Ryan Paul Adams - Featured On

daily5-remodelHanley WoodRemodeling Magazine

The Producer and the Entrepreneur

The Producer and the EntrepreneurRemodeling is all about delivering a great service, right? Maybe, but it technically isn’t the real business you are in. I know this will come as a shock to most of you but you are NOT in the remodeling business, you are in the marketing and selling business. Your business will continue to struggle immensely if you have this backwards.

Most people in the remodeling business have this running through their minds: “If I do great work, people will notice and I will be so busy I cannot keep up. The money will really start to come in. I just need to make sure I perfect my services.” Unfortunately, this business just doesn’t work this way anymore (maybe it didn’t ever work like this in the first place).

The remodeler whose sole focus is on the production (the end product of their business) can spend years generating top-notch work without seeing a significant increase in business. Why? They’re missing a crucial piece of the puzzle—marketing.

Perfected service means nothing if you can’t get your service in front of enough of the right prospects at the right time, and yet I know many business owners who will sacrifice investments into marketing for the sake of providing what they feel is a higher level of service. There are dozens of excuses to delay, or avoid marketing; “I don’t have the money or the time to advertise...” “It’s never paid off for me in the past…” “My books are a mess!” “I’m already overloaded…” But, none of these excuses are good enough--they need to stop now.

Think of it this way, you cannot sell a job you don’t have a lead for, and you cannot produce high quality work if you don’t have the job itself. Getting jobs hinges on changing the way you think about your business. While there’s no doubt that you are providing remodeling services, as a business owner, you must also be an entrepreneur first. An entrepreneur focuses on more than just the services; they also create a multi layered marketing strategy with comprehensive lead generation that creates the jobs that sustain a thriving business.

Once you make a commitment to put marketing first, you’ll quickly find that you have the revenue to deliver top-notch service. A consistent and growing influx of leads allows you to generate the revenue to attract high performing workers, and you know better than anyone how much the right tools can affect the job. So, how do you make the switch from being a producer to the entrepreneur? It starts by simply prioritizing marketing in your business model, and keeping the lines of communication open with prospective clients. Never lose sight of the services you deliver because you won’t get far with a lousy product, but give marketing its due and embrace the potential of an entrepreneurial mindset FIRST.

Getting this reversed will lead to constant frustration and ultimately failure in your remodeling business.

About Ryan: Ryan Paul Adams is the CEO of PME 360, former remodeling professional, author of 7 Secrets to Achieving Rapid Growth in Your Remodeling Business, and host of Remodelers On The Rise.

Having a Great Reputation Online is Key to Landing More Referral Deals

It's no secret with my clients and anyone that has read anything I have written in the past few years that getting an online reputation is massively important to building a quality remodeling business. It plays such a vital role in several key ways that it can really be the difference between surviving and thriving in your local market. It's not really even an option any longer for local businesses to have no reputation online or a poor web presence. Not having this is risky to your business and those that depend on your success. 

Today we are going to focus on why it's so important to helping you land/capture more offline referral deals and why it's foolish to assume that you are capturing every referral that is generated offline without working on your online reputation. 

How Important Are Having Reviews Online and How Do You Manage Them?

The reality is that local businesses face high stakes when it comes to online reviews, and according to a Bright Local study conducted last year:

  • 72% of consumers surveyed said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business

When businesses look to engage with their clients and prospects online, social media is overwhelmingly the avenue they pursue. While social media is an excellent way to develop a relationship with clients, it is extremely hard to build a big, loyal following for most remodeling businesses.

Also, most people just don't go to Facebook or Twitter to consult with their friends on who they hired for their latest remodeling project. Referrals just aren't happening like that for most remodeling contractors. Social media is still an important part of your overall marketing strategy, but having reviews online is more important.

Generating lots of quality reviews on sites like Yelp, Google + (Places), Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Citysearch, Angies List is much easier to do for a remodeling business than build 1,000 followers on Facebook. Not only are these reviews vital to validating your top prospects decision to hire you, but they are largely considered "social signals" and can play a big role in how you rank in organic and local search. 

Actively managing online reviews and implementing a "reputation marketing" strategy is often overlooked and much more sales-targeted method of prompting engagement. Not only will having lots of quality reviews push your online prospects to contact you vs your top competitor, it will help you close more deals from all your marketing, especially your referrals. 

Who would you do business with if two friends referred you to two different businesses?

The local business with 25 reviews and an overall 4 out 5 rating on a variety of review sites, or the business with ZERO reviews and little information about the quality of the service they deliver from their past clients. It's clear how important this is, so why aren't more remodeling businesses doing this?

Offline Clients and Referral Prospects Go Online!

I have consulted with countless business owners who claim that they don't need a great online presence because 95% of their business comes from offline referrals (past clients, friends, family, community members, associates, etc). The biggest mistake most remodeling businesses make is depending on referrals alone to fuel their business, but that's a story for another day.

The point I want you to realize here is that your offline referrals, those who were referred to you by someone that knows you, 90% of them go online to research your business. If you don't have awesome information on the 1st page of Google, you risk planting a seed of doubt in that prospects mind. Or worse, your competitors are on page 1 and their information/reviews look better than yours. 

