5 Ways To Make Your Brand Pop

BY: Joe Crisara

5-way-to-make-your-brand-pop

I know some people get a little uncomfortable with the word ‘brand.’ It sounds to them like an advertising term, like it’s all about the slickness and the sizzle and not about the sincerity and the substance. But if you stop looking at ‘brand’ as superficial window dressing but instead see it as specifically defining your company’s mission and making a clear case to fulfill various promises, then you see that having a well-defined brand is not dodge at all, but rather an act of integrity.

I know that contractors are people of integrity and substance, who are proud of delivering tangible products and services that improve the spaces where people live and work. I myself spent decades as a professional in that industry. I want contractors to embrace branding as a necessary part of having a respected and successful business, but also as a tool for defining and being held accountable to genuine, deliverable quality, not as a way of avoiding it.

Whatever brand you may think you are generating and spreading out there, your brand is being created every time someone tells a friend or associate about your business. In this day and age that could take the form of a tweet, status update, YouTube video, blog post, text, email or website comment. The consumer has great power these days when it comes to defining your brand, far more than they used to. Which is why it is important for you to get out ahead of the pack when it comes to defining your own brand before others start doing it for you. And that means coming up with a list of unique and powerful deliverables that you then back up with the quality of your products and services.

1. Promises, Promises!

We all like to be promised something great. But we equally become depressed and angry when those promises are broken and we’re let down. Your brand promise is your absolute foundation. It is the cornerstone of everything you do as a business and it is the condensed message that first catches the customer’s eyes and ears. Make it catchy, make it attractive, and make it distinct, but most important, make it real!

If your brand promise includes “We sell you the best windows!”, then you better make sure your windows fit perfectly, keep out the weather and don’t easily break. If you declare: “On time and on budget!” then you need to work with all of your employees to enforce that your people are prompt and on schedule and realistic when it comes to estimating and budgeting jobs. Companies that deliver on their brand promise skyrocket to success. Companies that make empty, cynical false promises will reap a whirlwind of negative word of mouth. People find out- so have them find out how your company keeps its word!

2. Everybody On Deck

How depressing is it to go to a restaurant where you know that the owner genuinely loves the idea of making the highest quality cuisine in an upbeat, customer satisfaction-oriented environment, only to see floor-level employees who are rude, careless, sloppy, poorly groomed and contemptuous of the food they are making and serving? It wouldn’t instill feelings of comfort and assurance, would it? It’s more like a recipe for indigestion and resentment. The idealistic dream of the owner or even the general manager becomes pretty irrelevant when the army of employees below them don’t care in the least about vigorously delivering on the brand promise.

A successful business needs to be like a lean, mean sailing ship. Every individual on that ship, from the captain to the men on the rigging to the guy swabbing the deck, need to be focused and directed toward moving that vessel in the same direction, toward a worthy goal. You can’t have dead weight or people pushing their oars against the water, slowing down the ship. From your top management down through your accounting, sales and operations to your assistants and receptionists, you need everyone completely bought in on the company’s brand promise and living it every day. If they’re not, you seriously need to either re-train them or get a new group of employees.

3. Understanding Branding

Advertising and marketing are fine components of a successful company, but they alone do not a good business make. In fact, if your company becomes obsessed with having the most persuasive, cutting-edge advertising at the expense of delivering on a solid brand promise, then you will be creating hype, not value. And hype gets found out, and not in a good way. Your strong brand promise is backed up by impeccable service and fantastic leadership.

4. More Than They Expected Is Just The Right Amount

Why deliver when you can over deliver? Going above and beyond customer expectations turns some customers into brand evangelists, people who take it upon themselves, in a passionate and personal way, to expound upon the quality and excellence your company delivers. They root for your success and actively help spread the word. They “shout if from the rooftops,” so to speak, and that’s probably because you did such a great with their new roof. At every point of customer engagement, don’t just ensure total customer satisfaction, aim to make them ecstatic. This is how to build a brand that is undeniable.

