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Archive for the 'Marketing' Category

One Sales Success Formula

While there are some overnight sales (and business) successes, when you dig a little deeper you find that those overnight successes were more likely 20 years in the making.

And that tells us something important.

One formula for sales success is doing the right things (proper marketing strategy and sales process delivered by the right salespeople) over an extended period of time during which the message (and the service/product) is refined, tweaked and perfected.

And voilà! After months or years or decades—the breakthrough! The “overnight” success!

So, if this is the case, tremendous effort over lengthy periods of time with delayed gratification are going to be required. So how do we “stay the course” as we invest in our future success?

Now, I’m not a particularly religious guy but one client shared a Bible passage with me that I think of as words to live by for people of any faith. Here goes:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

We have to do the footwork but God will handle the heavy lifting (if we let Him!)

How to Profitably Scale Your Business Using a Salary Cap

Integrating and Implementing a Salary Cap in Your Business

Sports fans understand the concept of a salary cap because most of the major professional sports leagues have some version of a salary cap. In business the term salary cap is used to define a determined payroll limit that restricts the amount of money to be spent on wages and salaries for a specific period of time. Some restoration business owners do not think about how their business could benefit from establishing a salary cap.

As a restoration business owner your single biggest expense is likely labor– the salary/wages that you pay to your employees (including yourself) and the money paid out to subcontractors or vendors for labor. If you want to impact your overall success and your profitability, then you need to start by looking at your labor productivity as the biggest component in your business.

In a growing business, labor costs can quickly balloon out of control. When small businesses are making the transition to medium-sized businesses it is possible to fall into a dangerous feedback loop of borrowing and spending. As you scale your business, your costs will grow, and it is tempting to see break-even (your previous measure of success) as sufficiently safe growth.

Greg Crabtree is the author of Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits, and one of the great ideas in his book is the recommendation that every business should self-impose a salary cap just like the one that NFL teams deal with every year.

How to Calculate Your Salary Cap:

To keep the math easy we will use an example of a business that generates $1,000,000 in revenue. In this example the business owner has determined that they want a 10% pre-tax profit from the business after paying themselves a reasonable market wage.

The non-salary costs were calculated by adding up all the fixed costs like materials and subcontractors, and operating expenses like rent, utilities, insurance, communications, and advertising, etc.  This would also include the cost of goods (less labor and management labor) for $1,000,000 in revenue. In this example the non-salary costs are $400,000. As you can see, that means the salary cap is $500,000, which includes all labor costs.

A simple calculation can help you determine the total labor costs allowable with your current revenues.

Labor CAP Formula:

LC = (total revenue) – [(0.1 x total revenue)] – (non-labor costs)

($1,000,000) – [($100,000)] – ($400,000) = $500,000

Here is an example:

If the current payroll expense is more than $500,000 (and the other numbers are correct) then this business is not going to hit the profit target and the business is at risk. That gets us back to the labor productivity idea- the key is to generate $1M in revenue from that $500,000 of labor, and if you want to be more profitable than 10%, then you either need to cut your salary expenses without impacting your productivity (do more with less) or grow your revenue without increasing your salary (again do more with less…or technically the same in this case).

At BDA, we believe that every restoration business owner has the right to expect that their company can deliver to them what they want out of life- freedom and the ability to create wealth.

Make it a prosperous month!  Stay tuned for next month’s article.

Labor Productivity is the Key to Profitability

As a restoration company owner you must measure productivity to know if the money you spend on labor is paying off in terms of output (revenue). A labor productivity ratio is the simplest way to find out if you are getting the production you need. When you use this ratio on a regular basis you will be able to keep a sharp eye on your employees’ productivity.

Labor productivity is the number one key to profitability and is best measured by the Labor Efficiency Ratio (LER). This ratio indicates the productivity of all labor (production, sales, and management). You will need to measure each labor segment and monitor productivity per labor dollar and make adjustments as you see the LER decreasing. With the downward pressure from the insurance industry you can no longer wait for six months or longer to see if things improve. Adjustments must be made as quickly as possible when you begin to see a decline in your LER from previous periods.

The Direct Labor Efficiency Ratio (DLER) is calculated by dividing Gross Profit (minus direct labor, benefits, and employer burden) by the direct labor cost. For example, if your company had a Gross Profit of $4 million and a direct labor cost of $1 million you would have a DLER of $4. This means that for every $1 you pay your production employees the business receives a $4 return on that investment.

