How to Win Painting Bids & Estimates Against Low-Priced Competitors
Winning painting bids and estimates is challenging enough… but low-priced competition can make it feel impossible.
A lot of painting contractors contend that closing sales is all about price, insisting it’s all clients care about. I’m here to tell you that’s a load of B.S. spouted from the mouths of under-achieving entrepreneurs. Do not believe them… In this podcast, I debunk all the “it’s about the price” myths and give you practical steps you can take to WIN… even when you are several thousands dollars more than the next lowest bidder.
Chris: Welcome to PaintED. Hey, this is Chris Shank, the education guy at the Painting, and Decorating Contractor’s of America. PDCA provides painting contractors with the training, and networking they need to grow their business. To find out more, visit PDCA.org. Brandon Lewis is back again to flip everything you thought you knew on its head. This time, it’s the topic of low-priced competitors. I’ve heard so many businesses complain about their competitors racing to the bottom on prices, and there’s a lot of fear that there’s no way to beat the game without playing it, and losing money, enter Brandon Lewis. I think his take on the topic may be one of the best, most empowering ways to think about this whole subject, that offers a legitimate strategy to change the game, and win the advantage.
Check out this podcast, but I’d advise you to listen to the entire live webinar, and ask your questions to Brandon on Thursday, February 15, at 4 PM central, this may be the best strategy you’ll hear for a while. Hey, Brandon, welcome to PaintEd.
Brandon: Oh, sorry, I just woke up, where the hell am I? I’m sorry, you caught me sleeping, I apologize, I’m awake, I’m here.
Chris: I really don’t think you sleep Brandon, I have my doubts.
Brandon: Oh, I do, mainly outside on the porch, or on the couch.
Chris: It sounds like you’re living the life out there in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Brandon: That’s right the scenic city baby. Come see Rock City, the enchanted garden of lights, Ruby Falls, and every other tourist trap we have here in our $1 billion tourist industry, come on down, it’s beautiful.
Chris: We’re off to a great start already Brandon, man, it is so much fun to talk to you. You are a dynamic speaker, a dynamic thinker, I know people love going to your summit, you had a summit actually recently, end of January, you speak at different events, how did your summit go by the way, in Florida, right?
Brandon: Oh, it was outstanding, well, we had about 100 people there, 57 painting companies, over a third of our participants, which surprised me, were over a million dollars. I lead that hot seat group, we called it the Hulk group, we had the Batman group, the Superman, and the Hulk group, it was all superhero themed. It was transformative, it was remarkable to hear people’s lives changed. I shared this with you earlier, I’m not a very emotional person, I’m not a very touchy-feely person, I’m more of a smart ass humor person, a jocular, gregarious, hell fellow, locker room humor, and it’s taken me a while to realize when you change people’s businesses, because we so closely identify with them, that we change their life.
I was on cloud nine for about two, or three days after just how much love, and sharing, and accomplishment was in the room. I learned a lot, in my own group, you know that you’re doing it right, when you moderate a group for two days, we did it in the afternoon, and mornings we had speakers. I found myself writing down notes, not to help the members, but to help myself. I’m like, “Brandon, dummy, you should do some of this stuff that this guy that’s running a $6 million, $10 million, $5 million, $3 million painting company is doing, you should be doing some of this stuff,” so it was fun.
When you fix businesses, you fix people. Sometimes, I’ll be honest, and lack of political correctness here, but we’re in a male dominated industry, it’s I look at my list, it’s 95% men, and men often have the role of provider in their family. When we think about our role, there’s also being a father, there’s being a husband in many cases, or whatever you do inside your family unit, but that provider role, is so ingrained in us, and in our culture, that when we’re missing the mark on bringing home the bacon for the family, buddy, it affects you emotionally, and personally, and when you get that fixed, and you make strides, and achievements toward that, it makes a completely different man out of you.
We get a lot of husband-wife teams, I don’t have any, I don’t think I do, I have one, or two female members that aren’t in a husband-wife team arrangement, and it’s just amazing when that stuff happens. It’s what I get up, and get here early, and stay late for.
Chris: Well, we hope to see some of the miracle working at the Expo.
Brandon: Yes, the lame will walk, the blind will see.
