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Remodeling Sales Strategies and Growth Tips with Jim Gehm – Podcast

If you want to keep plugging along with an average remodeling business this podcast is NOT something you should listen to. On the PME 360 Powering Business Growth Show, Ron Rodi, Jr and Ryan Paul Adams interview Jim Gehm with Holmes Custom Renovations

Jim reveals some of their top sales strategies and how to build a great sales team in the remodeling industry, which is not easy to do. Discover how they train, compensate, and motivate an effective sales team and the systems they develop to stay on track. Also, learn how they provide a client experience that leaves them with little to no competition and the ability to charge a premium for the services they deliver. 

"Running a remodeling business is crazy hard. But if you stick with it, it is one of the most rewarding things you can do."
- Jim Gehm , VP Sales and Marketing with Holmes Custom Renovations

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Model Your Business After Those Who Have Succeeded

Tony Robbins said it best - 

"If you want to get a result -- make more money, lose weight, be more successful in business, or ANY other goal you desire-- all you have to do is find someone else already getting that result and model what they do." 

There are a lot of super successful remodeling businesses out there yet so few remodeling businesses take the time to model themselves after those that are crushing it. So many of you are trying to reinvent the wheel and making terrible decisions on where to invest your money to try and grow. 

The concept is simple, find a business that is doing really really well and find a way to integrate as many of those ideas and systems into your own business, package it slightly different (your unique angle) and you will have a nice business if not a great business. 

There are no new ideas in the world, only different angles on the same ideas. With the marketing systems I have developed, I have taken ideas from a lot of different experts, some with a lot more experience than I, and found a way to package it better, improve certain things, and integrate a full suite of software experts to do the work. And the most important thing I have done, is to replicate our efforts in the same industry as much as we can....why? Because through repetition comes improvement and enough data doing the same things many times that we actually know what works and what doesn't. Shouldn't you be doing the same? 

Expecting a Different Result from More of the Same

For starters, too many remodeling business owners have ridiculous unrealistic expectations when it comes to marketing investments. How many of you have hired an internet marketing company or local "SEO guru" for $100/month? Or $50/month? Or some ridiculously low amount and expected the world from it? 

Most marketing books and marketing courses you could take would mention investing roughly 10% of expected gross sales into marketing. Especially for newer remodeling businesses, it's a good rule of thumb and a good place to make my point. If you were to hire a marketing company at $150/month to build you a site and do some "seo", and this was really the only marketing you were doing, you would be expecting to generate from a $1,500/year marketing investment $15,000.00 in Gross Sales. That is exactly what your expectation should be unless you plan on investing a ton of your own time on top of the $150/month you are shelling out. I don't know about you, but $15,000 a year in Gross Sales doesn't sound like a business I would want to invest time into.

Ask yourself, would you take on a remodeling job for $100/month? What in the world could you possibly deliver for $100 and make anyone happy? The only thing my company could do for $100/month is local optimization. That's it, and that is not going to change your life or your business. Might be an ok place to start if you have ZERO money for marketing, but it is nothing that is going to get you excited and help take your business to the next level.

One of the leading contractor marketing companies out there offers a complete marketing program for under $150/month. I have had a few clients that used them at one point and got nothing from it, but I cannot speak to the results other clients have gotten. I know that in my local area, I can barely even get a small black and white ad in my local paper for that each month. Remember, you get what you pay for so don't expect much from cheap people and services as they simply don't work most of the time.

Risk vs Reward

Low priced services rarely work and I don't care what we are talking about here, they rarerly do unless it's mostly software driven (something where a human doesn't have to do anything). Even if companies like the one I mentioned above outsourced all the marketing work to some low cost area of the world, they still can't physically do much of anything as far as a service goes (seo, social media, reputation, design, etc) and still make any money to stay open. So that means you might get something shiny and nice on the front end (first 30-60 days) but after that, you are left to figure it out on your own or for more money. Time is money and the longer you wait to figure things out you put your business at risk. 

If you were starting a basketball team today, who would you pay top dollar for, Lebron James or Hasheem Thabeet? Both were top picks in the NBA draft a few years ago, but if I wanted to put the best team on the court, I would go get Lebron James and pay him is $25million + because I know the return I would get would be significant for my franchise and the risk/reward is really powerful. You need to identify situations like this in your own business where you can bring on top level talent, systems, services, and software.

Situations like this exist in your own business yet you continue to reinvent the wheel and try to get things done on the cheap. It's normal and natural to want to get things done inexpensively and try to do things differently than those who have experienced true success in your industry. Typically, you have 2 choices, acquire all the knowledge that you need to grow your business, or find people who are experts in the areas where you are weakest. 

The Remodeling Businesses That Succeed Typically Have the Following in Place

  • Entrepreneurial Mind Set (they are no longer contractors!)
  • Good Systems in Place to Get Work Done
  • Repetition (they do the same things over and over as much as humanly possible)
  • Highly Educated (not by a university, but through seminars, reading books/industry publications, hiring consultants - basically they devour as much information about their industry as possible). 
  • Have Incredible Desire to Succeed
  • Consistent Marketing Systems (typically - online, direct mail, and solid referral programs) 
  • Use Direct Response Marketing (even piece of marketing they do has a very specific offer and goal in mind)
  • Have Great People at the Top and Good People to Fill Specific Roles
  • Outsource Weak Areas and Hire the Best People They Can Possibly Afford

Find someone who has been there and done that in your industry and mimic what they do. You will get where you want to go much faster. 


Feel Like a Prisoner to Your Remodeling Business?

Do you ever feel like you are going insane trying to run your remodeling business? Stuck? Chained? A prisoner? You are certainly not alone as most business owners tend to feel more alone, isolated, and stuck then those that feel liberated. 

Being an entrepreneur is freaking hard! There are typically NO short cuts to getting it right. You have to work through some (a lot) stuff before you find your way and if you make it, it typically takes at least 5 years to really figure things out. If you want some freedom in your business, you need to start developing some systems to accomplish this to take the complexity out of what you are doing.

Ask Yourself Some Important Questions About Your Business

1) Do you work more than 40 hours per week?
2) Are you doing the jobs of more than 3 people? 
3) Do you have all the prospects you need to grow and thrive?
4) Are you able to turn those prospects into new clients?
5) Are you able to weed out the "problem" prospects before you take on the job?
6) Do you have any idea what your numbers are weekly, monthly, quarterly?
7) Are you able to keep up with the changes and regulations and stay in front of it? And communicate this with the people doing the work? 
8) Do you have a trusted group of advisors you can turn to for answers?
9) Do you find yourself repeating yourself over and over again and you and your staff make the same mistakes?
10) Do you feel that no one else on your team wants to succeed anywhere near as much as you do? 
11) Do you have trouble remembering exactly how you did something the last time and you or your team ends up doing something slightly different each project?

Odds are, if you can relate to most of these questions, you are running into some business model complexity issues. It shouldn't be this draining and this hard at this stage in the game. 

Complicated Businesses Fail. Simple Ones Thrive.

I firmly believe that complicated business fail where simple ones thrive for most entrepreneurs. If you want complicated, be prepared to raise a lot of capital getting your business going and that is not easy to do in the remodeling world. I am not against complicated, but you really need some special things to make complicated work. Complicated businesses with lots of services have lots of issues that need attention. 

Everything you do needs a system behind it if you stand any chance of getting a break and getting some freedom from your business. If you offer too many services, with too many different products, it's very difficult to create systems for all of this. It can be done, but it takes a lot of effort and extreme organization to get it right. If you can simplify and weed out those services you aren't the best in the world at and focus in on 1 or 2 core services, you stand a much better chance of systemizing and getting a break. 

Stop right now and build a checklist/system for something in your business. Develop a process for how you would strip a roof, or frame a deck, or remove a window. It's not easy to communicate very specific knowledge like this in a way that others can replicate and follow. But it is 100% necessary if you have any desire to stop repeating yourself, reduce mistakes, systemize, and scale.  

The problem with most entrepreneurs is that we make it way harder than it needs to be. We think that by trying to be everything to everyone we will make more money. That couldn't be farther from the truth and it took me a long time to figure this out even though I was given the same "keep it simple" advice early on in my career. 

My advice is to look at your business as if the ultimate goal is to sell it to someone who has NO clue about your business. If you can create a remodeling business that can be sold to a business person with desire, not specific knowledge about remodeling, that's a business that has value. 

Or, look at your business as if the ultimate goal is to "franchise" it. This doesn't have to be the actual goal but it should be how you start looking at everything you are doing. Could you package your business today or 5 years from now and sell the opportunity to 100 other entrepreneurs. My guess is that most of you probably can't right now, but with some simplifications, systems, and focus you probably could. Or at the very least, sell your business 1x and cash out. 

Your business can't be a job disguised as a business. You can't be the technician (person doing the work) and have a real business. If you love doing the work that is one thing and you should keep doing it, but you probably won't ever get free of your role/job in your business. Freedom in your business will only come when you have something that runs without you. That is the ultimate goal for every remodeler and is very possible if you can simplify and streamline. 

Systems, Systems, Systems. Build one every day and soon enough you will have one for everything you do.

Need more help growing your remodeling business? Take advantage of all the FREE resources I have on www.RyanPaulAdams.com and download my "3 Killer Ways to Grow Your Remodeling Business" today.