You are losing referral business if you don't have a great reputation and online presence. That I can guarantee. If you depend on referrals to survive, one of the smartest decisions you can make this year and into the future is implementing a reputation marketing strategy and getting a quality web presence beyond just your website. If your website is bad. Fix it! If you have no reviews. Get some!  If you have no information about your company on other websites. Get it done! One of the best ways to get more business is by having a business that people can actually learn about online. 

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. 

Buying 3rd Party Remodeling Leads is a Fools Game

Buying leads from 3rd party providers like Service Magic is just plain insanity, especially if these are the only consistent leads you are getting. I have seen countless remodeling contractors chase around weak 3rd party leads, waste tons of time, and lose lots of money only to be left frustrated and confused by these types of lead services. It seems like a good idea, but the the real question is why doesn't it work?

Smart People Don't Use 3rd Party Sites to Find Remodeling Contractors

Yes, I said it. This isn't meant to be a jab at anyone but it's true. Smart people do NOT use 3rd party websites to request estimates from local remodeling contractors or to find any contractor for that matter. Think about it...would you rely on someone else to pick the next 3 or 4 contractors you were going to hire?

Most people understand how to search online. I would go so far as to say that most people are experts at using search engines these days. We have become so good at searching that we can quickly determine paid search ads from organic searches. We can make super fast buying decisions based on search results, how they appear, what they say, and how well the search aligns with our intent. All in a matter of seconds. We know when we land on a site like Service Magic that this is not what we are looking for to make a final decision on who to contact.

Your best prospects are NOT on Service Magic or any other 3rd party lead site. If you want a lousy lead and a sub par prospect at best, continue buying leads from a 3rd party. Great prospects know how to find the best local businesses to contact directly. They understand how to read reviews, blog content, and to quickly determine if the local remodeling company they just found is legit or not. This doesn't take that long to do so why would I use some 3rd party site to narrow this down for me?

Smart people know that those local businesses that have a great website, lots of positive reviews, good content, social presence (even a small one works!), solid guarantee, and are on page 1 of Google are typically legit. Now it's just a matter of contacting 1,2, or 3 of them and feeling them out.

You Are NOT Positioned as the Expert

Before you go and buy another lead from someone you need to understand the mentality of someone who uses a 3rd party service site. They want the cheapest service and they want you to be at their mercy. In their minds, why else would a contractor use a service like Service Magic? The contractor must be cheap and you are giving the prospect all the control. They simply submit a button and 3-5 contractors magically kill each other for a crappy project for no money. Doesn't sound like a business I want to be in yet so many of you continue to give away your money for so called "leads" and aren't investing anything into your own brand and market leadership.

You have no leverage and no positioning when you try and turn a 3rd party lead into sale. The prospect doesn't know you at all. They haven't watched any of your videos, they haven't read your reviews, they just plain don't know you.  

Marketing is all about creating that emotional connection with your prospect. Just about every product or service you buy is trying to accomplish this at some level. You could be featured on the cover of Remodeling Magazine this month and your 3rd party lead won't know nor would they care. You are just another name in a long line of people that called them that day and they would be hard pressed to remember or distinguish any of the remodeling businesses that called them from the lead request form they filled out. They have NO emotional connection to you and aren't looking for that. If you take anything away from this article, that might be the most important thing to remember. 

Every time you give away money for a lead is another dollar you failed to invest in yourself, your brand, your reputation, and your own leads that you control. 3rd party leads are something you should try as a small part of your marketing to fill your funnel, but NEVER EVER EVER should it be the only thing you are doing unless you want to simply swap your time for less money than you are worth...if you can even get them to say yes.

Become your own Service Magic and start selling your lead overflow to other contractors and control your own destiny. It's well within the realm of possibility for those who market themselves correctly and attack the market. 

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

3 Strategies to Generate and Measure Growth in Your Remodeling Business – Part 3

Part 3 of 3

3) Automate Your Lead Nurturing and Retention:

If you already have a great web presence for your remodeling business and are currently getting lots of traffic and conversions from different marketing sources, you are most likely in a great position to double sales in the next 6-12 months by automating your lead nurturing and retention strategy. Yes, that's right, you can DOUBLE sales in the next 6-12 months by implementing this. Retention and automation is actually something that I have struggled with for years and put it off because I just did not have time and felt it was too complicated to implement. Boy was I wrong! Once you have the right system in place, you can let the system do most of the work for you.

There are several great solutions out there to help you implement and manage automatic follow-up and retention marketing, it’s just a matter of find the right one for your business. Its take a little bit of time and effort to get it setup properly, but this is not something any business should go without. Getting a new lead is only about 1/2 the battle. That prospect wants to be nurtured and you have to do a better job than your competitors at positioning you or your company as the expert. I don’t care if you are a siding contractor, dentist, or water damage remediation company, you need to develop a series of automated follow up “touches” to let your prospect know the following:

  • Appreciation - thank them for requesting more information, estimate, consult, etc.
  • Next Steps - let them know what the next steps will be (phone call, series of emails, questionnaire, etc).
  • Confirmation - let them know they made the right choice by choosing your company.
  • Information - be the clear expert in your industry by providing great information after the conversion and on a monthly basis (Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Roofer, 3 Key Things to Look for When Choosing a Siding Product).
  • Referrals - ask for referrals, this can easily be automated and done in a very classy yet effective way.

