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Remodeling Sales Strategies and Growth Tips with Jim Gehm – Podcast

If you want to keep plugging along with an average remodeling business this podcast is NOT something you should listen to. On the PME 360 Powering Business Growth Show, Ron Rodi, Jr and Ryan Paul Adams interview Jim Gehm with Holmes Custom Renovations

Jim reveals some of their top sales strategies and how to build a great sales team in the remodeling industry, which is not easy to do. Discover how they train, compensate, and motivate an effective sales team and the systems they develop to stay on track. Also, learn how they provide a client experience that leaves them with little to no competition and the ability to charge a premium for the services they deliver. 

"Running a remodeling business is crazy hard. But if you stick with it, it is one of the most rewarding things you can do."
- Jim Gehm , VP Sales and Marketing with Holmes Custom Renovations

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Building a Marketing Funnel for Local Businesses – Podcast

Ryan Paul Adams of PME 360 and guest Josh Long at http://joshualong.co dive deep into building a marketing funnel for local businesses. Josh provides deep insight into the why and how of building a sales and marketing funnel and how to position your local business as the expert in your market. This is one of those pieces of content that can have long lasting impact on your business. 

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Building a Marketing Funnel for Local Business

Ryan: Hey, everybody! This is Ryan Paul Adams. I have Josh Long on the line.

Hey josh! If you wanna say hello.

Josh: Hey, how's it going?

Ryan: He's a marketing consultant, a marketing optimizer and entrepreneur.  I wanted to get him on the call today to talk a lot about building a sales and marketing funnel.

Josh has a lot of great experiences in the business world. I think he can offer a lot of value. So Josh if you wanna take it from there. And tell us a little bit more about your background.

Josh: My expertise is in the real estate business. Just like a lot of people in the early 2000s, I jumped right in. I got an MBA in Business Administration but that's all the training I've got in business and sales. So I was a trial-by-fire, right-out-of-the-gate.

And when the market turned and the industry got right under, I was trying to figure out what I can do for the next stage of my career.

I got connected with a guy named Chet Holmes, a business and sales marketing trainer. And he had a great book called The Ultimate Sales Machine that I really gobbled up. I got connected with him and grew to be the Marketing Director of his organization. We grew about $10 million then at that time and we had a lot of services.

I got to work with guys like Jay Abraham before I worked with Chet. I've done a short tenure with Dean Kennedy a top rating small business marketing guy. So I got mentored by some great people. And I got to see the best practices out there.

And the thing I realized I didn't have in the mortgage business was, I saw a lot of companies struggle with their inability to have anything reliable that they could, again, rely on to provide more business.

It was like, they woke up everyday unemployed, and they hustled and hustled and hustled.

And as Michael Gerber, from E-myth, I really liked his trainings that I've gone through mastery programs. One thing he talks about is the distinction between an entrepreneur, a manager and a technician.

And what we found out was, most of the time, small business owners were great technicians. As Gerber uses in his book the example of a great baker. She made amazing pies but she did not know how to manage companies. She did not know how to be an entrepreneur and lead a company.

So a lot of these businesses and business owners come to us when I was working with Chet. And they'd say, "Man I need more leads. If I got more leads, I'll get more business and everything would be fine."

And we'd say, how are you doing it now?

Man, it was a crap shoot. They're just throwing mud against the wall and see what's stuck. They go to chamber events. They go to mixers. They go to leads group. Or they would do a postcard campaign once, and that's it.

Then, direct mail does not work. Or they get their cousins, uncles or nephews to build them a website over the weekend. But nobody would ever come to their websites because they don't understand the intricacies of the web: how Google ranks things, how search engines work. And then they would get guys to try Google Adwords. The small business world not knowing Adwords Express and they'd spend $2,000 or $3,000 but not get any good leads.

And they'd say, "Oh that doesn't work." So it's really just chasing the new shiny thing. They'd bounce from one idea to another idea. It's very typical. I've suffered it myself by having A.D.D. earlier in my career - of letting that overwhelm my focus and bounce from one new novelty to another.

And so the thing I saw over and over and over, even in Chet's organization was that, having a reliable, scalable and controllable lead source at the beginning of the funnel is vital.

And that this funnel would lead into an engagement process. This engagement process would lead into qualification. And part of that would be qualifying. Then, from qualifying leads to converting and closing. Closing finally leads to fulfillment.

Jay Abraham really opened my eyes to, once you have the client, how then can you have a process for retaining and re-engaging them - over and over and over.

Because the big costs of getting that client have been expended and paid for. And so now, it's pure profit when you can go back to them with more services, with more offers, with more integrations that you have to your existing solutions.

So I know a lot of your listeners and in the market that you are really helping now is involved in the home improvement business - the contractor world. And so a lot of those guys, they suffer from referral syndrome. And that they do great work, those who stay alive that aren't scam artists on Homes on Homes.

Those guys on Homes on Homes are just following scam artists. Obviously, if you're still in the business, you're not a scam artist because those guys can only rip off so many people.

So you do good work and people have friends and family over and they see your great work and it gets talked about. That's how referral gets spawned. But the problem is, they're not controllable.

You can't turn on the faucet for referrals when you need more jobs. And you can't fill in the gaps. It's an awkward situation if you get a lull and you got to go back to past clients and say, "Hey you got anybody who's been talking about remodeling their room or their bathroom?"

It is awkward because you come back in a desperate situation. And it does not bode well at that point.  That's the only way you can think of controlling referrals at that point of getting more leads.

And so for contractors, getting a funnel - something that generates consistent leads is important.

A lot of guys I know go to home shows. And these home shows are mostly in the spring or fall, all over the nation at fair grounds. So the problem is, that you're a little fish in a big pond.

Because all of your competitors are standing up side by side.  You've got to try and figure out some offer that engages people. It's really the most cut throat place to try and get more leads.

Ryan: And home shows are expensive. They are not a cheap place to get your business some exposure.

