Marketing

EP.91: [Unscripted Back-up] Expert Panel at Extreme Business Makeover Shares Insight

As we wrap up 2019, we’re looking back at some of our more popular episodes and this one was a huge hit.

For our 50th episode in January, we gathered a panel of industry experts and took questions from the audience at the Extreme Business Makeover event. It capped off an intense two days of learning, sharing, and networking among the remodelers attending and our Remodelers Advantage team.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark directed the lively discussions with our panel. Panelists included:

  • Michael Sauri of TriVistaUSA Design + Build and the 2018 winner of the Fred Case Remodeling Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
  • Doug Howard, RA’s CFO and Director of Consulting Services, a.k.a. “The Fixer”
  • Judith Miller, Financial and QuickBooks “Guru”
  • Tim Faller, RA’s Senior Consultant and “Master of Production”

We covered profits and payroll, cash flow, the owner’s role in a growing business, margins, staying top-of-mind in your marketing, smart lead qualifying, planning and making decisions on your job sites, and the power of asking “why?”

It’s an insightful and all-encompassing discussion of how to run your business to get bigger margins, more profits, and creating a real life/work balance. If you missed it back in January, you need to listen to this episode.

And Don’t Miss THIS Year’s Extreme Business Makeover Event;
New Content, Fresh Ideas

On January 28-29, 2020 we will gather once again at the BWI Westin and present 2 days of interactive presentations, breakouts and expert panels (like the one featured in today’s podcast). We have Super Early Bird pricing in place until 12/15/19 so Click here for more information and Register Today!

Ep.86: Connecting with a Few Good Realtors with Kathi Fleck

Working with just a few Realtors can bring additional jobs to your remodeling company. It’s not about appealing to the masses, but about developing relationships with several realtors who appreciate how you work, your quality, attention to detail, and exceptional client experience. 

In this episode, Kathi Fleck discusses working with Realtors with Victoria and Mark, and how to establish and maintain relationships that can get more jobs for your company, help them sell more homes, and take care of your shared clients.  

Kathi is co-owner of LoneStar Design Build in the Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX, area, where she leads a team and their clients through the design-build experience. Kathi has a long-term relationship with Coldwell Banker Real Estate, and other Realtors who send business her way.

Realtors go out of their way to support the seller/ buyer experience, says Kathi. Helping their clients with remodeling and providing referrals is part of their daily routine. As remodelers working with realtors, understand how Realtors work and make them look good as they support their client. It can be challenging, but Kathi says a few simple tricks can pay off with easy referrals, including:

  • Finding partners who fit your company and market
  • How to make their lives easier
  • Getting the right referrals
  • Dealing with bad leads
  • Avoiding the bid process
  • How referrals can go in the other direction
  • How much to invest in marketing to Realtors
  • The power of free food
  • And more …

The best way to start is by contacting real estate offices and setting up a presentation, calling an agent who works in the same neighborhoods you do, and taking advantage of networking groups.

Building a Better Design Process

Kathi will be presenting on another topic as she helps lead our next MasterClass, Building an Effective Design Process, on Dec. 11-12, here in Baltimore. She’ll be joined by other experienced, award-winning remodelers who will teach you or your designers how to improve your design process and create an extraordinary experience for your clients. Get the details and register here.

Ep.85: Unraveling the Undervalued “Proactive Outbound Sales Call” Metric with Abe Degnan

Our Roundtables members share their financial metrics at every meeting, in what we call the composite report. But there’s one field that’s almost always reported as zero.

It’s the proactive outbound sales call metric. It’s confusing to many, not just as a field on a spreadsheet, but as an activity.

Abe Degnan says this metric is valuable to all remodeling companies, and making those calls builds his own company’s sales pipeline.

In this episode, Abe joins Victoria and Mark to explain the proactive outbound sales call, how to track it, and what it can do for your company. 

Abe is president, problem-solver and life changer at Degnan Design Build Remodel in DeForest, WI. He also manages day-to-day business operations — and as a long-time Roundtables member, Abe knows how important it is to measure what is managed.

This statistic isn’t just for replacement companies with a call center, says Abe. A proactive outbound sales call also doesn’t have to be a phone call. It occurs any time you follow up on your sales process in a way that is outside of your established sales routine or is something your client isn’t expecting you to do. Abe talks about what those follow ups can be, and how to track them, including:

  • Why sales needs to do it, not marketing
  • Sending handwritten note cards
  • Calling on cold leads
  • Contacting a lead that fell off your radar
  • Networking for leads
  • The number of activities you should do
  • The ROI on the effort
  • Who you should reach out to
  • Including it in your marketing plan
  • How long it can take to convert
  • And more …

Making proactive outside sales activities a part of your business can get, and while it’s a marketing activity, it has to be carried out by the sales staff to be effective.

Speaking of Marketing…

If you’re looking for more ideas and better ways to market your company, check out Mark Harari’s Masterclass this December 9th & 10th in Baltimore called “I ‘AM’ the Marketing Department.” It covers all the major aspects of running a marketing department, and is specially geared to meeting the needs a marketing department of one.

Ep.84: Crafting a Strategic Marketing Plan with Mark Harari

It’s that time of year — it’s time to put together your company’s marketing plan for next year. If you don’t know where to start or what your plan should include, Mark’s here to help.

In this episode, Mark is on a one-man mission to get your strategic marketing plan into shape.

First thing to know — your marketing budget isn’t your marketing plan. It’s the most common error we see, and that’s just a list of ways to spend money, not a plan. You have to set goals, and create tactics to get there. It can run up to 40 pages for a small business, and should encompass branding, positioning, a SWOT analysis and more. But if you don’t have a plan yet, Mark tells you how to take small steps toward creating a larger plan by starting with a strategy, including:

  • Objectives
  • Strategies
  • Tactics
  • Setting time frames
  • Getting specific
  • And more …

This is the first step to creating a larger marketing plan — and something you should have complete before you start creating your marketing budget. If you need more help getting your marketing in gear, send an email to mark@remodelersadvantage.com. We’ve also got a MasterClass for marketing in December called I “AM” the Marketing Department that will kick-start your marketing strategy and planning.

Ep.83: Using Trade Area Analytics to Grow Your Business with Nick Ogle

There’s not much that’s more frustrating than missing out on business opportunities close to home. Understanding the numbers that surround your business’s trade area is critical to determining what may be flying under your radar. Through analytics, you can interpret those numbers and take advantage of what they tell you.

In this episode, Nick Ogle talks to Victoria and Mark about how using trade area analytics can help businesses with growth and strategic planning.

Nick is the Bath & Kitchen Buying Group’s executive director, and brings more than two decades of kitchen industry experience to BKBG, having previously served as director of strategic partnerships and national accounts for Masco Cabinetry. Nick received his degree in selling and sales management from Purdue University, and currently lives in Michigan with his wife and son. BKBG is also RA’s newest strategic partner in helping our members grow their businesses.

There’s so much information and data available, but you’ve got to pick the right numbers to analyze — and look at them the right way. Trade area analytics break down the numbers in your surrounding market and let you compare it to your own business model and services. It can be eye-opening, Nick says. He talks about how a remodeler can find the right data and how to use it, including:

  • Starting at your local library
  • Resources you can use for little to no money
  • What data to look for
  • Demographic and housing stock to analyze
  • What to compare your local data to
  • Setting benchmarks
  • Why it can help you grow your area or do better where you already are
  • How to identify the hot remodeling areas
  • Understanding your area’s history to predict the future
  • How to look at the numbers the right way
  • When to ask for outside help
  • Who to ask
  • And more …

Analyzing your local numbers can help you make the most of your marketing budget, reach the right people in the right places, and make more money. To find out more about BKBG, you can go to the website, or you can call Nick at 440-313-4275.

Ep.80: Bridging the Skills Gap from an Economist’s Perspective with Mischa Fisher

An aging skilled workforce is retiring, and there’s a shortage of younger people taking their place. It’s a hot topic among remodeling companies, who are still searching for the right answers to solving their labor shortage.

In  this episode, Mischa Fisher, Victoria, and Mark discuss what you can do to bridge the skills gap, and how to change deep-seated perceptions around joining the home-services industry. 

