By mick | May 26, 2021

EPISODE 46 | Put Hurdles in Front of Customers

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

If you haven’t ever participated, engaged, listened to, watched the builder’s business success podcast before, what it’s all about is helping builders eliminate the stuff, the stuff in business, the stuff that keeps you up late, stresses you out, things that you worry about and trying to help you to get to where you wanted to get to, when you probably decided to start your business you were all enthusiastic back then because you thought you’re gonna earn more money than you would working for somebody else.

And you’d have more time, freedom and being your own boss you can make your own choices and it’s all gonna be awesome.

My experience is most of the builders that I talk to, that’s not the case. It’s kind of almost the opposite. So the stuff we talk about in this podcast is the stuff we talk about in build a business black belt every day.

Every day, we get together with the gang for an hour. Builders from all over the country, builders from New Zealand. And we talk about the common and costly issues that we come up against in a building business and come up with solutions. And the cool thing is that those solutions can be implemented today. And we can get feedback on it tomorrow and we can figure out a better way of doing it tomorrow, implement that tomorrow and get feedback on that the day after.

So things can move really, really quickly. And we’ve got different builders working on different problems that pop up.

So the speed of the group, it’s like a peleton in, in in the tour de France, you know, the the peleton will always move faster than a single rider.

And that’s what I love about working with this, with this group because they all help each other, support each other. And we can get this information and we can feed it to you through the Builder’s Business Success Podcast.

So what we’re doing today, is we’re talking about behavioral hurdles.

If you’ve been on the podcast for the last few weeks, we’re writing a book and we’re using the content from the podcast, to write the book.

So we’re kind of doing it in some sort of linear fashion from the start to the end of what we talk about, what we teach and what we cover in builder’s business, black belt.

But today what we’re covering is behavioral hurdles and just like a, a hurdle race, you’ve got hurdles in front of your prospects to get them to jump over. And the whole idea of behavioral hurdle is they are designed, so the right type of person will jump over the hurdle no problem, but the person you don’t want as a client will balk at it and won’t jump over the hurdle.

So they don’t go to the next step. And it’s a massive time-saver. But it’s not just creating hurdles, it’s all about education too. And we’ll cover that.

We’re gonna do a Q and A session as per normal. And the question we’re going to talk about is how much to charge for a quote.

We’ve always been asked, you know, how, how do I charge for quotes and people still tell me, I dunno what I’m talking about, and you can’t charge for quotes. Well, I think we can. And it happens every day in builders business black belt.

So the question is how much can you charge or how much is appropriate?

And of course we’ll also be giving you a personal productivity hack showing you how to get a lot more done, in a lot less time, with a lot less effort.
With these little, personal productivity hacks.

*Transcription of the show*

The topic that we’re covering today is about behavioral hurdles.

Before I get started with this because when I talk about hurdles and talk about where where the wrong people won’t jump over the hurdle or the right people will jump over the hurdle.

The focus comes back to just qualifying people. And to be completely transparent when we created our regional qualification process, that’s that’s all it did.

That’s all it was meant to do, was to help builders save a whole bunch of time and frustration by getting the wrong people out of the process before they wasted your time. And that’s a great thing to do.

Like if we just stopped there, it would have been fantastic.

But over time we realized, through the implementation of this and feedback and, and a little bit of water went under the bridge a little bit of time passed.

And we found that this process implemented just like that. You could lose some opportunity. Some valuable opportunity could slip through your fingers.

So we started to modify it, refine it and change it. And now it’s really, rather than being a qualification process, it’s an education process, showing your prospects how to get the best value out of their project and to get the most enjoyable experience throughout the project.

I sound like a bloody broken record when I say that, that the price is forgotten, you know or the in fact, the value, the experience is remembered long after the price is forgotten.

So the quality of the customer’s experience is far more valuable to you and your business, than anything else. Because they won’t talk about the price. And, and, you know, we’ve got a really good price and all of that sort of stuff to their friends in a year’s time, when they ask about the building experience and ask about the builder they’ll talk about their experience.

They won’t talk about the quality of your work. And they won’t talk about the price.

They’ll talk about the experience.

They’ll talk about how they remember you made them feel.

So the quality of the experiences is super important. So over time, this qualification processes morphed into more of an education process.

So they understand from their perspective the value that they will get both in their experience and the value of the project for their financial investment.

They then will change their behavior.

What we’ve found over the years is something prospects come across initially like they could be a pain in the butt but I believe that they’ve been educated to behave that way because of building industry norms.

The way that builders traditionally treat and communicate, and come across as less than professional, unreliable all of those sorts of things, the prospects the customers have been educated to protect themselves.

Don’t necessarily tell the builder everything, try and get the best price, try and get all of the information so they can make the decisions. And it’s just, it’s a flawed process.

The best way to get a successful project is to is for the builder to completely understand from the the prospects, then the client’s point of view what their fears, frustrations, wants and aspirations are.

What their concerns are, what their priorities are, and, and and what their budget is and be completely open and transparent. And then if the builder can then use their experience, their knowledge, their intellectual property and their skills to give the client the best possible outcome by taking the.. having the client taking the builder’s advice.

But the builder’s advice is based on the understanding of the priorities and concerns of their client. You’ll work together as this amazing team and it changes everything. And so this is so important for a building business’ success is to have a quality qualification process.

But as I said, I just wanted to, to make it very clear that the priorities is on education not kicking people out because you don’t think that they’re right for your business, and saving time that way.

So behavioral hurdles, that’s a major part of the quality client pathway that we teach in black belt.

And if you can imagine a hurdle, you’re running along the race track, and there’s a hurdle in front of you you’ve gotta jump over it. If the hurdle is a little bit high you probably won’t jump over it. You’ll you’ll stop at it because you’ll think, oh I’m not gonna make it.

But this education process if you can imagine you’re running down the track, and I’m your builder and I walk out and I put a step in front of the hurdle. So as you’re running towards it, you can put one foot on the step and what effortlessly just fly over the hurdle. You will probably jump over that.

But what that the step represents in this metaphor, is the education. So for instance, the very first hurdle in the quality client pathway, is a questionnaire. So the person rings up they don’t know you from a bar of soap. And they say, right, I’m just ringing up.

I need you to come around and give me a quote for this, that, or the other blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And so their expectation is for you to do exactly what they said.

Your expectation probably is, well, I’m a bit busy so I wouldn’t be able to get there, this, that and the other. And it just it’s starts with friction. They’re not getting what they want.

You’re not getting what you want. You perhaps think, you know, they’re impatient and they don’t understand that you’re busy and it like it just starts with conflict. It starts with friction. So we need to have a process that doesn’t impose on you and your time. But they feel like they are getting looked after right from the initial context.

So one of the ways you can do that is with a simple questionnaire. And the key with it, is the questionnaire doing the questionnaire is a hurdle because they just want what they want. And you go, hang on a minute. I need you to jump over this hurdle first.

I need you to fill out this questionnaire. And you then give them the reasons, the benefits, the what’s in it for them, to for filling out this questionnaire. So you give them the education. That’s the step that you’re putting in front of the hurdle.

Now, the majority of people we’re finding, if you do this well if you give them the education effectively, they go no trouble send it to me. And, and, you know we teach our black belt members how to set it up with all of the electronics and CRMs and what have you.

So they can just press a couple of buttons on their phone. You could be up on the roof or in your car or whatever and you can just press a couple of buttons. And it all happens automatically.

The questionnaire gets sent to them. They send it back. All your information gets inputted into your CRM happy days. But that first hurdle isn’t necessarily a deal breaker but it, it could be a red flag raiser. So some people were found that go mate I’m not interested in your questionnaire.

You know, I just need a price, give us a price. And, and that is a red flag. Like that is a massive red flag. And you can choose what to do. You can choose to, you know, give them a some sort of ballpark estimate over the phone if you want to.

Or you can explain again the value of the questionnaire and following your process and the benefits and how they’ll save time and money and avoid costly issues, and all of this sort of thing. And you give them that education.

And if they jump over the hurdle, you go to the next part in the process. So ask them to fill out the questionnaire. And a couple of things that I encourage our guys to do is ask when will you get that questionnaire back to me and get an agreement with them as to the time and or the day.

So you might say would you be able to get that back to me within two hours? Or would you be able to get that back to me by 5:00 PM today or 5:00 PM tomorrow, whatever. It doesn’t really matter. It’s just a commitment.

Because to me, the value of this first hurdle in the quality client pathway is whether they are showing a propensity to follow your process or not. And are they the type of people who do what they say?

Though I don’t particularly care what you ask on the questionnaire, but you know if you’re gonna set up a questionnaire I would make sure that it doesn’t feel like homework.

You should put the questions on your questionnaire so it positions you as an authority, not a school teacher asking them to do stuff that they don’t wanna do.

So there’s a little bit of a a dark art to creating a questionnaire that they go, wow you know, this, they start to feel like they’re onto something already, but the key for you is are they willing to follow the process, and will they do what they say they’re going to do on time?

And so you put the hurdle there, but you give them a bit of education so they can step and make it easy and jump over that hurdle.

The education that you give them as I said, you know, it might be, you know you save time, and, and your time isn’t wasted where it can be, you get the run around and all of that sort of stuff. They get what they need ASAP.

So that could be part of the education as well. Because if, if I can get you to fill out this questionnaire, what I’ll be able to do is give you what you need much, much quicker.

Then, you know, if we’re talking on the phone and this, that and the other. And you can ensure that by asking these particular questions and, and you know, I need you to take some time to answer these questions that you’re gonna avoid some often costly mistakes, that and and time-wasters that clients experience at this point in their, in their process.

You can then ask them, you know whether they want it emailed or, or text. And as I said, you can set it up very, very simply.

So even from your phone you can get it out to them straight away even if you’re sort of a builder that’s still on the tools you can manage this process really really effectively if you’ve got it set up. And you can just quick phone call, bang, bang, bang it’s away, and then you’ve got control over the next step, because nothing happens until you get the questionnaire back.

But at least they feel like they’ve been looked after, they’ve been paid attention to and you get to put a little hurdle in front of them to just do a little bit of a test.

As I said, it’s not a deal breaker but it is the first hurdle. The second hurdle is what we call a triage call.

We call it a triage call because my coach Taki Moore called it a triage call. And he called it a triage call simply because the purpose of the call like a triage nurse does in emergency is, is assesses where you’re at.

They assess, you know, how serious this is, how urgent things are, how life-threatening it is all of that sort of stuff. And their next move is based on that assessment.

And so I was taught to do this thing called the triage call by Taki Moore. And we teach our guys to do a triage call. And it’s once they’ve, you’ve got the questionnaire, you then jump on the phone.

There are a bunch of questions, not a bunch, it’s not really a bunch at all. It’s three questions. And, and I’ll tell you what they are. But do massage them so they sound like you are asking the question rather than me asking the question.

But the first purpose, the priority of of the triage call is to find out where they are in the process because they might not be any point meeting just yet because they’re just trying to find out how much it costs to build a house. And it’s like, well, how do you answer that question? They might not have land yet. They might not have finance approved, all sorts of things.

So they, they might have land, but they haven’t set it up. Who knows? So you can find out where they are in the process and then have the appropriate response based on where they are.

Rather than, you know, they they want you to come out and talk to them and you you drove all the way out and talk to them, and then you find out all of this sort of stuff.

The other priority, I think of the triage call, and this sounds quite politically incorrect but I’ll say it anyway. Do I like you?

When I’m talking to you on the phone, asking you a few questions, and trying to get to know where you are in the process you’re gonna make up your mind reasonably quickly.

If this person is somebody you like, you know are they arrogant? Are they pushy? Are they somebody you don’t like? Or are they somebody that you think you might like or could like, or do like already but it’s up to you to make that decision.

Because the next step after this is putting time aside to meet with them for an initial meeting we’ll cover that in a future episode. But your, your, your deciding whether you’re going to put a chunk of your time let’s say an hour to an hour and a half aside to speak with them.

That’s the next step. And we’ll talk about that in, in a future episode as I said. But remember when you’re deciding whether you’re going to to put that time aside, this is going to make make a big difference based on what you think you are worth. What is your own, what’s your real perception of your self value?

You know, and and please don’t put a $75 an hour value on yourself. Because that might be the case for someone with an owl bag on knocking nails into timber, that or a bit more. But this is project management. This is people management.

This is a conversation where people are going to tap into your experience, your intellectual property, your knowledge, and that is worth significantly, and I mean, significantly more than what you might call your nail bag, right? So you’ve gotta think that way. And it could be three, four, $500 an hour. That’s the sort of value should place on yourself.

So is this person, are you happy enough, comfortable enough with this person to go to the next step where it’s going to cost you 500, 750, a thousand dollars of your time, your project management time, to invest with these people.

That’s the process that you’ve gotta go through in this triage call.

So you’ve gotta ask do you like them. The three questions you need to ask at least these three, and it’s why now? why me? and is this a sooner or later thing? Now you can modify those questions as we do for our black belt members.

So you are comfortable asking those questions. But they’re the three things that you’ve gotta find out. What’s going on in your life right now to make this a now conversation?

Any of our blueprint members or black belt members, would probably have heard that question because that’s the exact question that we would ask on the call.

But you might ask it a little bit differently but you’re trying to find out where they are. What’s going on in their life right now to have motivated this call. It’s really important to find that out.

Not just what they’re asking don’t answer just what they’re asking, ask and find out what is the motivation behind this call? It will change the conversation. It’ll change the value of the conversation for both of you.

The next question is why are you calling me? Now I wouldn’t say it like that, but I might say something along the lines. What is the specific things that you feel that I could help you with?

So you’re kind of asking, why did you call me rather than another builder or a carpenter or whatever the case may be. But you’re trying to get a feel for why did they call you specifically? And then the third question is all about urgency.

You know, is this a sooner or later thing is like, have you got in mind. And what I would suggest to you all is ask have you got in mind a completion date for this project?

Not starting because I think asking a completion date, and then later on, when you find out a little bit more about the scope of the project, you go, they’ve got no idea.

They’ve got no idea how long things take. They’ve got no idea about all of the compliance that we’ve got to go through before we can even dig the first hole.

I’ve got, so you can then help them understand the process. You can be the white Knight to come and help them with that process. So I hope all this is, is making sense. Those three questions.

The next step, as I said is either having the initial meeting, which we’ll we’ll talk about in a future episode, or you might modify that if you, the, you feel building businesses is focusing on smaller projects that might be outdoor stuff or it might be bathrooms, kitchens, small rentals things like that.

Instead of going and having a site, sorry an initial meeting with them, you will have a site visit. And we’ll talk about that again in a future episode where you change the phone call and you you literally get the money in the bank.

You get paid for that site visit before you do a site visit. Again you might be thinking, oh, you can’t do that. Well, it happens every day.

So you can do it. You just need to learn how to set it up.

Q & A

Q and A, as I said, the question that we’re gonna cover in this episode is how much to charge.

Now, the question that I’ve posed, just in that last little bit, about how much do you value yourself?

Has has a lot to do with the answer to this question. And the more that you can understand how valuable you are and the more that you can learn, the skill of being able to represent that, the more you’ll be able to charge.

So some of our guys will charge as little as 150 bucks to go out for a site visit for a very small job. And then they can charge a couple of grand for a proposal.

It can be up of I’ve heard figures up around $15,000 for, you know a one point whatever million dollar project, because you imagine how much time, effort, energy, knowledge and skill needs to go into a project of that magnitude. You need to be compensated for it.

And with a project of that magnitude you need to make sure that the person that you’re working working with the, the customer, you guys have a great rapport and you can only get paid that sort of money to do a professionally prepared proposal, if you have that connection, if you have that rapport with that client.

But they are, they are the figures. How much you charge is gonna be up to you.

So the first thing you’ve got to ask yourself how much do you think you’re worth? And how much time am I going to need to invest in putting this proposal together?

That should point you in the direction of how much you should be charging whether you can bring yourself to do that, really comes down to your level of ability and skill to be able to represent that much value for the prospect. Because we talked about behavioral hurdles, paying for a proposal, man, that’s, that’s that’s a behavioral hurdle.

That’s the mother of all behavioral hurdles in our quality client pathway. And the only way you can get people to comfortably pay for that is give them the education. The step in front of the hurdle to jump over.

So the better you get at understanding their fears, frustrations, wants and aspirations, their priorities and their concerns, and being able to have them know without a doubt that you get them, that you understand that, there is nothing that represents more value than that.

If you can do that, they will not even balk, not even blink at investing because that’s what it is. Investing some money to make this project go much much better, much smoother.

So they really enjoy it, it’s exciting and they get the best value they possibly could. At the end. Another idea with this is some black belt members offer what’s called a feasibility study.

Rather than, you know, charging for this whole big quote, one of the, that they’ve come up with this idea of, of, of having a feasibility study.

Which eliminates this whole problem of, you know, the the architect or the, the building designer, having unfortunately planted a price in their customer’s mind as to what this would cost.

And then when the builder prices it it ends up being way too expensive and the builder cups it in the neck for being the boogeyman that stole their bloody drain. But it’s not the builder’s fault.

It’s, it’s a combination of the, the architect and building designer giving a price when they shouldn’t have, and the, the client believing, or having sort of that champagne taste and the and the beer budget. So a feasibility study we have found is a really great way of overcoming that problem.

And what it does is it gets them to invest in you, even if it’s not for the, for the proposal yet, it’s just they’ve engaged you to do something which means that you’ve already established some good trust and so forth. Now, remember, this is a behavioral hurdle.

And remember that the resistance if you’re getting resistance to the price you’re charging that only means that you haven’t figured out yet how to effectively represent the value that they need to see to be able to do it.

So it’s not the price, it’s very rarely the price if ever, it’s all about value. So I know that doesn’t answer the question that this is how much you should charge.

But these are the steps that you need to go through to figure out how much you should be charging.

So I hope that it’s helpful. Again, a reminder if you’re watching this live, please hit the, hit the comments and putting hashtag live. If you’re watching the replay put in hashtag replay that’s very helpful to us. Thank you very much.

Personal Productivity Hack

Personal productivity hack time.

I mentioned this earlier in the show is having a questionnaire so that behavioral hurdle at the start, having it produced from a CRM form. And what I mean by that CRM, is a customer relationship management software.

So what we’re using, what what we recommend our builders use and in no way, shape or form, do I get any sort of commission or kickback or anything for saying this. It’s just what we use.

And I only recommend it because if we use it, if someone in black belt’s got a question on how to use it I’ll probably be able to help them out. And we use a CRM called active campaign.

And what that does is allow you to create forms where people can fill them in their online forms.

But the beauty of it is, is it creates a link that you can just send them and it’ll take them straight to the form or if you’ve got a web designer and you wanna be really sexy about it, you can get what’s called the HTML code, getting very technical here. It’s a HTML code.

You can send that to your web person and they can embed that code into a webpage. So that link that you give them takes them to a web page on your website.

And the the form looks very beautiful on your, your website. And they press send or submit, or whatever button you’ve got there. And all of their answers are populated into your database all automatically. The beauty of that is it can also trigger off a whole bunch of automated emails.

So they feel that they’re getting support, information, and value. And all of this happens while you’re still driving around or up on the roof or doing what you’re doing. It can all happen automatically. So you can take that initial call and you can go let me send you the questionnaire. Would you like it by text or by email? You send it away. Bang.

They are now being looked after. As soon as they fill out the form and send it back or submit it, they will start to get communications. And they’ll start to feel like they’re being valued if you do this correctly. And it saves you from being interrupted all of the time.

You know, you’re constantly, you know, on you could be on the phone for 90 seconds and do this properly versus having 10 or 15 minutes wasted. And you’re constantly stopping and starting during the day.

And obviously what you can do is is have that phone number, the initial phone number going to somebody else who you can teach how to offer the questionnaire and sending out the links and all of that sort of stuff. You could probably even outsource that.

In fact, there a lot of our black belt members were, were looking at outsourcing all sorts of various things just the other day, and that could easily be one of those things.

So don’t be slack, figure this sort of stuff out and it will save you a ton of time. And if you think, oh, I haven’t got time to do that. The reason you haven’t got time to do that is probably your answering phone calls all of the time and having your time wasted.

So it’s a small investment of time for a big return. If you put this sort of stuff into practice. And if, if, again, if you’ve got questions about this how to do it, you wanna be pointed in the right direction on how you might be able to implement this in your business, all you need to do is click the link that I’ll put in the comment section.

Click the button underneath the video if you’re watching it on the blog, or just navigate to the website and schedule a call if you’re listening to the audio version only and we can point you in the right direction. So hopefully that is helpful for you.

Takeaway & Jump On A Call

What is the takeaway in this episode?

I just think that it’s kind of the blinding flash of the obvious that systems and procedures can be an absolute time-saver.

And if you’re not investing some time each day in creating and or refining your systems and procedures, it’s a little bit like you’re driving around in your car yelling out the window, I’m too busy to stop for petrol. Like at some stage you’re gonna stop.

It’ll probably be in a neighborhood that you don’t like and you’ll look around and your car’s up on bricks. So what you need to do is make sure that you put some time every day, or at least every week into the identification, the building, the implementation and the refinement of systems and procedures in your business.

And then of course, the next challenge which we can talk about in another time, is ensuring that they are followed. A procedure or a process that isn’t followed kind of isn’t really worth the paper it’s written on.

So you need to put that into your thought process when you’re creating systems and procedures and get the stakeholders the people who need to be performing those systems, systems and procedures involved in the creation, implementation and refinement of them, because you’ll find that by doing that, they are more likely to follow them.

I hope you have enjoyed this episode of Builder’s Business Success podcast. Last reminder, please, if you’ve watched this live put hashtag live in the comments if you’ve watched the relay put hashtag replay.

And we would love to talk. So all you need to do is hit the button under the video hit the link in the comment section when we’re done, and jump on a call. Like you can leave your credit card behind there’s nothing to buy.

We are on a mission to help as many builders as possible. If we need to do that one by one, it’s not about joining black belt or blueprint or anything like that. It is just learning from you, so we can better give you better information through these sorts of platforms.

And if we can help you we’d love to point you in the right direction. And there’s all sorts of pathways for no matter what your problem is, or what your the direction that you wanna go.

We’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

So jump on a call. Love to hear more about your business, help you out, point you in the right direction.

I’m Mick Hawes from Builders Business Black belt. This has been episode 46 of the Builder’s Business Success podcast.

We’ll see you next week. We’ll be live in the Builders Business Success forum. If you wanna be with us live you just need to join that group. That’s easy to do.

And we’ll be seeing in next week, 10:00 AM in the Builders Success, Builders Business Success forum.

Bye for now.

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