The simplest way is to generate an email follow up sequence using an software that can do this for you. Personally, I love Infusionsoft and think it's a great tool for remodeling contractors as well. And don't forget to create another automated follow up sequence for those customers who you just finished a job for. Customers want to feel appreciated every time they give you their hard earned money. You are not doing them a favor no matter how much money (or lack thereof) you charged them for your work. Believe me, your competitors are not doing any of this and wasting valuable leads that just need a little more information and nurturing to help them make a decision.

There are many ways you can nurture prospects and get more referrals and have the entire process 100% automated. Stop complaining about the recession and too much competition and implement the 3 strategies I have laid out in the series. I guarantee that you can become the leader in your market if you do all of the above even just marginally well. It does not have to be perfect, just good enough or better than your competition. Learn some basic copy writing or hire an expert to do it for you. Implement a track and measure strategy and be everywhere your customers are. The money is out there in every marketing and it is not going away. Baby boomers and their children are in position to inherit $27 Trillion over the next 4 decades (source: WSJ) and are going to invest in all kinds of goods and services.

That’s why I personally love the remodeling industry and I feel its positioned for some of the biggest growth the industry has ever seen. Are you in position to capture a big slice of that $27 Trillion?

Didn't get a chance to read Part 1 or Part 2? Part 1 - Track and Measure Part 2 - Be Everywhere Your Customers Are

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

3 Strategies to Generate and Measure Growth in Your Remodeling Business – Part 2

Part 2 of 3 - 3 Strategies to Generate and Measure Growth in Your Business

2) Be Everywhere Your Best Prospects Are to Attract and Faciliate Remodeling Leads

Think about how you start your research process online to find companies you potentially want to work with or products you want to buy? If you are like most people, you start off with a general idea of what you are looking for. Let’s take an example of looking for a siding contractor: Most would start a search online at Google (80% of your market on average) with “siding contractor + area they live” or “siding installer” “siding company”.

You are going to get a variety of results and different listings that appear in the search results. Some searches will generate organic search results only, and others Google + Pages results (near the top), paid listings (top and sides), local directory listings, reviews, social media results, articles, blog posts, videos, and of course - actual company sites that install siding.

The search engines #1 goal is to provide a great experience for its users. The best way to do that is to provide relevant information related to your search + a variety of content for you to gather information from. That’s why you rarely see one site dominate the entire 1st page of Google for a term like the one above, but it can happen.

Your customers are everywhere online and they don’t rely on one site to find a company or one source to make a final decision. Google is the #1 search engine on the planet and where 80% of your market will start their research, but not necessarily where they make a buying decision. Once they narrow down their list of potential companies to work with, they begin the process of making sure the business is reputable and has some information online about the who, what, where, when, why, and how of a business.

You need to have a web presence beyond just your main website.

At any stage of this research and vetting process you can lose a prospect for a multitude of reasons. Don’t give them any reasons! Be everywhere they are, provide great information and a variety of content, and make it easy for them to say YES to take the next steps with you (Free Estimate, Consultation, Project Review, etc.). Consciously or not we are all disqualifying potential businesses at a speed never before seen in the history of man-kind. You only get a few seconds to make a great first impression and even after that you better have updated content in your blog, new posts on your Facebook Fan Page, 10+ additional web properties that mention your company, and at least a couple of reviews and testimonials somewhere online.

If you don't, you can kiss about 70% of your interested visitors goodbye. Gone forever.

How much is that costing your business?

Every business  needs at least 10 sites that they are actively marketing on to build their “Rivers of Information” (source: Scott Kilosky). 

The foundational core of your marketing should come in the form of:

  • A Quality Website That Loads Fast
  • Uses CSS
  • Mobile Friendly and Responsive
  • Tracks and Measures, and Converts!
  • Has a Blog (companies who blog and auto publish get 55% more business than companies who don’t - Source: Hubspot)
  • Local Directories
  • Review Sites
  • Press Releases
  • Social Media
  • Web 2.0 Properties for Article Promotion
  • Videos
  • Quality Links from Reputable Sources

Within each of these core ideas is potentially a full-time job for someone, so pick your battles and don’t get lost in the gigantic sea of sites and resources you can market on. The #1 best return on your online marketing investment is to get ranked in Google Places/Local/Maps (whatever you want to call it!). This is where every business needs to be great and be everywhere their customers are. Providing a good mix of these marketing strategies should bring you a combination of instant traffic and long term traffic and new leads.

But what about pay per click? Instant traffic? Display? Facebook ads?

Paid search, display ads, and Facebook ads are also very important for most businesses as a piece of your overall marketing strategy, but again, without your core "rivers of information" in place, you are going to lose a large portion of your prospects who are just in the initial research phase. Once they land on your site from a paid ad, most are not quite ready to request more information or buy from you just yet. They will go back to the search engine and search for “your company name + reviews” or “your company name + complaints” and a hundred variations of this. Try this out right now and do a search for your company name.

