews out there about your business, you are making it damn hard for even your referral prospects to pull the trigger. 

You are probably losing over a million dollars per year or more from bad marketing or NO marketing. Get instant free access to my new webinar, cheat sheets, and 26 page Google+ reputation marketing guide. I also have a couple of additional bonuses I want to put in your hands as well. I am not sure how long we can offer this so sign up today to get on my schedule. Click here to find out more....

Effective and Simple Marketing Ideas to Use in Your Remodeling Business with Kyle Hunt of Remodel Your Marketing

Does your remodeling business do outstanding work, but still you struggle to attract new clients and new leads? Do you rely heavily on word of kyle-huntmouth and referrals? Kyle Hunt of Remodel Your Marketing outlines how important it is to get organized and develop a exceptional and simple marketing and sales systems on the PME 360 Powering Business Growth Show.

“You need a system that you're going to do consistently. Every part of your marketing needs to be systematic, or else it's not going to get done.”

- Kyle Hunt of Remodel Your Marketing

Starting in the remodeling industry at a young age and seeing the dire need of that industry to move away from the primarily referral-based marketing model, Kyle now works exclusively with remodelers to implement his proven, practical, and effective marketing sales systems.

Find out how to take your remodeling business to the next level with the actionable and inspiring advice in this week's show!

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Effective and Simple Marketing Ideas to Use in Your Remodeling Business with Kyle Hunt of Remodel Your Marketing

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Effective and Simple Marketing Ideas to Use in Your Remodeling Business with Kyle Hunt of Remodel Your Marketing

Ron: Good Afternoon!

Welcome to the PME360: Powering Business Growth Show, where each session we discuss proven ways with our industry experts to help your remodeling and small business grow.

Our guests have proven themselves within their niches and are leaders in their space. Listen in as our experts provide practical tips that you can immediately apply to help empower growth to your small to mid-sized remodeling business.

I’m your host, Ron Rodi, Jr.

Joining me today is the great Ryan Paul Adams. As the founder and CEO of PME360, Ryan and his team help power growth online for small to mid-sized businesses, but with focus and emphasis on the home remodeling space.

PME360 provides effective and affordable software and complete systems that power growth quickly for businesses. Ryan has developed companies online and offline and has helped generate millions of revenues for local businesses for the past 8 years.

Entrepreneur, author, founder of PME360 and founder of RyanPaulAdams.com, Ryan Paul Adams.

Ryan, good afternoon!

Ryan: Hey Ron, wow! Nice intro. It’s a lot to live up to there.

Ron: And we are equally as excited to have on with us today, the founder of Remodel Your Marketing, Kyle Hunt.

Kyle works exclusively with remodelers to implement his proven, practical and effective marketing and sales systems.  It’s easy for business owners to feel stuck, lose their passion for business, to wear too many hats that simply don’t fit, and to lose sleep simply because they can’t figure out how every thing done. Sometimes, they can’t figure how to get any thing done.

Kyle has helped remodeling business owners get out of that pain by installing proven marketing and sales systems into their businesses so they can build a profitable and thriving business that they deserve. Founder of Remodel Your Marketing, help me welcome today Mr. Kyle Hunt.

Kyle, good afternoon!

Kyle: Good afternoon!

Ron: Really appreciate you jumping into our podcast here. Excited to have you. Can you tell us a little bit about Remodel Your Marketing and a little bit about yourself?

Kyle: So, 5 or 6 years ago, I said to my wife Sara, “Honey, you’re a stay at home mom, we got one kid here and another one on the way, it’s a crappy economy we have here in Michigan, and not a lot of money in the bank to fall back on, but I want to quit this nice job that I have in this remodeling company and start my own business.”

And of course, what does she say about it?

Ron: “You’re crazy?”

Kyle: Basically it was that. But she warmed up to the idea. Like I said awhile ago, it was 5 or 6 years ago that I pulled the trigger to start my own business. The reason I did that was I saw a great need out there in the remodeling world for proven, practical, simple and effective marketing.

The whole e-myth where the business is started by somebody who knows how to do something but doesn’t necessarily know how to run the business. I think that’s especially the case: don’t know how to market that business. 

I was working for a small remodeling company in Southeast Michigan and had a good success in improving their sales and marketing, running their showroom. Their bath and kitchen designers can’t get hold of the financial side and couldn’t understand any of that. And I didn’t look back since.

Ron: Fantastic! At what point did you have that AHA! moment?

Kyle: It was partly I was seeking it. I’ve always been dabbling with businesses on the side.  And as my side business of helping different companies with some marketing, some basic website-related stuff (not the type of stuff that Ryan does). 

I kind of look at it from a life standpoint. My family had started to grow, I have four kids now. I kind of needed to make a decision of do I want to hang my own shingle out?

That was part of it. I was really wanting to start my own business. When I was just looking around, getting to know even if it wasn’t remodelers – CPA, financial planners, accounting firms and all kinds of different business, it was so evident that marketing is something they know as important but they don’t get to do. It’s very confusing to them.  

I actually started as a duct tape marketing coach, a disciple of John Jantsch.  When I started my business, I actually became a duct tape marketing coach and I got a good training from John. I did that for a few years before officially being Kyle Hunt, Remodeling Your Marketing.

That was the kind of the core for me.

The AHA! moment was I really wrapped my head around what does an effective simple practical marketing system looked like. I was able to implement it.  And there were a lot of businesses which needed it. And I had a strong desire to be an entrepreneur. So, let’s go.

Ron: I know about what Ryan and I have talked about is leading with sales and marketing and everything else will fall into place.

A lot of times what we see is that these business owners, particularly, the remodeling space, are really concerned about their production.

And I know Ryan, you can speak for this. They look pass the fact that OK, it is not you’ll build it and they’ll come.

It’s really, we’ve got to get these people to come first and then we can go ahead and build it.

And having that sales process is ultra important. I know we’re going to talk a little bit about that Kyle. Looking at your website remodelyourmarketing.com, I know that you guys solve marketing and sales problems for remodelers.

Take us through some sales problems that you see and how remodelyourmarketing.com can help and how you can help as well.

Kyle: What I see so often is that remodelers being so focused on the production side and quite frankly, it’s good. 

They need to be focused on the production side and delivering a great service. The core even before we get into the sales process, fine tune our marketing.

Marketing and sales get a whole lot easier if you are giving your client a remarkable experience. A lot of times, it gets overlooked. Some times, I look at remodeling companies, “Man! We’ve tried this, we’ve tried that. We’ve done this, we’ve done that. Nothing seems to be working!”

And when I dig into the service that they’re providing, do they show up on time? Does the price they quoted is exactly what it is at the end of the project?  Are they getting things done on schedule, and on budget? Are they friendly? Are they fun to work with?

Remodeling is a different animal. We are invading these people’s personal space, their sanctuary, their homes.

At the core of a good and effective remodeling business is giving that client a remarkable experience.  It gets a little easier on the sales and marketing side if that’s happening.

It’s the first thing you need to look at as a remodeling business owner is “Am I giving a remarkable experience?”

And I don’t know if you guys see that and talk about that a lot. But that’s a huge focus of what I’m talking about, even before I talk about websites and sales techniques – that’s got to be there.

Ron: And I know that Ryan’s talked about it a lot, that often, homeowners are pretty much scared to death, right? To hire a remodeling contractor because they heard so many awful horror stories or experiences. So can you put that notion aside and can you deliver a great product and a great experience?

Not only that, can you position yourself as a provider of that awesome experience, as a leader in your market space, can you leverage that expertise?  

And I know Ryan, on RyanPaulAdams.com, we’ve talked a lot about that and how that goes hand in hand.

Ryan: A couple of things I’ve learned early on, I was obsessed with what Kyle was saying about really providing just this crazy, awesome experience for the client. Because you’re right, it’s invasive. You’re going into a home, you’re ripping it apart.

There are a lot of things that if you don’t understand the mentality of the client in providing a great experience, you’re going to fail.

But the mistake that I made is I got too wrapped up in getting that right and I completely ignored really the only purpose of the business, which is marketing and innovation.

And the great Peter Drucker quote, I’m like hung up on it right now, because everything that I do now moving forward, and everything I’m looking at with the businesses I’m helping out, I’m looking at that quote.