Chris: We’re excited to see, I know people are excited to see you, you’re going to be talking about the labor shortage myth, I know you’re into myth busting, and you really do help people understand just another way of looking at things. That’s what I appreciate about you, is how you will turn everything on its head, and say, “I know you’ve heard this before, but this I say to you.” Truly you’re helping people see a little bit differently, so we’re excited about the labor shortage myth lecture that you’re going to be giving there.
Then actually in a couple of days, and this is why we’re doing this podcast, we usually don’t release two in a week, but we released one last Friday, that was awesome, with Nick Bay, I’m sorry, let’s say that again.
Brandon: Nick May, you can call him Bay if you want to, he doesn’t care.
Chris: Nick May. Let me say that again. We released a podcast last Friday with Nick May, and it was a great podcast, but now we have
Brandon Lewis coming up here in two days, and I thought, “We’ve got to do a Brandon Lewis podcast, we haven’t missed one yet when you do a webinar.” You’re going to be talking about, on this webinar, how basically to gain the advantage over low-priced competitors, so tell us a little bit about what that’s going to be about.
Brandon: We’re going to break it down into different parts, mindset, market mediums, and timing. That is all really part of it, what I want to do today, is just talk about a few of those, and then maybe give people a single solitary point in each one of those that can help them look at how they do their estimating, and sales differently.
Brandon: I’m going to wait til you tell me to start, Shank.
Chris: On your mark, go for it. Boom, was it marketing the first one? I’m trying to remember it, because [crosstalk 00:06:08]. Mindset, oh, that’s a good place to start.
Brandon: I have a southern accent, and I do not enunciate my words, and I speak quickly, which just sounds like a ramble. Mindset, it kills me, it drives me nuts. If I look on another stinking painters chat room, or American painting chat room, or painters, and owners chat room, or all the chat rooms where painters gather, and they’re all hung up on the estimating side, how much money does it take to paint this? Good grief, it’s a fourth-grade math problem, measure the walls, paint the walls one day, figure how fast you can go, and then you know how far a labor hour will go.
Paint the trim, figure it out to get a labor rate, and then multiply it times your charge rate, minus your production rate, this is stuff we shouldn’t wonder about 15 years into our painting career. If you’re still asking people how much stuff costs, it’s like a signal that you need to fix that, and so people are always focused on the estimating, how do you show up, and give somebody a number, and some words that describe what you’re going to do, while you’re on their property in a technical aspect?
That’s estimating, everybody’s so hung up on estimating, but they never think about selling. They’re completely unclear, or unaware of the fact that selling needs to happen first, and foremost, and estimating is almost this technical formality that anyone who can measure, and do addition, and multiplication, should be able to do.
Chris: Why is that happening do you think? That’s interesting, I haven’t thought about it that way.
Brandon: People don’t understand the fundamental difference, so I’ll explain it in a little analogy. Estimating is when I hold up a jar of jelly beans, and I say, “Guess how many are in here.” You look at the jar of jelly beans, and hopefully, by now, you’re not just eyeballing it, and guessing based on experience, which I’ve never found to be accurate when I’ve tested it, but instead, they hold it up, and you go, “Okay, based upon, let me measure rather the circumference, and let me measure the height of it, and I can tell you per cubic inch about how many jellybeans are in here.”
You guess, and you’re within a standard deviation, you can figure it out, okay? Selling, is when I show you a jar of jelly beans, and I explain all the reasons that you should feel completely comfortable paying me several thousand dollars more for this jar of jelly beans, than the next lowest competitor, and that I’ve provided you with so much proof, and so much persuasive evidence of reduced risk, and added value, that you feel ample anxiety, when you think of going with the low ball offer.
That is persuasion, and selling, estimating is just guessing how many beans are in the jar, that is not very helpful in today’s world, where people are used to buying services from white-collar service providers, with professional diagnostic, and evidence laden processes. We can’t keep selling things in the old blue-collar way, and then keep bitching that we’re not getting white-collar prices.
Chris: Wow, good point, that’s heavy. That’s heavy bro.
Brandon: It is heavy, it’s hard.
Chris: To say that we’ve got to regain our focus on knowing how to sell, that’s amazing, that’s probably really true, it seems to me.