Josh: Exactly. In the marketing world, we talk about the cost per 1,000 exposures. In any advertising medium, you can put a price point on a cost per a thousand views. In that case, you are paying a premium premium pricing for those views - for people to walk by and see your names.

Take note that it's not captive. You've also got to try some gimmick and shenanigans to get people in.

Ryan: Well, it's amazing how many clients and prospects that I talk to on a regular basis are investing money in marketing right now. But, their engagement with their prospects ends after the initial one touch: phone call, email with the usual message, "Hey! You requested more information about doing X, Y or Z." And it ends there.

They've invested all this time and effort. Their marketing people have invested all this time and they make one phone call. And when they can't get hold of them. Move on, next one.

Josh: Again, building a funnel…

If we look at a funnel it really is a conveyor belt. You get leads coming in and you get them into a conveyor belt.

To visualize this since we aren't on video and I can't use a whiteboard like I always love doing. You get a conveyor belt and you move them from stage to stage. And so I would say, to find at least 4 stages that you can get your prospect in.

From the first point of contact, whether that's calling you or they come to your website or they find a review of you online. Then, what's the next stage. What is it that you do to engage them?

Dean Kennedy gave me a really good analogy and I use it all the time in the sales process. Back in the day, when pay phones existed and they cost a quarter, if you got stuck and you didn't have a cellphone or you didn't have a change on you. I'd say, we can get that since that request is pretty low, pretty painless.

We look like respectable, trust worthy guys, we're not going to get a quarter and ask for $10 like scammers on the street or whatever. So, getting a quarter is pretty easy but when we go on and say that we need a bus fare and it was a dollar. It's another story.

Getting a dollar is not four times harder, but it is harder than getting a quarter. Because you're asking somebody to get into their wallet and get some cash out.

And then, if we were really hard pressed for some reason. We had to go ask somebody for $10 for like a cab fare. Because you were stuck there, stranded, something happened in a big city and you needed a cab - you need $10.  The chances of getting somebody to give you $10 is really hard and you need to give a sob story.

You're going to have to give a commitment that you'll pay them back. Or tell them how your family is in need or some big drama story.

So it's just like in sales. The first engagement tells you, when somebody first contacts you, to try ask them for their budget or for a visit. You can get away with a walk-through in their home but they probably want to get some basic info.

So there's something in exchange online. What we do a lot of times is we give a free report. Something that helps educate them in the process that they're undertaking.

In the case of remodelling a bathroom, if I were remodelling a bathroom and I came across a contractor's website that said, "Looking to remodel? Before you get started, download our free report on the 7 black holes where you can get ripped off or the 3 black holes where you can get ripped off and how to avoid them.

In that case, the contractor would be asking you for a quarter. Which would be in this case is a name and an email address. Pretty low risk. They're not asking for a phone number. They're not asking me to fill out a long form on the details, the budget, the size of the space, the time frame when I want it done.

It's just a simple exchange. It's like, "I'm more than happy to give you my name and my email address. And get that report."

So that would be the beginning of what I'd say is the first step of a good funnel.

It's something that you give value away. You help the person in their decision making process.

Ryan:  If you're doing that, if you took the time to put together a report like that and once they downloaded this, and a couple of emails to follow up, you'll probably be the only guy or girl in your market that is offering that. So it's a huge differentiator.

I mean, you are putting yourself 10 notches ahead of what you consider competitors. And it was so simple, you did it by just offering great information and getting rid of all the negative fears that these people have about making this big buying decision.

You're getting them right out there. Like you said, The 7 Tips to Avoid for Not Getting Burned. 

We talked about this last week, which is getting the negative out there.  Like, we won't leave cigarette butts all over your yard. Or we have a professional crew and we make sure that we have our belts tightened.  You can even make it a little funny, like if you're a plumber…

Josh:  …You don't have ever to see our butt cracks.

Ryan: All these fears of people about hiring home improvement contractors, get them right out there.  Get it into a report. Get them into a backend email funnel, articles or whatever.

Josh:  What happens too, what we found when I worked with Chat, because we did a lot of education-based marketing. And that is what this is, offering this report is education-based marketing.

And the thing we found out was, some obscure research report done by some sales organization found that the company that provides the client with the most education would be successful. Companies that are willing to help clients learn and take away the imbalance of power, of ignorance would get 67% to 70% of consumers were predisposed to go back and hire that company.

It is a trust thing. It builds so much trust. And in any transaction, trust is key. And if you don't have the trust of your prospects, you'll never close them.

It doesn't matter how great power remodels look, if you can't build trust.  And you do it in a multitude of ways.

One is the very first engagement of giving something of value. Even if they don't read the whole report, even if they just scan through it and only look at the bullet points, you are educating them. You are being transparent.  You're being,

"Look we're not gonna scam you this way. We're not gonna require 100% payment upfront or just all the other ways people get scammed in projects. We're not gonna recommend the most expensive fixtures because we marked them up. It's not goona produce an ROI on the resale value of your home"

Things like that.

So back to what you said about a lot of contractors who only follow up once, leaving just a voicemail - or they never follow up at all.  So again, this is Sales 101 stuff. The average time or frequency of contacts - total quantity of contacts, I should say that it takes for the average transaction to take place whether it is B to B or B to C (Business to Consumer) which your contractors are in is 5 to 7 times.

What it means is that 80% of the sales happen after the 5th or 7th contact.

So we used to play a game where we would be following up with the companies that contacted us. We just made a game out of it. We'd have fun voicemails. Chat was brilliant. He said, look at the voicemail as a 30 second personal radio advertising.

Position it that way. Write something that's compelling. Don't just say, "Hey Steve, just returning your call. Just seeing if you are ready to make a decision or if there's anything else I can help."

