EPISODE 8 – CAN YOU WIN IN A BUILDING BUSINESS?
Hey, welcome to another episode of BUILDERS BUSINESS SUCCESS PODCAST!
The purpose of this podcast is to help builders get through the destructive ineffective practices of the building industry that cause everybody problems that causes the builders problems that causes the team problems, and definitely causes the customers problems and guys, it doesn’t have to be this way.
So we wanna talk about what you can do to get rid of those issues, get rid of the challenging parts of your building business in this podcast.
- Talking to one of our Builders Business Blackbelt members. His name is Andrew Quadrio. He’s one of the fittest of our Builders Business Blackbelt members also, but he’s had an extraordinary journey over the last year.
- I did happen to just stumble across one little pearl of wisdom this week in a conversation with our members, and we’re able to capture that in the ‘WHAT’D I SAY’ Segment.
- I’ve got a really cool book review for you and you do not want to miss this. It is an absolute life changer. He’s an amazing guy, the author of this book, Australian, and we had him speak with our Builders Business Blackbelt group earlier this year, and they absolutely loved him.
*Transcription of the show*
Hear my conversation with Andrew Quadrio
It’s time to have a chat with one of our Builders Business Blackbelt members. His name is Andrew Quadrio. It’s probably not the most flattering photo of him, but hopefully he’ll get a laugh out of it when he sees it. It’s okay for him to eat like a carnival there, like a, some sort of predatory animal because he kind of is.
He’s amazingly fit. He’s amazingly determined and has had a pretty tremendous experience over the last year. Lots of lessons, lots of challenges. And the challenges still remain like they don’t go away.
We just hope for better quality problems. And that’s what we’re gonna talk with Andrew about. So let’s listen in to my conversation with Andrew Quadrio.
Mick – We can start by just getting a little bit of a sense as to what was going on in your building business and in your life around about a year from now or a year ago.
Andrew – Here we go. A year from now you never know. A year ago –
Mick – We can talk about a year from now, like we’ll talk about a year ago now.
Andrew – A year ago we had spiraled down a very deep dark hole in the business, and I’m usually a fairly positive person, but I got very negative or very, very, very dark place. And yeah, we needed to change some things pretty quickly and find some ways to improve on ourselves or myself and the business to try and dig us out of set hole that we dug for ourselves.
We being in business is now six years, so five years was last year, for the first sort of four and a half, four, four and a half we’ve been pretty very busy actually, never had a gap in work, always had good workflow and then sort of started to dry up. And I sort of didn’t know why. And then we still don’t know why to be honest. But then we sort of started spiraling down a hole of looking from one job to the next and finishing one job and not everyone to go to.
And that became very frustrating ’cause I hadn’t experienced that before ever in my life, as well as not in my business. So that got me really down in that I couldn’t continue, or I couldn’t hang on to that workflow and I spent a great deal of time and a great deal of money on trying to fix that. But to no avail. We spent tens of thousands of dollars and that was part of the hole that we put ourselves into as it was a financial hole as well.
Mick – What were you spending money on at that stage?
Andrew – Advertising and SEO and marketing and socials and websites and all sorts of things that didn’t do anything.
Everybody that I was speaking to or width was saying, “yes, you gotta keep going and keep going, it’s gonna work, it’s gonna work”. And then while it was just, I got to the point where I just couldn’t afford it anymore. And… If you stick with it, it’ll pay off in fraction of an year, but I can’t stick with it as I gonna lose my house.
So that’s where we ended up.
Mick – Interesting point though. Two points, that one, like… one point is that you were going really, really well for a while, quite a few years. And I don’t know what sort of marketing you were doing at the time, but my suspicion is like most builders, what tends to happen is that you’re doing the standard sort of stuff.
And that there’s a fair bit of good energy going around in a business in the first little while and there’s referrals and business sort of comes to you.
And it’s something that I’ve been sort of saying to all of our Blackbelt members for a long time is we can’t rely on word of mouth, like the way social media has taken hold and the rapid fire of it and the consistency and just the volume of messages that people get word of mouth simply can’t keep up.
