Aug 202012
 

leads, sales, customers, delivery of service, referrals, cold calling, build a business organically

 

 

 

 

Exceptional Delivery.

Most business owners assume that they must invest big dollar amounts in new marketing campaigns in order to increase their lead generation. However, there are some very easy, cost-effective ways to exponentially increase your leads.

Contact your existing customers: It is six times easier to sell to an existing customer than to sell a new customer. If you concentrate on and stay in contact with your existing customers, they are more likely to do more business with you. Think about new or complementary products that they may be interested in. Give them a call just to say hello and ask them how it is going. They will greatly appreciate your interest and will become your advocates.

1. Ask for referrals:

Your satisfied customers, happy employees and devoted friends/family will want you to succeed in your business endeavors. Ask them if they know of other like-minded customers who may be interested in your services. If you ask most people for help, they are usually willing to work with you. When asking for referrals, be specific with your associates.

  • Identify a number of potential referral sources for the next year.
  • Schedule a lunch/breakfast with each referral, each month.
  • That will result in 12+ meetings and exponentially more new business contacts.

2. Cold Calling:

Want to know a quick and low-cost strategy that can generate massive results in your business, if practiced regularly? Simple techniques, like old-fashioned phone calls to suspects, warm leads or referrals, are usually used. The chief excuse of business owners for not using cold calling is lack of time. If you can’t (or won’t) do it, identify a resource within your team to handle this important task.

Discipline yourself to stop what you’re doing for five minutes a day, and make calls. Just two calls per hour, every business day, will yield hundreds of calls over a year. If you have a target list, you could place a call to each, once every quarter to let them know you’re there and you care! Remember, even if today they are buying what you’re selling from someone else, you can position yourself to be the second choice for when things change!

Focus on results, and set a daily goal; make calls until you reach the goal. This may be to get an appointment, sale or new referral (as appropriate.) In no time, this will become an effective habit/tool for growing your business. Once you’ve achieved your goal for the day, congratulate yourself and then go about doing the other tasks that confront you.

3. Deliver exceptional service every time:

This one is my personal favorite. I feel that if you are building a great service business, this should be your number one priority.  Delivering exceptional service does 2 things for your business.  The first thing it does is it guarantees that your current customer will be more than satisfied with their experience using your service. Exceeding the customers expectation will give you the confidence that your customer will be interested in continuing to work with you and your business. This is otherwise known as, the lifetime value of your customer.

Secondly, providing exceptional service will turn your current customer into a referral machine. Your customer will become an advocate for you and your business. So, if you have 200 satisfied customers that are advocates for your business, you now have 200 FREE sales reps.  This is a very powerful strategy, especially for the small business owner who has a limited budget to grow his/her service business.  I see this as a very organic way to grow your business.  Executing this strategy will help your business grow at a pace that is healthy. Not to fast and not to slow.  See Wednesdays post for more on growing your business organically.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 August 20, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Jun 112012
 

scheduling crews, taking responsibility, weather forecast, planning ahead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Tip #1. Schedule with what I call a “soft” Friday. I tend to stack up my jobs and routes early in the week, leaving Thursday, and especially Friday softer work days(fewer work orders). I also know in the back of my mind that I have Saturday to make up any missed work if needed. This way if things go well during the week, all my employees show up and complete their routes, the weather cooperates, and everything runs smoothly I have one of 2 situations.

  • Situation #1.  I have an easier Friday and time to focus on sales, planning, budgeting, or any other tasks that I personally have.  Making sure I have a clean desk before I leave for the weekend. Who can complain about this worst case scenario?
  • Situation #2. Things went well during the beginning of the week and I would like to get more work done this week. If this is the case then I look at the coming week and pull any last-minute jobs up into the current weeks schedule. This also makes me happy, because getting more work done means making more money in that given week. As any seasonal business owner knows making money while the sun shines is the key to our success.

2.  Another tip, is to schedule interior or non rain/snow sensitive work on the days that your weather man is forecasting rain/snow. Rarely do I remove all my jobs and routes from the schedule. Even if the weather is supposed to be poor, I still always try to get something done. Maybe route work or pressure washing, anything that is easy to re-schedule is worth trying to complete on a bad weather day.