We would also change it to something like, "Hey Steve! This Josh from ABC Contracting. You know you contacted us. And the next step in our process is to meet and bring our portfolio book and show you all the homes that we've done. We'll give you a list of referral sources or references that you can call - that are just in your neighbourhood. You can even go, see and talk to the homeowners about their experience with us. There's no pressure. We just wanna move forward in the very next step. So give me a call back and I'd like to schedule something with you. I got some time free, Tuesday in the afternoon or Friday morning. And here's the number."

So it would be a clear, again, you can do them as radio ads. But it must be specific to that consumer and situation. Moving them forward. And the game was, who could leave the most voicemails in the course of a week. We would call sometimes day after day.

There's nothing wrong with that.  The more squeaky wheel gets the grease. People are busy. You don't have to think that "Oh, they're not returning my call. They're afraid of me." 

We get to think of all the mental head games we go through as business owners.
Not wanting to hold call or follow up call or pester people.  I just learned that, after time, my job is to disqualify people as fast as possible. In that way, I wouldn't end up wasting time. Then I'd mentally psych myself out, going and pursuing other leads.

And so by getting into the mental process of how many voicemails can I leave that are different, that are unique, that are very engaging and then, how can I disqualify this person as fast as possible. So that I'm not wasting my time with them, is a really powerful shift in mindset.

Now on follow up systems.

So you have initial engagement, how they get hold of you - whether it's your website or it's finding you online through some review sites. Whether it's Google places or like, Yellow Pages - something like that.

They find you and they come to your site. Or they leave a voicemail. Then they get a follow up call. What's the follow up sequence? Then, what's your sales process?

I had a friend and he was an audio-video contractor doing home theatres, sound systems, automation systems and stuff. One of the things we identified as part of his sales process were two things: if he can get clients or prospects to come into his showroom and take a tour of the showroom and see all the whiz bang tools, features and gadgets, his close rates went up, sky rocketed as supposed to going and doing in-site visit in their homes.

If he'd go in their homes and they'd never come in the show room. I think he'd close 1 out of 20. But if they come into the showroom, he'd close 8 out of 10. So what's that, a 16 times better close rate?

Then for him, he would charge a design fee and this was his engagement. These are baby steps if you go back and you think about Bill Murray in What about Bob.

Josh: Taking baby steps, what he'd do was he would charge a design fee of $500. Because in his industry, unfortunately, Best Buy, Amazons, all those guys were competitors.

Homeowners would think, why do I need Dave, why do I need to buy a $3,000 TV from Dace when I can get a $2,500 one from Best Buy. It wasn't though as if Dave was ripping them off, it's just that Best Buy has volume pricing.

And so what happened when he charged a $500 design fee, was that the retention would go up. Even if they bailed, he was profitable. He was making money because it was taking 2 to 3 hours to do the design layout and the all the stuff to get them on board.

And then it would go into a bigger contract. So again taking it back to baby stepping it, don't go asking for a thousand dollars from some stranger because you need a new transmission.

Ask for a quarter to get a payphone call so you can go have done what you have done. Change that mindset or adapt that mindset of baby stepping with a funnel approach.

Ryan: That works really well.

My background was on the custom home market before I started my Internet Marketing business and one thing I learned early on was that chasing a ton of prospects around or the big homes would end in a realization that they'd say the right things to you but eventually they would lie to you.

It was my fault. I didn't control the process. I didn't have a process.

Josh: It took me a few years before I realized everybody lies in a sales process. I even catch myself doing that. I don't do it often because I don't want the sales person to be running around in a wild goose chase.

But I catch myself in Best Buys which now is a show room for Amazons. I want to check out a laptop. I want to hold it and type on it. So I go to Best Buys.

If the sales person comes up to me, I don't tell him "Yes I'm researching for my purchase in Amazon."

But I don't try to mislead them in wasting a bunch of time with me. However, everybody lies. It's an unfortunate process or result of capitalism, consumerism and aggressive sales people.

Ryan: I, flat out, stopped doing estimates anymore. And I just package it into a complete project consultation and estimate.

And here's what I'll do for you for $1,500 or $2,000 or whatever is I'll help you get your plans done. If your plans are already done, we'll consult and make sure that you're saving money.  We'll be building this home the right way.

The other stuff of my process is we'll get you ready to build. We'll give you a complete open estimate of all of our fees and all of the contractors. We can show you how much your house is really costing, where we can save you money. Really, a consultative approach.

I think most home improvement contractor can do the same thing. If all you're doing is selling windows, that is probably not the right strategy.

But again with that initial content piece of "The 5 things to know before you hire a window contractor" and go through that stuff - that's your free introduction. The 25¢ that you were talking about.

Josh: Thinking about consultative sales, there's a guy named Andy Miller that I've worked with Chet. And he was the guru of consultative sales and he really opened my eyes. What it does when you get a consultative approach.

And he'd always referenced a doctor or a surgeon. When you go meet with a doctor, you're not combative. You're not lying to them. You trust them because you want their opinion and what I viewed as in the negotiation table, is getting on the same side as the client.

And looking at their playbook. And saying, "You know I'm not really going to do that and here's why."

It's all the things - whether they benefit you or not as the consultant or the sales person or the contractor. You don't care because you make your money on the project. You make your money when you get the client on a bigger deal. And so your design fee or your design consultation as a home improvement contractor you can easily charge - up to a couple hundred of dollars perhaps.

The amount doesn't really matter as it's the psychological effect of them looking at you as an expert - of you building something trust worthy. And like my friend Dave with the home theater systems, it was something they could leave and they could benefit. They wouldn't feel handcuffed to home if they wanted to go another route.
And he provided a bunch of value added benefit on the back end that some cheap clients just didn't care about or didn't realize as valuable.  But he still made plenty of money on the big contracts. And it qualified people a lot quicker.

Ryan: It's amazing if you have the process in place - when you have that initial consultation which you can charge for.

Imagine how much higher your close rate will be. Like you said with your home theater guy, it was like 80% of those who took him up on that offer closed.

When I was in the custom home market, even in Internet Marketing, we take the consultative approach and we charge for it. And those people that take the next step, those who want to hear the full details and pay for your time, 98% of the time become clients.