Here are some tactics to improve your Labor Efficiency Ratio:

  • implement an effective scheduling process
  • provide a quality back-office support Team
  • reward your productive employees for performance
  • recruit, hire, and on-board high-performance employees
  • implement and integrate lean processes
  • boost employee morale
  • set clear and attainable goals
  • reevaluate your staff on a regular basis
  • give praise and recognition.

At BDA, we believe that every restoration business owner has the right to expect that their company can deliver to them what they want out of life- freedom and the ability to create wealth.

Make it a prosperous month!  Stay tuned for next month’s article.

John Capponi, CR
Operations and Management Consultant
Business Development Associates, Inc.
john@gobda.com
Cell: 407-745-7698

Monday Marketing and Sales Tip: Treating Gatekeepers Properly(They’re Human Too!)

Dealing effectively with gatekeepers can make or break your opportunity to get to the decision maker. Remember, it’s their job to minimize disruption (I.E.: sales calls) to their boss’ day! They are dealing with screening numerous calls and sales people making in person visits every day. They have the ultimate responsibility of letting through only those people that will matter to their boss! Because of this, they also tend to deal with people who will treat them badly or poorly for not allowing access to the decision maker. It’s vital to remember that gatekeepers are human too, and need to be treated as such. And, you only have a matter of moments to sink or swim in your efforts to get to that all important decision maker.

Because we hire, train and manage sales reps across the country, we see how this lack of proper communication has caused business development reps to sink quicker than the Titanic when it comes to dealing with the brick wall that is the gatekeeper. Common sense to most? Yes–but you’d be surprised how often it bears repeating!

So, next time you’re up against a gatekeeper, remember to be polite and in your few precious moments with them, try to 1) address them by their name and 2) say please! A dash of courtesy and directly addressing them can throw even the crustier gatekeepers off their game, as you’ve now shown up differently from other sales people.

By adding this “human” touch and level of respect to the conversation, you have a greater chance of getting past them and even having them become your ally.

An example of this would be saying to the gatekeeper “Thanks Sandy, could you please let me know if Mr. Smith will be available to speak for a few moments?”

Gatekeepers are people just like everyone else–showing them that you recognize this and engaging them respectfully can go a long way by using these simple yet powerful communication techniques!

Want to learn more strategies for dealing with gatekeepers and improve your sales process overall? Click here to sign up for sales and marketing tips designed for the restoration industry!

5 Keys to Surviving & Thriving in Today’s Restoration Industry

The changes brought about by the fluctuating weather patterns, the economic collapse of 2007/2008 and the maturation of the restoration industry have created major challenges for restoration contractors.

The constant downward pressure on margins, increasing competition, skilled labor retention issues and a reduction in weather-related work has many restorers working harder than ever doing what they have always done to get business—except it’s no longer working.

While there are no “magic bullets” to change the current situation, a clear eyed look at the realities of the market is essential. Business owners need new ideas, information and thought processes to use as building blocks to create a new future.

There is a way that restorers can break free from these destructive circumstances and “entrepreneur” their way to a new business reality!

Check out the recent C&R article, “5 Keys to Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Maturing Restoration Industry,” authored by BDA President, Tim Miller. You’ll learn five objectives that can make a positive change in the short, medium and long term. Tim previously addressed this topic during his keynote address at the recent 2015 RIA conference. If you missed the keynote or not able to attend the RIA conference, now is your chance to still take advantage of this powerful information!

Click here to view the C&R article, “5 Keys to Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Maturing Restoration Industry“!

LinkedIn’s “Sponsored Updates”; Tips for Restorers on Content Marketing

alt="linkedIn content marketing for restorers"
LinkedIn recently announced the addition of “Sponsored Updates” to their product suite, allowing members the opportunity to get their content in front of other LinkedIn members that are a match for the content of the update, even if those members are not following their company profile.

In the constant battle to win the content war, LinkedIn, much like Facebook, is offering another way for members to get their content put in front of the right people, and hopefully clicked on and read (while the social media giant makes a pretty penny of course, watching companies battle for market share via their platform).

Facebook, unfortunately, learned a hard lesson about going too far with using the personal information of their members for their former “Sponsored Stories” advertising product, ending up in a lawsuit that was said to be a potential revenue loss of $103 million. Facebook would then modify and re-market the same idea of paid advertising for content, slimming their 27 ad unit options to half the amount and making other modifications.

