Sales

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.70: The Most Important Part of a Remodeling Project with Robert Kauffman

So many things go into a successful remodeling project — the design, the materials, the actual build — but what’s really the most important part? It’s your client. 

Remodeling a home can change your clients’ lives. Robert Kauffman says the secret to a successful remodel is working upfront to get to know your clients to the greatest extent possible.

In this episode, Robert shares his story with Victoria and Mark, and how and why he gets to know his clients so well. Getting to know your clients takes asking questions — and listening to the answers. 

Robert is the owner of Kauffman Design Services in Atlanta, GA. He’s worked with architectural firms, as a remodeling contractor, and currently as a remodeling designer. He has never taken for granted the trust it takes for clients to open their lives up to him. 

On his first remodeling project, Robert realized that digging for answers from clients helped him understand how the clients wanted to live in their home. Each client has a unique story, Robert says, and getting them to open up to tell it is vital to understanding their real goals. He talks about how to get the answers you want, including:

  • His book of 1,000 questions
  • Why asking what people do in their bedrooms isn’t creepy 
  • How different people use identical homes
  • Guiding clients to direct the project
  • How family dynamics affect the questions and final designs
  • Observing the non-verbal clues and cues
  • Putting all the details together at the end
  • How long it takes, and how to do it
  • And more …

The more you understand your clients’ lives, and how they live in the home you’re remodeling, the better your projects will be.

Ep.68: Managing Your Sales while Wearing Many Hats with Chip Doyle

Most remodelers wear many hats, and sales management is only one of them. So you have to handle sales functions on a part-time basis. As you grow and add salespeople, overseeing that department becomes yet another job duty.

In this episode, Chip Doyle discusses how to successfully manage the sales department on a part-time basis with Victoria and Mark.

Chip wrote the book Selling to Homeowners — The Sandler Way. He trains many R/A members, including owners, salespeople, designers and project managers how to sell — without sounding like salespeople.

Being a good sales manager takes a different skill set than being a salesperson does. You need to be patient, predictable in your coaching, and temper your expectations for their own lead generation. Chip says he’s seeing a higher success rate with developing salespeople from within remodeling companies, rather than hiring from outside — people who are good at selling are already busy and making great money. But wherever your find your new sales staff, Chip talks about ways to set them — and your company — up for success, including:

  • When to hire a new salesperson
  • Performing a sales assessment
  • What they should sell first
  • Why prospecting is crucial
  • Why they should under-qualify leads
  • How many meetings to have and when
  • The questions to ask your sales staff
  • How to help your salespeople
  • Why truthfulness is mandatory
  • How much time to spend on sales management
  • And more …

Including why just selling the next step — not the whole project at once — is the key to good sales.

Get The Edge You Need

If you’d like to help brushing up your — or your staff’s — sales techniques, Chip runs a weekly training session called Sales Edge. It brings together a group of non-competing R/A members to sharpen their approach to this vitally important business function. Find out more today.

Ep.50: LIVE from the Extreme Business Makeover in Baltimore

For our 50th episode, we gathered a panel of industry experts and took questions from the audience at the Extreme Business Makeover in Baltimore at the the end of January 2019. 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 direct the lively discussions with our panel. We were joined by:

We talk 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, you need to listen to this episode.

 

Ep.44: Building a Remodeling Sales Team with Andy Wells

Most remodelers start as the sole salesperson for their companies. Stepping out of that role is arguably one of the hardest things you can do — but you have to if you’re going to grow your company. Hiring, training, and managing a sales team is a challenge.

Normandy Design Build Remodeling has a sales staff of 22, and all have design or architecture backgrounds. This is more important to the company than having pure sales experience.

In this episode, Andy Wells talks to Victoria and Mark about hiring and training superstars at Normandy, where he’s the president and owner. Normandy has been in business for 40 years and does additions, kitchens, and whole-house remodeling throughout the Chicagoland area. Andy has been with Normandy for 21 years.