Brandon: Okay, yeah you run across some weird stuff occasionally, but 80 some odd percent of everything you do is like something you’ve done 100 times before. If we’re still guessing, a house, if you’ve painted one house, no more than three, you should’ve paid attention, and developed some production rates, and you need to understand the difference between a billable hour to you, and the billable hour to the client, and then it’s just simple math. Closing, as we move off of mindset, it drives me nuts.
I’ll watch people ask all the time, some people would rather spend 30 years in this industry, in total darkness, blindness, and uncertainty, rather than taking a week and a half of their life, to just write down on a piece of paper how long it takes them to paint something, to average it out, and then go, “Oh, it takes me 35 minutes to paint a door, after I’ve painted these six doors. Well, I know that I pay $10 an hour for labor, I know I sell it for $30, and if it takes me .35 hours, then it takes me about $5.50 to paint this side of the door, and that means I’m going to charge whatever I’m going to charge.”
Do the math for a week of your life, and you’ll never have to guess for the rest of it, just do it.
Chris: Wow, nice, all too easy.
Brandon: What’s the old Jim Rohn used to say, the things that are easy to do, are also very easy not to do, and it doesn’t matter, so people like choosing not to do stuff.
Chris: Love it.
Brandon: Number two is market, and then we’ll talk about messaging. I would be remiss, if I did not talk about this just briefly. Folks constantly complain about cold, crappy Internet leads, and we’re launching Internet marketing service offerings here at the Academy. I’ve hired a gentlemen to do that, I’ve been working on that. I would be further along if it wasn’t my busiest week, or the busiest month of the year, but people always complain, because they’re inferior leads.
We know this, because they close at dramatically lower rates. Then people always rave about word-of-mouth business, and repeat business, but when you ask people what they spend their money on, they tell you, “Cold, crappy leads on the Internet.” Then you ask them, “What do you really want?” “I’d really like more repeat, and referral business.” “How much money, and time do you spend on it?” “Well, nothing, and none.” If you chase skunks in the woods all day, would you be surprised that you came home with a skunk? I mean would it surprise, you if three hours into running after the skunk, you finally tackle it, and wrestle it down, would you then look at it, and be really angry, and mad?
No, if you chase skunks, you catch skunks. If you’d rather get a pony, or a unicorn, chase a pony, or a unicorn, and when you catch them, you’ll like, “Oh, I realize why I got them, because I’m chasing them.” Quit chasing stuff you don’t want, because lead source quality has a remarkable impact on closing rate, and it cannot be undone. You could send Zig Ziglar, exhume his corpse first, you could take Zig Ziglar sorry, I’m having a Nick Bay moment.
Chris: Shut up.
Brandon: Don’t take this out of the podcast, this is funny stuff.
Chris: I’m thinking about leaving it in, thinking about it.
Brandon: You should, don’t edit, I never edit, I think editing’s for someone else. It’s good to keep it raw. You could send him to go see Internet leads, and you could send somebody who thinks about wetting themselves at the aspect of selling, to go see a repeat, or a referral. Zig’s not going to be able to outpull that other person, because lead source quality’s so important. You cannot say you want higher closing rates, and higher prices, and at the same time say, “Well, I’m going to completely ignore reactivation, and retention of clients in my business.”
The market that you go after is very important, and it affects your closing rate dramatically, so don’t try to ignore it.
Chris: Nice, so yeah, good quality leads, okay, and then, so messaging.
Brandon: Messaging, so look on the side of a van in this industry, open up the Yellow Pages, get the Internet open, look at people’s websites, everybody says the same crap, “Quality craftsmen since 1934 BC, 85 years in business, family-owned, and operated, our quality is your concern, paint your life a better holistic vision of environmental update friendliness,” whatever word salad garbage people throw on the side of a van, and expect people to interpret it. Here’s a good litmus test for a catchphrase, or a message, if you give it to a fourth-grader, and they go, “I got no idea what the hell that means. Painting your life a better world, what?”
I don’t know, you see these things, I swear, read it, you’ll see it on shirts all over …
Chris: Painting your life a better world.
Brandon: You see it, I own a house, I don’t care.
Chris: Hey, I got one, painting your world a better life.