Done correctly and consistently, like any paid social media initiatives, the LinkedIn “Sponsored Updates” could be a great boost for companies as part of a larger integrated campaign for the product or services the paid update’s content is steering the B2C or B2B audience to. And, creating content that is compelling to the audience and speaks to their needs will always draw in higher click-through and conversion metrics.

As part of “expanding their content ecosystem,” LinkedIn’s new Sponsored Updates will allow for content to appear in the homepage feeds of targeted, prospective business partners or customers. Updates can be seen on both PC and mobile applications and will be marked as “sponsored” to the viewer.

For those purchasing the product from LinkedIn, you can choose either CPC or CPM pricing and track the effectiveness of the content through analytic tools provided by LinkedIn.

Tips For the Restorer:

By now, you have probably heard about content marketing and how it can help you boost your business. Creating viable content that keeps people watching your page, sharing your posts and hopefully, recommending and using your company’s services and products, is key to content marketing success. Be sure to share more than just about your restoration company–remember, it’s not all about you !

What do people really want to read about?

About themselves of course, and the things that affect them ! There is certainly a time and place to share content about your restoration company in your content marketing strategy-but be sure to engage and share things that your reader will find interesting. Instead of talking about the fact your restoration company performs mold remediation, share information about the dangers of mold in the home, for example. You’ll see your likes, retweets, shares and more start to improve!

And when your restoration company does great things, be sure to share that too. Did your company get involved in a community event? Did individual team members do something above and beyond? Share it! This is a great way to express your reputation-online!

And of course, be sure that social media is a piece of your overall integrated marketing plan, versus your only sales and marketing method! In today’s over saturated world of communications, restorers must have an effective strategy and accompanying plan utilizing several communication outlets to break through the clutter of communication in order carry out that strategy so they can predictably grow their business not only from a mass marketing perspective, but also through their 1:1 direct selling efforts.

If you’re a restorer looking to predictably grow your business, Business Development Associates might be the solution you’re looking for. Although we’re not a perfect fit for everyone, we’re helping many restorers across the country to predictably grow their business using a proprietary and proven marketing and sales system that generates millions in new business. For more information, call 847-386-6556 or email info@theBDAway.com.

Insight Into The Customer Lifetime Value of Your Digital Customers

A recent study from marketing company Custora, who analyzes customer retention and acquisition, provided insight into the lifetime value of customers, based on the digital medium from which the customer came.

The study shows shows the varying Customer Lifetime Value of digital customers, with PPC (Pay Per Click), referral and even e-mail topping the list, beating out Facebook and Twitter in regards to obtaining a higher quality customer.

alt="Customer Lifetime Value Chart"

For customers seeking a product or service via the search engines directly (IE: Google) or click on ad specifically of what they are looking for, these results are easy to account for because those channels utilize the intent graph (the consumer is looking for something specific). Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter will have to use their graph searches to redirect the customer to the product or service they seek.

Another result that came out of this study is that rural area customers tend to be more valuable and loyal over time, as their choices of vendors are more limited due to their living area. The Wyoming customer, for example, is 28% more valuable than the average American.

Tips for the Restoration Contractor:

While this study proves to have compelling information to help you see where valuable customers through digital efforts can come from, it’s important to incorporate a variety of digital and non-digital tactics to not only prospect for new business, but also, to make sure that they will be the kind of customer you want. The study makes a strong point for digital marketers to not put all their eggs in one or two baskets, in particular, Facebook and Twitter, who have made great strides to provide advertising, targeting tools and other strides in order to build a stronger (and more profitable) user community.

While SEO and PPC can bring in several to handfuls of leads a week, are you finding that those customers are jobs you are wanting to take on? Recently, we spoke with a prospective client who was receiving numerous leads a week through their PPC efforts, but 90% were the types of jobs they did not want, and thus, their return on investment was not what they had hoped for either.

On the flip side, we also have restoration contractor clients who see decent work come through their digital marketing efforts. But, it’s part of their overall marketing mix, and contributes as another source of business. As we mentioned before at the beginning of this blog…don’t put all your eggs in one (or two) baskets!

The most effective way to ensure a steady and predictable stream of work is to make sure that you not only have the right tactics in place (SEO, PPC, Direct Marketing Tactics, etc.), but also, the right sales reps in place and a dynamic way to hire, train, coach and manage them. Check out this article on “How Managing Your Salespeople is Different From Your Techs” to give you a flavor of what we are talking about.

And most of all, you’ve got to have a strategy as the foundation of your marketing plan, that supports the tactics and the sales force.