It goes, “Because it’s purpose is to create customers, the business has two and only two functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results, all the rest are costs.”

So getting that mentality into the remodeling industry has been a challenge because traditionally, remodelers are technicians. And that’s how they got started. They really want to focus on the production and then they never quite get out of that mode because it’s so heavily focused.

And I’m not saying you can ignore that because you can’t.  But you really can’t build a business out of it. You’ve probably come into the same idea.

Kyle: For years, I think the downturn from 2008 or 2009 – or whenever it started, for years and years, a lot of remodelers and some of those listening to this probably just survived fine-and-dandy, thank-you-very-much with referrals from clients.

I think what we’ve seen, as we continue in this downturn and as we continue in this cycle is that, that alone will not sustain your business.  We need new avenues and ways to generate business. And here’s where the marketing comes along.

So that base of that customer experience being so pivotal. In the next stage, what is marketing? I mean the definition of marketing if I ask each of you, if I ask five other marketing experts, five remodelers even, I bet I’ll have 10 to 12 different definitions.

The way I define it is simply like this. And this a John Jantsch definition of duct tape marketing:

Getting someone who has a need to know, like and trust you.

I’ve never seen anything more appropriate for a definition. I’ve never seen anything more simple for a definition.

It’s all about building trust.  So that starts right on the first phone call. We need to, we’re talking about our sales process, if you are pulling out a blank sheet of paper the new call comes in, you’re not doing it right.

“Kyle, I’ve been doing this for years. I’ll ask the questions. I’ll get the info I need.”

But, did you get their email address so you can send them a follow up email that has the cost versus value report that has what they could expect on their first meeting document, that links them to your website in your homepage.

“Oh no! I forgot the email address.”

Kyle: Ok! So we need a system. It could just be a simple project discovery sheet that asks a lot of those questions, that you’re going to do consistently.

This marketing system and this sales system. It starts on the initial phone call. Every part of your marketing needs to be systematic or else it’s not going to get done. That’s a huge part of that too.

Ryan: Say that one more time so it sticks in the minds of everybody.

Kyle: Which part of it? It was all brilliant.

Ryan: Exactly. It’s all brilliant! It’s all about creating that system like what you said, even having that one piece of paper for everything that you’re going to do, that’s going along this line.  It needs to be written down and it needs to be consistent.

Because the goal is, as the business owner, you shouldn’t be the one doing all this forever.

Kyle: Everybody desires that. Very few remodelers that I talk to, when I say, “Do you want to be more systematic and consistent with what you’re doing?”

They’d say, “Absolutely!”

Whether it’s the production side, the marketing side, whatever the case is.

But where they get caught up is actually at implementing that.

That’s a huge thing I’m always talking about. We could talk on this, specifically on ideas. We could probably come up with 50 wham-bam, sweet marketing ideas for the remodeling business but that’s not very helpful for the average remodeler. 

Something I’m always talking about, I think for the average remodeler who’s listening to this – you don’t lack marketing ideas. From the remodeling magazines (Remodeling Advantage, Professional This), 18 different Linkd-in groups, Remodeler Show in Chicago and I’m going to speak in IBS in January.

There are all kinds of people you can talk to. If you got my email address, if you got Ryan’s email address, there are all kinds of different ideas flying through. 

We do not lack ideas. What we lack is prioritizing, figuring out what’s most important. Making sure that we’re not working on something that’s not going to produce when there’s something even more important sitting in front of you.

And secondly, implementing it. I see so often a dozen half-implemented ideas versus one fully implemented idea. And the one idea just kicks, blows the other ones out the water. 

Making sure that whatever idea, whatever you feel is the best, whatever you know is the best, you need to focus on. Seeing it through completion.

That’s what separates the top 10% of remodelers I see out there, that I work with, that I get to know from the bottom 90%. They get things done.

The encouraging thing is, there’s no silver bullet, there’s no a magic marketing ball. It’s about running a successful remodeling business. It’s about doing a lot of little things right.

Ryan: Beautiful! You got it.

Ron: What we run to a lot is that the intention is often  there. But a lot of times, these guys can’t – I mean, the industry as a whole, the business owners as a whole, it’s hard to get out of the way. 

Because you get so caught up. Maybe I’m going to turn this into a question, Kyle and Ryan, what is the answer to:

“Look, I just don’t have the time to put this together.”

Kyle: Here’s my question to answer your question, “How much time don’t you have?

You know when somebody says I don’t have the time to do this, I don’t have the time to do that – well, how much time do you have?

Because I think the bigger problem is and I see this consistently is, if a remodeler says, I don’t have enough time, here’s 8 hours – totally uninterrupted! 

Come into this imaginary world with me for a second, 8 hours of uninterrupted time. You focus on your marketing and sales efforts. What are you going to do? The answer that usually comes back is “I’ve never really thought about that. I don’t know what I should do first. I don’t know what’s most important.”

Everybody’s so overwhelmed with ideas and things they perceived and maybe they need to do that they just reverts to that “I just don’t have any time.”

And the reason they’ve got no time is that they’re overwhelmed. They can either find the time, they can hire an intern to help them, they can hire somebody like myself, they can hire somebody like Ryan. 
There are all kinds of solutions to this perceived time issue.

Ron: I think often the answer is what is the cost of not doing it. If you continue to do it the way you’ve been doing it, if you continue not to make time, what is the cost of not doing it? What is the cost of doing it the wrong way?

Kyle: Ryan, what are your thoughts on it?

Ryan: I think there are just so many great resources out there to help small businesses get marketing done. And get it done properly, more effectively than what you can do.

Even hiring one person. Because a lot of these things that need to get done in marketing are typically pretty specialized.

And yeah, you can get good at a couple of them. But you can never be great at all of them.  So building that core team around very specific roles. So if you’re going to go out and try to do this, my advice is to really look at, okay a web designer is not also a marketer or a direct mail person isn’t also going to specialize in social media.

So whatever you are trying to implement for a tactic, your really have to look at building a team of specialists that can do certain things.

I just find that when you do that, the results are magnified even more.

Kyle: No doubt. And frankly, before you get into the tactical side, you know – what should I do, should I be advertize here or in Google ad or this website, this and that, make sure that you can answer these questions to me very clearly,

Who is in your done proposal for, haven’t signed bucket?

Who are the people you’ve done proposal for in the last 6 months that haven’t signed with you. Can you very quickly and easily tell me who those people are? And if so, who should you be following up with? 

Can you tell me how many leads you’ve generated this year? Your closing percentage? Which leads have you generated are you closing at the best percentage? How many leads you did generate from your website?

You guys have heard this a thousand times, everybody listening to me have heard this a thousand times. I would say probably about 5% of remodelers can actually produce that info for me.

But as we all know, 63% of all statistics are made up.

Ryan: Yeah, it’s true.

Kyle: It gets down to the fundamentals. Every marketing dollar that we spend needs to be accountable.

Unless you have a million bucks.

Ron: And we’re spending money to drive leads to our websites. We’re spending money on advertising. We’re spending money on marketing, we’re spending on trade shows. The leads you that have, you’re paying for those.  

So you can go out, develop a process to close more of them, to nurture them more appropriately, to pay more attention to your process, to have a better follow-up mechanism, to be able to go into that bucket of proposals that you thought were dead.
Listen, 3 phone calls and 3 emails don’t work anymore. Do you have a system to send out a clean, professional looking folder?

“Thank you for allowing us to bid on the restructure or whatever it is of your home. This is a little bit more about our company.”

I think having a consistent process there rather than saying, “We’ve got a lead. They don’t want to do it, so on to the next one.”

That one call close is dead. That’s not there.

But hey if you can do that, then I want to hire you.

Ryan: One of the things that absolutely blows me away with, most businesses do this or are guilty of this is that you’ll take the time to do that consultation and then you’ll invest a week into doing an estimate – a free estimate for them without asking for anything which to me is insane but a lot of people still do it.

And the one phone call or one email is all that you’re going to put into it to follow up. That’s insanity! That’s crazy! 

I couldn’t eat. I can’t even imagine putting that much effort into something and I did it for years. And I completely looked back and just wanted to kick myself in the face.