Brandon: There you go, that’s wonderful.
Brandon: You see them, and it just drives me nuts, because that’s not what people care about, okay? License insured, bonded … I saw a billboard recently for a painting business, and it says, “Now serving Chattanooga.” I’m thinking, “Well, if your damn billboard’s in Chattanooga, I hope to hell you’re serving it. Now serving [Kuala Lumpur 00:15:19], but we put the billboard in Chattanooga, you wasted your messaging on that? Why?
Chris: It’s like a sign that says, “Read this.”
Brandon: Yeah, you just might as well, but what do people care about? There’s been some interesting studies, some of it was presented at AST by Sherwin-Williams that confirmed my thoughts on this, but there’s an old saying, if you want to know why John Smith buys what John Smith buys, you have to see the world through John Smith’s eyes. I would say Susie Smith, because especially in the residential market, primarily the people that start, and make the final decisions on this, are the lady of the house.
Surveys prove this, it’s not a sexist remark, it’s been verified, and what are they worried about? Well, I’m at home with my teenage daughter, I don’t know who these men are coming into my house, if you mess something up, how do I know it will be taken care? If you have a warranty, is it written? Who has recommended you? If you provide me proof of it, do I believe it? Are your people background checked? What do they look like? How is this going to start? What’s that process going to be like? What happens at the end when we take payments, so that I’m not taken advantage of? If there’s a problem three years after my job is painted, how do I know you’re going to come back? Is it in writing? Can I get it signed? Is there any proof that you can provide me that this stuff is actually going to happen?
Most people never address that, the phone rings, we say, “ABC Painting, this is Earl. Yeah, Wednesday at 3 o’clock, uh-huh.” We hang up the phone, we show up, we pet the dog, we say, “Hey, that’s a nice bowling trophy you got there, you bowl?” No, I just freaking collect bowling trophy’s dummy, yeah I bowl.” “Nice flowers you got.” “Yeah, I plant them.” You’re here to look at something, and give me some information I need to know, and it’s unstructured, we wander around the house, and then we go, “Well, let me email you something, I’ll get back to you,” and we leave.
I’ve done 700, over 700 now hour-long, in-depth assessments, of painting businesses, sales, and marketing systems, and I’ve just told you what the entire United States, and most of Canada is doing, and it’s pathetic.
Chris: It’s embarrassing.
Brandon: Yet we’re selling things that cost $16,000, $7000, $8000, When you see what a plastic surgeon does, a real tour, a divorce attorney, anybody like that, a consultant, white-collar service, and we’re amazed that people don’t just buy immediately. We’re making them make these decisions in an information vacuum, so you’ve got to present messaging that actually matters to the client, and you have to address upfront, and this is going to make people aggravated, our industry’s terrible, yet well-deserved reputation.
I tell folks, you can either pretend like people don’t think it, or you can use it to your advantage by directly addressing it, and then providing proof that none of that stuff’s going to happen with your company. It would almost be like if you provided some surgery that had recently had a terrible article in the USA Today, and it was on the news, but you knew that it wasn’t true, the worst thing you could do when somebody wandered into your office for that procedure, who’s considering it, is to not address it at all, like they haven’t heard about it, like they don’t know, like if you don’t address it, it’ll go away. No, if you don’t address it, they don’t buy.
Chris: It’s a radical new look, it shouldn’t be that radical, because when you talk about it, I’m like, “Yeah, that makes sense,” but for some reason, we get into our head, we start looking for the secrets, and the magic, and then we forget the common sense stuff, like you said, whoever it was that said, “If it’s easy, it’s easy to forget, or it’s easy not to do, if it’s easy to do, it’s easy not to do,” that’s interesting.
Yet, it also requires discipline, and it does require hard work, so maybe that’s what the fear is, not just that it’s common sense, or because it’s not may be common sense, it’s hard work, right? To get there, to prepare …
Brandon: Yes, and no, so you’re going to spend 15 minutes on the phone with them, well, if you don’t do any pre-positioning, you won’t. You’ll spend five minutes on the phone with them, you’re going to drive 30 minutes to see them, you’re gonna spend 30 minutes, to an hour there, you’re driving 30 minutes back. You’ve already paid for the lead, you’re going to have to do a little bit of follow-up, although some people do none, so 95% of your effort, and money is sunk the moment you say, “I’m coming out there.”
