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The industry playing field has changed, is changing and will continue to change. You can’t read the minds of the people who are making the changes, but you sure as heck need to be adjusting to the changes that have already happened. Your future success in business is contingent upon your responses and your timely responses to the changes that have already happened. Notice that I’m not asking you to anticipate where the future of the industry is going, just where it is today.
If — as is currently the case for remodelers in most areas of the country — you’re finding business slower than usual, you may be asking: What can I, as the owner of my company, do about it?
You know you’ll always need sales leads, but the first thing to figure out is how soon you’ll need them. It can take as long as a year from the time you receive a lead until the job actually starts. Comparing your backlog with the time it takes a lead to become a new job should give you the proper sense of urgency.
Chapter One, Passage Two, From 'Accountability Through Transparency.'
Somewhere in the business cycle every owner has the experience: I don’t have the answers I need. Where am I going to get them?
Chapter One, Passage One, From 'Accountability Through Transparency.' Starting a business is a lot like starting a family: some of us plan for it and others do not. There is a rush of excitement when you realize that you’re expecting a child. Then you become aware of all that needs to be done. Perhaps the mother starts to experience some pain and nausea. You weather the changes and the challenges and the day arrives. The baby is here. The smiling face makes every parent realize it was worth it. Joy!
Getting back to basics could help you survive in today’s tough market. Remember the sense of urgency you felt when you first started your company? You wanted to get a job, any job, so that you could get some cash flowing through the business. You worked or traveled to jobsites all day and took care of paperwork and accounting in the evening.
Fast forward five years: 65% of your competitors are no longer in business, and you have survived.
Categorically, your previous clients are your best and most consistent source of potential business. But how best to reach out to them?
Assuming you have past clients you’re willing to get face-to-face with, here’s how to realize their potential as a lead source:
Review financial statements to prevent embezzlement. One of my clients did not recognize a subcontractor's name on his bank statement, so he checked on the sub, reviewed the sub's contracts, and visited jobsites to verify the work. He found no evidence of the sub having done any work. His research revealed that two of his trusted employees were in a partnership to embezzle. The salesperson included the sub's “bid” on the jobs he sold and the production manager approved the work that the sub “did.” The payment was mailed to the subcontracting company that the two owned.
Q: How do you get employees to commit to a time-frame for completion without extra money or a negative approach? --Jason Fox, Complete Door & Trim, Beaumont, CA
Handling Disgruntled Clients
Q: How do you turn a customer around who has gotten mad at you during a long remodel?