Josh: As a contractor or any business person, especially if the cash flow's tight, you just want to say yes to everything. Just to get the group working, the deals flowing. But it's the minute that you take a stance of prestige, a stance of expertise - the clients are even more attracted to you, like a lighting to a rod.

So going back at the very beginning, I talked about marketing funnel as something you can really rely upon - it's really of a 3 step process.

One, what is the lead source? What is it that's driving consistent lead float to you. We talked about the home shows. These can work. It's a slug. It's like a pit fight. Because you got all your competitors next to you trying to grab people's attention just when they're on a lazy Saturday stroll.

It is hard. You can do direct mail. You can do postcards. You can do referrals. You can have strategic partnerships with other industries that are complementary to yours. You can get online and have social media help you or reputation management stuff help you and get good reviews and be really really easy to find.

I am sure Ryan is educating you guys on what that is. And I'm sure his company offers that stuff.

Getting that one you can rely upon, just stick with it until it works. There's no right or wrong answer to what lead source you get.

It is sticking to one until it works because they all work. It's just the fortitude to stick to it.  And then getting the engagement funnel, what your engagement funnel looks like.

It starts with 3 steps.

Start with giving your free report. Doing a consultation. And then a proposal. Get that defined. Write it down and if you have sales people, get them to work at it together. Train them, review them weekly. Get that done.

And what's the close? How do you close people? You guys already know that. You wouldn't be in business if you didn't know that. But that's the last step of the funnel.

Hope that's helpful.

Ryan: Josh, that was great info. I really appreciate your time. How can people reach you if they want to learn more about what you can offer?

Josh: Just go to my website joshualong.co - that's .co and not .com. It's the new hip thing. I say that a lot so it's easier to remember I guess.

But I do work with B2B companies typically $5 million and up. More on the strategic planning stuff and fixing a lot of broken things. I've got the site and a blog. Get more information there.

Ryan: Great! Really awesome stuff. I'll talk to you later.

Take care.


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

Developing a Unique Selling Proposition in Your Home Improvement Business – Podcast

Ron Rodi Jr and Ryan Paul Adams dive into the subject of developing a USP - Unique Selling Proposition for your home improvement business in our latest podcast. Ron and Ryan rattle off 40 minutes of some really valuable content around the what, how, why, when, and where to craft and use a USP in your home improvement business.

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Key Points to Developing a Unique Selling Proposition

  • Select Your Target Buyer
  • Determine What You Can Be The Best in the World At
  • What Do You Stand Behind
  • Create a Unique Guarantee
  • Look at the Negative and Create a Promise Around That
  • Determine Time Frame
  • Don’t Be Afraid to List All the Potential Negatives Surrounding Your Product or Service
  • ….Finally, What Happens if You Don’t Deliver. Get That Out in the Open!

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Ron: Good Afternoon everyone. This is Ron Rodi Jr. from Chicago PME360: Powering Marketing Excellence. With me today I have Ryan Paul Adams.

Ryan: Good Afternoon.

Ron: How are you?

Ryan: Doing well.

Ron: Checking in on a little late in the East Coast. I appreciate that.

Ryan:  Yeah. No problem.

Ron:  Absolutely. So today, we’re gonna talk about to the audience about Unique Selling Proposition. And why it’s important. And before we get into it, Ryan. I wanted to define pretty quick what Wikipedia says about a Unique Selling Proposition. Is that all right with you?

Ryan: Yes, perfect.

Ron:  So unique selling proposition also known as the unique selling point or USP is a marketing concept that was first proposed as a theory to understand a pattern among successful advertising campaigns in the early 1940s. It states that such campaigns made unique propositions to the customers and that this convinced them to switch brands.

So we can see that this is definitely not a new concept as it goes back to the mid-20th century. But really, we’re gonna talk a little about today why it is important and I definitely want to get your thoughts around it. I know it’s something we’ve been talking about for quite some time. Why don’t we get ahead and jump right into it. How ever you want it to start off. I can ask some questions around it. What are your thoughts around the definition right there?

Ryan: I think that it was pretty good. I think a lot of people if you’re trying to improve your marketing, trying to grow, trying to do this stuff, you’ve probably run across the term. It’s been used for a long long time as you have pointed out there. And I think, having a USP, really comes back to asking yourself some really important questions like “what can I be the best in the world at?”

And I think too many people, too many business get caught up in offering products and services that they’re not all that passionate about. They can’t really be the best in the world at what they’re delivering.

Ron: Or really to go with that something that they is USP. Everyone in the industry is doing it, right?

Ryan: Yes, they’re just repeating what everyone else is saying. I think a lot of business fall prey to that. And a person with no unique selling proposition is an easy target to knock off.

And for competitors, just to come in, you don’t exist. I mean you really need to figure out what makes you different. What you can do better. What makes you unique in your market.

Ron: Sure. To me, this kinda falls into the concept that we’ll get into in future podcast. But it really plays hand in hand with being – not trying to be that generalist, I think they go hand in hand. You talk a lot about picking and matching. We’re not gonna get far out today but it really kinda plays off each other. The first step. The foundation, for starting a business tomorrow – what is it that’s unique.

Not only that. As you mentioned, what sets us apart from the competition. But let’s take it a little further and let’s try to develop that niche. Who is it exactly that you’re servicing? And who specifically can you service better than anyone else in the world, right?

Ryan: And to take that a step further, you know a business without USP will find itself pulled in a lot of direction. And any time a new shiny object comes into the market place or the next greatest thing to offer, you’ll find that companies that don’t have a strong selling proposition will just chase whatever that comes up next.

They’ll forever – basically, they don’t have a clear identity of who they are. So they constantly adjust and keep up with the next big thing that comes up in the market.

So companies with a strong USP, that really know who they are, that really know who they wanna be, any new things that are coming to their market, they really ask some tough questions. Does this really fit within our core business model?