It’s gone, it’s spent, so you can do the flaming bag of poop estimate, where you just light it on fire.
Chris: I think I know what that is.
Brandon: Yeah, you light it on fire, and you ask the customer to stomp it out, and you just walk off. You can do the Rolls-Royce of estimates, you can do the Cadillac of estimates, it doesn’t matter, same amount of time, it’s just you have to think really hard for a short period in your life, you have to gather some resources that equip you to do it, and then you have to sit down on a Saturday, instead of drinking beer, and watching TV, and you have to freaking do it. Then you have to do it for about three, or four days until it’s not so uncomfortable, you break out in a cold sweat, and then after you’re done with it, you’re forever making more money on each, and every call, but I will tell you this Chris, most people would rather have their toenails yanked out one at a time, than to think really hard for about 15 minutes.
It’s painful, it’s like psychological torture thinking really hard about something new is so uncomfortable, and if you do not develop a habit of doing it, you’re doomed.
Chris: Have you read, “The 60 Minute CEO?”
Chris: Anyway, I think he’s Harvard Business School, but anyway, he actually was talking about the best thing you can do as owner, or CEO, is to spend time every day, I think he said 20 minutes in just thinking. He has exercises, things to think about, think about your business, or think about things in your personal life, or whatever, and you have to be committed to certain types of solutions, and different types of solution thinking. It was amazing when he started pulling statistics, and stuff, and the way we spend our time, and how very little of our time is spent on just thinking, that it is hard work man, it’s really hard.
Brandon: Well, it is, and most of us want … Everything that makes you money in life in business, requires you creating something out of thin air, or building a process, or initiating an action against a market mired in inertia. That’s what makes a lot of money, the things that don’t make much money, but that masquerade themselves as results, is processing stimuli that come at you, meaning the phone rings, you got to run, and go answer it. A customer complains, you got to go be Superman, and go fix it.
Jim Bob forgets paint, and we gotta run it across the other end of the county, now we won’t fix our sales, we won’t market to clients, but by God, if Jim Bob calls, he could be in Turkmenistan, and he needs a gallon of paint, we’re going to get on a plane, we’re going to fly 24 hours, we’ll run paint anywhere, but the stuff that makes $12 an hour, we’re happy to go do at the drop of a hat. The stuff that makes $1000 an hour, we’ll get around to that 10 years from now, when retirement’s staring us in the face, and we’ve got a painting business we can’t sell.
It’s amazing, that’s not what we’re on here to talk about, so if we’re going to get through mediums, and timing in your prescribed period of 20 minutes, I’m going to have to hotfoot it.
Chris: Okay, let’s do it, mediums.
Brandon: Okay, mediums. Most people think that we use the phone to take the call, we use ourselves to gather the measurements, and we use the email to deliver the estimate, and that we might use the email, or the phone to do follow-up. There’s lots of things that you can fix with pre-positioning. We recommend that guys touch their clients four different ways, through three different mediums before they arrive. We also recommend 12 steps of follow-up with four sets of mediums, which I’ll talk about here at the end.
One thing in particular, if you don’t get anything else guys out of this talk, this will make you a bundle of money, and I’ve watched this over hundreds of painting companies, both franchised, and independent, both with aggregate data that I know is good, and through anecdotal evidence reported to me in person, and through surveys. You need to print your stinking painting estimate on site, and put it into Mama’s hand. Do not email this stuff, if somebody recommends that you email your estimate, and that you do not physically deliver it to someone, you are talking to someone who is giving you harmful advice.
Long-form information is not consumed in email, you know this. If you subscribe to APC Magazine, when you get the digital digest, you don’t click on every article, and crawl through it, nor do they expect you to. If you’re like me, you’ll read APC Magazine when it’s physically delivered to you cover to cover. When you print out an estimate, and put it with some really good post positioning material in a buyer’s guide, and you introduce it correctly, that thing sits in their physical environment, then they must consciously decide to throw it away.
