Hi and welcome to another episode of Builders Business Success Podcast!
This is a second show where we’ve interviewed one of our Builders Business, Black Belt members.
We’re finding that it’s all well and good to get the experts in from all of these different areas of video and marketing and all of these sorts of things.
But we find that most of the time builders really relate to other builders. People who are in the trenches dealing with exactly the same issues that you are.
The solutions that they’ve been able to implement are far more relatable and applicable to your business.
So in this episode, we’ll be talking to Cherie Dance.
Now, Cherie and her husband Phil have a building business down in Tas. Phil’s been in the building business for 30 odd years had their own business for 10 years. And you’ll hear the story when Cherie tells it.
Cherie, Phil’s wife also is a licensed builder which is kind of unique. You don’t get that very often. So they both have their own building license and Cherie looks after all of the admin and the new customers and all of that sort of stuff.
Obviously, Phil is onsite and they came through our Blueprint to Black Belt Program around about six odd months ago and they were all but ready to chuck it in. And Phil actually found us in a hospital bed. So I’ll let Cherie tell that story.
We’’ll also be doing a Q and A. One important question that we get asked all of the time we’ll be answering that.
*Transcription of the show*
Hear my conversation with Cherie Dance!
So let’s listen to our conversation with Cherie. Discussions and thoughts about how, what what’s not working in this business and how do we improve it?
I mean, you’ve obviously learned a bunch since you’ve you’ve been in this group, but I’m I want to get into what you were thinking and the discussions you were having before you knew this existed in an attempt to improve your business.
– To improve we had to get, I think I said to Phil, if you don’t find that momentum to be in business as a builder and the happiness and the experience that you’ve had if you don’t find that, I mean he is such a big part of the business side. If he loses it. I mean, even though I’m accredited builder if he lost it, well, there was just sort of no point for me to keep going on because he’s really the soul of the business.
So, you know, I sort of said to him, well if you don’t feel the passion well there’s just no point. You obviously can obviously go and get another job or so once I sort of said that to him he sort of start thinking, well how do I get the passion back? How do I get the team and myself back to where we need it to be?
I mean, we had it in the first year initially but then obviously he lost control, things happen. We lost money. Where do we go from here? How do we get that passion back? How do we get the control back and the love of the building industry?
– What were some of the, the first things you implemented like when you started to when you first joined the Blueprint Program? What were the first things you started to implement that you noticed started to make a difference?
– Getting played for quotes. Like, you know, we, we actually talked last night about it. If we had’ve been, you know, been charging for quotes 10 years ago, far out we’d be so much better. And I think that’s the main thing is why we lost the passion because we’re doing all these free quotes not getting paid for it, not going anywhere. And you didn’t care.
We didn’t care when you quoted honestly but now we’re busier than we’ve ever been in the probably the 10 years that we’ve been building. We care about quoting now. We love it. Like even last night, you know, we’ve just been under the pump and Phil’s just pumping them out. And because he’s got the passion again, he’s loving it. And I think to the fact that we’re getting paid to do what we love to do is very important.
So I think that’s the biggest thing for us because we were just spending five days a week fill up on the tools, us quoting weeks on end, months on, just quoting, quoting, quoting and sometimes not winning the jobs. And I think you just didn’t put the effort in and you didn’t put the passion in quoting properly because you weren’t getting paid for it. But now we are, we’re taking that time and we’re doing it properly and, and it’s working.
– So just explain, because I mean, I know what’s happened but I just want you to explain why you’re busier now because it’s not necessarily because you’ve got more leads you may well do but from what I’ve been told from Phil I think I asked him the question some time ago that in sort of that 20 week period roughly how many quotes would you do?
And I think he said 12 to 14, and then I said how many would you normally turn into jobs? And I think he said, out of 12 quotes would normally get two jobs since you started charging for quotes you did your 12 jobs and 10 of them turned into so that means that you’re significantly more busy like you’re quadrupling the jobs that you’re getting in that certain amount of time but with no more extra leads can you kind of explain what I just said there?
– We were just pumping the quotes out before and just didn’t care, we didn’t do the follow-up we didn’t do the initial meeting. We didn’t make that personal connection. It was just like, yep, send the quote, send the plans through quote him out. If we won it, we won it, if we didn’t, we didn’t we just waited ’til the next one to come through. But now, you know, we make that official meeting.
We get that connection with them. And I think because they’re paying they feel, well if they don’t want to pay they obviously don’t have the connection. And when they do pay, they feel that yes they can work with us. So they go to, they come on board with us. |
So I think that is really the key that they feel they trust us. And I think we’ve done about 15 big proposals since Blueprint and we’ve lost three. And, we’ve got to take into account too we’ve hit COVID.