  • What would a prospect see?
  • Is there enough good information about your business to have the prospect want to take the next steps?
  • Do you have social sites that haven’t been updated in months, years?
  • Does your company look like it could be out of business?
  • Are competitors listed on page 1 for your company name?
  • You should be dominating page 1 from lots of different sources with updated information, good content, and offers to help drive new business and absolutely NO competitors should be listed until at least page 3-4.

If you want to waste your marketing dollars, implement a paid search strategy before you have your rivers of information in place. I have seen this mistake made time and time again and this is a mistake I have made with my own clients in the past. Those who had great information online from a variety of sources, and then implemented a paid search campaign, had campaigns that out performed those who had no web presence. Part 3 of my 3 part series coming soon.... Read Part 1 of 3 - Track and Measure Growth

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

3 Strategies to Generate and Measure Growth in Your Remodeling Business – Part 1

Part 1 of a 3 Part Series

Recently, I wrote an article about How to Prepare for Growth in Your Remodeling Business and I reviewed some key action items for all small-medium sized businesses to consider before they start generating growth. Today, I am going to focus on exactly what you need to be implementing into your business to generate and measure growth in your business online. Remember, you have to have a mentality for growth for this to work and you have to want to be the market leader not a follower. If you successfully implement the 3 strategies below, you WILL have a clearer picture of where your leads are coming from, you WILL cut out waste in your marketing budget, you WILL get more traffic and leads, and you WILL close more deals. Doubling sales in 6-12 months with these 3 core concepts is not uncommon.

1) You Have to Track!

#1 on our list is more a measurement strategy, but before you can start driving more prospects into your sales funnel and closing more deals, you need to setup tracking systems to measure all of your marketing channels. With today’s technology, tracking every single marketing investment you make is a no-brainer. But for most remodeling companies, they are doing very little if any form of tracking. From analytics, social monitoring and measuring, call tracking and lead tracking, lets review the tracking systems you need in place to then be able to generate explosive growth:

  • Google Analytics- is #1, and having analytics setup correctly on your site(s) is extremely important. You need to setup conversion Goals for all the lead forms on your site and start paying attention to the important metrics like - New Visitors, Return Visitors, Referral Sources, Pages/Visit, Traffic Sources, and Goals. You need to find out where your prospects are coming from online and offline.There are some paid analytics tools out there that are very good as well, but at a minimum you need Google Analytics if you want to rank in the search results and measure your marketing. Google is also using your analytics data to determine where you should rank...a topic for another day.
  • Social Monitoring/Measuring- social media may be one of the most overly hyped marketing channels in existence for remodeling companies. Social media should never be the 1st thing a remodeling company does to generate new business or you will surely fall short, but you do need it in your mix at some point for a few key reasons. While it can bring new business and new leads, for most of my clients, we use it in our mix to stay relevant, to share our content, and to keep people up to speed with our clients brand.If you are really creative and have a lot of extra time to invest in social, you can make it a successful way to grow your business, but you need to have a solid strategy in place.

    Also, almost all the major search engines using social metrics of some kind to help determine ranking in major search engines, so this is important to know. Having a good social media monitoring software will help you listen in to what is being said about you personally, your company, what your competitors are doing socially, and give you a clear picture of how well your time in social media is paying off.  I implemented this recently and was really surprised at how many times my name was being searched online as well as how many people were sharing my content. Exciting stuff!

  • Call Tracking- every marketing medium you use, you should be using a unique call tracking number to determine the effectiveness of that strategy. Ideally, you should be call recording all in-bound calls as well, and this can be accomplished with the same platform as your call tracking number provider. This is extremely important for every business to implement.Use a unique call tracking number on all postcards, catalogs, print ads, display ads, radio, tv, etc. Do NOTuse multiple call tracking numbers online to track local directories. All the top local search distribution services and Google are all about consistency with your Name, Address, and Phone Number, Address (NAP). Using multiple call tracking numbers will certainly screw up your NAP online and lead to below average results. It's safe to use multiple numbers pretty much anywhere else.Lastly, you should be registering and using multiple domain names to track specific marketing campaigns offline. This is a real easy way to zero in on what is working and whats not from postcard mailings, radio and tv ads, magazine, newspapers and more.
  • Lead Tracking - having some type of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is key to track leads and lead sources from as much of your marketing as possible. Most CRM’s can have steep learning curves so be careful which one you choose to start. Keep it simple wherever possible and at the very minimum use something that will allow you to track your sales opportunities/prospects and the ability to automate following up with those prospects.

Read part 2 of 3, Be Everywhere Your Customers Are!

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

Building a Marketing Funnel for Local Businesses – Podcast

Ryan Paul Adams of PME 360 and guest Josh Long at http://joshualong.co dive deep into building a marketing funnel for local businesses. Josh provides deep insight into the why and how of building a sales and marketing funnel and how to position your local business as the expert in your market. This is one of those pieces of content that can have long lasting impact on your business. 

