Archive for the ‘Business Growth’ Category

80%-20% Principle

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

 

 

images

I was working with a contractor. He says, he has just too much to do. He can’t get every project completed properly without burning out. I asked him if he knew of the 80-20 rule. He replied, “How does that apply to me?” I said that 80% of your problems probably come from about 20% of your clients. And that 80% of your income comes from 20% of your clients. My guess is it’s not the same 20%. So if you can eliminate the 20% of your problem client base, I guess you would not be burning out. Then we looked through his list of clients, ensuring that one; 80% of the problems were only 20% of the clients. And two, in his case, those problem clients were not the 20% that generated 80% of his income. When we found that the 20% that should be dropped could be dropped, I asked him to drop those 20% in any convenient way possible. Furthermore, I suggested, that taking clients at this 20% problem level wasn’t the right thing to do.

When accepting these problem clients, some part of his brain was telling him that taking this job is not going to be a good thing. But his fear of lack of money, or rejection, caused him to say yes, when he should’ve said no. I think intuitively we know when we’re making a mistake. And if we listen to that little voice inside our heads that nags us, and tells us we are in too deep. We would stop blindly saying yes to commitments we know are going to be difficult, if not impossible to keep. This begs the question, why do we keep saying yes to complex, unnecessary commitments, and accept responsibilities that we know we shouldn’t? I suggest that it is our fears. Fear of rejection, fear of low income, or even fear of letting a client down, can keep a small percentage of unnecessary problem jobs in the forefront of our big picture.

 

Relationship Building with Architects

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Picture3
Someone once told me a very valuable marketing principle that said, if you want to marry a rich woman, have to date rich women. I found this to be a very sound marketing principle. When it comes to a construction company, where do you find the rich women? My experience is most really good jobs come from architects. So if you know enough of the right architects, and have a good relationship with those architects, you’ll get a chance at all of the good work you want.
My clients tell me; well it’s not easy to get to see those architects. I disagree. By using a website like Houzz.com®, that lists all the architects that you want. It is very possible to find the right architect. You have their name, address, and phone number. From a marketing perspective that’s the most difficult part. The Simple truth is if you have the right relationships with enough of the right architects, you get all the work you want. So the challenge is, how do you get them to meet you?

I suggest to my clients that they interview the architect as much as the architect interviews them. Architects get about 50% of their work from contractors. So they are as interested in you, as you are in them. When you call them, let them know where you found them, (On Houzz.com®, referral, website ect.) and you’re very impressed with their work. After introductions, simply cut to the chase. Tell them you are looking for a good architect to refer to, and that’s why you want to meet with them. This works even better if you have a job to refer. If you do have a job to refer, I suggest you meet with several architects to get the most bang for your buck. Referrals in the construction industry are a type of currency, so spend it wisely. When you interview the architect make it mostly about them, not about you. Find some common ground to build a relationship upon. Whether it is construction, fishing, or biking find common interests. Remember you may not get a referral from this architect immediately, but you must have a good relationship for the future. A good relationship is probably going to take five or six visits. So persist, and don’t give up!
Make sure that before you leave the architect’s office you have the next meeting scheduled. Keep the meetings and the relationship up, until hopefully, they give you the opportunity to bid some work. The first visit is meaningless without three or four follow-up visits. Most contractors give up way too early in this endeavor. The contractor figures the architect knows what he is, and who he is. He hands the architect his business card, and asks if he has any work to give them a call. This is simply not how it works. Unless you make a sincere effort to maintain and improve the relationship, you will never get a referral from an architect. If the first visit is the architect telling you about themselves, the next visit can be about you. The third visit might be observing a job. The next visit could be having lunch, or some excuse to get together. Keep the ball rolling. Keep the relationship going. Stay at the top of the architect’s mind, if you want this to work. This is really where persistence pays off. If you’re not willing to persist to five or six visits, months of effort will probably be a waste of time.

How to Get Work From Architects Using the Website www.houzz.com

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

By Paul Sanneman- Dream Business Coaching Founder-

The website houzz.com® has made marketing for the general contractor and subcontractor much easier than it used to be.  I have developed a specific technique for general contractors, and subcontractors, it works very well. In fact, I have used this exact same technique to get as many new clients as I want for my personal consulting business.

Step one: You go to the houzz.com website and identify those people you would consider as prospects. For a general contractor, you would go to architects. This means you select the category architects, and then choose an area geographically that you’re interested in. For example, select architects within 10 miles of San Francisco. You then look at each architect’s houzz.com listing and decide the one(s) you would like to work with. Once you have chosen an architect you want to work with, copy the top of their houzz.com listing, which gives the basics about the company; the name of the owner, their address, and phone number. You then copy and paste this information to a word document and then print it out. This gives you a very basic paper copy of a lead sheet to work with.