We probably would have had way more leads if we had the things that we actually do for the business but the stuff that we’re putting out, isn’t just I can’t believe that both of us are so focused and the quotes are getting out quicker. We’re winning more and we’ve actually had to say no to people because we’re under the pump I mean, we just had a guy just email us just after we got off from you saying that he wants three houses built by us.
– Just the three.
– I don’t know how we’re gonna do it.
– Just the three quick houses if you wouldn’t mind before Christmas also.
– Yeah, it’s just changed our lives, pretty much.
– One of the things that Phil mentioned to me and if you can sort of outline this as well this was a few weeks ago now, and you musta kept a spreadsheet that the money that you got paid for the fee proposals was at that point about 25 grand? It’d be good just to make the point that to get that same $25,000 net profit that isn’t used for anything else in the bank, how much work would you have had to have completed to get that same amount of money in the bank? Because that, like I think this is a really important point.
If you think about what you’ve achieved just through doing that, there’s $25,000 sitting in a bank and you’ve done zero more work than you would have traditionally but to get an additional $25,000 in the bank using the old method how much work would have had to have been completed to get that 25 grand in the bank?
– Geez, it’s a hard question, it’d be years, it’d be years. Look, honestly, we’ve probably never had that money in the bank. It’s always been scratchy, month by month gee we haven’t got enough money to pay bills. Now we’ve got the profit account which is just sitting there and, you know we did have a little sneak peek the other day. We probably shouldn’t have done but we wanted to see.
– You’re allowed to look at it! That’s the whole idea. You look at it and rub your hands like Scrooge McDuck
– We’re only putting 1% in and it’s $18,000 we’ve got in there and we’ve never ever had that. We’ve never, and now we’ve got money in the bank above what, you know, we know exactly. I know exactly what bills are coming in. And I know that the money’s there plus we’ve got a hundred over a hundred thousand literally over. It’s like, wow. You know, I reckon the first 12 months we had that then after that, we never really had that. So for us this year’s just been, just mind-blowing. Like, you know, we’re happier. We’re happier as just not only as business partners but as a family in whole.
– If we go back to, before you jumped into Blueprint, what if any, were your or Phil’s reservations? Like sometimes, I mean, people say if it sounds too good, too good to be true, it often is, maybe what you were thinking that that was going to be delivered in Blueprint was too good to be true. What was the doubt, skepticism, thoughts, hesitation? Tell me about your thought process back then.
– Before Blueprint, we was in a really bad place obviously mentally wise, business wise, marriage wise and then when Phil found Blueprint I was very skeptical Phillip was, but obviously, cause he had the time he could listen to a lot of podcasts and everything that you’d done and thought oh well I’m sitting in, laying in a hospital bed may as well watch something. So he watched that–
– It was either me or The Price is Right.
– Yeah so.
– It’s a no brainer.
– He watched it and when he come home, he said, “Oh, I’ve just found this guy, this dude, “I want to have a meeting with.” And I went, “Phil, serious? “How you gonna change the building industry? “How you gonna quote? “We’re not going to win any work, “we’re gonna be worse than what we were.” I said, “I just can’t see how you can ask someone to pay “for a quote when everyone else does it for free.” Anyway, I just thought, well, let’s do it. What do we got to lose? When we’re in a bad place now let’s just give it a crack and see. And then even our first initial meeting I was very skeptical because I think of things that have been happening, I still don’t believe it really. It was more Phil that wanted to pursue it.
So I said, that’s what you got to do in business. You got to back each other so I said, let’s, let’s give it a crack. And probably two, three weeks in I thought, wow, I’m a different person. I feel better. I feel better about us. I feel better about the business. I think we were two weeks in when we did our first fee proposal and we got paid for it. And it’s just like, I couldn’t believe it. It was just amazing. Probably still don’t really believe it. But you know, look at that spreadsheet and look how much we’ve actually spent at sending out fee proposals. It’s over 60 grand now, you know, you win some and you lose some, but the ones that you lose you don’t want because obviously they’re not the right fit for us. But the ones that were won are the right fit and we’ve made great friendships out of the the clients that we have actually got. So it’s yeah, it’s definitely changed our life by joining up, but we was very skeptical I must admit, yeah, come out the other end now.
– I just remember Phil saying, he’d never read a book before. Tell me what happened and, and what you were what you were observing before and after Phil started reading.
– Yeah, well, the first books, yours, he read in I think four nights and I just thought this is just, wonder how long this is gonna last. And they he sort of growled at me because I didn’t read it. So I did it in one night.
