The Obvious

Dealing with Price Objects as an Estimator

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Humorous Post Warning

This is a little bit out of the ordinary post this week. It is a short humorous story about an estimator I once knew in the painting industry and his experience dealing with price objections!

I am keeping his name and company confidential! I am also not endorsing what he did. I just always get a kick out of his response to a prospect. Read More

30 Year Employees Don’t Exist Anymore

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always-growing-blogAlways Be Recruiting

The number one problem I have been hearing about from clients this year is not a lack of leads. No, leads have been strong across the U.S. The problem has been a lack of good people. I have actually been asked if I can provide recruiting services, not marketing! If you do need help finding good help, I would recommend contacting my friends at Summit Services. They provide headhunting services for estimators, office staff and, I believe, help with hiring field employees too. Read More

Thanks When You Get a No Thanks

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It can be rather discouraging when you lose a job that you think you are going to get. I’ve been there many times. The sales process is moving along just great and then, out of the blue, the prospect goes with someone else. Typically it might end with, “Thanks for the time but we went with someone else.” Do you typically respond when you get a “No thanks” response? Most of us might respond with, “best of luck” or “thanks for letting me know” or get so frustrated that we do not respond at all. You can also try this little tip that I have found helpful. Read More

How to Create an Away Message in Gmail on Your Phone

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How many times have you rushed out of town or taken a day off only to forget to set an away message on your email account? I’ve done this plenty of times in the past. I used to have to wait to get in front of a desktop computer, login and set the away message. If you are using Google Apps for Business (Gmail) there is a more simple way to set an away message remotely, right from your phone. Read More

A Few Pointers On How to Use Social Media

Posted by | Small Business Solutions, The Obvious | No Comments

I get asked often what types of things to post on social media sites, how often to post and so on. I think many business owners and employees don’t really know how to use Social Media the “right way” so they either go crazy and post too much or don’t post at all.

A client of mine recently forwarded me a “visual” article called, “The 6 Simplest Ways To Say “Thank You” On Social Media” by David Larson. This prompted me to write this short post and share it with my followers. The six ways use different social sites: Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook etc. You don’t have to use all 6 sites. Instead look at the things you can do, pick 1 or 2 social sites and start doing them. It really is quite simple.

To add to the steps mentioned in the article above is connecting with your customers on a face to face level and write handwritten notes too. The little things matter. Customers will love you for staying in touch in a way that is not irritating.

Always Be Looking for New Business Opportunities

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My brother forwarded me a company email he received from the VP of his company. He works for a large commercial developer on the west coast. I’ll paraphrase and summarize the conclusion of the email from the vice president which I felt was a great reminder for any business in today’s economy:

Let’s keep our eyes and ears open for new opportunities from clients and through your connections/networks. Do not let a phone call or conversation end without asking “So, what else is going on out there that we should be looking at?”

…And when you do hear about something, try to collect some basic information: What, where, when, why, how, who…

You might think this is common sense, but I sure do not hear it much these days (and I don’t practice it much myself: but I should). It is a great reminder for me, and I’m passing it on to you. I have done this before and had others do it to me…and it works. It is a way to ask for referrals, in a nice way!

Example, a remodeler, when finishing up a job to a happy client can end the call with, “Appreciate you working with my company Mrs. Jones. By the way, have you heard any of your friends discuss when they might be doing a remodel?”

Have you had success using a similar “close” to a conversation? Love to hear about it.

Keep Committed to Good Web Marketing Practices

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Have you ever been discouraged to find a competitor you did not know you had above you on the first page of Google? You’ve worked hard to stay on or near the top right? You look at their web page and it looks terrible and you think, “How on earth did this one make the top rank?”

This blog post is just a quick reminder to stay the course on good web marketing practices. Don’t worry about your competitors. Just keep doing what you know is best.

So what is “best” you might ask? Be more genuine and real on your website. Google is aware that there tend to be some pretty bad websites on their search engines who are using “black hat’ techniques to get ranked. They have actively begun to crack down on these websites. Over the next year, I think you’ll notice many of those sites will get removed or moved down in the ranks. This includes video marketing too (just fyi). Those who are genuine with content and post regularly on a blog should very well be rewarded by Google.

So now you are wondering what can you write about that would be interesting to read? I’ll leave you with two ideas, 1) Continue to answer questions that your customers have about your industry or your particular company. And 2) begin writing about the projects you are doing: tell the story! Don’t be concerned if people don’t subscribe or follow you in 2013. Just stay real and consistent. Be the place that people think about when they think of your service. When they land on your website, tell your story; and tell it well!

The prompting for this particular post is because I’ve seen proof of some of the sites I’ve worked hard on practicing what I’ve preached, and they are ranking a lot better today than they did even a year ago. We didn’t change anything. We just stayed consistent and continued to write and post good information. Those spammy sites are now ranking below!

Two Things to Do Now For 2013

Posted by | Marketing Advice, The Obvious | 9 Comments

Running a successful business takes consistent planning, marketing, sales and ongoing management. I’ve spoken to a few small business owners (new in business) who told me they were just too busy right now to work on their marketing or business growth: “the phone just keeps ringing!” is a familiar phrase I hear. Great news, right? The phone is ringing off the hook, why continue marketing and planning? Well, for these guys who have told me this, they work in a seasonal business. In another month or two, they will wonder if the cell towers or phone lines are frozen when their phone stops ringing.

Below are two, hopefully obvious things, to do now to keep your business moving forward.

Two Things To Do Now

1. If you have not started the process yet, begin creating your 2013 budgets and plans now. Don’t wait til you have the time. It might be too late. You also don’t have to do it all in one sitting. Just cut out an hour this week and another couple next week and get it done. Need extra help? Hire a mentor or business friend(s) to help strategize with you for a few hours as well. After the budget is in place, create a marketing calendar of events of when and who will get the task at hand completed.

2. Book work now. If you are busy at the moment, start securing work for December, January and even February if you run a service business. I’ve seen salespeople do this a couple ways. Some of them will call up their existing client base and ask if they would like any work completed during the month of January and if so, they’d discount the service. One customer took this approached for his painting business and booked $80,000 of residential work just from calling up existing customers. Others would go out and estimate a job and put the current price tag of the job: $5,400 if booked now. $4,300 if booked between Jan 2 and January 31st. Giving the prospect options works very well!

However you decide to book work, get it going now. Maybe you create a calendar with the dates available. When you go out to do a bid, show the calendar to a prospect and tell them the weeks that they can save money. You also don’t need to always discount. Just use your good instincts. If you think you can get a customer/prospect to wait for a slow season, go for it.

The bottom line is this, running a business is hard work. You cannot take a break. You’ve got to have all cylinders running year round. So get things into gear and keep moving your business forward into the new year.

I’m curious, how do you guys currently prepare for winter work? Let me know in the comments below.

Side Note: If you need help with putting together a business plan, my friends at Summit Services are offering a special during the month of October. It is worth every penny. These guys are great. Check out their business planning offer here.

Schedule your free 30 minute marketing call. Contact David Today!