Download the MP3


Read the Full Transcript 

Download the PDF

Building a Marketing Funnel for Local Business

Ryan: Hey, everybody! This is Ryan Paul Adams. I have Josh Long on the line.

Hey josh! If you wanna say hello.

Josh: Hey, how's it going?

Ryan: He's a marketing consultant, a marketing optimizer and entrepreneur.  I wanted to get him on the call today to talk a lot about building a sales and marketing funnel.

Josh has a lot of great experiences in the business world. I think he can offer a lot of value. So Josh if you wanna take it from there. And tell us a little bit more about your background.

Josh: My expertise is in the real estate business. Just like a lot of people in the early 2000s, I jumped right in. I got an MBA in Business Administration but that's all the training I've got in business and sales. So I was a trial-by-fire, right-out-of-the-gate.

And when the market turned and the industry got right under, I was trying to figure out what I can do for the next stage of my career.

I got connected with a guy named Chet Holmes, a business and sales marketing trainer. And he had a great book called The Ultimate Sales Machine that I really gobbled up. I got connected with him and grew to be the Marketing Director of his organization. We grew about $10 million then at that time and we had a lot of services.

I got to work with guys like Jay Abraham before I worked with Chet. I've done a short tenure with Dean Kennedy a top rating small business marketing guy. So I got mentored by some great people. And I got to see the best practices out there.

And the thing I realized I didn't have in the mortgage business was, I saw a lot of companies struggle with their inability to have anything reliable that they could, again, rely on to provide more business.

It was like, they woke up everyday unemployed, and they hustled and hustled and hustled.

And as Michael Gerber, from E-myth, I really liked his trainings that I've gone through mastery programs. One thing he talks about is the distinction between an entrepreneur, a manager and a technician.

And what we found out was, most of the time, small business owners were great technicians. As Gerber uses in his book the example of a great baker. She made amazing pies but she did not know how to manage companies. She did not know how to be an entrepreneur and lead a company.

So a lot of these businesses and business owners come to us when I was working with Chet. And they'd say, "Man I need more leads. If I got more leads, I'll get more business and everything would be fine."

And we'd say, how are you doing it now?

Man, it was a crap shoot. They're just throwing mud against the wall and see what's stuck. They go to chamber events. They go to mixers. They go to leads group. Or they would do a postcard campaign once, and that's it.

Then, direct mail does not work. Or they get their cousins, uncles or nephews to build them a website over the weekend. But nobody would ever come to their websites because they don't understand the intricacies of the web: how Google ranks things, how search engines work. And then they would get guys to try Google Adwords. The small business world not knowing Adwords Express and they'd spend $2,000 or $3,000 but not get any good leads.

And they'd say, "Oh that doesn't work." So it's really just chasing the new shiny thing. They'd bounce from one idea to another idea. It's very typical. I've suffered it myself by having A.D.D. earlier in my career - of letting that overwhelm my focus and bounce from one new novelty to another.

And so the thing I saw over and over and over, even in Chet's organization was that, having a reliable, scalable and controllable lead source at the beginning of the funnel is vital.

And that this funnel would lead into an engagement process. This engagement process would lead into qualification. And part of that would be qualifying. Then, from qualifying leads to converting and closing. Closing finally leads to fulfillment.

Jay Abraham really opened my eyes to, once you have the client, how then can you have a process for retaining and re-engaging them - over and over and over.

Because the big costs of getting that client have been expended and paid for. And so now, it's pure profit when you can go back to them with more services, with more offers, with more integrations that you have to your existing solutions.

So I know a lot of your listeners and in the market that you are really helping now is involved in the home improvement business - the contractor world. And so a lot of those guys, they suffer from referral syndrome. And that they do great work, those who stay alive that aren't scam artists on Homes on Homes.

Those guys on Homes on Homes are just following scam artists. Obviously, if you're still in the business, you're not a scam artist because those guys can only rip off so many people.

So you do good work and people have friends and family over and they see your great work and it gets talked about. That's how referral gets spawned. But the problem is, they're not controllable.

You can't turn on the faucet for referrals when you need more jobs. And you can't fill in the gaps. It's an awkward situation if you get a lull and you got to go back to past clients and say, "Hey you got anybody who's been talking about remodeling their room or their bathroom?"

It is awkward because you come back in a desperate situation. And it does not bode well at that point.  That's the only way you can think of controlling referrals at that point of getting more leads.

And so for contractors, getting a funnel - something that generates consistent leads is important.

A lot of guys I know go to home shows. And these home shows are mostly in the spring or fall, all over the nation at fair grounds. So the problem is, that you're a little fish in a big pond.

Because all of your competitors are standing up side by side.  You've got to try and figure out some offer that engages people. It's really the most cut throat place to try and get more leads.

Ryan: And home shows are expensive. They are not a cheap place to get your business some exposure.

Josh: Exactly. In the marketing world, we talk about the cost per 1,000 exposures. In any advertising medium, you can put a price point on a cost per a thousand views. In that case, you are paying a premium premium pricing for those views - for people to walk by and see your names.

Take note that it's not captive. You've also got to try some gimmick and shenanigans to get people in.