Ron: Sure. Another way to put it is what are your strengths? What strengths can you play to? And really knowing your weaknesses.

Another way of defining is, what are we really really good at? What do we know a little about that we can try it?

But at the end of the day, that’s not gonna make us unique. As a matter of fact, that’s gonna make us like everybody else.

That’s another way of how to define it if you’re having problems with it, what are you strong at. And within those strengths, what can you do better than your competition.

Ryan: And a lot of times, especially in a small to medium sized business market, which are primarily the people we deal with in a regular basis, they cannot be the best in the world at delivering 10 different services or 10 different products. It’s just not possible.

Because they are struggling right now to even deliver 1 service better than what their competitors are doing. So the ability, the USP really allows you to really focus on in “Wow! We can really be the best at this. Let’s develop our power statement, our unique selling proposition.”

Now you can develop systems, marketing, sales strategies, everything else on the backend of this. It just allows you to focus. Everything comes together once you craft this magical USP. “Wow! This is really who we are.” And it can be a simple one sentence statement or it can be a little bit more.

Ron: Let’s get into how to develop one. Do you want to take a stab at that?

Ryan: Yes, absolutely. We can talk about it a little bit.

Ron: Because this is something that’s within my sales consulting, and my sales call – trying to push our top clients to really differentiate themselves. And just to kind of set this up before you get on defining it.

But it’s really, the way I try to articulate to our clients and have them understand without specifically stating the USP here.

In general, why do you want to develop one? I’m just gonna answer that quickly. And you can take it away with how to develop one.

Ryan: Sure.

Ron: But one of the things that really hit home in a client meeting. This is something that we’ve talked about before. Developing the USP and having it permeate throughout your entire organization and it’s a statement. It’s a catch phrase if you will. Or a statement you can make in your website or on your business card.

But having that permeate in your entire organization and adapting it into your sales process – all the way to answering your phone, to going on sales call to reminding your clients, “Hey, this is why you contacted me from the beginning. Because we are the firm that does X, Y, Z.”

That’s one of the things that really hits home in recent meetings with the top clients. And they really kinda get it.

That’s another way to look at here. What is it that you can come up with that can really echo throughout your being, if you will. You can really talk about it passionately and make a statement. Because it’s gonna help you differentiate from all the other people talking about the same thing 10 times over.

And I just want to process that with another store there.

Ryan: Yeah. And I think that beyond just allowing you to focus in, it really allows you to restate the obvious about what you’re doing. And to ask yourself, “nobody else in my market does this this way, right?”

You want every business doing something a little different. You want to be able to state that clearly in your marketing – this is why we’re different. This is why we are unique. Nobody else in my market solves the problem like I do.

Ron: Sure.

Ryan: And they don’t do it with the guarantee that I have. Or everybody else requires something from you that I don’t. Or the other competitor charges this. I might charge more but this is what it comes with it.

Ron: Right.

Ryan: And really clearly defining that.

Ron: So really, the statement and the expected outcome, right? Working with us is going to lead to this outcome. And maybe it’s as simple as that or can be really complex, right?

Henry Ford, his unique selling proposition was finally a car a common man can afford. That’s a very unique unique selling proposition especially back in the early 1900s – the first car a common everyday man could afford.

Ryan: It produced economies of scale.

Ron: Sure.

Ryan: So they probably as they wanted to make that message a little better, you know. The first cars they built weren’t very safe. So now it becomes the next competitor in the market. Ah, safety.

Not only can I build cars of mass scale, affordable cars that the everyday man and woman wanna drive. But my cars are safe and my cars do this. Breaking that down because let’s face it, every market you look at, there are competitors. And there’s gonna be competitor intrusions. You really gotta figure out how you can do and get your message out there in a little bit different way.

Ron: And why you’re in the business from the very beginning. Why are you solving a problem a little better than the previous person, right? A little better than competition.

And to carry out that example, you can bring the automobile all the way to today. And now the unique selling proposition could be 32 miles per gallon highway or you only need to fill up once a month. Like you said, safety and now it’s more of economics of cars to consumers. There’s unique selling proposition everywhere.

Ryan: Yup. So you go back to…this. I’m good, how do I build a USP?

I think you really need to start on your core promise – in a positive frame in mind. What I mean by that is start with what you mentioned, the problem. You solve what specific problem for what person.

And then, you gotta look at possibly, time frame. How you solve this problem in a specific amount of time. You gotta state that if you are selling a service with recurring revenue built into it.

The last part of it is the “or else” piece of it. All of these things come into play and otherwise the refund. I’ll refund you if I don’t do this or I’ll replace it. Or I’ll monitor it every month. I’ll send my roofing crew out there once a year to make you’re your shingles are holding up. Don’t just sell roofing projects, right?

Ron: Right. Well it goes to really your belief in your product. So you don’t want to state something that you can’t deliver on for starters. But I think if you can back up some of your claims, because you know again, going back to the definition that you’re the best in the world at this, so I’m gonna go ahead and offer this guarantee to you. There’s no one else in the market that’s gonna offer this to you, right?

Ryan: When you think of LLB¬, I think they have the world’s greatest unique selling proposition, which is if you buy anything from our store at any time it wears out, we’ll replace it for free.

Now they know that there’s a small percentage of the market that will take advantage of them. They know this. They build it into their price. Their products are not cheap. They know this going in – that they’re going to build in their price this model that 20% of the market will return stuff that they have no right returning. That they’re gonna take advantage of them.

Boots that they wore for 20 years that have worn-out, LLB will take it back. You bring it back and it has LLB on it, they’ll give you a new pair – greater or of equal value.

So why can’t this be applied in the home improvement market or pretty much in any market?

I think this is pretty much what the home improvement contractors are missing out. You take the roofing contractors for example, if I was in the roofing business, I would sell the project with a guarantee that we stand behind the roof for x number of years. We will also come out once a year and inspect your roof to make sure that what we installed is 100% up to our standards.

