EPISODE 31 – You Choose The Customer Not The Other Way Round
Hey folks and welcome to another episode of Builders Business Success Podcast!
If you’ve never listened or watched the podcast before, it is fundamentally here to help builders overcome all of the common and costly issues that pretty much most builders find in the building business.
Over the years that we’ve been doing this, we find most of those problems come from the standard garden variety methods or norms of how builders run their business in the industries.
It’s kind of these building industry norms that everybody copies and most of them are fundamentally flawed.
And that’s what we’re covering all of the time In Builders Business Blackbelt, that’s a group of builders.
We’re constantly looking for those challenging parts of a business. And as a group coming up with solutions or possible solutions to those problems and going out and implementing them.
So, the stuff that you get in this podcast, isn’t just opinion. It is real problems in the building industry that we go and we come up with potential solutions but then we go and test them.
We put them out in to the building businesses, a bunch of building businesses. And then the results come back. And that’s the stuff that we’re sharing with you in this podcast.
The podcast in this particular episode, gonna be covering a mindset shift.
And when this mindset shift occurs, it changes the relationship between you and your prospects, you and your clients. It makes your business far more enjoyable and it gets rid of a bunch of problems.
I’m going to be talking about that mindset shift.
Last episode, or maybe the one before, we covered a question about, how do you find good staff? And it’s such a big question that we’re probably going to need a bunch of episodes to really give you a significant answer to that question.
So again, in this episode, I’ll be giving you part two I guess of the answer to that question all about recruiting team members.
And of course, we’re going to cover another personal productivity hack as well.
Super important to get you more effective not just more efficient.
*Transcription of the show*
So what is that mindset shift? Well, the common mindset is, when I speak to builders, the prize, if you like, is the project. Getting the job, being awarded the job.
You’ll hear builders, or at least I do in conversations asking about or talking about chasing work. They’re chasing the prize, the work, the job, the project is the prize. And you can hear it a lot in the language.
Now, I think that needs to be turned on its head. And you need to start to think and know that you and your business is the prize. So you think about that. If you are the prize and your business is the prize, you start to become very attractive to your prospects and your clients.
That changes everything. When you change that mindset and you change that dynamic, you start to build systems processes, your communication changes. The words that you use changes.
The emphasis that you have change and people start to become attracted to you and your business. And they start to come to you and they then want to start to sell themselves to you.
So you open the door to your business, to them. It’s a completely different dynamic to what you do be used to. And so what you need to do to do this is invest time and effort in implementing a real qualification process.
And I mean real, with air quotes if you’re only listening to the audio version of this. Because many builders I talked to about qualifying customers I mean, you’ve heard all before.
You’ve heard that before. I quite often get told, “Oh yeah, we qualify our customers. We have a qualification process.”
The thing is folks, when I get into depth with pretty much anyone that I talk to about this, they don’t have a real qualification process. It’s kind of, they think they do, but they don’t. So there’s a couple of things that I want to share with you in this podcast to change your thinking about how you qualify your customers.
So what needs to happen is you need to become the judge. And what I mean by that is all of you are aware of things like shows like American Idol, Australian Idol, America’s Got Talent, those sorts of shows. And that concept was originated by Simon Cowell.
Now, most of you would know him. He’s the arrogant judge that’s had the chin implant and he sits there and judges people.
And I’m not suggesting for one moment that you become arrogant like that. I’m saying we need to turn the tables because this is how it works most in the building industry now. Is the client is sitting in the judging panel and you are the talent.
So you walk out on stage and you start juggling fire and spinning plates and all of that sort of stuff to try to press the judge, so you get selected to go to the next round, if you like. What we need to do is turn this around.
So it is the client or the prospect that’s coming out on stage, and you are the judge. And that is a mindset shift but it is implemented by the implementation of what we do in Blackbelt called the quality client pathway.
And it’s a step by step process that changes the conversation right from that very first phone call. It changes the dynamic of the relationship from the very first phone call where you’re asking the questions and they are jumping over things called behavioral hurdles. And this is a genuine, proven qualification process.
So you need to be become the judge, you’re asking them questions, asking them them to perform certain actions or behaviors. And based on your judgment, how they perform, you decide whether they go to the next round or not.
So it’s a perfect analogy for how you need to be running your business. The other cool thing about doing this properly, implementing the quality client pathway properly, is that you don’t say no. Okay, whether you guys are aware of it or not.