And the other interesting thing was that you were spending money on marketing activity which you think is the right thing to do. But again, one of the messages that we really need to get across is that you as the business owner, need to take responsibility for the marketing, which you’ve done over the past year, and we gonna talk about that, ’cause you’ve done a sensational job, but no one knows your business better than you.
And so whilst you might not have to do all of the technical bits and pieces, you do have to run it. You have to manage it. You have to be in charge of it. Whereas most builders, what do they wanna do, pay and get somebody else to do it.
So what did you start to do? Like when you, when you joined Blackbelt, like it was kind of almost the last roll of the dice, I suppose, but the message that we’re giving you is, you’ve got to take control of your marketing, which you absolutely did.
But what I want to know is, how you kept going in the face of doing all of this work, putting all of this effort in and not producing anything much in the beginning because it just doesn’t. Like you’ve got to do it for a while to get traction, so what were you doing and what were you thinking and feeling at that time.
Andrew – To start with, we, weren’t doing a great deal. We did a little bit on socials, but there wasn’t any consistency to it. There wasn’t any consistent messaging or consistent posting or anything that was, there’s no system to it.
I was just sort of doing it. It was every couple of weeks about something or when you get a decent PGR, that’s a good picture, I’ll post that sort of thing and then, hope it does something, but that doesn’t, it doesn’t work like that.
And that it needs to, there needs to be… you need to work out a system for it, which we did pretty early through discussions with you and with… and got my wife, Katie involved and that sort of stuff.
So we worked out a system as to what we’re going to do and the messaging that we were going to keep putting out there and keep putting that out over and over and over and over and over again, and not worry about repetition or people feeling that you’re repeating yourself or what other people were thinking about it. Just keep putting out there and seeing what it gets and then get it from there.
Mick – How hard was that?
Like, because you see all of the ads and you do feel like you’re repeating yourself, which is difficult, but it’s important to do it. Like it’s critical just to keep going with the same message.
Andrew – Initially I was, why do we just keep saying the same thing over, basically the same thing over and over and over again? Is the little slants on it and different ways to say it and that sort of stuff.
So it’s not technically the same, but it’s the same message over and over and over again. Yeah, it was frustrating for sure, because we get nothing for a very long time. We didn’t get anything, any sort of traction.
We still don’t get a great deal of traction out of it. And we’re 12 months down the track, but we’re getting more than we did 12 months ago obviously. Yeah, it was incredibly frustrating in the beginning.
The thing that sort of kept driving me was I heard a speech by an author and he said that it was to do with leadership, but it sort of rang true with me to do with this sort of or the path that we’d got ourselves on with Blackbelt.
He basically said, “well, if you go to the gym and you go to the gym for 20 minutes and you work out and you come home and you’ll see you look in a mirror and you’ll see nothing. You go to gym the next day, you work out for 20 minutes, you come home and you’ll see nothing.
So clearly it can’t be measured. There is no results. So a couple of minutes, so it must not work. But if you fundamentally believe that the course of action that you’re on will result, we’ll give the results, you stick to it. And what do you do?
You keep going back to the gym, you keep going back to the gym and you keep going back to the gym everyday for 20 minutes. And nobody can tell you how long it’s going to take, but eventually you will get in shape”. And that’s what rang with me ’cause I would go to the gym a fair bit, and I’ve seen that happen to myself, going to the gym every day for an hour or so. So that’s when I heard that I was like, “right, it has to work. I can’t… nobody can do it ever to tell me when it’s going to work.
But the only way it’s going to work is if I stick to it, get a system going, get make it as simple and as quick and as efficient as possible but make sure it’s correct, and then just keep adding, adding, adding, adding every single day it pops up. It’s on my list of things to do every single day.
And I make time to do it every single day. Just like brushing your teeth, just like going to the gym, just like doing yoga if you’re in a yoga. Whatever you’re into. Just like scrolling Facebook or Escrow or watching Instagram stories, same thing. Set aside 10 minutes, get it done every single day. It’s the only way it works.
Mick – Now a second ago you said you’re still not getting a whole lot of traction out of it, which people go or let that surprises me, the effort that you’ve put in. I wanna talk about that from the perspective of you’re in a very different place right now than what you were a year ago, even though there’s not a massive amount of traction with the marketing, there’s enough traction to get a trickle of leads coming into the business.