Ron: Sure.

Ryan:  How much does it really cost, think about it. Just even build this again into your upfront price. You’re not gonna be the cheap guy but you’re the guy that does all these things that go along with this.

Ron: Absolutely.

Ryan: The client is scared out of their minds. They don’t know who to choose for a roofer right? So if you build all this stuff in, you’re gonna stand behind it.

We’re gonna come out once a year. We’re gonna inspect the roof to make sure nothing’s wrong. If there’s something wrong, we’re gonna replace it for free.

Ron: That’s an excellent point that you mentioned. The client is scared to death because they hear horror stories. They don’t know who to trust. And if you build such a strong statement - imagine how it’s gonna make your audience feel if you’re making that statement.

At the end of the day, this is what you’re gonna get. And making that statement, it’s different than a product warranty because everyone can offer a warranty.

Don’t go out there and say, well my USP is that I have a warranty. Everybody else has a warranty. So the prefect example here is what you mentioned, taking that extra step. Like what you said, some people are gonna “take advantage of that but you’re really making that statement to put people at ease. You’re making” that statement but at the end of the day, you shouldn’t go back and repair or redo all the roof because you have quality craftsmanship. 

If you don’t have quality craftsmanship, then you have a different problem in your hands.

Ryan: And you know that if you’re building this guarantee into your USP this way, you know that you are providing a quality product.

The crappy contractors aren’t gonna do this. The crappy business owners aren’t gonna do this. They do not believe in what they do so they aren’t gonna really stand behind it. So don’t pass off their guarantee as well, the roofing manufacturer you know These are warranted for 35 years, right? But it’s not a guarantee.

Guarantee is standing behind it if something goes wrong. I don’t want to call any roofing manufacturer, I wanna call you because you’re the guy who said who can do this job for me and I want it written into my deal without me having to ask you for it. So now you have no competition.

You built all this stuff into your roofing USP. How do you think you’re gonna look versus the other guy that showed up and say I can do your roof for $25,000.

How about pitching it a whole different way and making it more than just installing the roof? What happens after? I will complete this in this amount of time. I guarantee are roofs would be done within 48 hours or we’ll give you $100 a day until they’re done.

Ron: Sure.

Ryan: Not only are you delivering specific time frame, speed. I can do this fast, with high quality and we stand behind it. Here, have you ever listened to this call if you’re in the roofing market. There you go.

Ron: And actually, put it in writing, right? Put it into your contracts. Put into your process. And it’s not just words. It’s not just puffering. You’re not show-window advertising here. You’re not coming up with something tricky. You’re not trying to dupe anyone.

This is something that, you stand behind your work. I’m sure there is a lot of people out there extremely skilled at what they do. You might be just as skilled as they guy not offering a USP.

But by offering USP, you take away the fear from the consumer that scared them to death because they’ve heard so many horror stories.

Ryan: And again, this stuff has to be everywhere that you are. It’s gotta be in your – whether it’s a one page cut sheet that you’re on the job with or in your store, or wherever – this USP has to permeate everything.

And you also want to look at USP and restate it in the negative as well. So we talk about the positive things that you do. But you can also look at the negative side of it as well.

This roofing job won’t require any length from you – whatever it is, upfront money. We don’t collect a dime until the job is done.

Ron: Got it.

Ryan:  This thing. This job won’t cost you anything beyond this. Everything beyond the job and all the stuff that we do – our yearly guarantee does not cost you anything. We do that for you.

Ron:  So you kinda addressing those fears that we mentioned previously in the conversation. You’re getting those out of the way.

Look, we guarantee that we’re not gonna trump to your house and dirty your carpet. Or we guarantee that we’re gonna be in and out before the graduation party or something along that line.

Or it’s something more serious than that. But again, you’re stating that fear and you’re removing those fear. You’re offering up those negative connotations and you’re getting them on the table.  You know that’s what people are thinking.

Ryan: We won’t show up for your job and litter the yard with cigarette butts and we’re not gonna go to the stock room.

Ron: How about, we’re not gonna show up at 6:30 in the morning on a Saturday or better yet, we’ll respect the condo hours. It’s does not have to be roofers, it can be anyone. We’ll do the installation, we’ll abide by the rules within the community and by doing that, guess what, you’re gonna establish great quality reputation and more people are likely to recommend you.

Ryan: You’re getting it out there. You can do this in a funny way too. Like the plumber shows up and I guarantee you, we wouldn’t show up with a plumber’s crack. And not to be, I’m not making fun of plumbers. But if you’ll state kind of negative and you can do it in a funny way, people will gravitate towards that because you’ll look like you’re a real person, you’re a real company.

And you’re getting it all out there. Like, I understand these are all your fears. Well here is how we deal with it.

Have a frequently asked questions page in your site to deal with all this stuff. And blend it within your marketing brochure.

Ron: It’s an excellent point. You bring an interesting insight. By doing that, you’re humanizing it a little bit. Because, hey if you’re the business owner you can’t control, well of course you can control your employees but you’re making a statement that if it does happen, you’re going to give that attention. You’re going to address it – to do something about it, right? So you’re kind of making that on-site customer service almost in a way.

Ryan: Right. Let a lot of this stuff do it’s own talking. Once you get this stuff down, and again it should be in your website, in your marketing. People can go ahead and read it. They already know this stuff about you. You don’t necessarily have to go and reiterate all of this. Depends on what your sales processes, on what you’re saying.

But at least, foundationally, if somebody asks you what you do. It’s not roofing contractor, this USP that you’ve been developing. It comes back to what your power statement is about and who you are.

And at the top of my head, foundationally, for a roofing contractor, it’s something along the lines of we keep out the rain, we stand by our roofs for the lifetime of the roofs or we are the only roofing contractor in Cincinnati that has a 10 year labor guarantee –something along those lines.

I’m just throwing this off on top of my head. This is not exactly how I’ll phrase it. I’ll have to sit down and outline this. But that’s the idea.

