EPISODE 33 – Building Business Basics That You Have To Get Right

EPISODE 33 – Building Business Basics That You Have To Get Right

By mick | March 3, 2021

Hey folks and welcome to another episode of Builders Business Success Podcast!

If you’ve never watched or heard the podcast before, the purpose of the podcast is to address the common and often costly issues that show up running a building business.

Much of that pain, much of that inconvenience much of that frustration, unfortunately, depending on which way you look at it, or fortunately, comes from the systems, the approach, the processes, the mindset the belief of the building business owner.

So the cool thing about that is if the problems are caused by those things, it means that we can fix them.

And that’s what we’re going to address on the episodes of Builders Business Success Podcast.

So in this particular episode we’re going to be talking about focusing on the basics.

My suspicion is that there’s gonna be a few of these, this is kind of gonna be a series of episodes of the podcast on the basics and the basics that we’re going to be talking about today, are super frustrating, super powerful when you get them right and super easy also.

And it’s all about how you’re dealing with the expectations of your prospects and your clients.

I’m also going to be answering a very commonly asked question, and that is, which is the best builders software to use when you’re running your projects.

And of course we’re going to be doing another personal productivity hack.

*Transcription of the show*

So I’m a business coach that coaches builders. I’ve also a part of a group of business coaches and we have a business coach that coaches business coaches. I’m also part of a group that coaches the marketing side of things.

I’m also part of a group that coaches the podcast, how to put together and promote a podcast. I’m part of lots of groups.

And I was involved in a group discussion the other day and the guy who was running it, I found out through the discussion was an ex-military guy from the U.S and digging a little bit deeper, he was an ex special ops and we were just talking about the mindset of what’s the difference he was talking about between the regular military and the special ops.

And it was a fascinating conversation. And he basically said, the only difference is their approach to mastering the basics. And he said, or outlined the types of things that they used to do and weapons training and so on and so forth, and just mastering all of these basics that they never really got fancy with anything.

All I did was concentrate on mastering the basics. And one of the things he said was, you know, using weapons we just trained and trained and trained, not until we got it right, but trained and trained until we couldn’t get it wrong.

And that sort of sparked a, you know, a conversation in my own mind, something we talk about in Blackbelt and it’s not my quote.

I don’t even know where I got it from.

And if you know where this came from, let me know. But the quote is that “Amateurs practice until they get it right professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.” And if I think that you really endeavored to live by that mantra, that ethos, you can make a lot more gains than trying to be fancy. And that what we find in our Blackbelt group.

In fact, a couple of years ago, anyone who was appropriate, which meant that they could afford it, they thought it was the right thing, we thought they were the right fit for the group, would be welcomed into the Blackbelt group.

We also had another, and still do have another program called Blueprint to Blackbelt. And back then it was, if you weren’t quite ready for Blackbelt, maybe if you couldn’t afford it, the money maybe if you couldn’t afford the time, Maybe if you just weren’t quite the right fit for the Blackbelt group you would be offered the opportunity to jump into our Blueprint to Blackbelt program, which is a 12-week program.

In the last couple of years, what we did was we changed from just allowing anybody who was appropriate straight into the Blackbelt group to everybody no matter who you were, and no matter how advanced your were, no matter whether the money was an issue or not or what, it didn’t matter, everybody went through the blueprint, the 12 weeks before they were given the invitation to apply for Blackbelt.

What I noticed over that period of time, is since we started to do that, the people that went through the Blueprint program when they landed in the Blackbelt membership, they were making progress in streaks and bounds much faster than people that went straight into the Blackbelt group and bypass the Blueprint, having trouble with my mouth right now. The reason for that is in Blueprint, we just talk about three things.

The three fundamental, critical pillars to create a successful building business. And that’s all we talk about. And it’s an illegal maneuver to talk about anything else. I won’t and answer any questions that are outside those three points of the focus of the blueprint. And because we’ve done that, people build that solid foundation of the basics. And then when we start to do the sexy stuff that can be built on that foundation of the basics.

When you try to do the other sexy stuff the marketing stuff, the team building stuff, all of those other bright shiny objects that people wanna get into, they don’t work very well or long-term if you haven’t built them on a solid foundation of basics.

And so that’s what I want to wanna cover in this episode, is so what are the basics, particularly in interacting with your prospects and with your clients? And just before I move on to that, I just wanna share one more story with you.