Ryan: Well, it's amazing how many clients and prospects that I talk to on a regular basis are investing money in marketing right now. But, their engagement with their prospects ends after the initial one touch: phone call, email with the usual message, "Hey! You requested more information about doing X, Y or Z." And it ends there.

They've invested all this time and effort. Their marketing people have invested all this time and they make one phone call. And when they can't get hold of them. Move on, next one.

Josh: Again, building a funnel…

If we look at a funnel it really is a conveyor belt. You get leads coming in and you get them into a conveyor belt.

To visualize this since we aren't on video and I can't use a whiteboard like I always love doing. You get a conveyor belt and you move them from stage to stage. And so I would say, to find at least 4 stages that you can get your prospect in.

From the first point of contact, whether that's calling you or they come to your website or they find a review of you online. Then, what's the next stage. What is it that you do to engage them?

Dean Kennedy gave me a really good analogy and I use it all the time in the sales process. Back in the day, when pay phones existed and they cost a quarter, if you got stuck and you didn't have a cellphone or you didn't have a change on you. I'd say, we can get that since that request is pretty low, pretty painless.

We look like respectable, trust worthy guys, we're not going to get a quarter and ask for $10 like scammers on the street or whatever. So, getting a quarter is pretty easy but when we go on and say that we need a bus fare and it was a dollar. It's another story.

Getting a dollar is not four times harder, but it is harder than getting a quarter. Because you're asking somebody to get into their wallet and get some cash out.

And then, if we were really hard pressed for some reason. We had to go ask somebody for $10 for like a cab fare. Because you were stuck there, stranded, something happened in a big city and you needed a cab - you need $10.  The chances of getting somebody to give you $10 is really hard and you need to give a sob story.

You're going to have to give a commitment that you'll pay them back. Or tell them how your family is in need or some big drama story.

So it's just like in sales. The first engagement tells you, when somebody first contacts you, to try ask them for their budget or for a visit. You can get away with a walk-through in their home but they probably want to get some basic info.

So there's something in exchange online. What we do a lot of times is we give a free report. Something that helps educate them in the process that they're undertaking.

In the case of remodelling a bathroom, if I were remodelling a bathroom and I came across a contractor's website that said, "Looking to remodel? Before you get started, download our free report on the 7 black holes where you can get ripped off or the 3 black holes where you can get ripped off and how to avoid them.

In that case, the contractor would be asking you for a quarter. Which would be in this case is a name and an email address. Pretty low risk. They're not asking for a phone number. They're not asking me to fill out a long form on the details, the budget, the size of the space, the time frame when I want it done.

It's just a simple exchange. It's like, "I'm more than happy to give you my name and my email address. And get that report."

So that would be the beginning of what I'd say is the first step of a good funnel.

It's something that you give value away. You help the person in their decision making process.

Ryan:  If you're doing that, if you took the time to put together a report like that and once they downloaded this, and a couple of emails to follow up, you'll probably be the only guy or girl in your market that is offering that. So it's a huge differentiator.

I mean, you are putting yourself 10 notches ahead of what you consider competitors. And it was so simple, you did it by just offering great information and getting rid of all the negative fears that these people have about making this big buying decision.

You're getting them right out there. Like you said, The 7 Tips to Avoid for Not Getting Burned. 

We talked about this last week, which is getting the negative out there.  Like, we won't leave cigarette butts all over your yard. Or we have a professional crew and we make sure that we have our belts tightened.  You can even make it a little funny, like if you're a plumber…

Josh:  …You don't have ever to see our butt cracks.

Ryan: All these fears of people about hiring home improvement contractors, get them right out there.  Get it into a report. Get them into a backend email funnel, articles or whatever.

Josh:  What happens too, what we found when I worked with Chat, because we did a lot of education-based marketing. And that is what this is, offering this report is education-based marketing.

And the thing we found out was, some obscure research report done by some sales organization found that the company that provides the client with the most education would be successful. Companies that are willing to help clients learn and take away the imbalance of power, of ignorance would get 67% to 70% of consumers were predisposed to go back and hire that company.

It is a trust thing. It builds so much trust. And in any transaction, trust is key. And if you don't have the trust of your prospects, you'll never close them.

It doesn't matter how great power remodels look, if you can't build trust.  And you do it in a multitude of ways.

One is the very first engagement of giving something of value. Even if they don't read the whole report, even if they just scan through it and only look at the bullet points, you are educating them. You are being transparent.  You're being,

"Look we're not gonna scam you this way. We're not gonna require 100% payment upfront or just all the other ways people get scammed in projects. We're not gonna recommend the most expensive fixtures because we marked them up. It's not goona produce an ROI on the resale value of your home"

Things like that.

So back to what you said about a lot of contractors who only follow up once, leaving just a voicemail - or they never follow up at all.  So again, this is Sales 101 stuff. The average time or frequency of contacts - total quantity of contacts, I should say that it takes for the average transaction to take place whether it is B to B or B to C (Business to Consumer) which your contractors are in is 5 to 7 times.

What it means is that 80% of the sales happen after the 5th or 7th contact.