When you email it to them, they have to consciously decide to go in, and actually even open it, and email is just a trashcan. It is a digital wastebasket, because people get 80, to 120 emails a day, it instantly starts deleting them. It’s not either/or, it’s both, email it, and do it on site, but don’t just email it, and you know this intrinsically, because if you’re doing it now, you had this conversation, “You get my email?” “Oh, no I’m sorry.” “Oh, let me resend it, did you check your spam box? Go into your spam box honey.” “What?” “Go into your spam box.”
They go into it, “Oh, I looked at it, but I didn’t open it.” Oh, that’s a little bit better, right? You got a little closer there. “Well, I opened it, but I didn’t print it, my husband wants to look at it.” “Well, I opened it, but now I’ve lost it, can you resend it?” If you have to fight to get something read, has it ever occurred to you that maybe you put it in the wrong F word place.
Chris: Yeah, it’s a good point.
Brandon: If you were trying to have a conversation with me, would you have it in another room where I’m not at?
Chris: No, no.
Brandon: A lot of people do this crap, it is so obviously wrong, and it just costs amazing amounts of money. You’re saying to me, that some electrons on a screen, and a pile of other electrons that are immediately deleted by Google, is a better salesperson than you physically presenting something, answering questions, and then saying, “Well, how do you feel about this proposal?” “Pretty good.” “Well, is it okay if we put you on the production schedule, because frankly, we’d really love to do your business, and I don’t know of another painting contractor that will treat you as well as we would?”
You’re more compelling, that email’s more compelling than you, and another human together? I don’t think so, so that’s just one of the medium examples that we’ll go through.
Brandon: It’s so funny, people will spend all this time, money, and effort, to go out, and see the people. They buy the lead, they run the thing, they do the sales process, and then their follow-up is so anemic, and puny. Synchrony does a study, it used to be GE Capital of what they call a major purchase for the home, a durable goods, consumable goods purchase. A major purchase is defined to them as $500. Do you know how long it took the average person to make that $500 decision? 68 days.
Brandon: 68 days, do you know how many of the people went to the store to look at that thing more than four times before they bought it? 40%, but we present an industry average, now, it’s bigger in metro markets, and places with high cost of labor, but on average, heartland, and most midsize suburban markets that aren’t attached to a major metro, or in someplace like California, where they’ve gotten themselves into so much debt, that they’ll never be able to get out, and everything’s inflated, other than a few states, it’s about three grand.
We’re in there pitching something that is six times more expensive than everything that studies show people think forever on, and then if they don’t buy after a couple of weeks, maybe three if we’re real persistent, we just call them tire kickers, and we move on, and we don’t ever do anything with them. To me, that would be like if you planted a tomato plant, and if after three weeks there wasn’t a tomato on it, you just yank the thing up, and plant another one. The tomato plant doesn’t care when you want the fruit, your job is to plant, and wait, plant, and wait.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve taught our guys how to reactivate unconverted leads that are 6 months, 12 months, and 18 months, and older. I used to do it in my business, I would sit down, and do the whole process. I’d drink a glass of wine, light up a cigar, and at the end of the night, I’d be cross eyed, and I’d stumble in, and the wife would be like, “Well, you’re smiling,” I’m like, “I just made $60,000 in sales.” You’re just reaching back to people who just need a little bit more time, and so we’ve talked about mindset, we’ve talked about markets, messaging, mediums, and timing.
We’ll get into that into more detail in the webinar, but my whole thought I just want to leave people with here.
Brandon: Sales is magic, some words, some paper, electrons, videos, and the next thing you know, everybody walking through your door, is now not closing at 40%, or 30%, or 25%, they’re closing at 50%, 55%. When you get your service mix, or you get your market mix right with past clients, and referrals, and a smaller, and smaller proportion of cold leads. When your messaging is good, when your mediums are multi step, and powerful, and when your timing actually follows the sale cycle, instead of our adolescent urge for people to say yeah immediately, then all of a sudden, you’re making two times, or at least 60% more money, because of the close rate, and then you’re able to raise your prices by 10%, or 15%.
