Around the Horn on Marketing, Sales, and Office Management with Bryan Sebring

Bryan Sebring of Sebring Design Build and I go ‘around the horn’ with my questions discussing his top tip/best thought that has positively impacted his remodeling business in these areas:

Marketing (4:15)
Sales Process (13:34)
Managing Your Team (21:00)
Financials/Job-Costing (26:38)
Systems/Software (34:02)
Work/Life Balance (35:59)

If you prefer listening to watching, check out the podcast here. 

Bryan has been in the construction industry since 1993 and opened his Sebring Design Build in 1999. He lives in his hometown with his wife, Jenny, and their four children.

He was working long hours and making limited progress

blog post 3He was going crazy chasing every lead and never had enough time. He pulled out a blank sheet of paper when a new lead came in and didn’t have any formal process that he would take a new lead through. He wasn’t organized and didn’t differentiate himself from any other remodeler.

His sales pipeline was organized in his brain vs. in any type of reliable system. A lot of his time was spent trying to remember what he needed to get done and who he was supposed to follow-up with. This lack of a system resulted in a lot of leads falling through the cracks.

Two years after he finished a job for a client – if you asked that client, “Have you heard from them since your project has been completed?” Their answer was, “No. Not at all.” He wasn’t doing anything to stay-in-touch with his previous clients. This resulted in less repeat and referral work for his business.

All of this impacted his attitude. He was wore out. Didn’t feel like he was making progress in his business. Was always worried he was forgetting to get back to someone. Was usually behind on turning around leads, which hurt his close rate. All of that affected his cash flow and overall profit in the business.

When you are feeling overwhelmed and behind in your business – that affects life at home with the family and the precious (and in his case – limited) time outside of work.

He was working long hours and was making limited progress in really building a remodeling business that was systematic, organized, and driven by proven and solid processes.

In his case (and perhaps yours ) – he spent years trying to solve these problems himself with different forms or off-the-shelf software products.

There were other times he was so overwhelmed that he would just ‘bury his head in the sand’ and ignore the problems – hoping they’d go away.

After years and years – the problems above were still there and he didn’t have them solved.

He had a lot of leads coming in the door, because he did good and quality remodeling work for his clients. He had a good reputation.

What he didn’t have were any tools to help him quality leads, a clear and powerful sales process to follow, reporting to help him know what was working/not working – he was just flying by the seat of his pants without a clear plan/direction.

In the remodeling business – production is king. Doing a great job on that kitchen or bathroom remodel and getting it done in a profitable way is the most important thing…

BUT – if production is going well, yet you’re chasing every lead that is coming in, always struggling to get estimates completed, feeling behind, have a low close rate, and aren’t organized with your marketing efforts – you can be miserable and overwhelmed.

That’s what he was feeling.

Then he reached out to Kyle and signed up for some personalized coaching and his Remodelers AutoPilot program. Things quickly started to turn around for him.

If you nodded your head through everything above, let’s talk.

“Thanks for the swift kick in the pants” – Jen

A couple weeks back I received an email from Jen who has been getting my emails for some time. She was kind enough to forward over an email that she sent out to a remodeling prospect recently.

You’d be wise to review it below and incorporate something similar into your business…

By the way… I love receiving emails like the one below – please comment below and share some of your marketing successes (or questions) with me. I’m on my own with 3 kids all weekend (my wife is visiting friends in Chicago) – so I’m going to need the kind words and replies! Fire them my way…

Email from Jen to Kyle:

Hi Kyle,

I had joined in on one of your free webinars a few months back and although we were not ready to take full advantage of your services I do enjoy getting your e-mails and consider them to be as good as a swift kick in the pants. They’ve helped me to implement some ideas about how to improve on our marketing and sales processes. And since you are generous with your advice and tidbits I thought I would share how we have responded to some of your generous “kicks”.

Although we always send out a formal intro letter in the mail to new prospects, I also formatted a quick, less formal e-mail template (which I customize a bit each time) to send out to a prospect right after their initial call, that hopefully answers some questions they may have and gets them to dig a bit deeper in to who we are as a company and hopefully helps them realize why we stand out in the industry.

I attached one such letter I sent out last week (below)… and just wanted to say thanks for the swift kick in the pants!

Jennifer Kravitz
Office Manager, Thorson Restoration & Construction

Email sent to Remodeling Prospect:

 

From: Jen Kravitz
Subject: Basement Remodel Project

Hello Andrew,

It was a pleasure speaking with you today about the project you are considering. I just wanted you to have an understanding of how our process works and give you some further insight into our company.

Typically, either Eric or I will be reaching back out to you once we have had a chance to take a look at Eric’s schedule to see what dates are available for your initial meeting. I will discuss with Eric when a project like yours would fit into our schedule as you wanted to start as soon as possible.  I will also be sending along some information in the mail, but in the meantime I thought you might find some of the following links helpful in getting to know a bit more about us and to help you prepare for your basement remodel.