Ron: Well, that’s because everyone gets caught up in I have got to get the proposal and I’ve got an opportunity for business when you’re not kind of seeing the forest through the trees.

So take the 6 hours that you worked on the estimate, cut that in half and take those hours to put together a nice piece of literature or collateral that you can send out or do other productive things that can follow up on that prospect.

Ryan: Or doing something that’s even more innovative, like Kyle we’ve seen a post of you, of a kick ball. Perfect! I don’t know if that strategy worked.

Kyle: Yeah it works.

Ryan: Sending something 3-dimensional is a little bit more in your face and it just shows them that you care, that you are innovative. Grab their attention.  And just sending something as a letter, send something bigger, send something more.

Kyle: So, I’ll hit on something that relates to the sales process that you’re touching on.

The first one is qualifying.  You are qualifying a lead. If we talk about having a system – phone call, to be asking questions, I see a direct correlation between people that say, “I’m always competing on price, I’m always competing on price.”

That’s all they care about and when I ask the question, “How long do you spend on the initial phone call with a prospect?”

I usually hear, “A couple of minutes. I get their info, set an appointment and we’re good to go.”

There’s a direct correlation with that. And I hear a lot of remodelers who say, “I don’t compete on price. I find my clients. I work with my ideal clients.”

And I ask them how much time they spend on the initial phone call and they’d say 20 to 30 minutes.

The first thing I say is, “What? What are you doing in 20 to 30 minutes?” 
And sometimes I get a remodeler and I say, “You’re not allowed to hang up the phone until it’s been at least 10 minutes. Just to try to force them to think of things to talk about. But there are all kinds of things to talk about especially if you set the expectation that hey do you have 10 to 15 minutes? I really want to get to know you and your project.”

Get into things like asking them what they’re looking to invest in the project. You can do that. It’s okay to do that. It’s not for your benefit so you can spend up to the penny but it’s to help them understand if they’re in the ballpark.

Help them. Educate them on budget. So there’s a whole lot about qualifying that we need to be doing during our sales process. That’s not necessarily too innovative but it’s rarely done.

Secondly, you hit on doing estimates for free. It’s such a divided subject in our industry – this whole idea of doing some type of a retainer. Whether it’s a designer retainer or just a fee for all the energy, time and effort we put into a putting a proposal together.

You don’t have the time to chase leads that are not going to turn into clients. Your most valuable asset as a remodeling business owner is your time.

And like what you said, if you are spending time, if you are wasting 6 hours chasing a bid, these are 6 hours you’re not getting back.

You can! There’s a lot of your peers, the top 10% in our industry do this in some form or fashion. There are a lot of ways to skin it.

Charge some type of a designer retainer. Get them to get some type of skin in the game – even if it’s a $100. I don’t care what it is.

I have some clients charging $2000 and other clients charge $200 for it.  Just try some type of designer retainer. 

And then, thirdly, that you’ve mentioned Ryan is lumpy mails.

What I call it is sending something in the mail to interrupt. The example you’ve given is sending a ball in the mail.

And the ball says, “Had a ball!”

It’s one of the kick balls that kids play with. And in that case, the prospect had a couple of kids.  Literally, it’s get mailed. Just sitting out there, the address and everything. And the stamp put in the outside of it.

It that doesn’t make them chuckle, if it doesn’t make them think that these guys have a sense of humor and carries a good message too, then that’s not your client anyway, if somebody’s not going to have a little fun in that.

It’s okay to have a little fun in your marketing.

Ryan: It doesn’t have to be so serious for sure.

Ron: That’s very true.

And one of the things you’re going back to Kyle is that first step, that qualifier.

It’s spending 20 to 30 minutes to really, it’s not that you’re talking about your business, you’re talking about your prospect. What it is they want?  

Get into the emotional reasons behind it.  You’re redoing the kitchen and it’s okay to ask, “Hey what’s going on that’s caused you to do this?”

Maybe it’s the wife that doesn’t like the kitchen. Maybe they’re getting ready to sell their house. There are always reasons behind it.  And that conversation is not about the business owner, it’s about the prospect. And you really have to state that.

As you’ve mentioned, “Do you have 15 minutes, we’d really like to go through. We really want to find out more about what it is you’re looking to do. Can you tell me a little bit more why it is you want to do what you want to do?”

Kyle: It’s not rocket science. It’s actually very practical. But at the same time, it takes practice.

A lot of times, the reason that remodelers do not ask about what people are looking to invest in the project, whether you call it target investment or whatever. The reason they don’t bring that up is,

Ron: They’re scared.

Kyle: Exactly!

They’re scared about it.  They’re afraid. 

Just do a little bit of practice. I don’t call it role playing as everybody hates role playing.

I call it batting practice. Even the best hitter in the game, and his name is what?

Ron: Miguel Cabrera.

Kyle: Thank you!

Yes, Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball.

Even Miguel takes batting practice everyday. So who are we as salespeople, as business owners to think that we don’t need to practice?

With a little bit of practice you can get really good at that initial conversation.  It will feel a little bit more comfortable with you.  That’s what growth looks like. That’s what becoming a better business owner, a better sales person looks like.

And it does take some work but it’s not earth shattering stuff.

My wife likes to kid around with me and I remember quite specifically. It was a while ago that she did this. She was asking me how my day was because she was being nice. And I told her that I was dealing with this client or that client.

And her response was, “Man you just do really practical, really simple, common sense type stuff.”

And some people might say it’s kind of rude of her to say that buy hey it’s what I do. Because, that’s what this stuff is – it’s common sense, it’s practical.  You’ve heard the ideas before. It’s about implementing them. It’s about prioritizing what ones to do first.

Ryan: I have a question. Do you find that you can help people who don’t have a burning desire to succeed?

Do you feel like you can still give them the tools and they can still be successful if they don’t have that fire in their belly?

Kyle: It’s tougher, right?  I practice what I preach as well. Similar to remodeling business owners where you started out, you probably took pretty much anything and everything that came along and as you mature as a business owner, you start to be selective of the type of clients you’re talking to.

Usually, at this point for me anyway and specifically for my business, those people don’t call me.

In the first place, if they’re calling me, they have some type of desire to fix something. 

At the same time, if they’re calling me and say, “I need you to fix this. I don’t have the time to fix it but I need you to fix it.” 

It won’t work wither because if you’re not invested in learning this and working alongside it, and trying to improve yourself, it’s tough.

It’s definitely tough if you don’t have that burning desire to get this stuff done.

Ryan: Yeah, I think you hit it on the head, too. These business owners really have to get good at delegating versus abdicating. Really, two different things.

I think a lot of business owners don’t understand that core difference.

Ron: I think there’s a huge resistance to change – within certain industries especially those who have been around 25 to 35 years or longer. There’s definitely that resistance to change.

But I think, those who are listening to this realize that it’s really not that complex like you’ve mentioned Kyle. It’s not that, you are not moving mountains here. It’s practical like what you said. I like that.

Kyle: That’s encouraging, right? It’s encouraging to know that. And that’s a fact.

I mean Ryan, the stuff that you guys do when you get into the search engine optimization and some of the more technologically-focused and complex stuff. Yeah, that’s getting complex. 

But that’s where, when you talk about delegating versus trying to do it by yourself. There are things you delegate and there are things you can handle in-house.

You’re talking about delegating and this morning I was talking to one of my clients up here in Michigan. The lady that runs the business, she has 2 to 3 other people and she’s a go, go, go. 

She’s like, “Oh yeah! I’ll do that. I’ll do that. I’ll do that.”

And about the third time she said “I’ll do that”, I said, “I don’t want you doing any of the things you said you want to be doing. We are delegating that to Jen. We are delegating that to Roger. We are delegating that to Carol. You are not going to do any of those. I don’t want you to do any of those.”

But as entrepreneurs, so often we want to do, do, do – when all you need to have is a team around you.  There is a lot of things, as practical as it is, the reason a lot of this isn’t done is because we don’t know how to delegate or we don’t have the right help or legitimately, there is a time reason.

Ryan: Lay the direction. What we should be doing is taking more time as a business owner to then find, okay this isn’t my role. This isn’t my job to do this. 

