Markup & Profit

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Make Every Possession Count

Markup and Profit is a new feature to FenceWeek. Michael Stone is a coach and consulant for construction companies throughout the U.S. . Although the advice is not specific to the fence industry, we hope you agree that his advice is spot on.

When asked why he thought the Chicago Bulls achieved an NBA best 72 and 10 record, Michael Jordan's response was, "We make every possession count". Now that may not seem like an earthshaking statement, but when you apply it to your personal life and your business, it is profound.

The possessions we are talking about are the things that you do every day in your business.

A possession is a phone call from a potential customer. It is the lead that you set, the sales call that you make. It is the presentation that you give and the contract you write.

A possession is the schedule you make for the job, and getting the job started and completed on time. It is the contacts you make with the subs and suppliers that will work with you on the job and the neighbors that live around the job. It is doing the job you contract for and leaving happy customers.

A possession is a call from a newspaper or a magazine asking about you and your business and it is your presence in a local trade show or county fair. It is organizing your time so that you have time for your wife/husband and your babies each day and on the weekends. And just as important, it is being thankful for all these possessions.

As you go through each day and each week, every possession will either be won or lost by you. You can rationalize, debate and discuss, but the bottom line is you are the responsible party. What are you doing about it?

Are you and your staff well trained on the phone, answering it properly and returning all your calls the same day or by 9:00 am the next day? Do you have a lead slip to record all the information that the potential customer gives you before you end your first call with them? Do you ask the appropriate questions of each lead to be sure they qualify to buy from you instead of them qualifying you to sell to them?

Do you arrive at your sales calls on time, well dressed, hair cut, shoes shined ready to do some business? Do you ask questions and really listen or do you spend your time talking about all you know. When you write a contract is it complete and blessed by your attorney?

Do your jobs start on time and do you complete them on time, with no excuses? Are your jobs kept clean from start to finish?

Do you follow up your jobs with a questionnaire asking how you did, and then asking for at least two referrals? What kind of advertising program do you have in place to keep leads coming in? And as long as we are doing an honest gut check here, how is your relationship with your wife or husband and your children? Are you a family? I have said in all our seminars, your business will be a direct reflection of your marriage.

Many contractors that write us are having a problem with their business, and in many cases, the contractor has simply lost focus on what is important. The owner of the company has drifted into dealing with minutia, instead of staying focused on the purpose of being in business.

Stay focused on winning. You are in business for just one thing: to make a profit, enabling you to take care of your family and provide for your future.

You're not in business to drive around and give out "bids" or free estimates. You're not in business to provide a free design service or to make selections for the customers. You're not in business to provide jobs for other people, including family members.

You must stay focused on making money (winning). The way you do that is to make every lead, every sales call, every job, and every possession count.