And it’s a story I heard about the making I believe, and, you know, don’t crucify me if I don’t the facts exactly right, but the principle is really worth learning. You would have heard of Larry Bird, Boston Celtics, basketball player, you know, Hall of Famer, absolute legend in the game.

And they were shooting a commercial, I believe it was Pepsi. And they needed to get a shot of Larry Bird from the free throw line putting the ball up and hitting the rim and bouncing out. And the story goes that it took something like 18 or 19 takes to get that shot.

Because whenever Larry stood at the free throw line and went through the motions, it went in the hoop, nothing but net. And he was trying to miss and that’s what I’m talking about here. We’ve got to practice these basics until you can’t miss. Until you can’t get it wrong.

So what are the basics? Well, to me, one of the foundational basics is respect your prospect. And what I mean by that is there are many things that I think show disrespect, not returning the call not doing what you say, you know, not returning the call when you said you were going to and always being helpful I think is a really basic to your prospects.

And I know that you might be busy. I know that you might have a lot of work on, and I know that you might not have space or to fit this job in, because you’re really busy for the next three, six, nine months, 12 months, whatever.

But what you need to understand is saying, I can’t help you, isn’t helpful, from the prospect’s perspective, saying we’re too full, we can’t get to you, isn’t helpful. And I’m suggesting to you that one of these basics is be helpful.

So how could you be helpful? Well, you could say, I wanna help you. That would be a good start and explain the situation that we do have obviously a lot on at the moment, we’re fully booked up until this date.

And so if it needs to be done before that date, like if you’re prepared to wait, we can certainly help you out. But if you need this done now, I’ve got a list of three other guys that I can give you their phone numbers.

Obviously I can’t vouch for the quality or, you know, I’m not going to do that, but I’ve heard really good things about these guys.

So there’s this guy, here’s his number, this guy, here’s his number, and this guy, here’s his number, that is being helpful. That is being respectful to your prospect.

And it takes perhaps perhaps an extra 30 seconds on the phone to get off their phone and have your prospect not think that you were were really unhelpful and start talking smack about you to the next person who stands still long enough to listen and start to degrade your reputation. You wanna build your reputation.

Your reputation is out of your hands, by the way, your reputation is in the hands of everybody else. So all you can do is do your best to do the right things to give people reasons to talk positively about you instead of negatively.

So respect the prospect, always be helpful. Now here’s a super basic, guys, ladies, gentlemen get organized, it’s not rocket science. The amount of builders that I speak to that don’t have any sort of planning tool or philosophy or system or process is staggering.

It doesn’t take that much to start to get organized, start to have a diary system, start to build a plan every day, start to put priorities on the actions in your plan based on the goals that you want to achieve. Like that is super 101 basic level stuff.

Very few builders that I speak to even do those basic sorts things. The benefit and the beneficiary of getting organized with some of those basic ideas is you. You will feel more in control. You will get more of the important things done. You will waste less time. You will feel less frustrated.

So one of those basics is get organized. Another one which kind of flows on from the get organized, is be on time.

You would not believe how many people complain about all of the trades, not just builders, all of the trades in the building industry for being late, not returning calls at all, not returning calls when they said they’re going to, not showing up when they said they’re going to, and because the builder or the trades person is busy and working hard, they seem to think that it is the prospects’ or the clients’ duty to understand.

Well, no it’s not. It is your duty to be on time or communicate a fair and reasonable reason as to why you’re not going to be in a fair and reasonable time prior, not ringing up 10 minutes after you’re meant to be there and say, “Hey, we’re gonna be late.” You know you’re gonna be late a long time before that. So give people the courtesy.

People will understand if you call, if you apologize, and give them the courtesy of a good reason not just that “We got caught up, we’re busy,” or whatever. You’ve gotta give an appropriate reason. That will happen far, far less, if you go back one step and get organized.

Start to learn to plan and prioritize and think about it. It’s just every day you need to invest some time in creating a really high quality prioritized plan. It will change your life. It will change your business for sure I’m certain. Here’s a basic.

And I can’t believe this still happens so much, show up. I can’t tell you how many times we have conversation in our Builders Business Blackbelt momentum call, and we have that every day, we have an hour a day, our Blackbelt members get together on Zoom and we share wins, we share lessons and we ask questions.

And it pains me to tell you that more often than you’d think somebody says, got a bit of a win, got this job, reason I got the job was ’cause I was the only one who showed up. I was the only one who returned the call.