3. The last tip, is that the accuracy of the 10 day forecast diminishes the further out you look. In other words your weather forecast tends to be very accurate for the next 48 hours. Anything past 48 hours the accuracy of the prediction reduces dramatically.

Falling victim to the weather forecast is easy to do. Putting blame on the weather, weather man, or your customers is not the answer to effectively managing a seasonal business. We need to take responsibility for our actions and make the changes necessary in our organizations to help us manage the scheduling of our crews around the ever-changing forecast of mother nature. We do this by focusing on the things that we can change(reliable employees, and equipment) and relaxing about the things that we can do nothing about. Worrying is like a rocking chair, it keeps you busy but it doesn’t get you anywhere.

Is your seasonal business dependent on the weather forecast?

What tips do you use in order to help you manage this unpredictable factor?

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 June 11, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Team Tagged with: , , ,  1 Response »
Jun 042012
 

time management, most valuable resource, delegation, stop blaming time, lack of time is not an excuse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do we sometimes have such trouble concentrating? The ability to focus is a skill – it is not innate. Here are 11 ways to strengthen concentration, even under difficult circumstances:

1. Connect emotionally to the task. Tightrope walkers and lion tamers have no trouble concentrating. That’s because their lives are at stake. But it’s easy for the mind to wander when it lacks passion for what we are doing. Of course, life’s realities often require us to focus on tasks we don’t like. In those cases, ask yourself, “What aspect of this task do I care about most deeply?”

2. Chart your energy level throughout the day. Most of us have certain times of day when we are clearheaded and energetic. Use those times for tasks that require the most concentration.

3. Remove items that regularly break your focus – family photos, magazines, and any material that is not relevant to your task; even the icon on your computer that alerts you to email…

4. Train yourself not to give in to distractions. When someone enters the room, or when a door slams, consciously keep your concentration on what is in front of you. When someone talks to you, don’t let your mind wander. Listen as if you were going to be required to repeat what is said back to the speaker.

5. Decide how long you intent to work, and what you plan to accomplish. Set strict time limits to complete subtasks. Ask your spouse of a co-worker to monitor your progress, and to apply gentle pressure when necessary.

6. Remember the big picture – but focus on the task at hand. If you keep mulling over the large, long-term consequences of your actions, your mind will shut down to keep you from becoming overwhelmed.

7. Use caffeine and sugar sparingly. True, they stimulate concentration, but their effects last only 30 to 60 minutes. The more caffeine or sugar you consume, the more you will eventually need in order to achieve the desired effects. Instead, try five minutes of light exercise, which will perk you up with no side effects.

8. Meditate. It strengthens your ability to control your thoughts. Try focusing solely on your breath going in and out. Start with five minutes per day. Build up to 20 minutes. When your mind wanders, observe the distracting thought rather than trying to force it out of your mind. After a few minutes, refocus your attention.

9. Take breaks. You should be able to concentrate on one task for about 40 minutes. Then take a five to ten minute break. Periodically shift you’re sitting position at your desk. This helps keep you alert by promoting circulation and sending more oxygen to your brain.

10. Ask yourself where the block is. If you are chronically unable to concentrate on a specific task, perhaps something about what you have taken on is not right for you. In that case, consider whether you are being fair to yourself by forcing yourself to continue with it.

11. Reward yourself for completing particularly difficult tasks.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 June 4, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Time Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Feb 132012
 
hiring, team building, job descriptions, DISC profile, personality testing

Some rights reserved by Jiheffe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you think you can’t get great employees? Can’t get them to do what you need? Can’t get them to stay?  Start by taking a look in the mirror. Before you blame your Team, remember that old adage: “You get the employees you deserve.”  The most common errors that occur are hiring the wrong person, inadequate training/evaluation, and finally, a lack of leadership. Now, let’s take a look at those issues in greater detail.

