“I am constantly on the phone and replying to emails and I just can’t get ahead.” In this video, Jonathan tells you how to delegate successfully so you can focus on growing your business.
I was responding to YouTube comments last night and there was a question below one of the videos that I thought was a good question. It was an individual that said, “I am completely overwhelmed. I know I shouldn’t be. I know that I should figure this out (and I’m paraphrasing), but I’m completely overwhelmed between the never ending phone calls, the email, and all the stuff that I have to do, especially around communication. I’m just constantly on the phone. I’m constantly answering the phone. I’m constantly replying to email, and I just can’t get ahead. I can’t get free to do the other things in the business that I need to focus on, because I’m stuck taking care of that stuff.”
I agree with working on those things because most companies are terrible about responding to email, and they don’t answer the phone. Yet, that’s where a lot of money is made, so I think it is very smart to be focusing on those things, and to be very good at those things, and to be very proactive and not ignoring the phone calls. However, you can’t scale the company. You can’t ever improve your own personal life if you don’t get out from under some of that. That doesn’t mean that you hire somebody and delegate it all, and say you’re done. I’m going to give you a couple ideas to phase out of that.
What you want to do to help solve that problem, because you have to solve that problem or you will plateau in your business, and eventually you’ll burn out. What you want to do is initially you want to start looking for an individual maybe part time, maybe full time. The number one thing you’re looking for in this individual is a person that is friendly, easy to talk to, great on the phone, a good communicator, and their personality is such that they can jump from one thing to the next.
They’re not so structural, or process oriented, that it will drive them crazy to get another phone call. Rather, they almost thrive on moving from one task to the next, and quickly, and they’re not bothered by constantly switching between things, because that’s what they’re going to do. They’re going to answer a call, they’re going to do an email, then they’re going to answer a call, and then another call, and then they’re back to email. They’re just jumping around, and they’re going from a sales call, to a trouble call, to a billing call, so that person needs to be able to handle that, and this same person then needs to be a good communicator.
Once you find this person, what you do is you give them some basic training in the beginning. What are the top 25, top 50 things that you have been answering? Start writing those down. What are the questions? Write them down, and then record an audio of your answer for each of those items, or document it in text. Then, when this new person comes on board, have them read that many times. Have them listen to the audio a number of times, and then put them on the phones to just do the basic. Just answer the phone. Tell them, “If you can answer the question, or if it’s real simple based on what I’ve already trained you on, deal with it.” You’re going to sit there and you’re going to listen, or you’re going to be in the other room, and you’re going to be paying attention, so that you can give them coaching and advice.
Then, same with email. Answer the email. If they can answer it, have them go ahead and take care of it. Then you’re going to look at these emails, and you’re going to give coaching and advice. From the beginning you’re going to let them know that “Hey, I’m not trying to micromanage you, but I don’t want to throw you to the wolves and make your life miserable. What I’m going to do is I’m going to pay some attention to what’s going on. How you’re responding. Don’t get stressed out about it because I’m not here to give you a hard time, and I’m going to look at your emails.”
“I’m here to help you. I’ve been doing this for a while. I’ve learned a few tricks. I’ve been through some of the challenges, so I want to shortcut it for you, so I’m going to pay attention to what you’re saying, what you’re writing, and then I’m going to give you some advice and tricks. I’m going to give you some help so that your job will be so much easier. So, I’ll be paying attention for a little while, but don’t stress out about that.”
That’s what you then do, and you give periodic coaching advice. Not every time. Some times you need to go do it in the moment. Other times you could just save up the advice and give it to them at the end of the day. Maybe there is no advice. Maybe they’re a rock star from the beginning. Now, what you do as they start answering the phone, and they start responding to email, and they do what they can, and the instruction is very clear, you tell them, “When you bump into something that you can’t handle, you’re not sure how to answer it, or you might be wrong, you tell the client let me get you on the phone with my manager, or let me connect you with whomever.” If they can’t answer the email, they flag that email so that you can come through later in the day, all at one time, and respond to those emails.
Maybe they can’t respond and they simply reply back to the client, hey I got your email. I’m checking on this for you. We’ll have you an answer before the end of the day. Thank you very much. And at the end of the day you go through and work all those emails. Now, if there’s an emergency email, they get you and you deal with that in the moment, but most things are not emergencies, and they can be batched for later.
Just like some of the phone calls. If you answer the phone and you tell the client, “Hey you know what? We can solve this for you. In fact, we’ll have it solved before the end of the day.” Or, “Let me give you a ring back. It will be today, to get your credit card number so that we can settle up on your account.” Maybe because this person can’t do that. The customer now has an expectation, and they got an answer. They know that you’re working on it, and then you can come through and deal with these things at the end of the day. Or, if during the day this individual who’s answering the phone can’t deal with something, they can get you in that situation.
Now, what you do is when you respond to that email with the answer because your assistant couldn’t do it, you have them read that email. So, they now know how to answer it next time. Maybe you even turn that email into a template if it’s a common question that you’re always answering.
Regarding the phone call, you then record your phone calls. You can buy a $80 phone recording device that records mp3’s and it’ll plug right into your phone. Basically, you plug it in to the headset of the phone on one side. So, if this is the little device, imagine the headset plugs in here, and then another wire plugs into the base of the phone, and it sort of sits between the headset and the phone itself, and it can record your calls.
You can just hit record anytime you want, so then it creates these mp3’s. You answer the question, you give that file to your assistant, and they listen to how you answered that, and you go through this for weeks. Depending on how much you’re turning over, it could be months, and yes, that’s quite a bit of work. Yeah, it’s taking up your time. You can’t just say, “Hi, glad we hired you Mary. Take care of everything. I’m done. I’m never dealing with calls again. I’m over here. Leave me alone.”
You can’t do that. You’ve got to work with this person for some period of time, but the beauty of it is within a month, 2 months, 3 months you’ve taken this thing completely off your plate, or a significant portion of it, and now you’re free to go do other things. You cannot hire this person, and think that they will magically know everything, and be perfect, and say the right things, because if you do, if you hire them and you throw them out there, then what’s going to happen is your going to be pissed, and you’re going to say these people suck. They can’t do this. I have to do it. I’m the best. I’m the only person that can do it, and the answer to that is no. That’s not the case.
The situation is that they never got the training. They could step up if you gave them the training. They could step up if they knew what to say, but to throw them to the wolves, in a sense, and then put them in a situation to fail, and then from that decide that you know what? It’s impossible to delegate this stuff, so I’m just going to have to handle it. That’s not how it works. That’s not reality. If you hire them, train them. Mentor them. Work with them for several months. Then, your problem is solved. You’ve got that off your plate, and you just keep repeating that with the different parts of your business, and in time, you have a good business. It’s a business that doesn’t drive you crazy and wear you down. So, that’s how you solve it. It works.
6 Important Points about Implementing an Organic Lawn Care Program:
1. Organic Lawn Care offers an opportunity to grow and improve your profit margins.
2. Organics can be both a defensive play for your business and a profit center because people expect to pay more for organic lawn treatments.
3. According to Tom Kelly of BeeSafe, you can charge more to cover increased product costs. Your net margin should increase a bit. Labor cost should stay the same if not grow as compared to standard chemical applications.
4. You can use the same equipment for organic treatments.
5. Training a technician to apply the rounds of your organic program is not very difficult. It is a little bit more difficult, but it is not a scenario where you have to send a tech to get a 2 year degree to be knowledgeable.
6. Moving towards an organic offering is a smart strategic move to give your business the selling advantage and keeps you competitive in your local service market.