Step two: Then you place the all important phone call. The most difficult part about getting in touch with contractors or architects is to actually, physically, get them on the phone. Here is an example of a message you leave to get them to call you back.  Hi, I found you on Houzz.com, I’m interested in what you do, please give me a call back, my name is Paul and my phone # is 123-4567.  DO NOT LEAVE ANY MORE INFORMATION THAN THIS. Use your personal cell phone, so when they call back it will not have your business name on the answering machine.

A lot of the people you call will call you back because, they went through a lot of effort to be listed in houzz.com, and they also think you are a potential job. The next 10 seconds are crucial. You have to be honest, tell the truth, and get them to be excited they called you back. Your phone script should go something like this. I found you on houzz.com, I am a general contractor, I’ve been in business for 20 years in the bay area, and I’ve worked with several architects like…. Make a list of people they know, and will be impressed with. State how long you have been in business, and continue to drop the names of references that they know. This should establish instant credibility for you, and will make them want to continue the conversation.

The entire mission of this conversation is to get an appointment. If they ask for more information, you will want to use any information you give as a reason to see them in person. For example, if they say, can you tell me a little bit about more your company? You close again and say, it is much easier to explain in person, that’s why I would like to set an appointment.  Turn any excuse or objection into a reason to meet.   Again the whole mission of this phone call is to get an appointment. This is assuming that you can meet them in person. If you’re trying to get a phone client, or you’re selling on the phone, this is where you give your sales presentation. If they say, I will not talk to you until you send me more information.  Then you send them an email, and then you set up an appointment over the phone to follow up that email.

Don’t forget to keep closing. You may have to close them three or four times. Remember in closing you repeat any objection(s), so they know you heard them, and then you close again for the appointment. The entire purpose of this process is to get an appointment with qualified prospects. I have found that when people hear you found them on houzz.com they’re not offended when you call them. They went to time and effort to be listed on houzz.com.  It’s like you’re part of the same club, in most cases, they will really like to talk to you. I have one client the told me the best thing that ever happened on houzz.com, was that I found them. I hope you get the same luck with houzz.com that I’ve had.  It’s a great tool, it works nationwide, and it’s going to get nothing but better. 

Step Three: After calling many, many houzz.com® prospects you will be left with three categories of responses. They can be receptive, and pick a time and place for an appointment.  They can be disinterested, not call you back and blow off all other attempts to contact them.  They can be unsure, and do not set an appointment, but do give an indication of interest, just not right now.   Now that you have the responses, it’s time to organize the information.   For each category of response you have, place the paper copy lead sheet with the business info in that category.  This is so you do not call the same uninterested lead twice, wasting your time and theirs’.  Also, you do not want to unknowingly call an interested lead twice, give them your same pitch, and look disingenuous.   The maybe responses go in their call back category.  Remember, a little organization will save a lot of time. 

Good Business Communications

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

by Jim Noh-Kuhn, Dream Business Coach

In my experience good business communications is about good listening. It’s not about speaking well or writing well – our society, especially in business, handles those reasonably well. But business doesn’t emphasize listening; we don’t send our brightest employees to listening classes or seminars. While we do send them to all kinds of other seminars, we just assume that they know how to listen. That’s because we confuse hearing with listening.

Ultimately, listening is about feeling heard and getting to an understanding. Simply put, good communication involves 5 steps that will lead to understanding and empowerment.

1.    Get clear on what it is you want to say – don’t be afraid of a silent pause while you gather your thoughts.

2.    Actively listen – don’t agree or disagree; understand the others person’s perspective thoroughly; leave your thoughts and idea’s alone for the moment and concentrate on the other person (you can get back to your thoughts later).

3.    Reflect back what you heard – use the stand-by: “here’s what I heard you say… is that correct?”

4.    Ask clarifying questions – ask for additional information; don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t understand; ask the other person if they feel heard (which is an amazing experience on its’ own without any of these other steps).

5.    Agree on a course of action – who’s going to do what and why; allow your intuition, your gut, to guide you to a creative solution that can only come about once you both feel heard.

These steps can be used for spoken or written business communications. My experience is that if you are able to really listen, without any other agenda like speaking your opinions on the subject, then the other person feels heard. When everyone feels heard, conflict disappears. In fact, this type of practice will avoid conflicts in a good way.