– I was gonna say four nights is a long time. It’s got big writing and lots of white space and a fair few pictures that shouldn’t take four nights.
– So anyways, so I read it in one night, I thought, yeah, this is great. So then I think there was a lot of other books that you had in your book. So I said, you need to go buy them, which I did. And then we got on a roll, we kept buying it. So we’re a little like a little mini bookshelf in our room now. And he gets one and every night he was going to bed early reading. And I think the biggest thing for me is I went in there one weekend and I thought what? He was in there reading on a weekend, didn’t go fishing. Didn’t go out, didn’t do nothing. And I just went, a few of his mates turned up and said where’s Phil? And I went in bed, reading. And they went, are you kidding? What’s wrong, is he sick?
And I went he’s not sick but I think he is sick. So that was just, that was mind blowing and you know, and, and now he’s, he’s Googling other books. And so, yeah he’s just reading all the time and he’s learning more. I mean, he’s pretty clicked on, Phil good, great builder but business side was never really, you know I did it at all, but and he wasn’t passionate about that side which made it even harder for me because I knew he was a great builder, but I said you don’t see the other side but now he’s working with me within the business and he can see other sides that I already saw. So how hard it was, the easy partis building the house.
– That’s all the things that you’ve got to do before that and after, so yeah.
– So final question, ’cause like there are people that would be watching this people in the Builders Business Success Forum, Facebook group all of that, that, you know, they’re they’re listening to you, even though I’m not saying it you’re saying it they’ll go, you know, they’re they’re skeptical they’re or that might have been all right for them, but it won’t work for me because, you know, what what have you got to say to someone who’s who is suffering.
Who, who isn’t being paid, what they should be. They don’t have time for themselves. And they’re thinking, you know, should I shouldn’t I?
– We thought that too, so when you’re in a bad place, like we were, what, we didn’t have anything to lose. It was either, okay, we can do something to try and better ourselves and the business or we can just shut up.
And I knew that Philip didn’t wanna do that because he like I said, he loves the building industry. So we had nothing to lose. It was either lose everything can go and get a job and I know Phillip didn’t want to work for someone else.
So we was at the stage where I was willing to do anything anything to change his mindset and passion for what he always had since I think he was 16 when he started building so you know, to lose to lose something that he was so passionate about, you know really hurt me because he’s great at what he does.
You know, there’s so many builders out there and Phil’s probably a very rare one. He’s a bit old school and he knows what he’s doing. He knows what he’s talking about and to lose that would be not only hard for us, but for the building industry.
So what have you got to lose? You can only try, and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But for us, we we’ll, we’ll be forever grateful for you and Julia obviously. And because it’s just a great group to be in. And, and I think you get to a stage in the building industry, you think it’s only me.
This is only happening to me, these things, hard clients doing all the work and not getting paid for it, I’m the only person, but it’s not, we’re all in the same boat. And it’s nice to have that, you know, someone to hold your hand sometimes if you’re having a bad day or a good day and you aren’t, you’re not the only one that’s going through it so.
– Well the absolute final question. What are you, what are your thoughts on the group? Like we just had a momentum call just now. I’m still amazed how many people show up to these momentum calls every single day. What’s been your experience having met and sort of connected with these other builders in the group? What’s that meant to you?
- Oh it’s great. It’s like having another family, so, you know, and it’s good to hear everyone else’s story and it’s good to be able to see people changing and happiness and more positive attitudes. I think that’s the main thing and if you are having a down day, it’s good to get on to talk to someone and they just boost that straight up again.
And, you know I think that’s very important because, you know every day isn’t perfect, you are gonna have days where and things are gonna go wrong but to have those guys just for backup and just to have a chat to him, you know sometimes we ring each other if we need to have a chat or you’re just feeling down.
So I think it’s important and it’s just, like I said, it’s like having another family.
Q & A
One of the questions I get asked all the time is how can we have a profitable business when all of our customers are focused on price they make decisions based on price? To me, there’s two questions there.
The first one is how can we be profitable because people are focused on price? The answer to that is people aren’t focused on price.
The majority of people by far the majority of people that they make decisions based on value their perceived value, not the price. And so the key to that, the answer to that is to learn how to represent value rather than constantly having this focus on price.
So what’s actually happening is the customer isn’t focused on price. They’ve only been trained to be focused on price. The builder comes and starts to talk about the project talk about budget and so on and so forth.
And eventually inevitably the conversation comes round to price and that’s where it stays. The thing is from a psychological perspective people will make decisions based on their perception of value.
So the art and the key is for you to learn how to represent that value. The second part of that question is what is profit? We worked with a ton of builders with this.