Expanding and growing your company takes sales, and more sales, says Andy. His newer salespeople are selling $600,000 per year; some with more experience are doing $2 million, topping out at around $4 million sold by one salesperson. Andy talks about hiring and training the Normandy way, with information you can use to build your own sales staff, including:

  • Why passion is the most important thing
  • How to be a Sherpa for your clients
  • The importance of being nimble
  • Clicking with the customer
  • Training in the culture
  • The value of ride-alongs for sales
  • Scaling the commissions and compensation
  • Moving from salary to commission
  • Meetings — what to cover and how often to hold them
  • Why sales managers can’t do all their own selling
  • And more…

So much more, in fact, that we ran out of time. Since we didn’t even get to the management part, we’ll be bringing Andy back soon!

Tell us about your experiences with hiring and training a sales staff in the comments.

Ep.41: Using Virtual Reality to Grow Sales and Profits with Chris Katkish

Virtual reality creates immersive environments in real time. For remodelers, that means your clients could preview and even “walk-through” their projects to see if they like what they’re seeing. 

Guest Chris Katkish says VR can help remodelers streamline their sales and design process, trim the length of the sales cycle, and boost production efficiency by reducing change orders. All of which leads to more sales and more profit.

In this episode, Chris talks to Victoria and Mark about using VR technology to help clients confidently make decisions more quickly in the sales and design process.

Chris is the general manager of InSite Builders and Remodeling in Bethesda, MD. The three owners of InSite have partnered in a company called Limitless Virtual Reality, which enables CAD designs to be viewed in VR.

InSite uses VR as a visualization tool to get concepts across to homeowners. Even if you’re using 3D modeling, they’re still viewed in 2D, and seeing it on screen isn’t the same. VR immersion allows clients to experience the space and see what they’re buying before its built. Chris talks about the ways remodelers can use VR in their businesses, including:

  • When to bring VR into the sales process
  • Building in the charge for the VR design
  • How your 3D model becomes a VR environment
  • The equipment you’d need — and how much it may cost
  • Real-world examples of how VR speeds up client decisions
  • How to use it with Project Managers and Trade Partners
  • And more…

Victoria and Mark also spitball ways to use VR in your marketing. The pace of technology is fast — and VR is the newest tool on the scene. If you’ve got ideas or opinions on how VR may affect the remodeling business or your business, let us know in the comments below.
 

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Ep.40: Website Best Practices with Mark Harari

Your website could be the first time a prospective client encounters your remodeling business. What they find there may get you the job or send them off into the ether, never to be seen again.

In this episode, Victoria grills our own Mark Harari on how to make a remodeler’s website into a lead-generating machine. Mark’s fresh off his engagement at CoCon‘18 in San Diego, where he presented his popular seminar “Website Punchlist: A Live Blue-Tape Experience.” 

Mark’s the chief marketing officer and vice-president of Remodelers Advantage, and the president of our sister company R/A Marketing. He’s an award-winning marketer with 20 years’ experience (18 years in construction), and specializes in translating strategic vision to tactical execution. He’s also the facilitator of the R/A Marketing Roundtables groups, which bring together top marketing pros from across the US and Canada.

To design an effective website, you have to determine its purpose. Some remodelers only want their sites to act as an online brochures — they send prospects to it. Mark makes the case that all remodelers, though, should have a lead-generating website — one that searchers find themselves. Then, you have to get actionable information out of them. Mark explains what works in marketing, especially digital marketing, including:

  • Why an email address is the most important information to get, and the easiest to get
  • How to integrate offline marketing and advertising with your online efforts
  • What a call to action is
  • Why growing your email list adds value to your company
  • How capturing leads future-proofs your business
  • The top technical mistakes in website design
  • Why you should make your photos searchable
  • Where not to put your social media icons
  • And a whole lot more…

Including just what a lead magnet is, and how to use it. Want to learn more about lead magnets? Get The Remodeler’s Guide to Lead Generation, which is not only a fantastic resource for getting more business, it’s a great example of a lead magnet, its landing page and the kind of information-gathering form that will convert. It’s all so incredibly meta, as the kids say.

Want Mark to look at your website?

If you’d like to submit your own website for a live blue-tape walkthrough, Mark will be presenting his popular seminar at KBIS on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 in Las Vegas!