Goals Written = Goals Achieved

Friday, September 17th, 2010

by Jim Noh-Kuhn, Dream Business Coach

With a practiced eye, I feel that the answers to my question of “what are your business goals, what is it that you want to achieve” become articulated right there on-the-spot. Usually the answer had already been a thought, perhaps even for a very long time. But it all-to-often had never been spelled out, literally.

Is this you? Do you have an idea as to what your goals are, thoughts, but have not committed to writing them down?  Or, perhaps those ideas, those goals are new: “how could I have written them down when I’ve only just now thought of them” you say. That could be true, but what about the last set of thoughts/goals – how successful were you at achieving those?

The inferred commonality is that these business goals were not written down. The other inferred commonality, equally important, is that these goals were not achieved.  There is a direct correlation between those two inferences: if you write down your goals, you are much, much more likely to achieve them than if you only think your goals through. If you don’t write them down, you are much, much more likely to not achieve them.

This sounds so silly, so easy, that it can’t possibly be true. But it is. So what to do about it? Take advantage:

Start with a comfortable medium: pan & paper, MS Word, a post-it note, the back of a napkin, it doesn’t matter. Then write down what it is that you want to accomplish. Don’t worry if it’s the most important thing, or if it’s realistic. Don’t worry about knowing how you’re going to achieve it. Don’t worry about punctuation, or getting it just right. Just write.

Then put the pen down, or back away from the keyboard, and look at it; take it in and notice how you feel. Then, do not, under any circumstances, delete it, nor crinkle it up and throw it away.

The third step is to write a second version. No matter how well written, the first version needs a rewrite. That’s why you stopped in the previous version to notice how you feel, because there will be something about that first version that is gnawing at you, and you need to fix that. Spend some time in this next draft to make the goal specific; Also, apply a time element to it – don’t just say “own my own house”, make a commitment, like “own my own house within five years”.  You may not yet know what all has to happen in those five years, but don’t worry about that yet. Establish a time frame, and if it later needs to change, then it can change.

Beyond this step, there are many possibilities. There will be another blog on this in the near future. At this point, you are already more likely to achieve your desired outcome than in the past. So take your newly re-written goals and do something with them: put the post-it note on the fridge, make it your screen saver, or even just chuck it in a drawer and ignore it – you’re still more likely to achieve it.

Selling Versus Marketing

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

by Jim Noh-Kuhn, Dream Business Coach

I have noticed a tendency of small businesses to market by selling, and to sell by marketing. It’s important to remember that these two activites are different. Marketing is the attraction of potential customers to your business; converting a target audience to become potential clients. Selling is the act of converting those potential clients to actual clients by understand their needs and meeting those needs.

As Ron Willingham points out in his excellent book “Integrity Selling for the 21st Century“, selling is about the personal relationship you have with a potential client. It’s about solving their problem, whether that solution involves your product or service or not. If the potential client sees that you have their best interests in mind, then they are much more likely to reward you with business and/or a referral.

Ah – the referral. That brings us to the best business strategy for marketing: word of mouth recommendations. It may not be fancy or sexy, but it has always been more effective towards getting more new paying customers than anything else. And in this day and age of social media and electronic connections, that word of mouth can spread quickly.

But word of mouth is not something controllable, and your marketing plan needs to be controlled (and measured). If selling is about solving a potential client’s need, then target marketing is about reaching people whose needs could be solved with your products and services (if they only knew that you existed). For example, if your business is installing kitchen cabinets, then your target audience is everyone who needs new cabinets.

An important question at this point is whether your marketing plan includes those people who don’t yet know they need new cabinets. How comfortable are you in “creating” a problem, where perhaps a potential client can’t afford new cabinets. This is where your company’s values come into play. That’s why it is so important to articulate and know your values upfront, before a marketing plan is defined.

The next time you’re faced with a potential customer, ask yourself what their real need is, and help them solve that. And the next time you’re faced with spending marketing dollars, ask yourself two questions: what are my values, and who is my target audience? Then, satisfying their needs will feel truly fulfilling.

Define Business Success

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

by Jim Noh-Kuhn, Dream Business Coach

How do you know if your business is a success?

Without thinking about it, most people think they know what business success is. Coming up with a definitive answer is one of the most important things that you can do for your business.

Well-meaning managers often define it in financial terms. While those are certainly important, the financial numbers are just that – numbers. They do not tell the story of how it feels inside, whether there is fulfillment, or an emptiness that even strong financial numbers can not fill.

In my experience, business success will always be tied to core values. If they are being expressed, then there will be a feeling of success.  The more conscious one is of the values, the stronger the feeling of fulfillment. It’s important to identify a definition of what each value means. Two people can have the same value of “family” but it may mean something completely different to each of them. These kinds of details are integral to defining what success is for your business (as well as for your life!).

