Yesterday I interviewed Dean Jones, 20-year owner of Authentic Designs and Remodeling in San Diego, CA., a company that works with
custom cabinetry and remodeling of luxury homes in the San Diego area. When I asked him the question “What advice would you give to business owners about what they should do to help assure they would be “here next year” in their business, his reply seemed to be all about people a business owner interacts with throughout the day. And, I mean more than just employees.
Here was his reply and you’ll see what I mean.
- Stop Incentive Buying – If someone is trying to sell you something and the answer has to be today, your answer should be no. Dean cited the example of a cold-caller trying to sell you on an ad spot in a radio or t.v. website. “Save your money,” Dean says. “If a salesperson can wait for me to make an thought out decision, he’ll probably get my business if the opportunity is right.” He also mentions that even if the day goes by, the deal of the day is often still available even a week later.
In short, Dean is suggesting how important people are to buy from.
- Create Urgency – A fitting follow-up to stopping incentive buying is to inspire urgency—the correct way by giving your prospect a week or even until the end of the month to make their decision and then offer a percentage off if they make their decision within that time frame.
Dean says, “If you sign by end of the month or end of the week, I’ll offer 5% off but never ask someone to sign that day. Even if you really want that business, don’t appear desperate.”
This time Dean is describing how people and the way you treat them in your proposal offering to be key components to growth in your business.
- Avoid Long-Term Contracts – “If a sales person believes in his product,” Dean says, he will be confident enough to offer month-to-month or other contract duration. Most people that want you to sign up for long-term contracts see there’s the “possibility” that their solution won’t work and that you might pull out. So, they attempt to lock you in. Long-term contracts that are not producing expected results can drain your cash flow within a few months.”
- Stop Print Advertising – Don’t spend your money on print advertising until you’re already established. Even then, be very selective in your advertising.
- Consistent Collateral Materials Matter – Before you start prospecting, make your folders, brochures, images, business cards all consistent. Your brand needs to be consistent.
- Have Backup – Dean’s company contracts 39 people so that there are always at least three people that can do the same exact job. When a worker is sick, he always has someone on-deck to bring in for the job. “Never rely on one person to do one job,” says Dean.
- Money Counts – Dean believes paying your help, paying them well, and paying them on-time is a major secret of his success. But he also couples that
with doing everything he can to make his helpers’ jobs easier. Dean says, “I make sure all material is on-site, at the right location, the desgin
is done before contractors show up waiting for me to make decisions.”
- Hire the Right People – Dean’s process for hiring the right help happens in a sequence of steps. First he will find the help, then look at their work, then meet with the person one-on-one, set expectations and then find out if they have met those expectations with the helper’s client. The final step is to work together on a smaller job and see if they meet Dean’s expectations.
If I had to sum up my conversation with Dean into one word about how to assure your business will be “here next year,” I’d suggest the word people.
Watch out for how you are treated by people who want your business. Provide people you want to do business for with proper incentives. Treat YOUR help the way they should be treated. Important ingredients for your business longevity for sure.