For people that have a low margin painting business that’s siting at 10%, or 15%, or 20%, instead of the 30 net that it needs to be at, you raise your prices by 10%, or 15%, you’ve doubled your income. Now, you’ve halved your volume up again, and it’s all because of sales. Now, you need to fix your marketing a little bit if you’ve got bad percentages, low percentages of past clients, and referrals, but aside from that, fixing sales costs no additional money, and it’s just about learning how to do that process, and then consistently applying it with each, and every client, and it works just as well in commercial, as it does residential.
Messaging changes a little bit, but the whole idea about the market, and the mediums, and the timing remains the same, and the process remains the same. I would just like to encourage you, if you’re out there, and you’re banging your head against the wall, and you’re throwing money at stuff, I would re-examine your sales process to see how powerful, and persuasive it truly is.
Chris: Wow, that’s good stuff man, I love talking to people that do something that I call breaking my eye open, it really … Sometimes we need to be shook just a little bit to be able to see things differently, because I hear a lot of people talking about this very thing, is they feel like they can’t beat their competitors, or no matter what their competitor’s, no matter what they’re trying to do, they just somehow keep getting beat, and undercut, and they say, “I can’t understand how they are doing it so cheaply? They can’t be making money, but I can’t stay in business if I keep competing with them, and they’re going to just run me out, that’s what they’re trying to do.”
It’s just such this feeling of desperation, and helplessness, and so that’s why I’m glad that you can help us think through this a little bit, and it’s a very intelligent approach. It looks like there’s some things that can be done, and so that’s very helpful.
Brandon: Yeah, there is, and here’s how you know. I’ll ask everybody on here, it’s not your stinking market guys, it’s not the market for labor, and it’s not the market for competition. If it were the market for competition, when you looked around your market, there would not be both a Kia, and a Lexus dealership, and a Land Rover dealership, and a BMW dealership, there would just be a Kia dealership. The only place you could get your haircut, would be Great Clips. The only place you could go out to eat would be McDonald’s.
If no one valued security, and safety, and a friendly place to eat, if nobody cared about that stuff, Chick-fil-A would be out of business, they wouldn’t have the highest profit margins of any store doing something that’s a hell of a lot more competitive than painting. You can’t be surrounded by examples of people who consistently, and constantly prove you wrong that the customers want something different, and then blame it on the competitors. The blame is almost exclusively in these situations with the owner.
You’ve got problems in your business, man, go to the bathroom, find a mirror in almost every situation. We don’t have a bad industry, the industry’s just fine. We don’t have a bad market, the markets are just fine, some are better than others, but I got people killing it, making tons of money in goat fart Arkansas, and at the same time, you can go and listen to a bunch painters griping about being in places like Denver, Colorado, where there’s money under rocks, and they can’t seem to find any of it.
Well, what are you doing? How did you get in this situation? In closing, while everybody else is scrambling around thinking tactically, and complaining, you just need to take a step back, think strategically, and solve the problem, because I have yet to see, and our Painting Profit Summit illustrated it to me clearly, you’re in the room with a bunch people that are smart, I mean it’s like 1/1000 companies that get to over $1 million, and you got a whole roomful of them, right?
People have problems, guy sits up on the stool, addresses 13, 14 people, actually I think we had 17 people a group. Mine was a little smaller, because I gave the other guys the bigger ones, because they had to come in, and do mine, so about 20 people group. Guy comes up, I’ve got a problem with X, about half of that group had solved X, and told him how to solve it. Then the next guy gets up, I’ve got a problem with X, and about half of the group had solved it, and told him how to solve it, so it just illustrated about 17 times in a row in my group, that there is nothing new under the sun in painting, and every problem that you’ve got, somebody’s already figured out, and solved.
It tends to be that most companies have gotten to where they’ve gotten by solving one of about seven, or eight major problems, maybe two, or three, but then the rest of them, they’re clueless on. If you just continually go through, and modify, and address their systems, you’ll be just fine, but take heart, and understand that we’re in a great industry, and you can find the resources to fix whatever problem you have, you just have to be committed to do it.
Chris: Well, I’m going to call you, and I always have some new nickname for you, but Brandon the messenger Lewis, because that is a message of hope, it really. I’m not exaggerating when I say I take a lot of calls, and I hear a lot of people talking about, and that’s the fear, is that they’re not going to be able to beat the competitor, and so anyway, I don’t think this is a campaign promise that you have ideas that can help, I think you really do. I’m excited about hearing the full webinar, I know people are excited to hear more from you at this webinar, and at the Expo. Can I ask you real quick how people can get a hold of you if they want to learn more, they can’t make it to the webinar.