 

Ep.39: How NOT to Grow Your Remodeling Business with Judith Miller

The Great Recession gobbled up a whole slew of remodeling companies, but more of them fail during an economic expansion than during a contraction. Growth is great, but it’s risky, and knowing how not to grow will put you ahead of the game.

In this hot market, there are so many opportunities, you can get ahead of yourself too quickly for the health of your company. And that’s where remodeling company owners get into trouble by growing the wrong way. There are potential downsides, and to avoid them, you have to keep you basic best practices — and customer satisfaction and net profits lie at the center, says Judith Miller.

In this episode, Judith joins Victoria and Mark to talk about the ways to grow your company the right way.

Judith has been a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage Roundtables for more than 15 years. She’s a QuickBooks expert, the author of The Remodeler’s Ultimate Guide to QuickBooks, and has been a columnist for Remodeling magazine for more than 10 years. Judith isn’t just a financial guru, she’s a high-level strategist who understands that numbers prove your strategy. She loves the challenge of helping good remodelers become better every day.

When trying to grow, the biggest stumbling block is a lack of control, preparation, and not focusing on the best practices. Judith tells you what those best practices are, and how to grow the right way, while explaining the details, including:

  • The critical need for leadership
  • Why your financials have to be in order
  • The Top 5 things you need to do to build a strong, profitable company
  • The predictable stages of growth — and which is best to grow in
  • How large you can get
  • Why hiring a sales force is the riskiest transition
  • How to build a company you can sell
  • Why growing over 20% may be crazy
  • And more…

You’ll also learn why “The Whale” projects takes too many remodelers down. Click here to go to the Growth Sustainability Calculator we discussed in the episode.

And if you need QuickBooks help, or want bring in Judith as a consultant for your business, you can email her at jfmiller@remodelservices.com.

 

Want More Ways to Improve Your Business in 2019 and Beyond?

We are excited to announce that we are re-launching and re-branding our annual January event, formerly known as the Master Your Remodeling Business Workshop. The Extreme Makeover: Business Edition Event has been re-tooled and re-focused on providing growing remodelers and renovators with the tools necessary to improve their businesses in 2019 and beyond.

In addition to Judith Miller, this 2-day event will feature well-known speakers such as Victoria Downing, Tim Faller and Mark Harari and bring in new faces like Doug Howard and the 2018 Fred Case Award Winner, Michael Sauri. For more information and to grab Super Early Bird discounts, CLICK HERE.

Ep.36: How to Make Your Photo Gallery a Lead-Generating Powerhouse with Tanya Bamford

One of the most powerful sales tools your remodeling company has often lies fallow on your website — your project photo galleries. With a little creativity, those photos can be transformed into compelling client success stories. This will boost your organic search rankings, super-charge lead generation, and result in more sales.

The power of storytelling, and a few tricks, can make all the difference.

In this episode, Tanya Bamford shares her insights about connecting all the dots to make the most of your online marketing efforts.

Tanya is the managing director of R/A Marketing Inc., our new sister company serving the needs of the remodeling industry. Tanya has been helping remodeling companies prosper for the better part of the last decade as the owner of a boutique marketing firm in southeastern Pennsylvania. Her work for two Remodelers Advantage members first brought Tanya to our attention.

Your galleries are fallow — to borrow a farming term — because they’re not particularly productive, but hold immense potential. They are the basis for telling a story from your clients’ perspectives, which are more compelling to prospects than technical details. You need to find the “why,” says Tanya. “You removed a wall and added a load-bearing beam, but you need to tell why that mattered to the client,” she says. Other ways to make your galleries work for you include:

  • Using the photos to tell a story on your blog and social channels
  • How to tag photos for better search engine rankings
  • Why the size of the photo also matters
  • What photos to take
  • And more…

Online marketing is getting more complicated all the time. Using the photo content you already have — in the right ways — can turn your website into a lead-generating machine.

The R/A Marketing website is under construction, but will be up and running soon — bookmark it and check back in!

You can also reach Tanya at Tanya@GetRAMarketing.com

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