Hey, this morning I did a video about life insurance and it was a reminder that if you’ve been putting off life insurance because you’ve thought of all the things that go into getting it done and all the work it’s going to take, and therefore you’ve put it off, that video was about making it happen. You’ve got to get it done. This is along the same concept. If you have a business partner and you have a wife, kids, whatever the case may be, you’ve got to have key man insurance.
On my screen I have a Wikipedia page for key man life insurance. Google it, read about it, get familiar with it. It’s cheap. It’s basically glorified term life insurance. It’s packaged up in a specific way to provide protection. I’m not going to give you all the details but I want you to look into this and protect yourself. It’s really important. Think of it in two ways. One, if something happens to you, so let’s say you have a business partner and you pass way, your business partner has just lost you. He or she needs money. The company is infused with money from one life insurance policy. You die, the company benefits in the sense that they receive money to go out and hire someone else to replace you, to give them money to do whatever they need to do to survive because you’ve been lost.Second, it buys out your spouse. This is really important. If you want to take care of your spouse and you die, how in the world will your business partner buy out your spouse? Key man life insurance will help facilitate that.
It accomplishes two things: infuses the company with money, buys out your spouse, protects your kids. A couple things you should do: You need to modify your buy-sell agreement for your business with your partner. You need to make sure that your partner and your spouse are named appropriately in your life insurance policies. You need to consider tax implications. If you pay life insurance premiums and then deduct those, then it could result in a taxable event to your spouse or to the business later. I’m not going to go into detail on that but look into all of that. Google key man life insurance policy. Look at how you need to pay the bill and the tax consequences. If you don’t have a policy, get it in place now. It’s critical to the potential survival of your business and the future of your family and your kids.
A couple weekends ago we went to Vegas for the weekend with some of our best friends. One of the things that we did is we talk a helicopter tour – I think it’s three or four hours – to the Grand Canyon and back to Vegas, and then over the strip. Our pilot, well first of all he was super-friendly. From minute number one he was friendly, he was funny, he was engaging. He pulled all six of us into the conversation. Then when we arrived at the Grand Canyon and landed there were probably about six other, seven other helicopters at the same time that landed. The way they do this is they all go out at about the same time. They land, you’re in the Grand Canyon for about 45 minutes, then they come back. Highly recommend this if you’ve never done it. It was fantastic. I can’t remember how much we spent. I think $500 a person. I really don’t know; my wife paid for it or she took care of it. I’m not quite sure but whatever the amount was it was worth it and I highly recommend it on a side note.
Anyway, we get there and the pilot gets out. He, like everybody else, has some food and champagne and drinks and stuff for you. He’s trying to take pictures of you. He’s got all these perfect spots and angles in front of the helicopter. In certain places in the Grand Canyon I’m looking around and the other six pilots aren’t doing anything. They’re standing next to their helicopter or they’re over by the crowd, but they’re not taking pictures of anybody, they haven’t pre-planned everything. Then on the way back the helicopter pilot is telling stories. I can’t remember all the different things he did. he even told us a story which was a little risky, but I’ll give him credit for it. He told us a story that basically reminded us that they get paid or that part of their compensation is on tips. He even made a joke about somebody giving him a little bitty tip that was barely worth his time. It was very risky but I’m going to give him credit because he scripted this whole thing out. Nobody else, none of the other pilots did. This guy had figured everything out from the food to how he was going to take pictures, to putting you in just the right spot. They weren’t selling you the pictures. He was using our cameras, our iPhones. He figured out exactly the story he would tell in advance. It was theater. I’ll bet you he’s probably one of the top earners of these helicopter pilots.
The point of this is what is the theater that’s going on inside of your business. What effort have you made to train your people that when they walk to the front door, they walk to the front desk in a commercial building, that they know what to say? What emails automatically are sent to your clients after and before the job is done? What videos have been pre-prepared to tell your client when you plan to treat, how to water and care for, and what to look for? What theater are you creating inside your business? Because theater makes a whole lot of money and it guarantees that your presentation is being delivered consistently.
This week think about what happens when someone approaches someone on your team. You have somebody out in the field, whether they’re a spray tech, an irrigator, pest control, lawn mowing, whatever the case may be. You’re going to have guys in the field at all different skill levels, all different language levels. Some might not know English, some might know it okay. Just really depends on your business and where you’re at. But what do they say? When a person walks up to somebody on your crew or one of your techs and says “May I have your number?”, or “Can you guys do this?”, or “Can you come over to my house and look at this?”, there’s a whole array of questions that they could be asked. Or if they walk up to someone that doesn’t speak very good English, exactly what are they supposed to do? What are they supposed to say? Might they give that person something?