In fact, we have a process when a builder applies to Builders Business Black Belt and they get accepted, we pay for them to get put in front of a profit first professional who does a complete pulling apart of their finances, their pricing, how they manage their cashflow and so on and so forth.
And with all of the builders that we’ve put through that process guess how many builders have come back having even made a profit? The answer may surprise you it’s zero.
Not one builder was making profit according to the profit first process. And what that means is that profit according to profit first is in a bank account.
It’s not earmarked for anything. It’s only purpose is to reward you for the risk and the sacrifice and the effort that you’ve put in to running your business.
It has nothing to do with the entry on your profit and loss sheet, under the profit column that is smoke and mirrors that is being put together to give to the ATO for your tax position.
But it certainly doesn’t reflect how much profit you’ve got because how many times has the accountant said you’ve made a hundred thousand dollars profit or whatever the figure might be and then dropped that money into your hand. There it is. It exists.
I’ll guarantee everybody listening to this if they’ve had that conversation with their accountant that money doesn’t exist anywhere. It is a fictional notional amount that’s on your profit and loss.
The answer to the question is you’re not making any profit anyway but if you want to make profit you’ve got to implement the profit first system. And you’ve got to learn the art of representing value to your clients and taking the focus away from price. They don’t wanna focus on price. They wanna focus on value.
It’s just a traditional way that builders have their conversations with their prospects always comes back to price.
Takeaway & Summary
So I think the takeaway for this show, and this is fresh in my mind, because just before we recorded this we were doing our last momentum call for 2020 with our Black Belt members.
So we have a daily call it’s an hour every day. And I just said to them I’m amazed every day that so many builders turn up for a whole hour in the middle of their day 11:00 a.m. ’till 12 midday and invest time in sharing their wins, their lessons, asking questions and working on their business, an hour everyday, it’s pretty profound.
But one of the things that we talked about was doing what everybody else is doing and trying to do what currently builders are doing but doing it better I don’t believe is the answer to a successful business.
And I mentioned Tony Robbins many, many years ago in the nineties, mentioned a quote from Walt Disney.
And he said that Walt Disney was heard to have said if you want to be successful, look around and see what the world is doing and don’t do it. And then Tony went on to add to that.
He said, what he uses as a base place to start with being successful in any area of life or business is look around and see what the world is doing or the industry is doing in this case. And he said, do the opposite.
And when you look at how most builders run their building business, how they communicate with their clients, how where they prioritize their focus, if you were to do the opposite of that, you could be very, very successful.
It’s a good place to start. So look around and see what the building industry norms are and look at what the opposite might be is my takeaway from this podcast.
Okay, I talked about in the Q and A profit first I talked about value versus the price and so on. And there is a process, a step-by-step process. It’s a proven process, we teach it in our Blueprint program every day to our Blueprint members, how to change the focus and how to learn the art of being able to represent value rather than having the focus on price. Also learning how to manage and measure your finances differently.
So you end up with genuine profit, actual money in the bank that’s only meant for rewarding you for your efforts, your sacrifices in the challenges of running a business. If that is something that you would like to implement into your business, all you need to do is reach out and we have a conversation to find out, firstly if how we do things is the right fit for you.
That’s the first thing, you know most people will go, well, how much is it? That’s kind of irrelevant.
You know, let’s say it was $10 but it showed you how to make a hundred dollars. Would you do it?
Let’s say it was $10,000, but it showed you how to make an additional a hundred thousand dollars. Would you do it? It’s all about the investment and the return on the investment. That’s the question that should be asked about price.
But the first question that you should be asking is is this the right fit? Do we do things the way that would work for you that would help you? And that’s what this initial conversation is about.
The reason that we’ve got people in our program and we’ve had people in our program for years and years and years, in fact our longest suffering member is about to move into either his 15th or his 16th year with us.
If it wasn’t good value, I don’t know that people would hang around for that amount of time.
So to me, that question, isn’t all of that relevant. What is relevant is, are we the right fit?
So let’s jump on a call and find out if we are so you can ask all of the questions, we can find out about your business and figure out if how we do things is going to benefit you and your business.
You can do that just by hitting the button underneath the video here or you can navigate to buildersbusinessblackbelt.com.au if you’re just listening to the audio only version of this podcast and on the website there you’ll see schedule a call on the top of the web page that will take you to a form, let’s us know a little bit about your business and then you can schedule in that short call to see if we’re the right fit.
We hope we’re going to be talking to you in person real soon.
That is it for this episode of Builders Business Success Podcast. I almost forgot the name of the podcast we’ve been doing it for a long time and I almost forgot it again.
But anyway, that is it for this episode of the podcast, I’m Mick Hawes from Builders Business Black Belt, bye for now.