So we used to play a game where we would be following up with the companies that contacted us. We just made a game out of it. We'd have fun voicemails. Chat was brilliant. He said, look at the voicemail as a 30 second personal radio advertising.

Position it that way. Write something that's compelling. Don't just say, "Hey Steve, just returning your call. Just seeing if you are ready to make a decision or if there's anything else I can help."

We would also change it to something like, "Hey Steve! This Josh from ABC Contracting. You know you contacted us. And the next step in our process is to meet and bring our portfolio book and show you all the homes that we've done. We'll give you a list of referral sources or references that you can call - that are just in your neighbourhood. You can even go, see and talk to the homeowners about their experience with us. There's no pressure. We just wanna move forward in the very next step. So give me a call back and I'd like to schedule something with you. I got some time free, Tuesday in the afternoon or Friday morning. And here's the number."

So it would be a clear, again, you can do them as radio ads. But it must be specific to that consumer and situation. Moving them forward. And the game was, who could leave the most voicemails in the course of a week. We would call sometimes day after day.

There's nothing wrong with that.  The more squeaky wheel gets the grease. People are busy. You don't have to think that "Oh, they're not returning my call. They're afraid of me." 

We get to think of all the mental head games we go through as business owners.
Not wanting to hold call or follow up call or pester people.  I just learned that, after time, my job is to disqualify people as fast as possible. In that way, I wouldn't end up wasting time. Then I'd mentally psych myself out, going and pursuing other leads.

And so by getting into the mental process of how many voicemails can I leave that are different, that are unique, that are very engaging and then, how can I disqualify this person as fast as possible. So that I'm not wasting my time with them, is a really powerful shift in mindset.

Now on follow up systems.

So you have initial engagement, how they get hold of you - whether it's your website or it's finding you online through some review sites. Whether it's Google places or like, Yellow Pages - something like that.

They find you and they come to your site. Or they leave a voicemail. Then they get a follow up call. What's the follow up sequence? Then, what's your sales process?

I had a friend and he was an audio-video contractor doing home theatres, sound systems, automation systems and stuff. One of the things we identified as part of his sales process were two things: if he can get clients or prospects to come into his showroom and take a tour of the showroom and see all the whiz bang tools, features and gadgets, his close rates went up, sky rocketed as supposed to going and doing in-site visit in their homes.

If he'd go in their homes and they'd never come in the show room. I think he'd close 1 out of 20. But if they come into the showroom, he'd close 8 out of 10. So what's that, a 16 times better close rate?

Then for him, he would charge a design fee and this was his engagement. These are baby steps if you go back and you think about Bill Murray in What about Bob.

Josh: Taking baby steps, what he'd do was he would charge a design fee of $500. Because in his industry, unfortunately, Best Buy, Amazons, all those guys were competitors.

Homeowners would think, why do I need Dave, why do I need to buy a $3,000 TV from Dace when I can get a $2,500 one from Best Buy. It wasn't though as if Dave was ripping them off, it's just that Best Buy has volume pricing.

And so what happened when he charged a $500 design fee, was that the retention would go up. Even if they bailed, he was profitable. He was making money because it was taking 2 to 3 hours to do the design layout and the all the stuff to get them on board.

And then it would go into a bigger contract. So again taking it back to baby stepping it, don't go asking for a thousand dollars from some stranger because you need a new transmission.

Ask for a quarter to get a payphone call so you can go have done what you have done. Change that mindset or adapt that mindset of baby stepping with a funnel approach.

Ryan: That works really well.

My background was on the custom home market before I started my Internet Marketing business and one thing I learned early on was that chasing a ton of prospects around or the big homes would end in a realization that they'd say the right things to you but eventually they would lie to you.

It was my fault. I didn't control the process. I didn't have a process.

Josh: It took me a few years before I realized everybody lies in a sales process. I even catch myself doing that. I don't do it often because I don't want the sales person to be running around in a wild goose chase.

But I catch myself in Best Buys which now is a show room for Amazons. I want to check out a laptop. I want to hold it and type on it. So I go to Best Buys.

If the sales person comes up to me, I don't tell him "Yes I'm researching for my purchase in Amazon."

But I don't try to mislead them in wasting a bunch of time with me. However, everybody lies. It's an unfortunate process or result of capitalism, consumerism and aggressive sales people.

Ryan: I, flat out, stopped doing estimates anymore. And I just package it into a complete project consultation and estimate.

And here's what I'll do for you for $1,500 or $2,000 or whatever is I'll help you get your plans done. If your plans are already done, we'll consult and make sure that you're saving money.  We'll be building this home the right way.

The other stuff of my process is we'll get you ready to build. We'll give you a complete open estimate of all of our fees and all of the contractors. We can show you how much your house is really costing, where we can save you money. Really, a consultative approach.

I think most home improvement contractor can do the same thing. If all you're doing is selling windows, that is probably not the right strategy.

But again with that initial content piece of "The 5 things to know before you hire a window contractor" and go through that stuff - that's your free introduction. The 25¢ that you were talking about.