And what pains me beyond belief folks is that the clients or the prospects are saying this to our Blackbelt members, that I can’t believe how many builders I called, and they didn’t even return my call, or they said they’d come out and they didn’t come out. And we’re giving you the job because you rose above like give me strength folks.

How can 10 showing up when you said you were going to show up, be rising above, shouldn’t that just be the basic bottom, entry level expectation? If someone leaves you a message shouldn’t it just be the basic 101 entry level expectation that you reply in some way?

Show up, be on time, get organized, respect your prospects, be helpful. There are the basics. If you start to master those basics, I promise you, you will stand above the crowd like you wouldn’t believe, just by mastering those simple basics.

I don’t think that they’re anything special. I think they’re the basic expectations that all of your prospects and clients have. And it is amazing how far ahead of the group you seem just by standing by those basics.

Q & A

Okay, Q&A time. One of the common conversations we have in the Builders Business Success forum that’s our free closed Facebook group for builders only.

If you’re not a member search for it in Facebook hit the join button, come in and join the conversation. It’s a question that’s asked a lot.

There’s quite a bit of discussion even in Blackbelt right now, there’s a small subgroup form within Blackbelt that have chosen a particular software.

And they thought that subgroup tend to like it. So they’re talking to the manufacturer of that software and getting some training as a group and they’re sharing all of their approaches to it and they all love it.

And so here’s the answer to the question, to cut to the chase, no such thing. There is no such thing as the best software for a builder to use.

The software that I just referred to then and I’m not gonna mention any names in in this answer or in this Q&A, but that particular software that the people that are learning and implementing it absolutely love it.

We had a conversation just yesterday where another one of our group members had been using that software and just pulled out of it because they didn’t like it at all. It didn’t do what they wanted. And then there are other members in the group that used, you know, two or three different types or brands of builder’s software.

Everybody has a complaint about something. There doesn’t seem to be a builder software that does absolutely everything.

And, you know, there are things that some of them will say speak to zero, your accounting package and some others and some don’t at all and some have portals for your client and some don’t and some have great estimating parts to it, and some don’t, so my answer to the question is do this, list what you need, so have a list of what you need, have another list of what you’d like.

So these are the niceties.

They’re not essential, but it’d be cool if you had them. And I would suggest that you put both of those lists in order of priority. What’s the absolute number one must have, what’s the number two must have, what’s the number three must have.

And then you can do the same things with the niceties, maybe not, but then go to check out the different software merchants out there, the different ones you know, there’s a whole ton of them there’s Buildxact, there’s BuilderTrend , the Solo Assist, just after I said I wasn’t gonna mention any names, here are all of the names.

So there’s a whole heap of them and you can go and check out the features, but here’s what I would suggest as well, is that you jump into the Facebook group the Builders Business Success Forum and start a conversation in there and get some feedback from the people at the coalface, the people that are using these different software packages and see which one is going to suit your list of priorities first.

So, the answer to this question is get very, very specific on what you need, what you’re trying to accomplish with a software package and get some priorities going before you just jump into the Facebook group and say, what’s the best builders software because people are gonna give you five or seven different answers, because they’re gonna tell you the one that they’re using is the GOAT, what you need to find out is why, what does it do, what doesn’t it do, and to cut to the chase, to get to the information you need sooner rather than later, be very, very clear with your questions.

Does it do this, does it do that?

And so your questions need to be based around what you have identified as your priorities, the needs, and then once you’ve locked that in you can start to talk about the other niceties, the things that would be nice.

So jump on the Builders Business Success Forum. If you’re not already a member there, jump in, join the group and asked the question in there.

Personal Productivity Hack

Personal productivity hack time.

How much time do you let’s say waste traveling, traveling out to prospects, jobs, properties, whatever, to talk to them about the project, the new house, the this, whatever it is extension, renovation, small job, big job.

How much time do you waste in that traveling? So this little personal productivity hack can be used most of the time, but not all of the time. So you need to sort of pick your fight, to pick your battles, but do your absolute very best to have the first conversation the first face-to-face conversation on your territory.

So I know that many of you might not have an office that’s appropriate to bring clients into, so you can go to serviced offices and you can rent small boardrooms for just a few bucks. You know, it’s not that expensive to have that sort of first impression.

And the reason that I suggest this is number one, you’re going to save a bunch of time traveling. They are going to come to you.

The second and the most powerful purpose of this, is it is what we call a little behavioral hurdle. You’re asking them to do something to comply with your process. And it’s a really good little behavioral hurdle to get your prospects to jump over in case they’re not really the right fit for you. And this is a little bit of a test. It’s not a deal breaker.