5. What Was The Original Inspiration?

When you started your business, there had to be a spark of inspiration, an idea of delivering something uniquely great to customers, of making people happy and using your God-given abilities to create value and excellence. It wasn’t just about money. If that was the case you could have methodically bought lottery tickets or put all your energy into collecting recyclables.

People love to do what they’re good at and they love to be recognized by the people who benefit from their skills. Always remember your passionate spirit for the products and service that defines your brand promise. A purpose is more than just profit, it’s about relationships and improving the world. Never lose the real you that got into this business in the first place, replacing it with a slick facade or persona. Customers are attracted to the passionate, honest provider of goods and services that started this company years ago. In a nutshell, you can learn and evolve but you have to continue to be you.

To work on getting back to your core brand, check out our coaching memberships at www.contractorselling.com. Individual plans start at just $89/month and include one-on-one sales and marketing coach from yours truly.

The Honor of Taking Responsibility for Your Results

BY: Joe Crisara

The Honor of Taking Responsibility for Your Results

The job of a top professional is doing what seems impossible, on a regular basis. While there might be a few truly unworkable situations, the vast majority of the time solutions to the most difficult, stress-inducing obstacles really do exist- and we see evidence of this all around us.

When’s the last time you had occasion to hire, say, a great mechanic or a computer tech? You know, the type that remain cool under fire in the most seemingly “throw-up-your-hands” predicaments. The kind that patiently, methodically pokes around under the hood of your broken down car or zips through the operating system and file registry of your crashed and buggy laptop. When either machine is finally, magically restored to its perfect working order your sense of relief and appreciation can hardly be described by words.

The best performance-delivering professionals almost never make excuses, almost never give up and almost never put the problem on insurmountable external issues. It’s always on themselves. Although the problem may a challenging doozy, it’s always “What am I not thinking of?”, “What am I not seeing?” or “What angle or tool have I not yet employed?”

By the time we encounter any top professional, no matter the field, they have equipped themselves for the challenges to be faced and brought the precise tools for success. They have the discernment to know that perhaps not every single challenge can be won, but the vast majority of important ones can be, if one is prepared.

This principal of professional preparation and high self-expectations also applies to representing a company’s products or services in the field. A sales professional shares a thing of immense value – be it a product or a service- with individuals who have a need so that both sides can ultimately gain from the exchange. It’s truly a win-win scenario. But twists and turns often get in the way during a sales call. Which should be viewed as momentary obstacles- rocks and pebbles in the road- not as giant, insurmountable boulders! What makes a sales professional a true professional is taking the utmost responsibility for all their actions and reactions during a customer interaction.

Similarly, if you are a sales manager, attributing your sales staff’s lack of performance to external factors out of their control will ensure that your organization doesn’t improve and that your sales people will never get to experience the pride that comes with achieving peak performance.

Messages & Methods Usually Flow from the Top Down

When I’ve spoken to sales managers whose organizations are hurting, I notice that they focus in on very specific factors pertaining to sales call and want me to help analyze and instantly fix everything based on these micro observations. Somehow these managers are not considering one constant and very large influence on their team- themselves and their own behavior and attitudes!

These managers want a magic lightning bolt solution from me. But what they need, and what they are going to get, is a lot less flash and a lot more substance. That means training their team in a foundational way, from the ground up. It doesn’t take that much time and effort- but it is incredibly important to achieving peak performance and results.

Don’t Blame The Buyer!

It’s easy sometimes to view the buyer as a mortal enemy, sent by the hounds of hell to mess up our day, our week, our year!  But really, they’re only a person who needs a product or a service. They’re not coming in with bad intentions, most of the time. It’s just that they’re nervous, agitated, pressured, bored- and they’re trying to protect their own interests. They’re thinking of themselves. Too often salespeople obsess and become upset over an issue with the buyer when, in fact, the sales person created or contributed to that problem in the first place! In more cases than not, the ball is in your court and you can change the entire transaction in ways you probably had never thought of.

EGO Stands for Erroneous Generator of Obstacles.

Our ego is behind so many of our thoughts and actions, and mostly the ones that derail us! Think of the word ‘EGO’ as standing for Erroneous Generator of Obstacles. Just as ego screws up the perception and decision making abilities of all people, ego makes sales people operate from an incorrect viewpoint, defending their actions to the end instead of taking (self) blame out of the game and seeing all of the possibilities in the interaction. This requires really listening and offering options and solutions that best address the person’s wants and needs.

“Your prices are too high for me.”

“I completely understand. It is a significant investment. Can I ask you a question- when was the last time you bought the finest quality service and product and it was cheap?”

“Um… I can’t think of it right now.”

“Exactly. It’s pretty rare. So what should we do?”

“Alright, I’ll take the second to highest option.”

Look Inside, Not Outside, for the Problem

All the great philosophies in the world tell their adherents to first look inward and see how adjusting their own thoughts, actions and attitude can improve a situation before they even bring the actions of the outside world into it.

For a true sales professional, much of the work is done on our end, before we even meet with our potential customers. That’s why it’s so important for a sales manager to make sure their sales staff has internalized the principles of responsibility, adaptivity and creative problem solving when it comes to answering objections.

“I need to talk to my husband.”

“I understand and agree that your husband should give his input here. So can I ask you a question? If he were here, do you think he would favor the premium option or the more economical one?”

“The one in the middle.”

“So what should we do?”

“Yeah, let’s go with that one for now.”

There Is No ‘Smart Bomb’. Only Smart Sales People.

Many of the old school, shoot-em-up arcade video games (the kind that cost a quarter) had a button called ‘smart bomb‘. You only had a few of them in each game and they were reserved for the most impossible, backed-into-a-corner situation. Swarmed by enemy ships and under a constant hail of fire, you’d press ‘smart bomb‘ and BLAM! KAPOW! every bad thing on the screen would disappear- at least for a few seconds.

In real life there is no such thing- no ‘smart bomb‘, nor should there be. Sales people too often expect there to be a magic SHAZAM-like action that will close any difficult buyer instantaneously. Each buyer is unique and special, that’s why it’s important to listen to and find out information about each one. Each buyer has their own psychology and potential obstacles to purchase. They can very often be overcome if the sales person really speaks to them on their own terms, and makes them feel heard, understood and taken care of. A properly trained and coached sales person is a smart sales person. And that’s what creates a successful, high-performance organization- smart people not smart bombs.

“Your competitor’s price is lower than yours.”

“You are right. A premium company like ours is a higher investment, but that’s because we give higher quality work and yield a higher return for our clients. Can I ask you something? What corners are our competitors cutting to make their price so low?”

“Hmmm. I’m not sure.”

“So what should we do?”

“Go ahead with your best recommended option.”

If you now understand how each correctly trained, coached and supported sales person is the only “smart bomb” that actually exists, you really should take a serious look at our Total Immersion Program.

We’re currently accepting reservations for our 2017 Total Immersion Sessions. There are several dates available, one of which is bound to work for your team.

To get all the details on the Total Immersion Sessions coming up, and to save your spot, click here.

And if you have any questions about the program, please call us today at 877-764-6304.

Let’s make 2017 your biggest earning year ever!

7 High-Leverage Activities to Improve Results

BY: Joe Crisara

7 high leverage activities to improve results

Do you know what Leverage is? Leverage is an incredibly important concept in physics and in everyday life.

When your car gets a flat tire, you lift up your car with a jack using leverage.The common emergency car jack is a brilliant example of the mechanics of leverage. Ever pull a nail out of the wall with the back of a hammer? That’s leverage. When’s the last time you used a simple pair of pliers? That’s leverage, too.

Leverage is all about doing relatively little and getting back a lot. It’s a mechanism that magnifies our actions, giving results that are often multiplied as compared to our efforts. Leverage is the wise use of energy. It’s working smart instead of over-working. But it’s all about the specificity of your actions (and thoughts) and where they’re directed.

  1. HIGH EXPECTATIONS

Imagine yourself and your team really believing that your higher-priced products or services are totally worth it. I mean, from the bottom of your heart, truly knowing with ever fiber of your being that the price you’re charging is completely justified by the quality and benefit of the offering. That’s a strong position to come from and sometimes we have to ask ourselves, how much do I really believe it as opposed to just telling myself (and others) that I believe it.

Think of this- if you paid for a Jaguar and drove it around, would you have a different level of experience than if you’d bought a Honda? And would others see and treat you differently? Of course there are people who just want a Honda and choose to buy that, but why not go out there evangelizing for what’s truly great and transformative about driving a Jaguar? It’s true what they say: Buy one great product one time at a premium price, and you’ll always have it, love it, use it, feel good about it and never have to replace it.

  1. KEEP IT SIMPLE

Generally, when people call, visit or otherwise inquire, they have a need for a product or service and intend to act on that. Why else are they calling? All too often your company’s representative will explain and over explain, in detail, what the part looks like, where it comes from, how it’s made, what it’s made of, what you can do with it, and sometimes that’s too much. It can overload the customer. Try letting the product sell itself. Get out of your own way and say just enough to let the customer say “Okay, I’ll do it.” Remember, they called you!

  1. PROBLEM / SOLUTION

Sometimes a company rep will try the tactic of elaborating on a specific technical breakdown the potential customer must be experiencing, or will soon experience. Then, the rep will spin into such a negative tale of impending fire and brimstone, raining down locusts and frogs and inevitable all-out destruction if the part is allowed to fail. Without immediately stating the solution, the potential customer gets overwhelmed, scared off, and hangs up. If a rep warns of a specific technical breakdown, the sure solution must follow right away, and with a definite price attached.

  1. SERVICE WITH A SMILE

Think about the word service. To serve. It means to provide whatever it is that your customer wants and needs, or doesn’t even know they want or need, but would love if you just surprised them with it, as soon as or before they have stated their desire.

Ever go to a restaurant with absolute tip top, A+ service? I mean fancier than Cracker Barrel (although they make a mean chicken ‘n’ dumplings, to be fair). I’m talking the kind of place where waiters must study the menu as if it’s their college dissertation. The kind of place where they’re not around your table too much or too little, but the second you want ice water or bread sticks the snappy waiter shows up, efficiently refilling your glass or basket. And when you throw out the slightest question about a menu item, they come back with definitive recommendations, telling you exactly what dishes you would love– and who would’ve thought your new favorite food would be the maple chipotle glazed Peruvian sea bass with parmesan parsnip reduction? This is the level of service your reps should strive for.

  1. DON’T FREEZE!

Oftentimes resistance from a potential customer is just them playing the game, doing their side of the dance. When faced with your stated price, the customer often throws out a bit of resistance. Often they feel they need to do this to show self-respect.

Maybe they are a little worried about money. Maybe they need just a tiny bit more coaxing regarding the supremely high quality of the product or service. Whatever it is, just say something!

Ask them what the bottom line issue is. Ask what they were expecting to get for what price. Ask them how they’d feel having a top level product versus a lower level product. The worst thing you can do is stand there and say nothing. If you answer their resistance, you stand a good chance of turning them around. A representative that stands silent during a crucial moment of truth may as well just plant themselves in a field and start scaring away birds!

  1. STAY CONNECTED

A solid, uninterrupted connection is important, and not just for cell phone companies. All too often, a rep is explaining the problem at a potential customer’s house, then leaves to go back to the truck to calculate the price.

What happens then?

The customer, having just been told of a problem, is left too long to their own devices and starts looking around on their smart phone, computer and starts calling asking for advice. Not good! A successful rep needs to stay in the home, with the customer until the deal is closed.

  1. OFFER FREEDOM & LIBERTY!

In parts of the world, totalitarian governments took control of everything and basically shut down free and open competition for products and services. If you lived in one of these countries, where the population was tightly controlled, you had one kind of tea you could buy, one kind of noodle, one kind of beer. If your appliance was broken, the repair man offered one level of service – no more, no less. Don’t offer your customers a totalitarian regime-level of service. Offer them a range of products and service plans, from the premium deluxe to the solid middle option to the discount just-get-it-working deal. Your customers live in a country full of freedom and options, treat them like it!

All of these 7 points above involve leveraging your time and energy into activities that will yield maximum results and performance.

To learn even more tools for closing the deal and providing pure motive service, become a member of ContractorSelling.com. Join today at www.contractorselling.com or call 877-764-6304.

Great Salespeople – Few are Born, Most are Made

BY: Joe Crisara

ContractorSelling.com Great Sales People - Few Are Born. Most Are Made.

You would never start playing golf and expect to be Tiger Woods. You would never take up hoops and think you were LeBron James. I know, these examples sound crazy, but that’s sort of what newer salespeople do all the time, under the direction of equally unrealistic sales managers, who send them out into one of the most under-appreciated and misunderstood positions on Earth, expecting them to dunk the ball when they can’t even yet see the basket.

The above mentioned star athletes (let’s pretend poker is a sport) worked very hard on their craft, their game, honing it to perfection and success. But let’s just say that they didn’t, and were totally born with the tremendous natural advantages of skill, instincts and physical abilities. Let’s assume they were inevitable champions even if they’d never diligently studied the game or been trained by the greats who came before them. They are the absolute exception, the statistical oddity, the needles in the haystack.

The fact is, in any demanding field, 99.8% of entrants can NOT use these superhuman exceptions as their example. Your company’s sales people need to be conditioned to possess methodical advantages that will put them on the field and let them win points- over and over again. Why did I say 99.8 instead of 99.9? Because I’m GENEROUS! Continue reading “Great Salespeople – Few are Born, Most are Made”

The Most Effective (and Ultimately Least Expensive) Way to Make Your Revenue Soar

BY: Joe Crisara

soar

As contractors, many people in our industry are facing challenging times.

Call counts in many areas are down, competition has increased, and costs continue to rise.

Those are all very real factors that influence how you do business.

But at the same time, we can all name a lot of other companies who are thriving and enjoying more profits than ever before while facing the exact same challenges as everyone else.

So what’s the difference between the companies who are struggling to survive and the ones who are hitting it out of the ballpark?

The answer is simple, but instead of telling you the answer, let me share some documented facts with you to show you instead…

Continue reading “The Most Effective (and Ultimately Least Expensive) Way to Make Your Revenue Soar”

Are You Selling to the Wrong Person?

BY: Joe Crisara

wrong-person

There you are in your customer’s house.

You’ve diagnosed their entire system and come up with some top-notch solutions to solve their problem. You’re proud of your solutions and can’t wait to present them to your customer.

As you present, you explain your solutions and tell your customer exactly why you created these custom solutions just for them. When you finish, you give them the old reliable, “What should we do?” – and you wait with full confidence that you’re about to get a yes.

Your customer examines each solution carefully and says, “These are really great! It’s obvious you really listened to me and put a lot of thought into all these.”

You think, “Here comes the yes! This is a done deal!”

Your customer continues, “…but the thing is…”

…I need to talk to my wife.
…My husband just has me gathering quotes.
…I always consult my son-in-law about financial matters.
…My cousin is a contractor, so I want to run this by him first.
…This is my sister’s house. I’ll give her your quote.

Oh, snap.

Just then you realize…

You’ve been selling to the wrong person!

You’ve just given away all your best ideas to someone who isn’t even in the position to say yes.

Continue reading “Are You Selling to the Wrong Person?”

How to Make Your Most Premium Solutions Easier to Choose

BY: Joe Crisara

contrast

Let’s say you’re having the best day of your life. Your ride to work is filled with sunshine and green traffic lights.