As a first Step you can visit our website where you can read customer testimonials, look at project photos, or learn a bit about our staff.

Specifically I thought you may be interested in viewing a basement project we completed not too long ago a portion of that project is posted here.

We recommend that you start daydreaming on Houzz.com, a great resource when you are planning any remodel.  See why we LOVE Houzz and how you can use it by Clicking here.

We know cost is a major driving factor of most remodeling projects. To help you have a more realistic picture of where your budget should be, we recommend you look at Remodeling Magazine’s Cost Vs. Value Report which takes 35 of the most popular remodeling projects,  gives you their average cost in a specific region or nationally and also lists what you can expect for a return on your investment.

If you want more, feel free to like us on Facebook or Twitter to get useful tips, keep up with current home trends, products, and the daily goings on of our company & staff.

Thanks again for contacting Thorson Restoration & Construction, we look forward to the possibility of working together!

Sincerely,

Jennifer Kravitz
Office Manager

125 Fireworks Circle, Suite #1
Bridgewater, MA 02324
Ph: 508-279-0656

That’s why they call me the master of suspense

My wife and I were watching ‘Hitchcock’ the other day – it’s a movie about the life of Alfred Hitchcock.

Alfred said something to his wife (Alma) at the very end of the movie and she said in reply, “I’ve been waiting 30 years to hear you say that…

To which Alfred replied, “That’s why they call me the master of suspense!

I told you in a recent note (I copied the email below ? in case you wanted to see it again) that I was going to give you the answer “next week” – time flies when you are having fun (as well as having a cold and great clients and …yadda, yadda.) What can I say, I’m the master of suspense! So here’s the answer you’ve been waiting (patiently) for…

I listed 4 areas that comprise the bulk of the work I focus on with remodelers across the country and asked you to reply back with your answer to this:

“Let me know which option you think is the quickest at delivering the most sales/profit for my remodeling clients and why you picked that option.”

Here’s my answer (although, truth be told, I could make an argument for all four of them! It’s a bit of a trick question…)

Quickest = Sales Process Improvements

Here’s a few reasons why:

  • With a stronger sales process, you better differentiate yourself (and stop competing on price so much.)
  • You start controlling the sales process instead of the homeowner. Ever feel like you have lost control of the meeting? That your prospect is dictating the ‘next step’, how you are going to quote their project, etc? When you are leading the process instead of following, good things happen.
  • When you ask better questions and are following a stronger process – it’s amazing the change in confidence that you’ll experience. Confidence in the way you ask/answer questions, on what/how you charge, on the value that you deliver.
  • When you have a stronger sales process, follow-up get easier, because you’ve done a better job of building know, like and trust throughout the sales process.
  • Marketing System development can yield quick results, but a lot of our work in that area are longer-term plays. Things that will pay off many times over in the future weeks/months/years. With sales process improvements, you can learn something in the morning, and put it into practice that afternoon.

A lot of you have done this already, but if you haven’t grabbed the 3 Powerful Sales Tracking & Follow-up Templates & Resources from my website, please do so now (my treat!)

If you are ready to talk to me on the phone about how I can help you with your Sales Process and Marketing System, apply for a Free Strategy Session (I have some time early next week, so please apply today so that we can get things scheduled.) Happy to offer this to you.

—————————-

Here’s the note I was referring to above:

Below you’ll find a list of 4 areas – they comprise the bulk of the work I focus on with remodelers across the country.

Can you guess which area I’ve (consistently) seen the quickest results for my remodeling clients?

Put another way, the area where my clients see the fastest ‘bang for their buck’ or Return On Investment (ROI…)?

The area that puts money into their bank account the quickest?

  • Option A: Marketing System Development – Clearly defining how you are different from competitors, improving your website, creating quick/educational videos, developing strong strategic partners (other professionals who can refer you), building a referral program, having a clear marketing budget/calendar, etc.
  • Option B: Sales Process Improvements – The system/questions you ask prospects on the initial phone call, gaining knowledge of your prospect’s budget, improvements to how you run your initial in-person meeting, how to best present your proposal, etc.
  • Option C: Personal Development – Helping you become more organized, a better manager/business owner, improving your time management and focus.
  • Option D: Solid Follow-up/Stay-In-Touch System – Proven ways to better follow-up with people you have already ‘Done a proposal for, but haven’t signed.’ Solid plan for staying-in-touch with all of your previous clients and prospects.

Please comment below with two (2) things:

  1. Let me know which option you think is the quickest at delivering the most sales/profit for my remodeling clients and why you picked that option.
  2. Which area is the most urgent for you to improve for your business?