Brandon: The easiest way, there are two websites, paintersacademy.com. If you go there, there’s a free CD, we’ll send you a packet of information, and we’re going to market the hell out of you, so if you don’t like that, don’t go there, don’t go there, that would be a bad place to go, because we follow up, and everything I teach our guys to do, I practice what I preach. If you don’t want to be bothered in any way shape, or form, do not go to Painters Academy, because we will follow-up with you.
If you like a little free information with not as much intense follow-up, you can go to Painters Weekly, it’s my weekly video blog, where I just give information, and helpful tips that’s there, although eventually you might migrate your way over to the Painters Academy, you have no telling, you just don’t even want to go to either one of them frankly. It’s a bad idea, I shouldn’t have even mentioned it.
Chris: If you don’t want help, then you shouldn’t go there, because that’s where you’re going to get help, and you’ll be harassed about getting the help that you need.
Brandon: Yes, you will, I have a buy, or die mentality. It’s so funny, and in closing, going back to that whole follow-up process Shank, I have people that join our program, that have been on my list for over three years, and they just pick up the phone, and finally they just like in the Bible, with the persistent widow, they said, “Jesus, you’re not going to leave me alone, are you?” I said, “No, that’s not my intention.” “Well, I reckon I’ll join.” I said, “Well, you should,” and they just join.
Chris: What a conversation.
Brandon: After a while they’re like, “Well, I guess this guys not going anywhere,” and I know that they needed it, they probably needed it two, or three years ago, but some people make decisions slower. Right now you’ve probably got a pile of unconverted leads, if you’re listening to this, and you’re a painting contractor, pick the ones from the last 12 months, run them through a campaign, and if you don’t find tens of thousands of dollars, I’ll eat my hat. I know the money’s in there, you just gotta go get it.
Chris: Brandon, thanks again for being on PaintED.
Brandon: All right, dude, I appreciate it, I’ll see you down in Galveston, and I hope everybody else comes. Last thing, this is not a plug I was paid to do. You’re a moron [crosstalk 00:38:51]
Chris: I’m sorry.
Brandon: You are an absolute blithering idiot, because there’s like almost no information out there.
Chris: Okay, say that again, because Brandon I interrupted you. All we heard was, “You are a moron,” sorry, go ahead, say you are a moron for what?
Brandon: I’ll say it again. You are a moron, if you do not go to the PDCA Expo.
Chris: There we go.
Brandon: You’re like brainless, amoeba level thinker, because there’s only three, or four outlets in the world, where there’s any information coming out of to help you run your painting business. If you’re just hiding on the fringes, thinking that something will change, go surround yourself with some people that are as hungry as you are for knowledge, and get the help you need, find the folks you need to talk to. It’s a drop in the bucket, if you’re unwilling to invest in yourself, who’s going to do it?
It’s hard to convince people to buy from you, if you will not buy for yourself, and I’m talking about the deepest top of yourself, and that’s the stuff that goes in your gray matter. That crap hangs around for a long time, or at least until I get a box of wine in me, and so you’ve got to go, and it’s fun. It’s fun, and you learn something, and it’s a tax-deductible vacation to Galveston.
Glen Campbell sung a song about it, it’s gotta be a great place, I’m looking forward to seeing it.
Chris: Awesome, great sell Brandon, we are looking forward to seeing you in Galveston, and anybody else who shows up, and yeah, we’ll see you again sometime on PaintED, I’m sure.
Brandon: All right, later buddy.
Chris: PaintED podcasts are a product of the Painting, and Decorating Contractors of America. To find out more about upcoming education opportunities, or for more information about joining PDCA, visit PDCA.org. We’ll see you next time.
Brandon: ABC Painting, this is Earl. That’s a nice bowling trophy you got there, you bowl, no, I just freaking collect bowling trophy’s dummy, yeah I bowl.
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The 5 Keys for Success in ANY Economy
Discover the key to unlocking the hidden income potential in your painting business.