Let me lay the strategy or jot down a few things about what I want done. And we should be looking for people – outsourcers, employees, other people to get this stuff done and managing the process versus doing everything.

I just find a lot of remodeling businesses to get so caught up with I have to do this, I have to do that.  You don’t! You really don’t! 

I mean, we’re here. Great people like you out there who can help and there are a lot of resources out there that can help.

Ron: Kyle, tell us. It sounds like you are a pretty motivated person. It’s enjoyable having a conversation with you. You are uplifting. You are definitely enthusiastic. It sounds like you really want your clients to succeed. What is it that gets you going every day?

Kyle: I like what I do. And I think you are hearing that. What you’re hearing is pretty authentic. If I wasn’t enjoying what I do, I’d probably not be talking nearly as passionately about it.

And I got four kids and a stay at home wife – that gets me up and going every morning, to make sure I’m producing and taking care of things.

But from the client’s standpoint, when I’m in my right frame of mind and thinking about my business, I think as a business owner, we worry about a revenue every month.

Like, do I have enough for this, enough for that.  When I’m clicking, I’m not really worried about that. When I’m focused and thinking about my clients, I’m always clicked up when I see a remodeling company that used to do it this way, we worked on it, they implemented this.

And they pick up the phone or they send me an email, “Kyle, I did this and here’s what happened.”

The excitement is there. And I feed off that.

So it’s the little victories like that.

I have a new client in California or SoCal as what they call it.  I think we’ve met for only a month and he was somebody who is a perfect ideal client for me – from a size stand point and what he needed done.

And we’ve been working on steadily improving his sales process, his approach, getting some systems in place.

His wife was actually walking by and he talked about her a couple of times and I said, “Come here. Come here.”

She started talking about how she’s seen a big difference in my client over the last month.  And she really likes what he’s doing. He seems so much more focused. He seems so much more energetic.

And he really seems to have a clear direction of where he is taking his business, whereas before he was just trying everything. He was frustrated, he was stressed because he was overwhelmed with what he needed to do. 

And that, when you get down to the nitty-gritty of it, when I’m able to change the way that a husband and wife interact if ever I’m going to go that far, to change the stress level, the clarity the business owner has about his business. That he feels in control of his business. That’s probably the Taj Mahal of happiness for my work and what I’m doing.

Ron: That’s awesome!

Kyle: That’s deep!

Ryan: You are improving more than just the business. You’re improving lives.  We believe in the same thing.

Kyle: It sounds so cliché right?

Ryan: it does. But it’s true.  And if you didn’t believe that, you wouldn’t be doing what you’re doing. Same here, we believe that.

Ron: I’ve got impressive, outstanding, remarkable, notable, superior, distinguished.

I think distinguished is the new adjective that we’re going to use.

Ryan: The distinguished Kyle Hunt.

Kyle: My two-day stubble and my need for a haircut don’t make me look distinguished now.

Ron: Kyle, we really appreciate you coming on. Is there anything else you want to add today for some of the people who are listening in? Any other advice that we haven’t talked about that you want to get across?

Kyle:  If I were to just repeat some of the key things, marketing – it’s simply this:

Getting anyone who has a need to know, like and trust you
.
If you are overwhelmed with ideas, pick one. Just pick one marketing thing that you’ve been wanting to do or one sales improvement and figure out what your next step is for that. 

What would be, if you wanted to implement this? 

You’ve got to figure out the 18 steps or the 5 steps or how many steps that you need to get it done. But what is the first step that you need to take – and do that.

When you make one little improvement or a little progress that starts to build, that starts to motivate you and you see one little success and it gives you energy to go after the next.

I’d do that and I’m looking at this quote earlier.  I have this quote on my desk, it’s from Jim Rohn, the personality development guy.

He said, the best advice I ever came across on the subject of concentration is “Wherever you are, be there.”

And I knew that all the time. I’m always hopping to this, hopping to that.

But it’s very true when we’re thinking about our business, about our client interactions, when we’re thinking about our marketing or sales or whatever it is, our personal relations or anything.

Wherever you are, be there!

That’s a good business and a good marketing advice, too.

Ron: I’ve got to take that.  I’ve got to listen to that personally. I have to apply that on the weekend.

Kyle: As silly as it sounds, the first time that hit me, was when I was with Piper who’s our first girl (we have a boy, girl, boy, girl). She’s five now.

I was sitting there, giving her a bath and she’s talking to me and I was totally oblivious to the fact that she was talking to me. My mind was thinking about work. My mind was thinking about this, my mind was thinking about that.

And on that night, I read that quote and I was convicted! For some reason that really sit in my mind.

This was my 2-year old daughter and she’s asking me questions, “Daddy, Daddy this. Daddy, Daddy that.”

And I’m not even in the room. I think it happens a lot of times when we’re working with clients, when we’re working with our employees, when we’re working with our spouses, whatever the case is.

That really hits home.  The best advice I came across with on the subject of concentration is “Wherever you are, be there.”

That’s the parting shot.

Ron: The power of engagement. Kyle, how can folks get a hold of you?

Kyle: My website is remodelyourmarketing.com. My email is kyle@remodelyourmarketing.com. My office line is (810) 225-9036. If you go on to a remodeling magazine, you’ll probably see some blogposts and you’ll see me here and there.

But go to my website and grab a few of the free resources that I have. And that will put you on my email list. I won’t bug you too much but I send a lot of tips and info.

It would be a good place to go and get more info.

Ron: There are some great templates on it as well.

Ryan, do you have any parting gifts?

Ryan: I’d just like to say I definitely recommend getting into Kyle’s site, reading his stuff, getting his free resources and the emails he’s sent are awesome!

I read them every time he sends them out. It’s good stuff there!

Ron: Fantastic! Kyle and Ryan, thank you for joining us on the PME360 Powering Business Growth Show. We look forward to future endeavors and conversations.

Kyle: Thanks for having me.

Ryan: Thank you, Kyle.

 

Remodeling Sales Slowing? Try 5 New Ideas to Dramatically Improve Sales

This may be one of those critical times that we all reach in our remodeling business where the market changes, revenue slows, and competition increases. So what do we do about it?

The great business leaders of our times have all been faced with these tough situations and those that adopt and change will thrive and those that continue to look to the past and wonder where all the business went will continue to hurt. 

In times where things are great we typically don't pay attention to the waste that is occurring in our process because we are still able to land enough business from a heaping pile of prospects. We only really notice when things really tighten up.

So they question becomes what do we cut when times get tough?
One of the first things most businesses do is they go right for marketing or getting rid of the weakest person on the team, or they look for other areas they can cut to ease the hurt. In times like this, if you can work on making changes and ramping up, you actually will come out in a better position because you will squeeze out the other firms that are in the same place as you are. You aren't the only one feeling the pressure if the market changes. But those businesses that cut without innovating will end up in a much worse position then they were before. 

Let's look at 5 new ideas to help you dramatically improve your remodeling sales today

These ideas are based advice on building a "business" as an asset (where you can get out of the chaos and build a real business) vs. having a job/career inside of a business (still comes with a lot of headaches and it's hard to ever get out of the chaos with this model).

Ultimately, it really depends on what you want long term from your business. But even if you want the lifestyle type of business, you cannot get out of the middle of doing the actual services without becoming more strategic in your thinking.  Your time is immensely valuable and the more time you can devote to $1,000+/hour strategic tasks, the business revenue will multiple.

So here are some ideas you can implement into your business that will help you turn around your slow sales or stagnant business:

  1. Nurture Every Prospect... Even If They Don't Do Anything Right Now
    Most businesses are doing ZERO for lead "nurturing" and have no referral marketing strategy to past or current clients. Here is what should happen sooner than later to not only position your business as the best of the best, but to make sure that your prospects are aware of all of your legal services. 

    Information Kit and a Welcome Kit
    Prospects - handing a free consultation or estimate prospect an "information kit" that is informative and professionally done would go a long way. It doesn't have to be a novel, but having something printed that talks about your process and what makes you different and unique is immensely important. These can be mailed or handed out in person in your office. Whether you call this an information kit or standards guide or whatever, get something in place today. 

    New Clients - handing a new client a "welcome kit" that explains your process now that they are a client and what is expected of them along with all the forms and everything else you will need to handle the project would be extremely valuable. Not only does it help educate the client, it will help you avoid a lot of questions and free up your time. 
     

  2. Get a Book Published
    Having someone in your office an author of a published book would be a huge value add for your business. It immediately sky rockets you to the top of your field because most of your competition is too lazy to take this kind of effort, and frankly they never really even thought about doing it anyway.  

    A written physical book that you can give away or charge for is the best business card in the entire world. You could also use this as part of your information kit or discovery consultation process. If you don't have the time to write one, hire a ghost writer and self publish the book on CreateSpace.com. Arriving at your next consultation or estimate, and giving away a copy of your new book will immediately differentiate you as the more serious candidate to get the job. 

    There are all kinds of topics you can create a book about for your niche service or industry. Focus on delivering high quality "insider" information related to your remodeling niche. 30 pages are about all you need to start with 50-60 pages being the max target. You can also use this book as a free giveaway on your site and help boost your conversion rate. 
     

  3. Tighten Up Your Process On The Backend 
    Hire a 24/7 Answering Service - how many calls are you getting after hours? Would it improve conversion rate and client sign up to offer 24/7 live operator and have your phones answered around the clock? I think it would and it has been proven to work yet so many remodeling businesses continue to answer your own phones. Insanity! This topic I have written about numerous times and yet few of you take action on this and fail to recognize the importance of getting this in place sooner than later.

    Answering your own phone is absolutely killing your positioning as "hard to get" premium, cream of the crop professional in your field. The prospect automatically assumes that if you are answering your phone you are either extremely attentive (which is not good if you are trying to get out of the middle of your production/projects) or you aren't busy enough or doing well enough to have someone else answer your phone.

    New Client Getting Process that is Focused around Sales and Marketing- This is really centered around marketing (which you may or may not be doing) and a solid sales process with basic sales training. I know you probably never thought about being in sales when you wanted to get into your business, but it is very much a part of the business.

    Someone in your business needs to be the strategic (sales/marketing/operations) and someone should be focused on the production and getting the projects done. You can't do both for very long and you probably never should have even tried. How is your arrangement setup now? It is easy as a business owner to get caught up in delivery of the services because that is ultimately what you really know, but if you can be more strategic and be the face of the franchise and let others do the actual production work, it is the only way to multiply your revenue 3x-5x's.  
     

  4. Attract New Clients Offline
    The internet is great for those who are actively seeking your remodeling services and a great web presence should be the center of your marketing. But what about all those prospects out there who aren't really sure what they need at this point but have just started thinking about getting some help or hiring someone to do some work? How do we get in front of those people offline and give them a compelling reason to reach out to you? Free information works well combined with a captivating sales letter delivered via direct mail. Direct mail may not have worked in the past for you, but it definitely works if done correctly and you stay consistent with it. The key is consistency, having the right message, and mailing to the right target. 
     
  5. Refine or Improve the Service or the Way it is Packaged
    Packaging and presentation is everything in business and if we can find a way to package or present your services in a better way there is more opportunity to get new clients. Is there a way to offer a "good, better, best" service package? People want easy to understand, easy to digest pricing, and I do believe there is a way every remodeling business can at least offer an initial service package of some kind that is priced aggressively and does not require a lot of your time. Or even if it does, make the service easy to understand and streamline the presentation and delivery of those services. 

    Is there a 90% automated service with maybe an initial consultation that you can offer and charge for? A thinly disguised service that is really more of a product designed for those who don't have a lot of money, maybe want to do it themselves, or want a little bit of assistance and guidance from an experienced business like yours?

These are just 5 ideas that you can implement each month and over time will lead to steady gains in your business. You offer a great service to your community and now it is just a matter of improving some of the areas where you are weakest.

There are millions of dollars in remodeling services to be generated in your area each year. That won't change but what does change is where the money shifts within the services. Right now a particular service maybe slow for some reason, so where is that money shifting to? Real estate markets are ramping up and baby boomers are retiring at a rapid rate. What can you offer in those markets to attract a heaping pile of prospects and new projects?

It has taken me a long time to figure a lot of this stuff out and a lot of money. I certainly don't know it all and that's why I continue to invest a lot in learning and innovating and making sure my library is stocked with the brightest and best minds in the business world at all times. I am offering to help you get to that next level if you want to and I will leave it up to you to take me up on my previous offers to schedule a regular call. I know you are busy and feeling some pressure, but I find that having someone you can bounce things off of and help you through some things is really helpful. Contact me today for a 30-Min Free Strategy Session and let me help you uncover 5 key areas of your business that you can fix to grow. 

Be Proactive With Your Remodeling Prospects and Especially Those That You Have Done an Estimate or Consultation For

One of the worst things that can happen in any business is investing time with someone (a prospect) who you feel is worth it, and doing a free estimate (or even a paid one) and not getting the job.  First of all, please don't do free estimates with the hope and pray method - "I really hope and pray that if I do this free estimate that the price will be right for them and they will hire me." This is just not a smart way to do business and doing an estimate does not increase the likelihood that you will land the job. But for all those who still do estimates or consultations as part of your sales process I have a proven method for helping you land more of the jobs. 

Keep in mind that even those contractors who have great sales processes still get burned by tire kickers and those who are only looking for the cheapest quote. It happens to the best of us. Be aware and stop investing your time into people who aren't committed to you financially or those who say things like "I am getting like 10 quotes for my new deck remodel". Pass! If you haven't done your job with positioning yourself in your local market correctly, the free estimate seeking prospect sees you as nothing more than a quote. 

Flat out, free estimates are a terrible business strategy and completely kills your positioning and will waste a lot of your time. Estimates should only be used after an intitial consultation (phone or in person), and maybe not at all. Every person that conacts you is not a good fit for your business so why are you doing an estimate for everyone that asks?  Offer to do a free consultation or project review where you ask lots of great questions and get to the bottom of what they are really looking for. Price is not going to be priority #1 for most reasonable people. Asking lots of great questions will quickly reveal if the person(s) sitting in front of you is a good fit for you or not. This should all be part of a consistent sales process that is documented and repeatable. 

Now, if you do get to the stage where you have taken the time to do free estimate or extended project consultation as part of your sales process, you need to improve and perfect your follow up process. These are big ticket sales and you should be able to afford to send them something really nice in the mail a day or two after you send them the estimate or project consultation.  Emailing them is weak. Calling them is better. Inviting them to a special event is even better.

But the #1 strategy you should be implementing in your post estimate and consultation process is direct mail in combination with some automated nurturing email nurturing.

No matter what you send in the mail, make sure you include a handwritten personalized note or letter. This will go a long way and your competition is NOT doing any of this. I had a client tell me the other day that they were "way too busy to stop and send

Here are some ideas for direct mail (lumpy mail) pieces you can send after the estimate or consultation:

  • Send Them a Copy of Your Book:  Yes! You should consider writing a book. You would be the only person in your local market that has authored a book and would give you a huge step up on your competitors. 20-30 page books are highly effective and there are all kinds of topics you could write about. If you are a terrible writter, have a ghost writter do it for you. 
     
  • Send Them a Gift:  Thank them for considering you and show them you appreciate them even before you do business. This will plant a big seed in their mind that if this is what you do before they are even a client, they can only imagine how well you would treat them during and after becoming a client. 
     
  • Personalized Video Message: There are several direct mail companies out there that can help you develop a personalized video book that you can mail. Connect the book to your computer, upload a quick 2-5 minute personalized video and send in the mail. Your prospect will be blown away!
     
  • Personalized Message in a Blueprint Tube: This works really well for those in the custom whole house remodeling, additions, or home building business. Send them a really cool message, sample design, or something creative in a large blueprint tube and mail it. This will certainly grab their attention. 
     
  • Anything Lumpy: Lumpy or bulky mail gets opened so brainstorm some different things you can send in the mail that are 3-D. Think about what your prospect may like or might grab their attention. Do they have kids? Are they into sports? Do they like wine?  

