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4 Bad Habits That Are Keeping You From $10MM

bad habits could be losing you money
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?

  1. Failure to use pre-positioning to price condition, pre-sell, and gain prospect trust.
  2. Failure to follow-up on cancelled appointments.
  3. 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?


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.

Happy Marketing!

P.S. What does the marketing budget of a $10MM company look like? I’ll show you in my next blog post.


Click here to read more posts in my “Make The Jump” series:









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Innovating The NBA

The NBA Offers Some Of The Greatest Entertainment On Earth… Here’s How To Make It Even Better.

The NBA Offers Some Of The Greatest Entertainment On Earth… Here’s How To Make It Even Better.

The NBA May Be A Billion Dollar Entertainment Empire…
But That Doesn’t Mean It Can’t Be Made Even Better.

By Rich Harshaw 

Note: This article is part of Monopolize Your Marketplace’s ongoing “Outside The Lines” series, which feature ideas, strategies, and case studies from OUTSIDE the remodeling industry, with suggestions of how to implement those ideas into your contractor marketing efforts.

One Sunday afternoon in 1979, my dad sat me down in the living room for a life changing father-son talk. “Son,” he said in the most patriarchal tone he could muster, “I am about to show you something that will have a profound impact on your life. You must hold what you are about to see as sacred.” My nine-year-old mind raced with anticipation as I speculated what family treasure might be bestowed upon me.

My dad then walked over to the TV, pulled the knob to the “on” position, used the pliers to change the channel (you know what I’m talking about!), and I caught my first glimpse of “Dr. J,” otherwise known as Julius Erving, the greatest player in the history of basketball. My eyes bugged with Christmas-like wonder as dad explained to me the difference between mere mortal basketball and how the Doctor operated on the court.

At least that’s how I remember it. I was hooked immediately.
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The Art Of Injecting Fun Into Your Business.

You’ve Never Really Had Fun Until You’ve Pranked A Man Holding A Machine Gun

You’ve Never Really Had Fun Until You’ve Pranked A Man Holding A Machine Gun

Lighten Up And Have Some Fun In Your Business.
It Might Just Make You A Fortune.

By Rich Harshaw

“What’s in the box?”

That’s what the machine-gun toting border patrol agent demanded to know as he inspected the contents of my friend David’s trunk. He had accidentally left the case of fancy cigarette lighters in there; he had been giving them away as gifts to customers, and simply forgot to take them out before driving into Reynosa, Mexico to visit his manufacturing facility.

“Cigarette lighters,” David responded as casually as possible.

He had crossed this border hundreds of times, and knew a non-subtle bribe request was forthcoming. Instead of waiting, he suggested a demonstration:

“These are special lighters,” David offered, as he plucked a box from the case and handed it to the agent. “The flame on them is huge—like ten or twelve inches high. Go ahead, try it.”

The border patrol agent let his weapon rest on the shoulder strap as he grabbed the box from David, opened it and poured out the silver lighter into his right hand, eyed it momentarily, then flicked it with thumb.

Suddenly, without warning, the border patrol agent screamed out in pain, slammed the lighter on the ground, and looked bug-eyed at David, wondering what had just happened.

The gringo, it turns out, had just punked him.
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The Pursuit Of Wow

Within Seconds Of Seeing This Dude On Video For The First Time, I Knew He Was Worth Paying Attention To.

Within Seconds Of Seeing This Dude On Video For The First Time, I Knew He Was Worth Paying Attention To.

Learn About Tom Peters, The Man Who Rants, Raves, And Screams
About Treating Customers & Employees Right. I Mean RIGHT!

Written by Rich Harshaw.

The first time I ever saw or heard of Tom Peters, it was a mind-blowing experience.

I was a senior at BYU’s Marriott School of Management in 1993, and life was hectic.Then move on to bigger, more important things as you become a practiced “change artist.” My wife was six months pregnant, I was trying to start my company exporting motor oil and food products to Taiwan (long story), and I was taking some random and unmemorable class that was necessary to finish my degree. I regularly fell asleep in class because it was either boring or I had been up at the crack of dawn sending or receiving faxes all over the world.

The teacher announced we’d be watching a video and dimmed the lights. Perfect. I’d be able to sleep without anyone noticing and without missing anything important.

Then some guy came on the screen and started ranting and screaming. He got so worked up in the first ten seconds I thought he was going to have a heart attack and die right there on screen. Take a look:
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