Mischa Fisher is the chief economist at ANGI Homeservices, representing the HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List brands. Prior to this role, Mischa was chief economist for Illinois, where he served as the economic policy advisor to the governor; he is also a former legislative director for the United States Congress in Washington, DC, and is currently an instructor in applied quantitative analysis at Northwestern University. 

Mischa says the labor shortage starts with s a simple fact of demographics, where an aging workforce is getting ready to retire, and the Millennials and younger Generation Z aren’t in the pipeline to replace them. Compounding that, there’s already a shortage of skilled labor. An internal HomeAdvisor poll showed 65 percent of their members could not fill a position, says Mischa, and it’s getting worse. Mischa shares his insights into what’s causing the labor shortage, and how we can all go about fixing it, plus bonus advice from his dad, including:

  • Why talking about it is a great start
  • Raising awareness inside and outside the industry
  • Best practices to fill your open positions
  • How to appeal to Millennials and Gen Z with a rewarding workplace
  • The importance of building a real team
  • Recognizing generational differences and how to work with them
  • How to create a clear pathway to learning
  • Recruiting older, experienced people
  • Using the student loan crisis to your advantage in recruiting
  • Appealing to the entrepreneurial spirit
  • Working with industry, government, and educational leaders
  • Educating parents about the advantages of learning a skilled trade
  • And more …


Mischa says you can find more resources to help at the Home Advisor Pro Center. Keep an eye out for a new research portal that will be live in a couple of months at www.homeadvisor.research.

Ep.79: Helping Veterans Remodel with SAH Grants with Jay Latona

Caring for our veterans should be a national priority when they come back home. The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) program offers grants to service members and veterans who have certain severe service-connected disabilities. The grants assist with building, remodeling, or purchasing an adapted home, but the program needs remodelers and builders to make it work.

Most people in the remodeling industry don’t know these grant programs and projects exist. 

In this episode, Jay Latona tells Victoria and Mark about this incredible program, and how it can enable remodelers and builders to provide a great service to our nation’s veterans, while also making a profit.

Jay is the chief, specially adapted housing at the Veterans Benefits Administration, and has worked as a remodeler and builder. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Jay will be at the Remodelers Summit 2019 in Orlando, Sept. 24-25, to talk more about the program. 

The SAH program began in 1948 as part of the G.I. Bill of Rights. It provides funding to veterans to enter a contractual relationship with builders or remodelers to make homes more accessible to assist with independent living. The SAH program is funding more than 2,000 projects a year with more than $100 million paid out. Jay talks about how the program works, how you can get involved, and what it can do for your business, including:

  • What you need to do to register
  • Help with marketing it
  • The separate compliance inspections and who does them
  • How funds are dispersed
  • Connecting with veterans
  • Opportunities for new remodelers
  • The minimum adaptations you need to do
  • Other grant opportunities veterans can get
  • And more …

Jay says the registration process is simple, and can be life-changing for veterans. To get more information, and to download the handbook he mentions, go to: https://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/adaptedhousing.asp. And if you want more assistance, send an email to sahinfo.vbaco@va.gov.

Jay Will be a Guest Presenter at Summit… Don’t Miss it!

Jay Latona will be joining us at Summit and will give a brief presentation on how his organization is supporting veterans. If you haven’t registered for Summit, there’s still plenty of time to register and arrange your travel for the biggest and best Summit we’ve ever had!
Click Here for More information >>

Ep.72: [Unscripted Back-Up] Building a Successful, Profitable Remodeling Company with Brandon Bailey

It’s time for another Unscripted Back-Up. It’s a chance to revisit some of our best and most informative episodes. They’re jam-packed with information you can use — so if you missed it the first time around, here’s your chance to catch up.

Growing your remodeling company is filled with pitfalls and challenges that can prevent you from getting to the next level successfully. So many of our Roundtables members say it takes hard work, yes, but also a concentrated focus and a willingness to look for help from outside your organization when you need it.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark talk to Brandon Bailey, who’s a textbook example of a successful remodeler who made the right moves after deciding to significantly grow his business. 

Brandon is an owner of Bailey Remodeling & Construction, a design build company in Louisville, KY. After starting his business in 2005, Brandon was where many of our members were when they were starting out — producing good, reputable work but spinning their wheels with long hours, no systems in place, and no predictable revenue model. Sound familiar?