How do you make sure that they call the office and talk to the right person on your team? The person that is most likely to sell the work, the person that knows all the selling points, the person that can accurately close the sale and quote a price, the person that can record them in your CRM software system so that you can follow up with them until they eventually buy. What’s your process? If you don’t have a process they’re going to just chat with your people and they’re going to walk away. It’s going to be a giant waste of a lead. If that person in this picture who’s walking away was worth $3,000 a year and your clients tend to stay with you for five years, you just lost $15,000 because you didn’t give this individual some way to either capture their information or give them something such as a gift card, or something that almost ensures that they have to at least call the office and see if you’re the right company to work with.
One of the constant themes that I hear is there’s no money in the business, there’s too much competition, there’s too much price pressure. I can’t make any money, I can’t charge high enough prices, and on and on. I understand there is legitimate competition and price pressure but you don’t have to have the lowest prices in the market. You could have top 20% prices in the market. Here’s an example: There are a million restaurants competing for your business. There are way too many restaurants. We don’t all the restaurants we have. However, the restaurants that excel and can charge top 25% or top 20% prices, they do a little more. Oftentimes it’s in customer service and it’s in presentation.
This picture here is from dinner. My wife and I were out. This is one of many examples that we experience at a lot of dinners that we go to, because this is an area that we tend to spend a lot of money because we like good food. when we got out, we’re going to go out somewhere good, somewhere nice. I see this over and over and over again in the top restaurants. This is desert. Look at the work that was put into this desert, most specifically into the presentation. Again, this is just one little example. This is not unique, but this restaurant is allowed, or better said, able, to charge and get, and has a waiting list, higher prices, because they put extra work into the wow factor, into the presentation.
Then in this picture here this is us buying lobster. We bought lobster for dinner at home and they went a step further. You pick out your lobster and then their presentation – and this is not a fancy place – but their presentation is preparing it for you. Not cooking it, just cleaning it up and getting it ready. They turn that into a presentation. I think we spent $200 on lobster, which I normally wouldn’t do but we bought a number of lobsters for several people. There’s my kids watching them prepare the lobster. They turned it into an event. They turned it into a show. As a result, they’re able to sell at higher prices and make more money.
This is done in every industry. How many restaurants go out of business? It’s one of the highest failure rates. Restaurants, they fail all the time. There’s restaurants at every price point. There’s tons of low-end restaurants. There’s tons of medium-priced restaurants. It’s all about the presentation. You can sell your work if you put a little more into it. If you have lousy customer service, if you have poor quality, if you don’t look any different than anybody else, then of course you’ve got to sell at the bottom of the market price-wise to get business. You’re not going to beat me out because I’m investing a lot of money in customer service and quality and appearance and the language we use and the appearance of our people. How in the world are you going to beat me if you don’t compete on price? You going to have to be really cheap. But if you make an effort and you work on the presentation then you can price at the same price I price at or probably higher, because I probably still under-price. That is something to consider. Think about your wow factor and your presentation, because that leads to accurate and higher, not high, but higher pricing in your marketplace.
I was at GIE, and if there’s one company at this show that should get some credit it’s Pavestone. These guys clearly get there well in advance of the beginning of the show, which always starts on a Wednesday afternoon, and then really opens to the public on Thursday and Friday. Look at what they do. Look at what they build inside this place. They go all out. There’s a lot of work involved. They even have a water element, think in two different places. They build this whole thing and they tear this whole thing down. Now, that costs some money. That costs a bunch of labor. It costs a bunch of shipping. There’s a lot of money involved here. But they go to the effort. This is a successful operation, a successful company, and they don’t halfass it.
I think it’s worth thinking about in your business, in my business, if we’re going to do something you might as well do it right. That’s what these guys are going to do. If they’re going to come to the show they might as well show off their product and show it off in the best light possible. You can’t help but look at this and say “Man, I’d like to have that in my backyard.” You can’t help but look at that and think “I think I could sell that to a whole bunch of clients.” They make such an effort that they give you a mental picture of exactly the benefit you’re going to get by using them, exactly what their product looks like, exactly how it works.
How much do we do in our business where we’re going to go do a door hanger or a postcard and we halfass it on the printing or we halfass it on the design, when all the real money is in the distribution. Or maybe you do a fantastic job on the production in terms of producing it and the language and the wording, but then you don’t buy a mailing list so you’re basically sending it to the wrong people. Maybe you then halfass, because there’s no better word to use, when you go about distributing it. You outsource it – let’s use door hangers – to a door hanger company but then you don’t make sure they are actually getting them out. You don’t monitor them. You spend all this money on trucks. I spend all this money on trucks, then what do we do with our trucks? We don’t label them, we don’t make them look good, we don’t make them clean. You have a workforce out in the field but you don’t put them in shirts, or clean shirts.
There’s a whole lot of examples where if we just took it one step further in the different areas of our business, it would have such a result. These guys could have just showed up at the show. They could have had a little area. They could have put together a small presentation. But they went all out. As a result, I think it makes them successful. They were definitely the standout in my mind when it comes to stonework, because they went to so much effort to put together a great presentation.