I’m not saying that you’re a plumber or that you sell or you’re a bankruptcy attorney or you’re a roofing contractor, you gotta be better than them. That is nothing.

Ron: Exactly. And I think, going to your point, think about how you, Mr. Business Owner, how you shop online. Or how you look for products and services.

So let’s say, you gonna get it on 3 people and this is just a quick example.

You get 3 call backs from this, adapting this a little bit to your sales process and I’m sure we’ll gonna do another podcast on this. But think about this for a minute, if you can repeat your USP, let’s say someone is on their lunch hour and they’re looking for a roofer. (This maybe an extreme example but I’m trying to illustrate my point). And they have 30 minutes to get this done and everyone’s calling back saying “Yup. This is the roofing contractor, how can I help you? What do you need?”

“Yup. This is the roofing contractor, how can I help you? What do you need?”

“Yes, this is the roofing contractor that guarantees blah, blah, blah.”

Oh yeah, I remember that from your website. I remember that you have that. Oh yeah, let’s talk.

So you’re setting yourself up on your site. Within your marketing and then within your sales process that we are the company that does this. Because people are gonna forget who they contacted. They’ve contacted 3 – 5 different companies, right? But we’re the company who does this. Oh that’s right. You know what, thank you for reminding me. I wanted to talk to you. And so instead of saying, we’re the roofer that yeah what can we do for you.

Ryan: It’s gonna come back to building a brand. This goes all the way back to being a little bit funny, a little bit creative. You know, the color of your vehicle, your brand, everything. So people notice who you are.

You know, you gotta think about all that. But don’t force it. If you are not about…if you are not the type of person who wants to be funny. If you think the way to do it is to take it very seriously. That’s fine. Don’t try to do what someone else is already doing.

I’m just saying that in the home improvement space, you can be a little bit – get that negative out there in a funny way or just address it. However you need to do so. If you take building a USP through your process, you really need to know, probably just around 6 things.

1. Choosing your buyer – really gotta know who you are talking to.
2. You really have to know what you stand behind, what you’re willing to do. A unique promise of some kind. So again it goes into the guarantee. You gotta know what that is. It’s gotta be stated enough.

Ron: It’s gotta be something that you can deliver. That’s not going to ruin you if you have to make good on it, right?

Ryan: Yup. It might be, it’s not probably enough to say we’re the only roofing company in Cincinnati that’s gonna show up and not litter your yard with cigarette butts, right? I don’t think that’s enough.

Ron: It’s really not unique. Does it pull over new customers to your product? I don’t know. Is their a uniqueness if that brand or that claim – that no one else made in that particular field? That’s a good point, very good point.

Ryan: Adding a negative promise that we talked about, a time frame to what you do should be out in the open, stated and the “or else”. It’s important.

Choosing your buyer, you gotta know the demographics, specific niche, specific problem that you are solving.

Ron: So that’s the first step, choosing the buyer. Second step is what?

Ryan: Well, part of your choosing your buyer process is knowing who your demographic is. What niche you are trying to serve. And what problem you’re trying to serve.

Ron: So there a few steps within that?

Ryan: To know who your buyer is, you can talk to that buyer in your marketing within your business. It needs to permeate. You need to have a name and a face to who your target person is. This is called developing a persona.

And go and find a picture of who your target person is. Write a description around what their needs are, what their wants are, who are they. So that when your sales team is showing up, in your marketing and everything you do, you know who are you talking to. And we can go through all this stuff…

Ron:  We can talk for quite a long time. One thing I do want to maybe, we can close it out right here is. But I do wanna make sure that this message comes across.

We’ve helped clients at every stage of the life cycle of their business. This isn’t just for the guy who’s just opening up or new to the business. You can reinvent yourself at any time.

Ryan: Absolutely.

Ron: You can be a 50 year old company. You can be a 5 year old company. You can be a 50 day old company. This is something that you can do. If you don’t have this, don’t feel like, “Oh my gosh! What am I going to do?”

This is something that sure takes time. It takes some creative people. It takes some hard work. But this is something you can do at any time. And this is really a way to turn your business around, right?

Ryan: Yes it is. And it’s amazing how many 50 year old companies have never thought about this.  You can go out there right now and do some searches on Google for local businesses.

Ron: Sure.

Ryan: How many of them have no unique positioning in their market. But they’ve been able to survive for as long as they have. Now just imagine if you can incorporate uniqueness in a clear selling proposition in what you’re doing right now.

Ron: Absolutely.

Ryan: It’s huge. You no longer have to compete on cost alone.

Ron: You know, I would venture to guess that people would be willing to and I shouldn’t say venture to guess, I should say that with confidence, people will be willing to pay a higher premium for that guarantee. For that comfort.

For you are no longer selling on price. No longer are you down in the trenches. No longer is it a blood bath.

Is it still gonna be competitive, of course. This isn’t going to magically…You still have to go to the process and incorporate.

Again, it’s not just puffery. But I know, with convictions, I personally would pay more for someone I’m comfortable with. Someone that guarantees X, Y, Z. Someone that comes across with you know, they thought this through. They got their stuff together. So I’m gonna go with this company.

Ryan: And not competing on cost alone, you can mention cost within your marketing, right? And show that you got some options for different pockets of your market. Meaning, you’ve got like good, better and best packages or services around roofing.  This is where the power can really come in.

Once you know who your target demographic is, you still need other, I will venture into a guess, in most markets, you need a little bit of a product mix to be able to land that deal.

You could still do that roofing job but you’re not going to necessarily sell one shingle line. So having good, better, best packages also can show that you’re pricing plan is simple.

You have got it all handled out. And you can charge more in each one of those pockets compared to your competitor. And as you prove ability within your market. And you’re getting lots of good reviews online. Your people just loving what you ares doing. And you got this stuff, you know, rocking. Start raising your prices.

Get to a point where people start saying “no” and you can start scaling it back a little bit on the price. But keep testing: how much can I really charge for what I’m doing.

Don’t stay where you are. You think you have figured it out. I guarantee, you don’t. you can continue to test and say, you know what, my good package I’m raising 5% this month. I’m gonna see where my sales are. You gotta have systems and process in place to track them.

Ron: Yeah. There’s no excuse in not having that. Absolutely.

Ryan: Now you can start, from the same amount of leads that you’re getting, start making more money. Because you got this USP in place and you’ve proven ability in the market.

Ron: And it’s not necessarily about more traffic or necessarily dumping more effort into your different marketing or advertising. It’s about doing, making what you have better. And really improving upon what you already have.

Ryan: Yup, totally. And we talked about a ton about reputation marketing, well this is a big piece of it. Your reputation foundationally comes back to having a strong unique selling proposition.

Ron:  That’s exactly what it is. It’s the foundation. You’re absolutely right.

Ryan: Because you can’t go out and buy all this traffic and listen to all these marketing guys calling and telling you that they can get you on the first page of Google. And, you’re overwhelmed, you don’t know who to trust or where to go.

But you have this website, sorta works. You’re not really sure. Or you have this marketing. Foundationally, you gotta have this ironed out before you go invest $10,000 or $20,000.

Ron: Imagine how much better your marketing is gonna be even if you do increase that advertising expense. Because everyone else is getting calls – 10 calls a day. The same techniques. No one is looking at it a little bit different and whoever is listening to this call, I highly highly implore you to take some of Ryan’s tips. Because he’s definitely highly respected. And I really appreciate your time today.

Ryan: Yeah, no problem.

Ron: Talking about this.

Ryan: I think, just kinda to close it out I guess. If you will, you know a unique message gives you power in the market. So if you’re an existing company that has some traffic and some leads already, you’re primed for what we’re talking about here.

If you can get this ironed out, get some focus and get this USP to permeate everything you’re doing. I guarantee you will grow and double sales within 12 months.

If you already have that in play, you’re already getting leads but your closing rates aren’t that good, your conversion rates are not that good, have this in place first before you do anything else.

Ron: In to that point Ryan, what do you have to say about the business owner that says, “Man, this is one more thing I have to do. What is it that your company can help with and is there any thing you’re offering today that we can talk about?”

Ryan: Well I think to the business owner that says this is a good idea but I just have no time to implement this and all the other things you’re talking about, I would say, you’re probably not – you don’t have the mentality to grow.

You’re probably pretty flat on your sales and if you’re not willing to take these steps to improve your business. It’s just a matter of time before your competitor who, are already in your marketplace, starts doing this.

If you are happy where you are now, that’s dangerous. It’s really really dangerous because if you’re doing a million dollars in sales right now and it’s been pretty flat for a couple of years. And you’re kinda happy you’re making a little bit of money but you know that you need to do also stuff and you’re waiting to do it, there’s a competitor that will do it. And they’ll start taking that million dollars from you.

I see it happen all the time. People are overnight, like “Holy crap! What did just happen?”

You didn’t work on your business. You didn’t work on growing it. You just stayed flat. That mentality of being comfortable where you are just doesn’t work in business.

So if that’s your mentality, I’d say go do something else. Honestly, I’m not trying to be insensitive but it’s just a matter of time before all your hard work is gonna be for naught.

So you gotta get that mentality of growth going.

Ron: And you can’t remain status quo, right? And hey great, good for you, you’ve got a $1 million in revenue. That’s great! I mean, it’s certainly something to be proud of. But why would you want to stop there, right?

Ryan: Business is not static. It constantly changes. You gotta be working on building better products and services within your business. Otherwise, what’s the end goal. You’ll probably gonna sell this company.

If your sales are flat and you’re not being an innovator in your market. You’re not gonna be able to sell that company. It’s just not gonna happen because a good, smart business buyer is gonna look at that and see right through it.

You guys sat around. You didn’t improve anything. Even being able to communicate what is it that you do. You don’t have the USP.

Ron: Yup.

Ryan: So you can’t even talk to somebody interested in buying the company or your business. Never mind your own prospects.

Ron: Well at the end of the day, what do you have for yourself? You just really have a job for yourself.

Ryan: You have a business that is disguised as a job.

Ron: Yup.

Ryan: And I think that’s a dangerous place to be because being a business owner or entrepreneur is extremely difficult. You don’t wanna be that person stuck just working your butt off, doing all this stuff and at the end of the day, you just have a job. And you wake up at 50 years old and wow, I can’t do anything with what I just did. There’s no value here.

Ron: True.

Ryan: So you know, I think if people are listening, if they’re  interested, I’m more than happy and Ron as well, get on a 30 minute strategy call.  We’ll talk through this stuff. Just see where you’re at. If you have some questions, we can uncover some strengths and weaknesses in your business, and what you need to focus on and go from there.

Ron: True. Hey, if you’re interested, we can set up a 30 minute call strategy session just to kinda gauge where you are. You very well might be a lot closer to the success than what you think or you might need help.

And we’re willing to take our time and offer that up. So I really hope someone takes us up on that. I’m sure that we will hep them.

Ryan: You can email me at radams@pme360.com or feel free to reach out to Ron as well, rrodi@pme360.com. I think either of us can help you.

Ron: Or just visit our website www.pme360.com. You can reach us there as well.

Ryan: Reach us there as well.

Ryan: Perfect. Hopefully that provided a little bit of value for people. We can talk about this for hours literally. Just this USP topic. There’s a lot of things that go with it.

Ron: Well I think let’s do that. Next time why don’t we take this message and delve a little deeper into it here.

I know we’ll be doing this. This is one of many of future series of podcasts that Ryan Paul Adams and Ron Rodi Jr. will be doing.

So we look forward to it and thank you for listening.

Ryan: Great. Thank you Ron for putting this on.

Ron: Thank you for your time Ryan.

Ryan: Thanks. Bye.

Ron: Bye.

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