And what you also have done is implemented what we now call the quality client pathway. The old days it was called the qualified process.
One of the things that I’ve seen you absolutely go to turn on is your ability to listen and communicate really effectively, and I want you to tell me what you’ve learned through that process, because to me I’ve seen, even though there’s a trickle of leads, you you’ve really been able to make connections with your prospects and turn them into really great quality clients. So what were the things that you’ve learned through that process?
Andrew – It started about 12 months ago when I got pulled on to meditation and one of the other guys in the group, Elliot, thanks mate. There was… Still I hadn’t mentioned at an intensive, the first intensive that we attended last year in July, and we… he said, “I’ll do this every night. I’m going to give it a go”. I said, “all right, going to give it a go, it’s a free trial. Great. No worries. There’s 14 day free trial anyway”. Took the free trial, and after the 14 days I paid for the lifetime membership.
Yeah, I did even 10 minutes a day for 14 days, like put me onto it straight away. And I was like, “right, I’ve already noticed slight differences in myself”. That I’ve noticed that I’m not a very, I wasn’t a very… I’m still trying hard, but I wasn’t a very sort of conscious of my own feelings, sort of push them aside as a big tough to be in a builder, you just push them aside and just keep hammering, keep work, work, work, work.
So just sort of pushed them aside and through even through the first 40 days of meditation every day, I just sort of noticed that I was noticing things that I was doing, and I was like, “Oh, maybe it’s because of that”.
So I’ll just keep going so, yeah, I’ve been doing it every day, pretty much every day since, I think I’ve missed maybe four or five days. A couple of them was ’cause we were stuck with bushfires and no internet, no electricity for three days over Christmas, if you can believe it was only that long ago.
That was my excuse. So it started with that and that led me, has now led me that I’ve been able to practice a few in front of more prospects, actually noticing what I’m not listening or noticing what I really listening to someone and the importance of having your prospect, feel like that they’ve been listened to and to feel like that you as the builder understand their issue and not necessarily, give them a solution for it. But just to understand what they’ve said, be able to offer, to alleviate their concerns, their frustrations, and their fears to do with the project. They really have.
You can really see this wash of. Like someone has grabbed them, they’re drowning and you’ve grabbed them out of the water and pulled them out and they’ve got like this sort of thing that you can actually watch the relief come over there if I really thought it was us looking for. Relief come over their face, as you speak to them and convey back to them what they’ve said.
So little things like mirroring their language and their body language repeating back what they’ve…
Their last three words that they’ve said it, really makes them feel understood and it makes it, gets it going in my head too. It really been granted in my head as to what they’re saying. And then making sure that I check in throughout that entire initial meeting, make sure that we’ve got everything there, is this…
Even if I’m halfway through a topic like we’ve got this and this, that we are on the right track. Yep. Cool. Okay. Let’s continue, sort of thing.
And that’s sort of the honing of the skills and our initial meeting with a client has really helped me understand their issue so we can try and formulate the best project for them to solve their problem and solve their issue that in their home. And it’s also helped them understand that we do things differently.
If you follow the process we’ve got, you gonna end up with a good result. Everybody’s gonna end with a good result because we’re on a… we roll the same page
What’d I Say?
So every day in Builders Business Blackbelt, we have what’s called a momentum call and our guys get involved in that call.
It’s a zoom call quite often, they’re up on scaffolding or on the job site somewhere still with the tool belt on, communicating with us, their wins, their lessons and their questions.
And every so often, I come up with a pearl of wisdom. And if we’re fortunate to have the cameras running, we capture that and we share it with you in this segment here and it’s called, WHAT’D I SAY? So let’s listen to what’d I say.
“I go through waves of that, like waves, where I think I’ve got my shit together. And then something happens and a problem, in the program or in the group or whatever happens, And you’ve got to change things.
And then you’re trying to learn new things and implement new processes and whatever to the business and it ends up getting up early and staying up late, as well as getting everything else done. It just comes down to constantly refining your skill on the application of priorities.
So I think there’s a couple of ways or a couple of things you need to think about it. One is grouping activities is really important.
So obviously if you’ve got things that you need to do on site, you do them all at site. But something that I would just think about is, are there working on the businesses or office type activities that are more critical than some of the things that you do on site?
Because I think you can fall into the trap of saying, site stuff is the priority, but that might not be the true.
It might be certain activities on site or the priority, rather than anything to do with just being on site.”
So in this week’s book review in this episode’s book review, I wanna talk to you about THE RESILIENCE PROJECT in Builders Business Blackbelt, we have a connection with a chap by the name of, Angus Morrison. He’s an accountant. And I was having a chat with him one day and he said, “I’ve read a really great book. You should read it”.
I downloaded a copy from audible.com.au of ” THE RESILINCE PROJECT”. I’ve never heard of Hugh van Cuylenburg, never heard of “THE RESILIENCE PROJECT”. And it was one of those books that I just couldn’t stop listening to.
It tells the story of Hugh’s life, where his sister with an eating disorder, Hugh’s trips overseas, and working with underprivileged kids and learning about the mindset that really can be profound and impactful for anybody who listens to this book.
It really is an amazing book. Funny stories, sad stories.
One minute you’re laughing your head off, the next minute you’re balling your eyes out. And it is just so full of lessons. And Hugh also outlines a practice, a simple practice that you can do every day, that’s all around mindfulness and gratitude and empathy. I probably got them in the wrong order.
But I think it’s gratitude, empathy and mindfulness. ’cause he calls it G.E.M. And it is something that you probably going well, what’s that got to do with building. It’s got nothing to do with building, but building any sort of business is all about the mindset. Everything begins and ends with mindset.
If you grab this information and you put it into your daily routine and start to look at what you can be grateful for, if you could start to have empathy for the people around you, the suppliers, the subbies, the team, the prospects, your clients.
It really changes your approach. It changes your energy, it changes your decisions, it changes your thinking. And when your thinking changes, it changes your actions, your responses, your behavior, and then the results that you get. It’s super powerful. It’s super simple. Hugh is so fun to listen to. He’s a really great storyteller.
We had him speak to our Builders Business Blackbelt members earlier this year. And they absolutely loved him. And he’s got a book that you can get, not this book, but like a diary system that you can get.
It helps you get focused on what you can be grateful about and really start to think about things in a different way. Super powerful, super life-changing, can’t recommend this highly enough.
There’s a ton of videos out there also from Hugh, but get a copy of this book.
It’s called “THE RESILINCE PROJECT” by Hugh van Cuylenburg. you will not regret this decision. It’s one of those books you can listen to over and over and over again. And it’s one of those books you can’t put down. So grab yourself a copy, love to get some feedback, what you thought about this book.
Back to the conversation with Andrew!
Mick – So obviously being in Blackbelt, we promote the whole charge for quite scenario but, and you did that kind of pretty much from the start. You started to do that pretty much from the start since implementing the whole listening and sort of not interrupting and being calm and really trying to understand from their perspective, all that sort of stuff. What have you noticed in as much as the… how does the client respond differently? How, what’s the experience or the energy, the environment, like now, when you’re talking about there a fee for this proposal, versus when you first started doing it.
Andrew – I run for the hills that’s for sure. No, they’re more than happy to get jump on board with it. And it’s sort of, it doesn’t matter what the fee varies, depending on how much info, how big the job is and how much information we need to get for them and how much consultation work we’re going to do for them, how many consultants we gonna bring in for them, architect, engineer, bushfire, environmental consultants, that’s the survey, that sort of stuff. It varies for us greatly to.
So when we sort of chat about why we have a fee, and then we explained to them and show them, this needs to happen, and this needs to happen. And this needs to happen, and this needs to happen this and this and this, and then rattle off a dozen things and they go, “Oh, wow, okay, how does that work”? And you go, “okay, well, this is how I do it. I’ve got this system. And I work with this person. I worked with this person. I work with all these consultants. I’ll bring them in one at a time in this order, over this many weeks and that’s how we’ll get it done”. And at the end, you’ll end up with X, or X, Y and Z things, and people go, “Oh, okay yeah, that sounds good”. And you go, “okay, it’ll be X amount”. And they go, “okay, cool”. But do we sign now? Yep. Can I give you my credit card now for that? I Had-
Mick – Everybody is listening to this guy and, well, they’re probably still skeptical, no doubt, but just to help with that, tell me about the first time you added the words, there’s a fee for this proposal.
Andrew – Yep. I was the, put my pants, to be honest though. I was shitting myself. I, yeah, like we charged a fee for that.
Mick – And what was the response?
Andrew – In the first week, “oh, okay how much does that”? And I hadn’t thought that far. Yeah so well, We’re going to do this and we’re going to do this, oh, it’d be this much, two and a half thousand dollars. I was like, “okay yeah, that’s fine”. And I was like ,Jesus, fell off my chair sort of thing.
So yeah, it was, yeah, it was a surreal experience sort of thing. And I think back on it, and I think about how clunky the speech was or what I was saying then, and how I explained it and the things I used and that sort of stuff.
Now it’s so much more streamlined and there’s much, so much more information that they look at and they can see that the key for the skeptics that are out there, ’cause I’ve spoken to one this afternoon and he was like, “no, no, no, you can’t do it. You can’t do it. You can’t. How many have you done this? How many have you been knocked back on this year”? And I went, “none”. “I mean, how many have you seen”? I said, “six, I’m going to be knocked back on one.
But those six, if our conversion rate from signing the prelim and doing the prelim stuff with them to sign their contract to the end is like 90%. So nine times out of 10. So if we get four out of those five, I’ve got three years work. Full time four guys.
Mick – And plus the other thing that people don’t really understand, and I know that some Blackbelt members get a bit confused with this as well is if they don’t agree to pay for the proposal, that’s actually what we call a behavioral hurdle in the qualification process, which means that they are not the right fit for you. It’s a massive, big red flag.
They’re not going to comply. So it’s a really good thing that they decided not to invest in the proposal. You’ve only wasted a little bit of time now, and you can move on with things.
Andrew – Yeah, that’s right. Yeah it is a part of the process that is meant to either let people into your business or not. That’s the mindset shift you gonna go if your mindset as the builder, walking into those meetings needs to be, I am the prize, not, they are the prize because if you walk in thinking they are the prize, you’re going to try and sell them something.
If you will continue to, I am the prize, you gonna show them all the value you can bring to them through your process. And that’s, that’s what they pay for. That’s what they see, especially when you can…
Well I’ve found really big and we’ve been talking about this lately and in black, but with some other members that you really need to physically put in front of them and spread it across the table, exactly what they’re going to get and how much work is involved ’cause you just give them one bit of paper and we say, “oh, you get this, this and this and this is that. This is where you sign”. They go, “that doesn’t look like that. Why would I pay five and a half grand from your paper”?
Mick – Spread it all over the table.
Andrew- That’s right. when they come to you and I haven’t got anything, so they just come in and say, “oh, we just wanna put a room on the back of the house. Or we just wanna put six bedrooms and six bathrooms and four kitchens and on… on the property, as well as half a million bucks in landscaping and better”, or blah.
Don’t laugh it’s happening at the moment.
I haven’t got anything drawn over it. No, they just… It’s just in their heads and you go, okay, “well you need this architect, you need an engineer and you need bushfire and you need environmental and you need a survey and you need an arborist report and you need…” And you spread it out across the table in front of them.
And they go, “Oh, wow. How am I going to do all that by myself? I’m busy enough with four kids and work and COVID and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah”. And then you go, “okay, this is how we do it.
I’m gonna bring this person in and we’re going do this, then we get to this and it’s going to take this long for this and that. And you explain your process of how you do it because builders can do that. That’s, that’s our job. Like it’s not something that’s unique to me. It’s not something new, that’s our job.
We get buildings ready for building. And, if you explain how you’re going to do it for them, and make it look easy, then they go, “okay, cool”. And you go, “it’s X amount” and they go, “yeah, okay, cool, no worries, fine”.
Mick – Absolutely brilliant. I know that there’ll be people that want to spy on you and I encourage people to spy on you, like spy on the information you’re putting out there, the way that you put your videos together and the way that you’re putting your content out on the various different platforms, where do people find you? What do we look forward to start stalking you on spying on how you’re doing things?
Andrew – Sure, there are major content platforms, are Instagram and Facebook. So if you just search Quadrio Building Services on both of those platforms, you’ll see our page, like our page, like my account on Instagram, and you’ll see our stories every day, our story every day from site or whatever I’m doing, just showing what we do every day, which is really just an authority building tool, it just shows…
They have countless comments from people that I’ve seen or have commented on things on, especially stories saying I love your work, love seeing what you do every day. loves seeing how you do it, it’s really interesting, seeing the job that you’re on at that time progress along, from nothing or from the demo of, right through to finishing and tiling and all that sort of stuff.
So it really positive feedback on that. And then you can see all our content, our attract content that comes on our Facebook and our Instagram page. And then now we’ve got our email funnels that sort of funnel people be in from the and their website as well, which is quadriobuildingservices.com.au.
Mick- Thanks very much. I’m looking forward to the next year with this because you’re absolutely committed. You’re doing great stuff. And I really admire the commitment that you’ve got to prioritizing the working on the business rather than just in the business. Lots of people talk about that all of the time. Very few people do it. So really cool. Thanks for sharing your story and your expertise with it has been absolute gold.
Summary & Takeaway
So what should be, or what do I think is the biggest takeaway that you can take from this episode of BUILDERS BUSINESS SUCCESS PODCAST? In my mind, it really is all about the discussion, the conversation I had with Andrew Quadrio and running any sort of business in particular, a building business can be tough and there’s ups and downs.
The real key to it is basically never giving up. And I think the mindset shift that really makes the big difference is understanding that there are wins and what most people would say, there are losses, you win sometimes, you lose sometimes.
And I think flicking that switch and changing the L for a loss to L for a lesson can really make the big difference.
So that way, every day we can have some wins, but also getting a lesson is a win. Learning something is a win.
And if you can just flick that mental switch and go, okay, “what can I learn from this? What’s good about this? And what can I learn from this”?
Are two awesome questions that if you develop the habit of asking every time you come up against a problem, something doesn’t work the way you would have liked it to, which happens on a daily basis in a building business.
If you can create the habit of going, “what’s good about this, what can I learn from this”?
So you can put that lesson into tomorrow and the next day, and you never have to have the same problem repeating over and over and over.
The key with everything that we talk about in Builders Business Blackbelt, is that there will never be a situation where there are no problems. All we can hope for is a better quality of problem. In our discussion with Andrew, the problem he had in the beginning is, I’ve got no work. That’s not a great problem.
The problem he’s dealing with right now is how do I deal with the amount of work? How do I manage it? And whilst that is a problem, and it’s frustrating, it’s a better quality of problem than not enough work.
So what we’re trying to do is learn from our experiences every day, by asking those two questions, what’s good about this? What can I learn from this? And if you don’t get the answer, don’t stop asking the question, keep asking the question.
That’s the secret. If you keep asking the question, don’t worry about whether you’re getting an answer or not, forget about trying to force the answer.
Just keep asking the questions. You’ll start to get some answers and you will blow yourself away with what sort of answers, solutions and ideas that you’ll come up with when you ask those sort of questions.
So that’s it for this episode of BUILDERS BUSINESS SUCCESS PODCAST. I hope you got a lot of great information, great value, great ideas out of this episode. We find that with answering questions, it quite often creates a whole lot more questions. How do I do that? What does it mean? How can I implement that? How can I do that in my particular business? So what I want you to do is lean on us.
I want you to reach out. I want you to schedule a call so we can have a chat and figure out how we can help you with the issues and challenges with your building business. So all you need to do if you’re watching this on our Builders Business Blackbelt website, there’s a button underneath the video. You just need to press that button. That’ll take you to a small form, fill that out. We’ll jump on a call. We can point you in the right direction.
There’s a ton of free and inexpensive resources, we can put you point you towards, and it can make a big difference in a short amount of time. It’s just a matter of you putting your hand up and taking that action.
So press the button, let’s get on a call. If you’re listening to this, the audio only version, all you need to do is navigate to buildersbusiness.blackbelt.com.au, you’ll see the big orange button in the middle of the web page there, hit that same process. Fill out the form we’ll be on a call before you’re not.
So, as I said, hope you enjoyed this episode of BUILDERS BUSINESS SUCCESS PODCAST, we’ll be back again with another episode before you’re not. I look forward to talking to you then, I’m Mick Hawes, Builders Business Blackbelt. Bye for now.