Sales

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

Ep.34: The Evolution of SEO with Spencer Powell

Marketing is getting more complicated, and search engine optimization can seem like voodoo or black magic. The SEO landscape is always changing, as Google adjusts its algorithms every day.

The goal remains the same, though — growing your organic traffic online to rank higher in the search listings, so you get found by the people who will become your clients.

Spencer Powell joins Victoria and Mark to explain how to maximize your SEO, and share the recipe for a successful SEO strategy. 

Spencer is the founder and president of Builder Funnel, a digital marketing agency that helps remodelers improve their marketing and sales systems. They help you generate more leads and sales by putting the right technology in place to measure what’s working and what’s not so you can improve over time.

SEO matches up with the way people shop and buy. Users ask questions and do research, and you want your site to be there with the answers. But a successful SEO program is more than just choosing keywords and topics. You have to know what else comes into play. Learn more about:

  • Good content vs. junk content
  • Understanding what questions to answer
  • How to drive traffic using social channels and email
  • The keys to A/B testing, and how to do it
  • Calls to Action and where to put them
  • The importance of fresh content
  • And more…

Including this link to the 200 SEO ranking factors Spencer talked about. If you’ve got questions for Spencer, shoot him an email at spowell@builderfunnel.com. There are more resources for you at Builder Funnel’s website.

Meet Spencer at Summit
If you want to ask Spencer questions and meet him in person, no better way than see him at the 2018 Remodelers Summit in New Orleans on September 25-27! Spencer and Builder Funnel will be one of our sponsors, so make sure you stop by their booth to meet his team.

Ep.33: The Sales-to-Production Handoff with Bruce Case

To many remodelers, a project works like a relay race, depending on good handoffs of the baton. The sales-to production-handoff is critical, and if you drop the baton, the race is over.

But there are ways to make it less of a hard handoff and more of a continuum, says Bruce Case. Bruce joins Victoria and Mark to explain how to break down the barriers and bring Sales and Production together as a team.

Bruce Case is the president and CEO of Case Design/Remodeling Inc., one the largest full-service remodeling firms in the nation with more than $60 million is annual revenue. Focused on the Washington, DC, metro market, the company provides a unique mix of design/build and home improvement services. Over the past 15 years, the company has extended its reach across the US through a network of licensees and franshises working under the Case Handyman & Remodeling Services banner. All these initiatives is focus on inspiring team members and clients.

Involving Production from the beginning of a job makes the projects more seamless and collaborative, creating a process that empowers employees and keeps them all focused on the bottom line. Bruce tells you how Case handles this team approach, including:

  • The need for accurate estimating
  • Why Project Managers get to sign off on a contract before the client does
  • Structuring compensation for Sales and Production based on gross profit
  • Who goes to what meetings and why
  • What to do when you need a tie-breaker
  • And a whole lot more…

Bruce talks about how to lead this process, and your team, with empowerment and accountability. For more about Case Design/Remodeling, check out their website. And we’re looking forward to Bruce’s AskAnything Fireside Chat at the Remodeler’s Summit on Sept. 26 — his fourth time sharing his expertise with us.

 
 

Ep.31: How to Successfully Use Cost-Plus Pricing with Josh Baker

The Cost-Plus Pricing model seems to go completely against common sense, but it’s a concept that we’re getting more questions about from our membership. One contributing factor is that consumers increasingly demand transparency when purchasing products and services — and homeowners are coming to expect it when undertaking a remodeling project. But so many remodelers don’t understand it. Can Cost Plus be your new pricing model?

Josh Baker, co-founder of BOWA Builders, has been using Cost-Plus Pricing for more than 20 years. In this episode, he talks to Victoria and Mark about its pros and cons, and why it’s a cornerstone of his company’s success.

Josh founded BOWA Builders in McLean, VA, with college friend Larry Weinberg in 1988, serving the Washington, DC, metro market. As the leader of BOWA’s sales and marketing team, Josh helped to quickly grow the company’s revenues from $250,000 to nearly $40 million in just 20 years. As chief revenue officer, Josh’s focus is on growth and managing an energetic, productive sales team. Recognized nationally as an expert in the industry, Josh is quoted regularly in publications, including The Washington Post, Better Homes & Gardens, and Remodeling, and is a frequent speaker at local and national industry meetings.

Cost-Plus Pricing can be a differentiator, but it can also frighten some remodeling business owners — as well as some clients. Josh explains how to present the concept to clients, and what it will take to implement it profitably, as well as:

  • What jobs are suited to the Cost-Plus Model
  • Weighing the risks and rewards
  • The necessity of pinpoint accuracy in estimating
  • Why not to apologize for your costs
  • The time it takes to do well
  • Why you need a sophisticated, expert sales staff to make it work
  • And a whole lot more…

Josh stresses that Cost-Plus Pricing isn’t for everyone, or for every job. Listening to this episode may help you decide if it’s the pricing model for you, or for some of your projects. Check out BOWA’s website for more about the company, and if you have questions about Cost-Plus Pricing, send Josh an email at josh@bowa.com.

 

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Ep.24: How to Build Strong Partnerships with Architects with Kyle Lissack

One of the toughest things for remodelers and builders to do is work with architects or designers and still stay profitable. It can be done, says Kyle Lissack — but it’s a specific business model, and it doesn’t depend on bids, but on the strong partnerships.

In this episode, Victoria and Mark find out how Kyle builds and nurtures relationships, the importance of partnering with architects for the long haul, and how it can benefit your business.

Kyle owns Pinemar Builders, a second-generation full-service remodeling and home-building company just outside of Philadelphia, and is a Roundtables member. Kyle describes Pinemar as a design-driven company where every project involves at least an architect or designer, and often both. “We want to build beautiful homes for nice people,” he says.

Victoria, Mark and Kyle talk about how he adapted his business model from building spec homes to partnering with design professionals in remodeling and building projects, including:

  • Identifying architects, interior designers and landscape architects to approach
  • How to build value for you and your partners
  • Juggling different personalities and approaches throughout a project
  • Treating your partners as customers
  • And more…

This episode gives you insight into how to successfully work with architects, and you’ll find out what Kyle would do with a frozen penguin. Click through to find out more about Pinemar Builders.

We’re excited to have Kyle as a “Power Talks” speaker at the 2018 Remodelers Summit in New Orleans in September. He will be presenting “Cultivating & Nurturing Mutually Beneficial Relationships With Design Professionals” at 2:35pm on the Main Stage.

Summit is on track to sell-out early this year so make sure you REGISTER TODAY!

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