So I’m telling you something that is very useful for nothing here. There’s nothing worse than being told no from a client’s perspective. I mean, how much do you like it when someone puts their hand out in front of your face and goes no, no.
We just don’t like it. So regardless of whether you want to take this customer on or not, you’ve got to stop saying, “No, we’re full. No we can’t do the job. No, that’s not the sort of thing that we do.”
You’ve got to stop saying that, you’ve got to help people. And just by pointing them in the right direction is helping them. You don’t have to have everybody coming to you as a client, because not everybody coming to you should be a client.
That they’re not qualified to be a client. But you can’t say no. What you need to do is have a process that gives a pathway for a reasonable person.
So that the type of person that could be a good quality client for you, you give them a pathway, but it’s an action that they need to take. And you also give them a pathway for an unreasonable person, the person that shouldn’t be one of your clients. And you let them make that choice.
So all that basically happens is if they are reasonable and could be a good quality client for you, they will jump over that behavioral hurdle and go in that direction.
So they are qualified at this point in the process. But if they disqualify themselves by not taking the action, you haven’t said, no, they have not to go in the direction of working with you. And I can guarantee you this will make a profound difference to your business.
There is nothing worse than having people out there complaining about how unhelpful you are. And whether you know out or not, it is happening all of the time to your business.
If you are one of those people that say, “Oh we can’t get out there or we’re too busy or we wouldn’t be able to take that on.” That is bad for business. We’ve got to stop doing that.
So what else do you need to do? You need to learn the skills to become more attractive So I get it, well, I haven’t just landed my spaceship or come down in the last year. I know what goes on. And I know that ultimately the customer needs to want to say yes to you, but you can’t make somebody who doesn’t want you to say yes. I get that.
So what we need to do is develop skills and abilities to become very very attractive to your ideal prospects, not to everyone. And you can’t attract everyone.
So you need to be developing the communication skills, rapport building skills, to be able to become attractive to the ideal person so they want you. Where this normally happens, where the prospect decides whether they want you or not, is way down the track through the process where you’ve already put together a quote.
And then they’re deciding, should we give builder a one, builder a two, or builder a three the nod. That is when they are deciding that they want you, if they want you. What I’m suggesting is through the quality client pathway is further up the process. Closer to when you first meet them.
That is when you want them to start to decide that they want you. And you do that through communication, through professionalism, through listening skills, having them feel like you really understand them and you have their back and you can be trusted, really early in the pace, so they want you. And then the further they get down the track that is when you decide.
So you’re now in control. Whether you open the door and let them into your business or you show them the door and give them a pathway to go somewhere else. So this feeling understood is super powerful and that is part of this process. And for the most part I find builders a really, really bad communication.
And you don’t have to be. It is quite simple and a great resource. If you want to start to pay attention to this folks go get yourself a copy of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and read and reread and reread habit five. You don’t need to read the whole book, it’s a tough read.
So go straight to habit five. First seek to understand, then to be understood. And if you implement those skills that you can learn in that chapter, early in the conversations with your prospects, I guarantee things will change big time. If you are prepared to put that effort in. I also mentioned behavioral hurdles.
You need to have behavioral hurdles. And they are things like a questionnaire. Rather than when someone rings up, “We want to get a price for this.” and then you just say, “Just cool, your jets for a sec. What I need you to do so I can get you what you want sooner and get you exactly what you need. We’ve just got this little questionnaire, love to send it out to you.
Would you prefer text or email? And when can you get that back to me.” That is an example of creating a behavioral hurdle right up front. Because if someone says, “Dude I don’t give a toss about your questionnaire. I just want a price.” That is a massive red flag right there.
And whether they return the questionnaire in a timely fashion and make the deadline that they’ve set for themselves, that’s not a deal breaker either. But it is an indicator that these people are serious or they are not.
There’s lots of little things that you can do along the way before you even meet somebody face to face. And save yourself a ton of time speaking to, or not speaking to inappropriate people, traveling to meet inappropriate people for your business. You can get rid of all of this sort of stuff if you have the quality client pathway in place in your business.
And as I said, the real key to this is a pathway that has these behavioral hurdles in it, that are set up, that only, I suppose A class, A quality, the appropriate type of people for your business would jump over. And then a pathway for people who aren’t prepared to jump over those hurdles. It’s a massive time saver. It’s a massive stress saver.
And it will get you filling your business with high quality customers that are far more prepared to comply with your process, build trust, work together as a team. That’s when the magic happens.