In 2009, Brandon and his business partner, Jon Steimel, set out to significantly change and grow their business. They’ve done a fantastic job, their awards include being named the 2017 Remodeler of the Year by the Building Industry Association in Louisville.They won two project awards from BIA in 2019. They are now have 10 team members and are looking for more.

Brandon talks about how the company has managed its growth, things to look out for, and what it has meant for the business and his life, including:

  • The specific challenges when growing
  • Finding outside resources to help his business
  • What it was like working with a business coach and peer group
  • Which KPIs to keep an eye on
  • Growing his team beyond the two partners
  • Building a sales system
  • Establishing a consistent and predictable revenue model
  • Increasing net profit
  • What his business and day-to-day life is like now
  • And more …

Brandon’s story will sound familiar to so many remodelers, and the steps he has taken to build a more successful, profitable remodeling company can be guide your own journey.

Join Remodeling’s Top One Percent

Brandon is a fantastic example of a business owner who took advantage of the Power of Roundtables. Our program is a world-class peer advisory service that brings together smart, motivated remodeling professionals, just like you, to help one another grow.

Want to learn how you can participate in this experienced braintrust? Learn More Here >>

Ep.71: Strategy Isn’t Enough with Brian Gottlieb

A successful remodeling business isn’t only dependent on tactics or the larger strategy behind them. A company’s culture plays a crucial role in executing any business strategy. 

In this episode, Brian Gottlieb discusses the key steps needed for a business to implement their desired strategy with Victoria and Mark.

Brian Gottlieb is the founder and CEO of Tundraland Home Improvements, which serves all of Wisconsin. He started his business on a plastic folding table, with just $3,000 in cash. Today, Tundraland employs more than 220 people, and revenues  are in excess of $42 million. We’re excited that Brian will also be a speaker at the Remodelers Summit in Orlando this September.

He defines strategy as an integrated set of choices an organization makes to position against the competition, add value to their customers, and add value to the company. Brian’s “a-ha” moment came last summer, when he understood that when a community is at its full potential, we’re all in a better place; and when an organization is at its full potential, we’re all in a better place. He calls Tundraland a training organization — developing an employee to his or her full potential is a key point of the company’s  strategy. Brian describes the four ways to define your culture, and how to make it stronger, including:

  • How building a strong culture is like building a ship
  • How realizing potential depends on others
  • Why Brian doesn’t have drawers in his office
  • Examples of the wrong strategies
  • Knowing how to add value for you customers
  • Why you shouldn’t hire people like you
  • Finding the root causes of your weaknesses
  • Why throwing dollars at a problem doesn’t work
  • The differences between vision and a road map
  • Why firing someone should never be a surprise
  • And more …

Including how Brian sees his role in his organization, what he does, and what it means to the culture of his organization.

See Brian Speak at the Annual Remodeler’s Summit

We’re thrilled that Brian will be joining us for two sessions at the 2019 Remodeler’s Summit, Sept. 24-25, in Orlando:

To learn more the Summit event and our line-up of other great speakers, go to Remodelerssummit.com!

2019 Remodelers Summit

Ep.65: How to Turn Your Travel into an Epic Marketing Opportunity

There’s an overlooked opportunity for you to shine in your marketing. For some of you, this opportunity only comes once a year. For others (like many of our Roundtables members) it comes nine or 10 times a year. Regardless of how often the opportunity presents itself, odds are you’re squandering it.

It’s your “out of office” email message.

In this episode, Mark’s flying solo. Victoria’s taking a well-earned vacation and it prompted him to think about this often under-used touchpoint with clients, trade partners, and prospects.

Take some time to make your message memorable in your rush to get out the door. Be human. Be creative. Be thorough so that if it’s a time-critical email, the person who contacted you has a means of getting through to someone else. Think of all the boring and canned out-of-office messages you accumulate in your in-box — and don’t do that. Mark’s tips for an awesome outgoing message include:

  • How to write a great subject line
  • Why you should pad your return date
  • Setting up a custom email for urgent matters
  • Giving a gift in the reply
  • And more …

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to make a connection — a human one — while you’re kicking back and out of the daily grind.

MASTER NAVIGATION
MASTER NAVIGATION