I hope you get the idea and I could go on forever with direct mail ideas and post estimate follow up for this industry. The point here is that you cannot just leave an estimate out there and hope that they hire you. You need to go after that business and that communication needs to come from multiple places with direct mail being the most important. If you believe 100% in what you do this shouldn't be a problem. You have already invested the time in the estimate now it's just a matter of making sure that they know how much you wan to help them.

Be a pest by being nice. Be memorable. You will earn more business and a higher post estimate close rate if you become more proactive after the estimate is in your prospects hands.  Don't let your estimate just sit there!

Need some help figuring out your strengths and weaknesses in your remodeling business? 

You are probably losing over a million dollars per year or more from bad marketing or NO marketing. Let me help you figure out what to do next with my Free Marketing Strategy Session. I also have a couple of additional bonuses I want to put in your hands as well. I am not sure how long we can offer this so sign up today to get on my schedule. Click here to find out more....

5 Simple Secrets to Reduce Stress in Your Remodeling Business and Slow the Chaos

Nothing I am about to share with you here is rocket science. But if you apply these 5 strategies everyday in your remodeling business, I guarantee you will reduce your stress level, increase your ability to focus, and slow the chaos (or at least handle it better).

Most people who apply these 5 tips, notice almost immediate stress relief in their business and throughout their lives. NO drugs and NO expensive therapy required with these secrets to get results. 

  1. Breathe! 
    This may seem obvious, and you may have heard this before, but seriously stop right now and notice how you are breathing. I bet you your breathing is shallow. We are naturally shallow breathers and do a terrible job introducing fresh oxygen into our bodies. Becoming a deep breather is going to take some practice no different than learning how to meditate, but before reading on, take a deep breath in through nose and exhale out through your mouth (pretend you have a straw in your mouth - that is how much space I want you to release the air out of your mouth from).

    Rinse and Repeat! This is how you should be breathing all day.

    The next time you start to feel anxious and stressed out, notice your breathing. It becomes shallow and rapid and shallow breathers naturally have tense bodies which lead to stress. Stop. Get back to your breathing and get 10-15 good inhales and exhales out before continuing on with anything. Try and keep that breathing going throughout all of your tasks. Even when you are talking, you can continue to breathe in this fashion once you get use to it. 
     

  2. Stop Reacting in Real Time - Focus in On Critical Tasks
    While modern technology has played a big role and making us all more connected, it has also made us a society of reactors, and distracted people. With all of the different methods available (Email, Instant Messaging, Phone, Texting, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) of getting in contact with people, most of us feel that we need to respond immediately to all of these requests. Study after study has concluded that not only does responding in real time lead to severe drops in productivity, it increases stress levels. 

    Now, if you are an emergency crisis worker and lives are at stake if you don't respond quickly, obviously this tip is not meant for you. But if you are like the rest of us, in our jobs and businesses we are not dealing with life or death. So why are we acting and reacting as if we are? 

    To improve productivity and reduce stress in your business, do the following now! Most of you will resist these tips and have 100 excuses as to why you can't do them, but I suggest you try it. Try it for 1 week and see how you feel. 

    Turn off your email notifications - do not respond to email as it comes in. Designate 2 times per day where you check email and that's it. Remove email from your phone as well as it becomes too tempting when you are out of the office. So many contractors feel that they can't possibly do this and I am here to tell you that you can and you will actually be more successful if you do it this way. 

    Get Better at Limiting Your Phone Use - you have to protect and guard your time like it is the most valuable asset you have, because it is! Just because your phone rings does not mean you have to answer it. I don't care if it is your project manager, lead carpenter, supplier, client, prospect, or your spouse (ok, you probably should answer that call); STOP ANSWERING YOUR PHONE EVERYTIME IT RINGS! This is pure insanity to me and one of easiest ways to reduce stress and get more focused. 

    Every time you answer your phone you are distracting yourself from critical tasks and it takes that much longer to refocus and get back to what you were doing. The world will not end if you don't pick up the phone and your jobs will still get done, and your client will still be there tomorrow or the end of the day when you call them back. 

    And please get someone to answer your main phone for you. If you are still using your cell phone as your primary number, shame on you. There are so many affordable and highly effective answering services out there that can answer your phone if you don't have an assistant or in-house staff. These answering services start at $50/month and will make your life 1,000x's easier. 
     

  3. Designate 2 or 3 Blocks of Power Hours
    Most people only get about 30-45 mintues of actual productive work done every day. Designate 2 or 3 blocks of up to an hour per block as a "Power Hour". Tell your co-workers and employees not to bother you between those hours. Turn off your cell phone, office phone, social media sites, etc. Your only job during these hours is to get critical high level tasks done. 

     
  4. Set Expectations With Your Team and Your Clients.
    If you are working over 40 hours per week and feel like you never get a break and everyone is at you all day, you are probably the problem. Have you set clear upfront contracts/expectations with your team as to when they can call you during the day if they have an issue? Can't they formulate their thoughts and issues throughout the day and coordinate this into one 30-Minute power meeting/call with you at Noon? Empower your team to make decisions and get stuff done without you and if they really need you and they interrupt your work, it better be an emergency. 

    Same goes for your clients...why are you allowing them to call you whenever they want? Set expectations upfront. 

    "Mrs. Client, here is how I do things. Your questions and concerns are extremely important to me and I want to make sure that I get every single one of those addressed each week. Every Friday at 9AM, I designate 30-Mins for a review call with each of my clients to review your job and answer any questions. You can send me a detailed list of questions/selections/concerns on Friday morning and I will call to discuss. Please formulate your thoughts throughout the week and we can get those addressed all at the same time. Obviously, if it is an emergency that is a different story." 

    95% of your clients are completely reasonable rationale human beings and will understand this and look forward to that call on Friday. 

    5% will not understand this and hound you no matter what expectations you set. Those 5% never should have been clients to begin with but that is a different issue altogether. 
     

  5. Exercise 
    If you want to reduce stress in your business, your overall health plays a huge role in this. Exercising 45-minutes, 3 times per week is crucial. And sweating on the job with your contractors is not exercise so don't try and convince yourself that this is the same thing. While this might not be a huge secret to anyone, it might be a big reason why you might be stressed out. 

    Get a membership at a local gym or take a fitness class. If you join a gym, I highly suggest that you hire a personal trainer for 8 weeks minimum to get you started. A personal trainer will keep you accountable and get you in shape much faster than doing this on your own. A lot of people say they can't afford a personal trainer, but most gyms offer discounted introductory rates or small group training that is affordable for just about any full time employee or small business owner. 

    Now, if you can combine exercise with getting outside 3 times per week, even better! Getting outside and breathing some fresh air (preferably while you practice your breathing 🙂 will reduce your stress levels at work. Lunch break, coffee break, etc - get outside and breath in some fresh air. 

Well, there you have it! My 5 tips to help you reduce stress and get control over your remodeling business. These will not only reduce or eliminate stress at work, but will also improve your overall quality of life. Life is too short to live it when you are stressed out and working too much. We all need to make a living to provide for ourselves and our families but that does not mean you have to live the way you are. Implement these 5 strategies into your work life and everyday life and you will notice a a better you and a better business.

Need some help figuring out your strengths and weaknesses in your remodeling business? 

You are probably losing over a million dollars per year or more from bad marketing or NO marketing. Let me help you figure out what to do next with my Free Marketing Strategy Session. I also have a couple of additional bonuses I want to put in your hands as well. I am not sure how long we can offer this so sign up today to get on my schedule. Click here to find out more....

Focusing on Production and Ignoring Your Marketing is Dangerous

I was consulting with a potential client today on one of our Free Strategy Sessions. Things were going really well and we were able to identify some key areas of his business that needed attention. At one point in the call he actually stopped and went silent for like 10 seconds and I wasn't sure if he was still on the call....finally he comes back on and says in kind of a solemn voice

"Ryan - no one has ever revealed to me the things that you just did. No one. I have been doing this for a long time and have hired a few consultants along the way to help me and they never mentioned any of this. This makes perfect sense to me and I can see the potential now. I really wish I had known this 10 years ago." 