Josh: Thinking about consultative sales, there's a guy named Andy Miller that I've worked with Chet. And he was the guru of consultative sales and he really opened my eyes. What it does when you get a consultative approach.

And he'd always referenced a doctor or a surgeon. When you go meet with a doctor, you're not combative. You're not lying to them. You trust them because you want their opinion and what I viewed as in the negotiation table, is getting on the same side as the client.

And looking at their playbook. And saying, "You know I'm not really going to do that and here's why."

It's all the things - whether they benefit you or not as the consultant or the sales person or the contractor. You don't care because you make your money on the project. You make your money when you get the client on a bigger deal. And so your design fee or your design consultation as a home improvement contractor you can easily charge - up to a couple hundred of dollars perhaps.

The amount doesn't really matter as it's the psychological effect of them looking at you as an expert - of you building something trust worthy. And like my friend Dave with the home theater systems, it was something they could leave and they could benefit. They wouldn't feel handcuffed to home if they wanted to go another route.
And he provided a bunch of value added benefit on the back end that some cheap clients just didn't care about or didn't realize as valuable.  But he still made plenty of money on the big contracts. And it qualified people a lot quicker.

Ryan: It's amazing if you have the process in place - when you have that initial consultation which you can charge for.

Imagine how much higher your close rate will be. Like you said with your home theater guy, it was like 80% of those who took him up on that offer closed.

When I was in the custom home market, even in Internet Marketing, we take the consultative approach and we charge for it. And those people that take the next step, those who want to hear the full details and pay for your time, 98% of the time become clients.

Josh: As a contractor or any business person, especially if the cash flow's tight, you just want to say yes to everything. Just to get the group working, the deals flowing. But it's the minute that you take a stance of prestige, a stance of expertise - the clients are even more attracted to you, like a lighting to a rod.

So going back at the very beginning, I talked about marketing funnel as something you can really rely upon - it's really of a 3 step process.

One, what is the lead source? What is it that's driving consistent lead float to you. We talked about the home shows. These can work. It's a slug. It's like a pit fight. Because you got all your competitors next to you trying to grab people's attention just when they're on a lazy Saturday stroll.

It is hard. You can do direct mail. You can do postcards. You can do referrals. You can have strategic partnerships with other industries that are complementary to yours. You can get online and have social media help you or reputation management stuff help you and get good reviews and be really really easy to find.

I am sure Ryan is educating you guys on what that is. And I'm sure his company offers that stuff.

Getting that one you can rely upon, just stick with it until it works. There's no right or wrong answer to what lead source you get.

It is sticking to one until it works because they all work. It's just the fortitude to stick to it.  And then getting the engagement funnel, what your engagement funnel looks like.

It starts with 3 steps.

Start with giving your free report. Doing a consultation. And then a proposal. Get that defined. Write it down and if you have sales people, get them to work at it together. Train them, review them weekly. Get that done.

And what's the close? How do you close people? You guys already know that. You wouldn't be in business if you didn't know that. But that's the last step of the funnel.

Hope that's helpful.

Ryan: Josh, that was great info. I really appreciate your time. How can people reach you if they want to learn more about what you can offer?

Josh: Just go to my website joshualong.co - that's .co and not .com. It's the new hip thing. I say that a lot so it's easier to remember I guess.

But I do work with B2B companies typically $5 million and up. More on the strategic planning stuff and fixing a lot of broken things. I've got the site and a blog. Get more information there.

Ryan: Great! Really awesome stuff. I'll talk to you later.

Take care.


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

Internet Marketing Correctly Can Ensure That You Get The Business – Not Your Competitition

Marketing on the internet has grown leaps and bounds in the past few years. If you're thinking growing your business, opening up new lead channels, or starting a new business, you need to determine if there is a market online for your product or service.

If there is a market for your company, what kind of competition do you have? What are your competitors doing and is their business successful? Understanding the potential market and competition will ultimately make you more informed and more likely to be successful. Marketing online is very difficult if you don’t understand what your competition is doing. Getting to #1 in the search results may not even be possible depending on the keywords you want to target.

If you are providing a product or service that is in high demand it is important to keep in mind that if you're not getting your target prospect’s business, someone else is. Marketing online you have to expect to compete heavily to attract customer attention.

As your website grows in popularity you need to ask yourself:
1. How do I grow my relationship with my current customers and visitors?

2. How do I increase my customer base and convert prospects into customers?

3. How do I make sure my current customers are happy and stay with me? If you are selling a product or service that typical is a one time sale, think about how you can upsell something else to increase sales more easily.

The first thing you want to do is build a database with contact information for all your current and prospective customers. Communicate with these people through email and social media. Build relationships and loyalty through communication, promotions, discounts and benefits. Keeping contacts engaged and happy is a great way to get them to spend money with you.

Organize a search engine optimization campaign so that your customers find you when they are searching for products or services like you offer. Then build a website that is filled with valuable and keyword rich content. I can’t stress this enough, content is king in the online marketing world. This will ensure that your website ranks well with Google if you are targeting the right phrases and writing good quality stuff.

Ultimately you need to grow and build relationships as well as nurturing your public appearance to ensure success marketing online.