1. You’re hiring the wrong person or putting them in the wrong place.

Using personality profiles can help to measure a candidate’s qualities before they are hired. I use DISC and VAK to help make the right match of person and position.

The DISC profile measures a person’s natural (away from work) and adapted (at work) behavioral tendencies. The profile takes about 10 minutes and yields some very useful tips on individual strengths, opportunities for improvement, and keys to motivating.

The VAK (stands for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) measures communication modalities. In addition, examine the hiring process and the questions that are being asked. What do you need to change based on the lessons you’ve learned in the past? Ask questions that uncover values and look for alignment with your company’s values. I have found that a “bad employee” is rarely due to the lack of job competence—it’s more often a failure to mesh with organizational values. You must hire character because that can’t be taught. An employee with a great “values match” will still underperform if you assign them to the wrong job. Go back through your job descriptions and modify for what the business needs, then hire the person that fits that description. Chaos results when you change the job to match the skill set of the newest hire.

Below you will see the definitions of each of the 4 types of personalities within the DISC profile system. As you read through them think about anyone you may know that fits into each profile. Then write their name next to the particular profile.  Then ask yourself, are they are performing the correct tasks for their personality?

“D” Style(Direct):
Adventuresome
Competitive
Daring
Decisive
Direct
Innovative
Persistent
Problem Solver
Results-Orientated

“I” Style(Inspiring):
Charming
Confident
Convincing
Enthusiastic
Inspiring
Optimistic
Persuasive
Popular
Sociable
Precise
Team Player
“S” Style(Steady):
Amiable
Friendly
Good Listener
Patient
Self-starter
Relaxed
Sincere
Stable
Steady
“C” Style(Consistent)
Accurate
Analytical
Conscientious
Diplomatic
Trusting
Fact-Finder
High Standards
Mature
Patient

Do you want to learn more about using DISC profiles? I use them in all my businesses and love teaching other business owners how to use them. To apply to our coaching program. Click here.

Watch for our follow-up article “Are you hiring the wrong people?” Part 2. Where we will be discussing inadequate training/evaluation, and finally, a lack of leadership. These are the final 2 common errors that business owners make when building their teams.

 

 February 13, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Team Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Apr 202011
 

managing your crews, scheduling around weather, organizing equipment, creating systems, creating checklists

Like in chess, the management and scheduling of your teams is a crucial part of ensuring profitability and success. Most service providers don’t make money unless their jobs and work orders get completed in a satisfactory manner.  3 factors to consider when managing your schedule and work orders.

1. Your Team.

Of course you have to properly manage your staff. Setting expectations, holding them accountable each and every day. Making sure the technicians that are in the field are the ones that want to be.  I focus on what my team members show me and not what they say. When making the schedule on a weekly basis, I give the hours to the technicians that performed best last week.  I am not interested in what the technicians SAY they want, I am more interested in what I see them DO. See is believing.  This is a general rule of thumb that I use when selecting who works and who doesn’t. The number one reason why some jobs get done and some jobs find a way to NOT get done, is because of your teams attitude. Be mindful and manage their attitude.

2. Equipment.

As the “manager” of the operations, it is my responsibility to keep my team organized. I use checklist’s and inspection forms to ensure all our vehicles, pressure washers, and tools are kept up.  The number 2 reason why some of your jobs will not get done, is because you may not be organized. Keeping your team organized is like taking out an insurance policy on the work that is in the schedule.

3. The Weather.

Some of you contractors  may have the luxury of not having to worry about the weather.  For us window cleaners and pressure washers, unfortunately weather is a factor. I am a big fan of taking responsibility for my actions and not making excuses or blaming others. However, this is one of those factors that will forever be frustrating.  Consider yourself an amateur meteorologist. Pay attention to the 10 day forecast and do your best to keep your weather sensitive accounts scheduled on the sunny days.  In a future post I will be writing a “How to” manage your jobs around the weather. Giving you some specific tips of the trade. Check back soon.

Did I miss anything? Send me a comment on how you manage your team, your equipment, the weather.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 April 20, 2011  Posted by at 2:57 PM Growth, Team Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »