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Some solid tips for the new guys

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  • Some solid tips for the new guys

    Here are some rules that I have learned over the years and are foundation to my company. Thought you new guys would appreciate some or all of them.

    RULE #1.

    "Regardless of what you think, you’re a salesman first, a tradesman second, understanding this fundamental rule will make you a success in anything you endeavor."

    This is the by far the hardest rule to live by. It is imperative that you understand how to close a sale if you want to make money.
    I listened to this guy, Brian Tracey, back in the early eighties and now make everyone that works for us listen to him.

    http://www.briantracy.com/

    He has some of the best, "Art of Closing the Sale" information available.

    RULE #2.

    "Perception is the key to success"

    In other words your customers and your prospects need to see you as the most professional, up to speed tradesman around.
    Don’t drive around in a ratty, cluttered unclean truck. Look presentable when meeting people. Keep extra clean shirts and a pair of clean boots in your truck. Wear them only when your meeting a prospect for the first time or your going into a meeting.

    Have a clean brochure available at all times. Quoting a job for a home owner have a bitchin 8.5 x 11 double sided brochure that glorifies your company, with that brochure is a business card, a sticker for the hot water heater, and a fridge magnet card with a discount printed on it. Believe me after they go through the motion of talking to a half dozen looser plumbers, there going to call you up, even if your more money. Why, because you made the best sales presentation.

    RULE #3.

    "Expose your company name, at every chance you have."

    Shirts with your company logo and phone number are number one. Oh, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money on this. All you need is good color printer, a good logo and some T-shirt transfer paper. If you don’t know how to do this learn. You can buy pocket T’s at Wall Mart for a couple bucks, or even better Beefy T’s by the case on the internet for Wholesale.
    We custom print all our own shirts. We have pocket T-shirts. We have nice V-neck Shirts. We have shirts that show we do work for the Department of Defense. We have shirts that show we do Commercial Industrial work. We have shirts that say we do plumbing, that we do water treatment.

    We walk onto a Job-Walk, for example a military project, and we all are wearing our military logo shirts. White, new, and F’n great Logo and layout. You should see the look of the other subs that we are bidding against us, not to mention the military brass were trying to impress.
    You would be surprised how many times I get stopped at restaurants, Home Depot, Costco, are own suppliers, by people with questions who need solutions. I would venture to guess we get at least one job a month this way.

    My wife used to hate it when I wore one of my Logo v-neck button log shirts out to dinner, until the restaurant owner saw the logo and asked if we could help them out. Got a nice job out of that.

    Business cards. Cheap Cheap Cheap. Get a couple thousands of these printed up. Make it a habit of handing out at least ten of these a day to strangers. Have a discount coupon printed on the back, so they keep them. Put them on car windows at Home Depot, Lowes, Bed and Bath, or Linens Plus stores. Hook up with your local hardware store and get them to allow you to put a business card display on the register counter. Have a special referral deal on the card that identifies that hardware store. Give the owner or the manager of the store a referral fee for every job you get that comes from one of those cards.

    Carry cards on you at all times, and never-ever run out.

    Go into a Home Depot or Lowes on the weekend and hang out in the plumbing section. Buy a couple of fittings and look for the DIY, that looks confused and just hand them your card and say,

    "I could not help noticing that you looked a little confused. If you run into any problems in your repair, give me a call. All come out and give you courtesy review at no charge.

    Stickers, again cheap cheap cheap. Get a sticker made up that shows Hot water heater shut down procedures and go to new housing developments and stick your sticker on every hot water heater.

    Rule #4

    "Have a positive Mental Attitude, every single day, no matter how $hitty it is."

    Again, Brian Tracey has some great stuff to help you understand this concept.

    Rule #5

    "Don’t just be the best at your trade, be the best at business."

    In California most first time contractors that go out on there own fail within the first 18 months because they had no business sense. The don’t understand how to job cost, bid, profit margins, point of diminishing return, operational expenses...... The list is long.

    What makes it even sadder is one half of the State required exam is all about business operation.

    If you don’t understand the fundamental rules of business, learn. Get some idiot guides to running a small business.

    Rule #6

    "Don’t work without insurance"

    That speaks for itself!

    Rule #7

    "Know your competition. What there weakness is. Capitalize on that.

    There are two very well known National Water Treatment companies, who will remain nameless. The majority of you have heard there name. They are two of our companies best sources of business. When we find out these guys are involved on a project, have bid on a project or that the customer has even made a call to these guys, we know every detail that will exploit there inabilities to our favor. In twenty years I have never lost a project to these guys.

    Rule #8:

    "Something of Nothing is Just Plain Nothing."

    Your in business to make money, not give it away. Make sure your charging your customers accordingly and don’t be afraid of walking away from a job you don’t feel comfortable with.

    Rule #9:

    "Don’t be afraid to charge for everything."

    Two years ago with diesel fuel went to over $3.00 a gallon we notified every customer we had that to offset not raising our hourly rates we would be adding a fuel surcharge to there bills. $10.00 at that time. That we would keep that surcharge in place until fuel dropped under $3.00 per gallon.