So if they seem really nice on the phone and they’re the right, seem to be the right fit and all of that sort of stuff, you might be flexible on this because they have a very relevant reason.

I might have, you know, small child or whatever and they can’t travel or if there’s a relevant reason but be careful about them just thinking you should come to them because they are the customer, you’re the builder, you should do what they say.

And it just, it reminds me of one of our Blackbelt members gave us a little story a little while ago where our Blackbelt members said you know, we can certainly do that if we just need to get together and run through a few things with our initial meeting.

If you can meet me here at my office at this time, and this date, we can take the next step.

And the guy kind of said, yep, okay. And then a day or so later rang up and said, “Hang on a minute. I don’t even know if I’m going to give you the job. So I’m not going to drive an hour out of my way to come and meet you because,” and I quote, he said, “My time is money.”

The prospect said, “My time is money.” So what’s happening here? What’s the prospect actually saying?

He’s obviously saying, ’cause he said the words, his time is valuable, but in that same sentence, he’s saying your time is worth less than my time, or your time is worth nothing because I’m going to ask you to jump in your car, come and see me drive an hour both ways, because my time is worth something. Your time is worth nothing, so let’s waste your time.

So, what I’m saying is use it as a behavioral hurdle. This is part of what we call the quality client pathway. It’s just a little request to see if the prospect will jump over it and comply with your process.

Be reasonable with it. If there is a valid reason that they can’t get to you in a timely fashion, you can decide to go their way, but just be aware that if you’re bowing to their desires just because they think their time’s worth something and your time is worth nothing, is that a great way to start to set up a relationship dynamic? I don’t think so.

Takeaway & Jump On A Call

So what’s the takeaway. The personal productivity hack that we just talked about getting them to come your way, as I mentioned, is part of the quality client pathway, and that’s a very specific step-by-step process that we teach both our Blueprint members and our Blackbelt members how to implement into their business.

And it’s a series of behavioral hurdles that get bigger as we get closer to the main prize of being paid for your proposal. And so the takeaway here is that you’ve gotta have a process. And in the absence of you having a process to manage your prospects you basically have to accept the fact that you are going to be a victim of their process.

There has to be a process, whose process are we going to follow here? So with your version of quality client pathway the main thing is to be able to get people to come your way, to jump over the behavioral hurdles.

You’ve got to present it in a way that gives them the old W-I-I-F-M. You’ve heard that before, that just stands for what’s in it for me. And you’ve got to think from their perspective why would I drive across town to meet with you? What’s in it for me?

So you’ve got to have a process.

You’ve got to practice your communication. You’ve got to know how you can present it in such a way that they go, man, that’s a much better idea if I come to you. And there’s a ton of things that you can do and say an offer that a reasonable person will jump at the opportunity to come your way because of the benefits of meeting in your space.

So, as I said, that’s all part of the quality client pathway. You need to have a process. Otherwise you end up being the victim of their process.

So that’s it for this episode, a couple of times I’ve talked about the quality client pathway. If that is something that you see the logic in if it’s something that you would like to check out more about and figure out if it would be appropriate for how you wanna run your business, you can just jump on a call.

There’s a bunch of ways you can do that. Under this video, you can just hit the button. It’ll take you to a little form, fill that out, that tells us a little bit more about your business.

And then you’ll be able to book a call once you’ve submitted that form you’ll be presented with time and date options, and you can check it out at your own convenience.

So you can press the button under the video. Or if you’re listening to the audio-only version of this podcast, all you need to do is navigate under the interwebs to buildersbusinessblackbelt.com.edu.

And there’ll be a couple of schedule a call buttons on that website, same deal, press the button, fill out the form, book the call and we’ll be talking to you before you know it. And hopefully the quality client pathway is exactly what you’re looking for and it’ll work for your business.

So I hope you have enjoyed this episode of Builders Business Success podcast. It was all about the basics. I think that there’s a couple more episodes about the basics that we need to cover in different areas of a building business.

So stay tuned for additional episodes of Builders Business Success podcast, coming your way on these basics. They’re simple. They’re fairly easy to implement and they can make a profound difference to your building business.

You just need to know what to look for, what they are, how to do it and that’s what we’re gonna endeavor to help you to figure out.

So hope this episode was valuable. I’m Mick Hawes, Builders Business Blackbelt. That is it for this episode, bye for now.

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