Q & A
Q and A time. So, as I mentioned at the start of the show, it’s going to take a couple of episodes to answer this question effectively. And the question originally was, how do you get good staff? So this is a continuation to the answer of that question.
One of the things that can make a big difference is again, the relationship dynamic of a new team member right at that interview process. And there’s a champ that I use as a benchmark for this. He resides down here in Tazzy.
He’s got an amazing multi award winning tourism business. His name’s Rob Pennicott. And he has these amazing, rigid highly inflatable boats that he takes people on tours around at the Tasman peninsula and Bruny Island, to see the seals in a while, and the dolphins and all of this sort of stuff. But he has these amazing boats.
In fact, he just had a catamaran built. And it’s got these amazing and I geek out on this sorta stuff. It’s got has got four outboards on the back of this big catamaran that probably takes 60 or so people. And each outboard is 5.8 liter V8.
Unbelievable, uses an incredible amount of fuel but it’s an amazing. But anyway, I digress the reason I bring him up is that I’ve known him for a while. I’ve interviewed him multiple times on previous podcasts. We used to have a podcast called Small Business Smart Solutions.
I first met him when I was an MC at a business conference down in Hobart. And he was one of the guest speakers. And I was just so impressed with this guy’s business knowledge. He’s one of those freaks of nature.
He’s never read a business book. He’s never attended a business seminar. He’s probably never even listened to a business podcast, even the ones that he’s on.
But he has an amazing brain for this sort of stuff. And here’s what he does differently. And the reason I’m telling you this is the first time that I interviewed him, he had 15 people on board as staff. The second time I interviewed him, he had 35.
The third time I interviewed him he had 70 something. And it’s grown since then. And I know a number of the people that work for him And they would take a bullet for him.
Like his staff are incredibly loyal, they’re an amazing group of people and it’s an amazing business. But here’s what does differently when he interviews people. He basically says, “How many hours a day do you want to work?
How many days a week do you want to work? How many months, a year do you want to work? What sort of things are you interested in?”
He gets interested in what they want. Now don’t get me wrong. He doesn’t then go, “Oh well okay, let’s just do that then. Let’s do what you want.” You can’t do that.
But he pays attention, he shows interest in what they want. And he does his best to put them in a position that they really passionate about. But think about it.
If the employer is interested in what the potential staff member wants to get out of their business and they work together as a team, you get a much more loyal, much more understanding, a much contributor as a team member.
By seeing if you can set your business up to satisfy the needs and the desires of your team members rather than telling them this is what we want you to do.
Basically disregarding what they want to get out of it and just telling them what you want. It’s very self-centered way to start the whole process.
And as I said, you’re not going to just set your business up for what your staff like, but at least pay attention to it. At least ask the questions, at least do something to show that you care about the enjoyment and the direction and the purpose that your new team members want to take. Super powerful.
Another really cool bit of information I got through that, that same podcast. Another fellow, don’t remember his name. It was quite a few years ago, but he owned the most amount of Hertz rental cars franchises in the United States.
And they were all over the United States. And so obviously recruiting was a really important part of their business.
And I remember him telling me that one of the best things that he would do in an interview for a new staff member, is instead of asking them about their last job, because all you’re going to get is lies and bullshit about their last job. No one says I really enjoyed my last job and the boss really loved me, and that’s why I left. That doesn’t make sense. There’s gotta be a reason why they left.
So it’s all going to be smoke and mirrors the information you got from their last job. So this fellow would always ask, “Tell me about your first job.” Because for most people that was a long time ago. And they will tell you the truth about their first job. And he would ask, “What did you dislike about it? What did you learn about it? What were the problems that you had in that first job?”
Because people will tell you the truth. But it’s a beautiful insight as to what they think and what they believe when you’re asking about their first job. Because it was so long in the past, so distant in the past that they’re happy to tell you the truth.
But it’s all sugar coated bullshit when they’re telling you about their most recent job because they want to put their best foot forward. So you don’t get the truth.
So that little jam I thought was an absolute butte. So think about those sorts of things when you are interviewing. And the other thing that seems to be a common theme, is always look for attitude. And in particular, passion over skill. Skills can be taught, but passion cannot.
So look for enthusiasm, passion, openness, all of those good characteristics that you need for a great team member and prioritize them over skill.
Personal Productivity Hack
Personal productivity, hack time. The difference between urgent and important. If you can understand this and change your behavior and your decisions, based on your understanding of this. It will be a game changer for your effectiveness.
And how much you will get done and how much you will reduce, how much wasted time. And trust me, builders waste a lot of time.
