Sales

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.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.82: What Can Be Learned from Success with Wayne Rivers

We’re just back from the 2019 Remodelers Excellence Week, Remodelers Summit, and Roundtables meetings, and our opening video was about thinking like a child, and allowing yourself to fail so that you can learn from what went wrong. It’s all a part of evolving as a business, as a person, and the art of growth.

Then we came across the latest video blog from our friend Wayne Rivers.

It dovetailed nicely with our main takeaways, while also turning the concept of learning from failure on its head. It’s devoted to learning from your successes, and then building on them.

So in this episode, we’re picking up the audio of his blog. If you’d like to watch the video, you can find it here.

Wayne is the co-founder and president of The Family Business Institute Inc. He has authored four books on the subject of family businesses, and is part of the peer group Victoria and Mark attend. Wayne has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, BusinessWeek: WEEKEND, and on the Retirement Living Network.

Wayne talks about how overlooked, yet powerful, success can be as a teaching tool. Instead of always concentrating on what didn’t go right, he tells you how to learn from the good, including:

  • What you can learn from the Blue Angels
  • Why to focus on the process more than the outcome
  • Conducting a post-mortem on every project, good and bad
  • Analyze for successes and failures
  • Realizing that success is almost always a team effort
  • Why to benchmark in every department and process
  • Getting an outside perspective and objective opinion
  • And more …

There are opportunities for learning and improving everywhere — you have to look for them and then build on them.

Click here to take a look at our Summit kick-off video.

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.76: [Unscripted Back-Up] Managing Your Customers with Chip Doyle

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.

This is one of our most popular episodes, and digs in to a part of your remodeling business that few people really consider — managing your clients. 

If you — and especially your designers — aren’t managing those customers you’re wasting time and losing out on potential profits, says Chip Doyle.

In this episode, Victoria, Mark and Chip discuss how to speed up the hand off from design to production. Effectively managing client expectations, setting clear goals and deadlines, and guiding clients intentionally, gets you out of having projects park in design and selections. 

Chip has been in the sales industry for 29 years, and training with Sandler for nearly 17 years. He’s a sought-after speaker and co-authored Selling to Homeowners The Sandler Way. Chip has a licensed training center and trains companies of all sizes in Pleasant Hill, CA, helping them reach their full potential, exceed expectations and continue to grow.

Empowering designers to guide, and ultimately lead, clients through the design process can increase your profits by 25 percent. Some of the ways to get there include:

  • Cutting design time in half, without cutting corners
  • Giving designers the right role models
  • Managing “genius attacks”
  • Setting clear meeting goals and timely next steps
  • The importance of deadlines — for clients
  • Getting projects through that would otherwise stall
  • The traits to look for in a designer — toss the DISC assessment
  • And much more …

Need More Help?

If your designers, project managers, and other customer-facing team members need guidance on how to deliver excellent client services effectively, Chip is leading a course, Client Management Training for Designers & Architects, to address it all. It’s not a sales course, it’s specifically designed to give your team members the skills they need to get selections and designs past the bottleneck and into production, while creating and excellent customer experience.

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.

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