It is for those simple "ah ha" moments that I do what I do. I firmly believe that I can change my little piece of the world by helping remodeling contractors figure out complex marketing and business problems. And it is not just about making more money it's about living a better lifestyle. With more marketing comes more awareness and infiltration in your market which drives leads, then jobs. More jobs means money, which in turn hopefully cash, and with cash comes the ability to hire, and hiring (employees, contractors, outsourcers, freelancers) frees you up to systemize your business and get more freedom to live your life. 

But like most remodeling businesses, my potential client is wearing too many hats. I could tell he was getting overwhelmed and all the gears in his head were spinning a bit. He couldn't fathom adding anything else to his plate right now even though he did not have enough jobs lined up and he was not making anywhere near the kind of money he wanted to be making after all these years in the business. While he probably needs to charge more for his services, he also desperately needs more business. 

Running a remodeling business is tough. I know this and you know this. But you aren't ever going to improve your situation without first figuring out your marketing and new client acquisition strategy. I typically do not send lengthy email replies like the one I am about to share, but I really felt a connection with this prospect and I sincerely want him to succeed (with or without me involved).

Why Marketing is The Key to Getting Out of the Chaos of Your Business - My Letter to My Prospect

I understand you are struggling on the production end of things and we can certainly help you figure some of this out. While we cannot solve all of your biggest problems on the production end, but having us involved solving some of your other big marketing and business problems will certainly help you in a big way. 

As part of our systems we include consulting and we can help you get in place the missing pieces you need to take your business to the next level. Some of these things are included, some of them you will pay extra for depending on what you need.  You don't just need more advice and consulting, you need people that can actually get stuff done for you and help you drive new business each and every day. 

This is priority #1 and I know it feels like putting out the other fires should be your top priority but it isn't and until you have complete control over your marketing and new business generation side of things, you will continue to run yourself in a lot of different directions. 

Why? Because if you are not marketing and driving new business, and focused on new client generation, you are not using your entrepreneurial hat. You are still operating as a technician. When you get control over your marketing and make this a priority your business will change and so will your life. But without this focus and a good team behind you that can hold you accountable, I am afraid you will be in the same position you are in 2 or 3 months from now. What is really going to change for you in the next 3 months? 

It sounds backward, but you NEED to focus on your marketing and make this a priority whether you do this yourself, hire someone in-house, or hire me and my team. Production is really secondary…or at least the effort spent on both need to match up somewhat. Production is important but it is not the most important thing (believe me I know what you are going through as I have struggled with this for years!). You will figure out the production end as you continue to work through the jobs and we can help you build some systems that will make things easier in the short term and the long term. 

Right now you are so bottom heavy with production issues and lack the lead flow and cash flow to hire the right people. If you don't get more jobs and more revenue, how are you going to solve your production end issues?   Typically you need cash to solve this problem and I don't typically recommend that you go out and borrow a lot of money to do this unless you have a great plan in place and really need this to grow fast. Your cash increase from marketing is what is going to solve your production issues, not the other way around. 

If you can simplify your service, I know you can find good people who can follow instructions to get the production end of things done. And with a couple more $50k or even $200k jobs, you would be able to hire some additional great people and develop better systems. 

Think about it...how can you solve your production issues without new revenue? You need to do what you feel is best and that is part of being the boss. Making tough decisions isn't easy but its part of our job as leaders to do this. You have some options here, but whatever you do, please don't ignore your marketing any longer. Do something today to make it better and over time your business will change forever. 

I am here if you need some help and I see a lot of potential for your business. If you want my help, I know I can get you to where you want to go if you are willing to put in some effort and stay in the fight.

Sincerely,

Ryan

I am not perfect and I make mistakes and there are infinite things to learn in this industry. But I know the above to be true because I have personally done it both ways in both my remodeling business and in my marketing consulting business. When I was failing and really struggling it was because I was not focusing on marketing and getting new jobs lined up. 

Need some help figuring out your strengths and weaknesses in your remodeling business? 

You are probably losing over a million dollars per year or more from bad marketing or NO marketing. Let me help you figure out what to do next with my Free Marketing Strategy Session. I also have a couple of additional bonuses I want to put in your hands as well. I am not sure how long we can offer this so sign up today to get on my schedule. Click here to find out more....

The Old Ways of Doing Business Are Dead…and Why You Need to Shift to Survive

The opportunity to absolutely dominate your local remodeling market is still wide open in every major geographic area across the US and Canada, yet so many remodeling businesses struggle immensely each and every year. This is partly due to the fact that up until this point, most of the sales and marketing "gurus" have completely ignored this industry and have focused primarily on other markets. It is partly due to the fact that most remodeling businesses focus (or get lost in) on production and largely ignore marketing.

Is this a result of a lack of good information or is it a result of poor mindset? 

After spending over 15 years in this industry and meeting countless remodelers, home builders, and contractors, I think I know why so many other consultants have ignored this industry. Somewhere around 95% (my estimate) of remodeling and home improvement oriented businesses refuse to focus on marketing and instead focus on production. Therefore, the vast majority of smart marketing and sales experts have given up on this industry or didn't even attempt to help. Is the remodeling industry too stubborn to change? Or is it something else that is leading to a bottom heavy industry?  

It starts with every remodeling business shifting from a production related mindset (getting the jobs done) to a client generation and business building mindset. A shift needs to happen NOW and this will begin with focusing on marketing first, instead of on selling and production. You can't sell a job that you don't have a lead for, and you can't produce the work if you don't have the job. It all leads back to getting your marketing strategy and marketing funnel in place first. This does not mean you ignore your existing clients and jobs; however, you must free up some of your time, effort, and money to focus on marketing moving forward or you put your business at risk.

Seems backwards huh? I thought so too and struggled with this for years and years in both my marketing business and my remodeling and home building business. I spent so much time being the technician and worrying about production that my sales revenue had serious ups and downs. This type of business was not a business at all - it was a frustrating "job" disguised as a business. 

Every time I focused my efforts on marketing and being more entrepreneurial, I could increase sales 25%, 50%, and even more in a very short period of time. Something had to change and that change had to come from a better mindset. You MUST shift to focusing on marketing with everything else being secondary if you want to survive and grow a real business. When you have a marketing funnel and sytem that produces real jobs, you have cash, and when you have cash you can hire good people to solve other problems. 

Big Players Are Entering the Remodeling Market and Are Gobbling Up Market Share

My biggest concern for the small-medium sized remodeling and home improvement business is that there are bigger and better companies entering the remodeling space each and every year who are marketing focused and go after each market very aggressively. They are entrepreneurial and marketing focused companies that can quickly put you out of business if you do not make some changes. And you can't sell a prospect that doesn't exist so focusing on selling ahead of marketing doesn't make any sense either.

Scott DeGarmo said it best in an issue of "Success Magazine"

"The big money goes to those companies with superior marketing operations. Entrepreneurial companies of today must evolve from being sales oriented to being marketing oriented in order to now win the consumer."

Now, I don't want to be all doom and gloom here and this isn't meant to scare you, but you really do need to put a plan into action sooner than later and shift your focus now. The days of being the only one in town that does what you do is over. More choices exist than ever before and with search engines making it so easy to research, qualify, and validate a business faster than ever before, you must have exceptional marketing above all else. Relying solely on architects, designers, and referrals for business is extremely dangerous for the future of your business, but this should be part of an overall marketing system.

Most remodeling businesses do not have exceptional marketing. Most remodelers don't have anything that even resembles a marketing message or a plan of attack. I get it...they are busy. Busy putting out fires every day and sixty and seventy hour work weeks are the norm. They wonder why they do what they do each and every day and pray for an easier way. There are answers to these problems and the only viable way to get real freedom in your business and survive is to grow. Or make the business so simple that it can run and thrive without the owner, and the service is such high demand that people constantly seek you out every day for those services. 

Billions in remodeling and home improvement services and products are sold each year and growing a very steady rate. If you honestly believe in yourself and the service you are offering, shouldn't you be looking to get as many of the "right" NEW clients as you can possibly handle? And if you cannot afford $1,000, $3,000, $5,000 or more to invest in marketing and to make people aware of your business each month to acquire new remodeling clients, isn't that a problem you need to solve sooner than later?

