About a year ago I got a call from a former client—the owner of a $65MM exterior remodeling company.
Something was a “little off” in his sales presentation. He wasn’t sure exactly what it was, so he wanted me to take a look at it.
A couple days later, he flew to my home office in Texas with his top two executives, and paid me $15,500 to let them give me the sales presentation, and then have me give them suggestions to make it better.
Over the course of 6 hours, I identified two or three dozen (mostly) teeny-tiny adjustments that I felt, collectively, would move the needle.
After the meeting, I typed up the notes and created a 17-page document that gave an analysis of all 48 pages of their iPad pitch book, and where the changes needed to occur… as well as specific things the reps should say as they talked through any particular slide.
All in a day’s work.
What impressed me most about this was the owner’s willingness to open up and ADMIT he didn’t know everything.
The guy was doing $65MM a year and he made his VP of Sales sit there and listen to ME.
In other words, he’s open to suggestion. He values an outside opinion. He wants to double- and triple-check his own thoughts—and the thoughts of his staff.
Which is a characteristic I see far LESS OFTEN in far smaller companies.
In this post I’m going to cover four bad habits that you might have picked up along the way that could be hampering your ability to “make the jump” to $10MM.
Bad habits that you probably don’t even realize that you have.
It’s kind of like going to the DMV to renew your driver’s license… only to realize that your vision has gotten bad in the last few years. The change happened so slowly, however, that you didn’t even notice—until you had to take that eye test. Then when you get glasses, you can’t believe how much you’ve been missing.
Don’t worry, I’m not trying to beat you over the head here.
But at the same time—there are reasons why companies stagnate in this industry in the $2- to $5MM range. To make the jump to $10MM, you have to be willing to critically examine EVERYTHING.
I think the first bad habit is pretty clear from the opening story:
Bad Habit #1: Not Willing To Take Advice
Obviously, not everyone has an opinion worth listening to. But for starters, I’d seek out advice from companies that are bigger than yours. From people who have been there, done that. Both inside and outside the industry.
But it could also be consultants, trainers… or even your own employees.
Recently I sat in a meeting with one of my $10MM+ clients. We pulled their top 2 sales people in and grilled them for a full hour about what they are experiencing while selling in the home. I asked them if they thought THIS would help or if THAT would make a difference. These two guys combine for $4MM a year in sales—their opinion is worthwhile.
You get the point.
Bad Habit #2: Only having ONE Go-To Marketing Tactic
Most people grow their companies by having success with one (or maybe two) marketing tactics. It could be direct mail… or home shows… or telemarketing… or newspaper.
I don’t mean that they don’t TRY other things. And I don’t mean that they don’t have some success with multiple things.
What I mean is their bread and butter is usually just one thing.
Which is dangerous in two ways: First, what if that one thing quits working for some reason? The home improvement industry is littered with guys who crashed when the telemarketing rules changed. And other guys who flamed out when newspaper quit working. Or who are struggling to hold onto the glory days of canvassing.
And second, it’s dangerous because it’s usually stagnating. You do your “thing” as much as you can do it—but that “thing” can’t generate $10MM worth of business. It maxes out at $2MM. Or $4MM. Or whatever.
To get to $10MM, you’re going to have to have more than one thing. If you’re open to suggestion about new things, then you’re killing two birds with one stone.
Bad Habit #3: Losing Focus
Man, this is common. You try to add sales by selling and installing something other than what you’re good at selling and installing.
I’ve seen it a hundred and one times.
It goes like this: “Hey, we have this customer base, but nothing else to sell them. What if we started selling X, then we could get more sales from the same customers!”
It makes so much logical sense that it’s hard to refute. And it’s not like it’s a death sentence to try to sell something new. Staying completely stagnant isn’t necessarily a virtue.
But the way to get to $10MM is simple: Raise your prices so you’re the highest in the market, make sure you’re really, really good at delivering on your promises… then find a TON OF PEOPLE TO BUY IT.
That’s my real expertise: showing you how to find a ton of people to buy what you are good at selling—at very high prices.
If you try to sell some other thing, inevitably, you’ll be kind of crappy at doing it. And people will notice. And that’s a problem.
I’d recommend critically examining what you already sell and NARROWING it, if anything. FOCUS. Be genuinely world class at what you choose to focus on.
Bad Habit #4: No Reverence For Leads
Leads are the lifeblood of any company. But, of course, you know that.
Except I’ve seen a lot a lot a lot of remodeling companies who don’t respect their leads at all—even after spending a fortune to generate them.
How does this bad habit manifest itself?
- Failure to use pre-positioning to price condition, pre-sell, and gain prospect trust.
- Failure to follow-up on cancelled appointments.
- Failure to follow-up on sit-no-sales.
Instead, it’s easier to just shrug your shoulders and generate more leads. Why spend time and effort doing the 3 things above? In the case of #1, they’re going to buy from you anyway, right? And in the case of #2 and #3, they don’t want to buy from you anyway, right?
WRONG and WRONG.
I’ll cover all of these bad habits—and explain how much money you are losing—in my upcoming 2-day seminar in Dallas (April 26 & 27). I’ll show you exactly how to solve these problems, and how to increase sales by about 10% to 15% by simply respecting your leads.
At $10MM, that’s an extra million dollars in sales. Or more.
There are more bad habits—but I’m out of time to write them, and you’re probably out of time to read them. But I’ll cover this in detail in my upcoming course “Make the Jump to $10MM.”
I hope you’ll join me. Read more about the seminar here.
P.S. What does the marketing budget of a $10MM company look like? I’ll show you in my next blog post.