Finally, the way I advocate to find out what your values are is not to brainstorm with a white board and a few of your top managers. Instead, it’s to look at what is most important, for example, why you started the business in the first place; or look at your conflicts, because your values are showing up there.  Often times, it’s far easier to identify your values using support. That may come in the form of a coach, or someone else who you have hired; it can also come from a colleague, friend, or family member.

Once your values are revealed, you can articulate exactly what success is. Specifically, when what you are doing is a manifestation of a value, you will feel successful. Therefore, define business success in the terms of your values. Then, look to see how they feel, and if you feel more successful.

Thriving in a Down Economy

Monday, March 8th, 2010

by Coach Elena Pezzini

The economy is an extension of yourself. For example, if you have a negative view of what’s happening, work, money, politics, then your economy is negative. If you enjoy what you are doing, who you are and believe your economy is good, then your economy is enjoyable and good. If you are happy, your economy is happy also because it reflects and extends you.

Can you relate? How’s that true for you? Think about it now.

Everyone talks about the economy nowadays.

What’s the economy? The dictionary definition of economy is….(drum rolls please):

management!

Therefore, you are managing your economy or is your economy managing you? Are you in charge of your economy or are you letting someone or something else be in charge? I am encouraging you to take charge of your life.

How do you start? It’s simple. It all starts …from inside of you! It all starts from your mind or thoughts that lead to your feelings and actions.

What’s the 1st Synonym of economy, according to the dictionary?

reccession

What’s a recession?

What’s scarcity? Scarcity is a state of mind. Repeat it now. Why? Because physics has demonstrated that the Universe is infinite, abundant…so how can it be scarce? We made it scarce with our thoughts, feelings and actions! But it doesn’t have to be that way; we can change it! It has been done many times before, so why can’t you?

This is why I think a economical recession once in a while is excellent. It is excellent because it makes us and you practice abstinence, so we don’t over do it, such as continue to over spend, over eat, over this, over that, etc.

Recession means downsizing, getting rid of what useless, so that we can create new space to fill it with something more meaningful, more important. It means reducing, such as reducing debt owed.

Antonyms of recession are:

Spending, liberality, increase, so the recession is the perfect time to spend more quality time doing what you love, free/liberate yourself from what/who doesn’t serve, and increase your offering of what you have to offer, what you know and do best. Do you see how the recession is great???

Can you already think of some ways of how the recession is good for you?

Your income is directly proportional to the value you bring to the market place!

Your income is the average income of the 5-10 people you hang with the most!

SO this recession time is your time to increase your value to others and/or other things, so that you can increase your income!

Recession means something got receded, contracted. So how to defeat a recession? Expand! Don’t stay closed but open up!

Look at your own Financial GDP history, from when you were born until now. Change every pattern you don’t like. This is your time, this is your opportunity!

Recession is a normal part of life. A recession always passes.
It may take a long time. Research different point of views, think critically and creatively, adopt for a moment a new perspective and see how your life changes immediately.

Take a trip abroad and notice how Europeans, like me, for example, have a culture of saving, of not utilizing credit cards. I didn’t even know what a credit card was until I moved here to the States, at age 20. European institutions still rarely issue credit cards.

Where can recession escalate to?

Depression!

What’s a depression?

Again, the def. of depression is: a mental state. This applies to economical depression as well. People perceive, anticipate fear, which exists only in their mind, and start acting economically depressed and everyone and everything gets affected because we all are part of another one or another thing. It’s a fact: it’s quantum physics!

A depression, according to the dictionary, is a period during which business, employment, and stock-market values decline severely or remain at a very low level of activity. SO what shall we do instead? HEIGHTEN ACTIVITY

It–meaning our recession– doesn’t have to infect you, unless you let it. Everything has no meaning except the meaning you give it to; nothing has value except the value you give it to. Nothing is recessed, depressed unless you make it that way.

So, pretend for a moment, now it’s an upturn, it is a bull market and start attracting whomever and whatever you like.

You are not responsible for everyone else, and everything else and the whole entire world, but just yourself.

If you haven’t yet, start saving and learn the power of compounding, the only way to become and stay wealthy, by investing with compound interest.

Stop reading now and decide which 1 action you are going to take in a moment!   What is it?

When will you start doing it?

Money/wealth is psychology based, like anything else that is created by humans and their minds, in this world. You are in control of your mind and you can change it at any time you say so!


by Coach Elena Pezzini