Inside Your Business vs Outside Your Business

You can't spend all of your time developing the inside of your business (production, sales, and systems) and neglect the outside (marketing). At some point the inside and outside of your business have to match up and preferably the outside will grow larger than you can handle. And when it does, watch out! But right now you are probably all lopsided and bottom heavy when you need to be top heavy, working towards figuring out the bottom as you go. You can have the greatest service in the world but if no one knows about it, you are in BIG TROUBLE

Most remodeling businesses deliver a great service but struggle to delegate to others on the production end. You cannot do everything yourself and there are plenty of smart, skilled people out there that can help you get projects done. If you are making lots of mistakes and finding it difficult to hire, simplify your services so that you can succeed now. If you are struggling on the production end, your services are too complicated and you will continue to struggle. That will not change over night. Stop doing what you are doing and start making some changes.

In the meantime, get a marketing system in place that can start moving you towards steady growth and profits so that you can hire better people to help you through your problems. You cannot grow if you do not have new projects and you cannot hire the next project manager or "internal" staff unless you have steady revenue flowing in all the time. The answer is Marketing Marketing Marketing! 

You are losing over a million dollars per year or more from bad marketing or NO marketing. Let me help you figure out what to do next with my Free Marketing Strategy Session. I also have a couple of additional bonuses I want to put in your hands as well. I am not sure how long we can offer this so sign up today to get on my schedule.
Click here to find out more....

What a Mr. Electric Franchise Can Teach Us About Marketing and Building a Real Remodeling Business

When it comes to taking a typically boring, predictable, and fragmented remodeling market and turning it into a nationwide powerhouse, The Dwyer Group - specifically their Mr. Electric franchise - is a company you should be paying close attention to. Especially if you have any desire to grow your own local remodeling or home improvement business. 

In case you don't know or have been living in a cave for the past 10 years, Mr. Electric is a nationwide, franchise-based electrical service provider absolutely crushing it in just about every local market they service. With a systematic, consistent approach to marketing and business building plus a brand that literally glows (look for the yellow vans!), Mr. Electric has grown into a 200+ location enterprise. The same company that owns Mr. Electric has developed companies like Glass Doctor, Mr. Rooter, and Aire Serv.

They understand branding and marketing extremely well and I am going to share with you exactly why they have received my full attention and why you should care.

Take a Fragmented, Boring Industry...and Make It Exciting, Easy to Understand, and Unforgettable

Electricians are typically terrible marketers and most of the electrician based businesses that I see are 1 or 2 person run shops. Oftentimes, the only thing they do to market themselves is have their truck/van lettered with their name and phone number. That's it. Electricians are also typically just that - electricians. For the most part, tradespeople have not gone through any marketing or business courses but they do understand their trade and can earn a decent living because of that. 

Most electricians aren't building a business that has any value and they have zero control over their own destiny. They have to rely on general contractors and other related service providers to "throw" them some work and are at the mercy of that contractor as to what they can really charge. They may land a few direct deals with clients by default, but rarely will they be able to drive any consistent direct client business. As a result, they lack the ability to charge a premium for their services.

This is a dangerous business model. In fact, it is not real a business model at all. It is extremely risky and a big reason why electricians go through serious dry spells and eventually end up working for someone else and retire with no business of any value to anyone else. 

Here is where Mr. Electric can teach us all a thing or two about building a stable, predictable remodeling business, no matter what type of boring or obscure niche or industry you are in. If Mr. Electric can do what they have done in the electrical service industry, glass industry, and plumbing industry, there is absolutely no question the same can be done in every single remodeling niche on the planet. 

Even if you have no desire to scale to the size of Mr. Electric, just applying the following strategies that they do will help you grow fast in your local market. 

Why Mr. Electric Has My Full Attention and 6 1/2 Strategies You Can Implement Into Your Remodeling Business

  1. Mr. Electric Delivered a Great Service - For any of the following strategies to actually work, you first have to deliver a great service. They did that when they did some work for my neighbor. Keep in mind that this was not a big job, but Mr. Electric fully maximized the opportunity that they had right in front of them. The potential future business they could get from this one job is tremendous.
     
  2. Bold Branded Van - Mr. Electric arrived in a branded van that was professionally lettered and bright yellow. You cannot miss this thing! This is an awesome display of forceful, attention grabbing marketing with great branding. This van gets noticed. The van had the Mr. Electric web site clearly displayed and the phone number was visble from a mile away. 
     
  3. Eye Catching Yard Sign - Immediately upon arrival at my neighbors house, the Mr. Electric contractors asked if they could display a yard sign. They were allowed to do so and they put up a professional, double-sided, attention grabbing yard sign. The sign was one of the best I have ever seen. People notice this thing and I am sure the signage is not cheap.
     
  4. Door Hangers - The Mr. Electric contractors canvassed the entire neighborhood that we live in - which includes over 50 houses - and placed a prominent door hanger on each front door. The door hanger  included three direct response offers (coupons). This marketing piece was not a "branding" strategy; it was a "generate new business now!" strategy. The item was double sided and explained a little bit about the company on the front; on the back were the three offers. 

    So many remodeling businesses miss this and will drop off business cards or canvass neighborhoods with door hangers or flyers with NO OFFER! "Here Mr. Homeowner, I am a remodeling contractor. If you ever need some help let me know by calling me on my cell phone." That won't get you in the door and land you a new job. That strategy will get you quickly forgotten and 99% of all contractors do this every day of the week. This is why it's so crucial that you have identified a niche for yourself so that you can establish great offers around it. 

    Because Mr. Electric is so focused and they only do electrical services, they were able to come up with three attention grabbing offers that I will definitely use when I need some electrical services. In this case, they have my full attention and when I need electrical services I am definitely going to call them and use one of their offers. They have incentived me and motivated me to keep these offers around so that when I need the service I know who to call. If I had needed electrical services and had been considering calling someone, I would have already contacted them.
     

  5. Direct Mail - I have been told that Mr. Electric will follow up the door hanger with a direct mail piece in about 2-4 weeks and will continue to mail to my neighborhood periodically throughout the year. Just because they have already done a great job for our neighbor and got the attention of most of the people in my neighborhood doesn't mean they can just stop marketing to us. They need to keep going and keep staying in front of these potential clients. 

    Using a service like Every Door Direct Mail by USPS, you can quickly get access to an affordable list and implement a direct mail campaign that will work really well. Start collecting street names while you are in neighborhoods on a job and start mailing great offers to the neighbors. Be consistent and persistent. If you belive in what you do this should not be a problem.
     

  6. Internet + 24/7Phone Service - Do you know how all of this started? My neighbor did an internet search on Google for an "electrician + city" in our local area. They had a great website that was super clean, easy to navigate and an offer that was compelling enough for my neighbor to act.

    And here is another huge differentiator that Mr. Electric captitalized on....they answered their phone when my neighbor called! I work with a lot of remodeling contractors and drive thousands of leads per year. Anywhere from 70-90% of those leads are all phone driven and about 50% of my clients still do not answer the phone everytime it rings. Or they do answer the phone in a less than professional manner. What a waste and it is such an easy problem to solve. Hire a quality answering service that can field the initial call for you as your business. That is exactly what Mr. Electric does except they probably staff their own in-house team of professional, polite receptionists that answer phone calls 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

    If you are still answering your own phone, you are absolutely killing your positioning and credibility, distracting yourself, and complicating the future sales and project process. If you are answering your own phone then you are not focusing on the right things in your business. Not to mention the fact that you are probably answering the phone on a job! It is distracting for you and distracting for the potential client who is calling. This is completely unprofessional and it needs to stop. Hiring a quality answering service that will answer your phone 24 hours per day, 7 days a week starts at $30/month and there are no shortage of good providers.

Mr. Electric Franchise is a Great Company to Learn From

Mr. Electric has systemized everything I just outlined and I am sure they have a staff much bigger than yours to implement and manage it all. But every business owner can do the same thing on a smaller scale by building some simple business and marketing systems themselves. Better yet, hire an expert who already has the systems in place to roll this out for you. You do not necessarily need a franchise to do this, you just need the desire to find the solution and find ways to implement.

Need more help growing your remodeling business? Take advantage of all the FREE resources I have on www.RyanPaulAdams.com and download my "3 Killer Ways to Grow Your Remodeling Business" today.