This will help you reduce wasted time and help you really focus on what makes the biggest difference. Again, if you’re going to buy the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which I suggested for the communication skills, habit five. There’s more value in that book. And it is this thing called the time management matrix.
So Stephen Covey, the author creates this thing called the time management matrix. It’s fundamentally four quadrants. And in the four quadrants, they represent different types of activities that we get involved in. So quadrant one is both urgent and important.
So a quadrant one activity is urgent and important. We generally call that a crisis. A quadrant two activity, doesn’t have any urgency attached to it but it is important.
A quadrant three activity is something that is urgent but it’s not important. And then quadrant four is not urgent, not important so let’s not talk about it. A lot of our day is caught up in quadrant three activities. They have this sense of urgency.
But when you put your pencil to it, they’re not important. If you never did those activities again it would make no difference but we do them because us humans are driven by emotion. And urgent is an emotion. Okay? Important is all about logic.
It’s all about consequences. It’s all about outcome and purpose and moving towards our goals. Like if we understand what our goals are, an activity that moves us towards that goal is important but it may not have any urgency attached to it. So it may be a quadrant two activity.
So the secret with this and the personal productivity hack and rather than me going into detail about this here, get yourself a copy of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. And look this up or google the time management matrix there must to be a whole bunch of information out there about it.
But the hack is, doing whatever you need to do to understand the difference between urgent and important. And if there’s one thing that I could suggest in this podcast, is whenever you feel that emotion of urgence, I encourage you to stop.
Just stop whenever you feel something’s urgent, stop and unpack it and ask this question, what would happen if I didn’t do this activity? And genuinely look into the future and see the consequences that would come from you not doing this activity.
And I’ll bet London to a brick that most of the time, when you ask that question when you feel urgent, not much would happen if you didn’t do that activity.
And so if you get good at this, what you’ll find is you’ll be eliminating, eliminating eliminating these quadrant three activities. These things that aren’t important, just urgent, out of your day. And it will free up a ton of time.
An absolute motsa of time that you can use then to work on the quadrant two activities. Those activities that really make a difference. But for whatever reason, there is no sense of urgency.
So that’s the personal productivity hack for this episode.
Takeaway & Jump On A Call
So what’s the takeaway for this episode. I think it is finding out what your ideal clients, motivations, desires and concerns are.
To be able to understand what really motivates them and what they want. And then for you to become that solution. You become the conduit, the pathway to deliver what they want, and protect them from what they’re concerned about.
So basically you become the solution to their problem. That’s when you start to become the prize. So that’s you need to do to become the prize but you also have to have that mental switch and understand that you need to stop chasing the prize.
You need to stop chasing the project. And you need to start to become the prize.
And if your communication, your energy, the processes that you’ve got in your business such as the quality client pathway, if that is integrated into your business, and you believe that you are the prize, you act as if you are the prize.
And you’ve got a process that has your your prospects feeling like you are the prize. If it’s a game changer for building business.
So that would be my takeaway for this particular episode.
So I hope all of this made sense.
If you don’t know what the quality client pathway is, we’ve got a download, I can send you the outlines, everything that you need to implement into your business for the quality client pathway. All you need to do is reach out to us and ask for a copy and we’ll issue you a copy.
If you’ve got questions about what I’ve talked about. if you want some clarity about what I’ve talked about in this episode, you can book a call with us. Underneath this video, there’s a button to schedule a call.
If you click that button, it will take you to a short questionnaire where we just find out a little bit about your business.
What your specialty is, where you are now, where you want to head, that sort of stuff. And then you can schedule a call. It’ll take you to the calendar to schedule a call.
And we’d love to jump on a call with you, answer your questions and point you in the right direction wherever we can.
So all you need to do is punch that button. If you’re listening to the audio only version, same deal.
All you need to do is go to buildersbusinessblackbelt.com.au, and on the website there there’s a couple of schedule, a call buttons, same process.
So I hope this episode was valuable. I hope it got you thinking to the point where you’re going to take action. The last thing I want for this is just to be more information in your head.
I want you to take action. I want you to implement it. And if you’re a bit confused and not sure where to start, I’ve just given you the solution there.
You can jump on a call, and we can point you in the right direction. So please do that.
Don’t let this just be a nice thing that you’ve listened to. Let’s turn it into action folks.
So, that’s it for this episode of Builders Business Success Podcast.
I’m Mick Hawes from Builders Business Blackbelt. Be talking to you real soon again. That is it. Bye for now.