At work, every customer you call on loves you and they all say “yes.” You have such a great day, that the boss pulls you into his office and offers you a big, fat raise. Everything is going right and you feel on top of the world.

On your walk to the parking lot at the end of the day, you find a $50 bill on the ground. But as you bend over to pick it up, you notice a dent on your bumper that wasn’t there before.

In the scope of your best day ever, how big of a catastrophe is that dent in your car? It’s not such a big deal after a day like that, is it?

But let’s say it was your worst day ever. You got a flat tire on the way into work which you had to change in a cold rain. While changing the tire, you busted up your knuckles pretty good, and they’re now bleeding. After you change the tire, you speed to try to get to work on time and get a ticket.

When you get in late and wet, the boss chews you out for being unreliable and tells you your job is on the line. Once you do get to working, the customers don’t seem to want to have anything to do with you. They’re downright rude and don’t buy a thing. When the day finally ends, you feel totally beat down. You shuffle out to the parking lot and discover the dented bumper on your car.

Continue reading “How to Make Your Most Premium Solutions Easier to Choose”

WHY We At ContractorSelling.com Wake Up Every Day

BY: Joe Crisara

why-we-do

As the old year turns into a new one, I can’t help but stop and reflect on the hard working people who not only make ContractorSelling a healthy, thriving business – but who also do so much for our society. People like you. Electrical, Plumbing and HVAC Contractors that work beneath the surface of our homes and businesses performing the thankless tasks that others don’t have the passion or expertise to do.  This is WHY we at ContractorSelling wake up everyday.

You work hard day in and day out, making personal sacrifice after personal sacrifice to keep the power on, the air at the right temperature, and the water flowing in our homes the way it’s supposed to.

Every day, you perform the often thankless task of keeping millions of families safe and healthy. You do everything in your power to ensure that their mechanical systems are of the highest quality and are in reliable, working order.

Day to day you may not realize the significance of what you do, but I realize it.

You are the definition of Pure Motive Service, and for that I thank you.

I thank you for doing the work, for keeping all those families safe, and for allowing all of us at Contractor Selling to witness and be a part of the amazing things you do for others every day.

Thank you for inspiring us every day with your dedication, and for the world-class, customized service you give your clients all year long.

What you might not know is this…

Continue reading “WHY We At ContractorSelling.com Wake Up Every Day”

How 5 Winning Strategies From the Trump Campaign Can Benefit Your Business Now

BY: Joe Crisara

trump_post

You can love him or hate him… but regardless of which side you fall on, Donald J. Trump is our next President.

The Electoral College results were undeniable.  But on election night, a lot of people were surprised by what was unfolding in front of their eyes. Dumbfounded might be a better word for it.

The other side was certain of their victory even before the first vote was cast. But “The Donald” seemingly came out of nowhere, winning one key state after another until much of the world was left in shock, wide-eyed and open-mouthed.

What happened?  How did he come out of “nowhere” and win a decisive electoral victory like that?  It wasn’t happenstance, it wasn’t a miracle, and it wasn’t dumb luck.  It was strategy.

Continue reading “How 5 Winning Strategies From the Trump Campaign Can Benefit Your Business Now”

The One Ingredient That Can Balance Your Budget, Cut Your Overhead, and Boost Your Profits Through the Roof

BY: Joe Crisara

sales-training-2

I’m not going to sugar-coat it.

Being a contractor in this day and age is tough.

The cost of equipment, employees, marketing and just about everything else you can name goes up every year.

Not to mention that, in most markets, there’s also an increase in competition.

Yep. It’s tough alright.

But only for those who are focusing on all the wrong things.

They focus things like cutting overhead, replacing “underperforming” personnel, or running more calls.

The truth is that those things aren’t usually the issue. And they certainly aren’t the solution to any of your problems.

There’s one simple ingredient that can turn your business around, and it’s not any of those things.

Continue reading “The One Ingredient That Can Balance Your Budget, Cut Your Overhead, and Boost Your Profits Through the Roof”