    As fuel charges have gone up so has that fuel surcharge and our customers pay it without question.

    Funny thing is every other company servicing these same customers is doing the same thing.

    Rule #10:

    "Make sure everyone that calls your company gets a timely response"

    Rule #11:


    "Learn to network with other trades, GC’s etc.."

    Go to wholesale electrical, masonry, lumber, roofing, supply houses and hand out some cards to other trades. Offer them a referral’s if they provide you with a solid sellable leed..

    Rule #12:

    "Learn to prospect"

    Don’t be afraid of taking an entire Saturday and drive up down on every street in a city looking for new construction. You would be surprised at how much business can be earned this way.

    Rule #13:

    "Be best buds with the city inspectors"

    If you live in a smaller area, or work in one or two cities. Get to know the inspectors. Go out to lunch with them. Bring donuts to the counter. The key is be on a first name basis with them. You would be surprised how many times these guys will get asked if they know anyone else out there that could do a better job. Be nice if they recommended you.

    Rule #14:

    "Treat your employees like there gold."

    If you have them treat them well and they will never talk behind your back, or think about starting there own business.
    PS: Don’t be afraid of getting rid of the dead weights. There are plenty of tradesman out there looking for work. The death of the housing industry has dumped into the job market some pretty qualified people.
    Last edited by Watersurgeon; 06-10-2008, 12:27 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Some solid tips for the new guys

    Rule #1 Obtain proper licensing, insurance and Bonding!

    Other than that a wonderful comprehensive list of things we should all keep in mind in a questionable economy thank you every much for your input!

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    • #3
      Re: Some solid tips for the new guys

      Thank you Watersurgeon.
      I'm yessing you to death - outstanding advice.

      Rule #1, I might add something though, about considering the source.
      (This one works in conjunction with your 8th rule "Something of nothing...", I think spending too much valuable time barking up the wrong tree can be career suicide)
      Having picked up some stray business from HD, at one point I found my self being pushed to use a water heater with zones connected to it in place of a boiler, because "plumbers and plumbing supplies try to pawn boilers off on the general public for profit".
      I wound up taking my losses with that job and walked after hours of explaining and defending myself to a crazed HGTV lunatic/home depot groupy who'd invested a life savings on a flip.


      I found it best to be at least a little selective with whom I "pitch" or hand out my cards to...much of the the HD or Lowes crowd already have themselves half convinced they can do it on their own, but are kind enough to pay you a small fee to finish up the easy stuff thats left in the crawlspace.

      Before I went into business, I lucked out when I was gathering up tools and connecting the dots to start off right.
      I found an ad for some used tools from a retiring plumber.

      Wound up dropping about $1500 in some decent tools he had..as I left it occured to me to ask him for some advice.
      He STRESSED one major thing...he told me several times over that no matter what, it was absolutely necessary to stand my ground on prices and be confident in my bids.
      Regardless what any GC claims they got for other bids or what homeowners claim other plumbers would charge.

      He told me that most customers will complain to a degree on price, in fact, if I stopped hearing complaints...it was time to raise them.
      He told me that if I allowed every customer to convince me my prices were high, I'd be out of business in no time.
      He finally told the hardest part, if there are other plumbers bidding against me at prices that are too low, let 'em.
      He said I might see some down time, but it wouldn't last too long.
      While they're busy working for food, the next batch of calls come in & you have less competition...there's always work for plumbers.
      Last edited by DuckButter; 06-10-2008, 07:12 PM.

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      • #4
        Re: Some solid tips for the new guys

        picked up my business license application today.

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        • #5
          Re: Some solid tips for the new guys

          Originally posted by Watersurgeon View Post
          Go into a Home Depot or Lowes on the weekend and hang out in the plumbing section. Buy a couple of fittings and look for the DIY, that looks confused and just hand them your card and say,

          "I could not help noticing that you looked a little confused. If you run into any problems in your repair, give me a call. All come out and give you courtesy review at no charge.
          See Robert, this works great, I'm not the only one. Watersurgeon-you've definently had some great posts, welcome to the forum and I hope you stick around.
          Buy cheap, buy twice.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Some solid tips for the new guys

            Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
            See Robert, this works great, I'm not the only one. Watersurgeon-you've definently had some great posts, welcome to the forum and I hope you stick around.


            I never said anything bad about this, or that it wouldn't work.

            my only concern was that the people you befriend in home depot, tried to do it themselves, and most of them are there to spend as little money as possible, you labor being in their budget
            sigpic

            Robert

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            • #7
              Re: Some solid tips for the new guys

              honesty is the #1 rule. be honest to your customer and you'll never have to worry about being out of work.

              i sell my honesty, not my hundreds of thousands of inventory and equipment.

              employees should not be influenced by selling and commissions.

              last time i checked, i'm more of a doctor, than a used car salesman.

              sell your honesty and professionalism, the rest will come in time.

              that's my motto.

              rick.
              phoebe it is

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