If you’re a restoration contractor looking to predictably grow your business, you should take a few minutes to visit us at www.gobda.com. While we’re not the perfect fit for everyone, we are a sales and marketing consulting agency helping restorers all over the country through proven and proprietary programs that help them to generate millions in new business. Now doesn’t that sound like an egg you want to have in your basket?

Facebook Modifies Ad Offerings for Enhanced (and Simpler) Advertising for Marketers

In a press conference yesterday, Facebook announced that it will be simplifying its product offering when it comes to advertisements. The first step will be taking their current ad units from 27 to half that amount and helping marketers match the the type of Facebook ad they will need to their advertising goals such as in-store sales, online engagement and more.


Other changes include:

1) Removing the “Questions” ad product for Pages, as marketers can simply use the posting function to ask a question and receive comments.

2) Removing the “Online Offer” ad product, as marketers lean towards using the “Page Post Link” ad to drive people to promotions on their respective websites.

3) Marketers will no longer have to purchase “sponsored stories” in addition to the ad itself. Facebook will automatically include social context to a “Page Post Photo” ad which will eliminate the extra step of creating sponsored stories.

4) All ads will look more consistent as well, in efforts to have a more cohesive visual look. This not only reduces the number of types of ads, but, Facebook is also hopeful this will help marketers optimize their ad campaigns for digital and mobile.

The changes will start to appear in the coming weeks with a full roll-out over the next six months, and are a response to many marketers complaining that Facebook advertising “was too complicated for the marketers to figure out”, according to Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s Director of Engineering and Design for ads.

As Facebook continues to deal with the growing pains of being a publicly traded company and the ongoing balance of creating both happy Facebook’ers and investors, advertising will be one of several (if not many) challenges they will face.

Tips For Restorers:
For the restoration contractor engaging in social media, choosing whether or not to advertise on Facebook or any social medium, can be a challenge on several levels. It’s important to remember that in social media or any marketing and sales activity for that matter, that you ask yourself these primary questions:

“Who is it that I want to engage with through this activity?”
“What are my goals out of engaging in this activity?”
“Is what I am saying relevant to target?”
“Is this the best bang for my buck?”

Social media is a moving target, but, by answering the above questions (and whatever other questions necessary), and disciplining yourself to be consistent in your efforts, you are setting the path towards success (and more sales!).

If you’re a company in the restoration and cleaning industry, and looking to find a predictable way to grow your business using a proven sales and marketing process that includes social media and a host of other activities that fit your marketing mix, Business Development Associates may be a good fit for you. Contact us at info@theBDAway.com or call us at 773-777-9956.

Mobile Technology Adaption Growing in Small Businesses

A recent Constant Contact survey shows a strong trend among small business owners who are using mobile technology to not only conduct business, but also to promote their business, with conducting social media marketing (73%) and email marketing (71%) at the top of the list.

Other uses include engaging in advertising through social media outlets, as well as having a mobile-friendly site. A smaller percentage of the survey participants use tablets for point-of-sale purposes and use mobile apps to manage their business. 82% using a calendar/time management app tops the list of types of apps used, with others reporting app usage in customer communications, GPS/mapping, accounting/invoicing, travel planning and industry news updates.

In regards to social media advertising, a whopping 97% of those surveyed utilize many of the “biggies” of social media for advertising dollars: YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For those that have mobile-friendly sites, 70% of participants reported that it’s not only mobile-friendly, but also social-media optimized. Other characteristics of these sites include:

-A Menu (44%)
-Individual Product Listings (40%)
-Videos (39%)

And, when it comes to what type of mobile device is choice among small business owners, iOS is still heads above the Android. (66% to 39% respectively). In tablets, iPad beats out the Android tablet, 49% to 15% respectively.

Now, not all small businesses are behind the mobile trend, and for various reasons, with the top reason (56%) being that their customers have not expressed demand for mobile communications. 28% said mobile is not relevant to their industry/business.

For the restoration contractor, there are many opportunities for both their sales and marketing force plus their operations team to benefit from the many advantages of mobile technology. Learning curves, costs of the technology itself and having very little time to learn and adapt to mobile technology are just some of the reasons why contractors, much like the non-mobile users in the owners surveyed, have not employed this trend into their own businesses. But, as any business knows, it’s vital to stay ahead of the curve for business trends that have a direct impact on best servicing their customers.

In an ever-increasing world dependent on technology, it will be critical for small business owners to adapt to mobile changes before their customers start demanding it-and for the company, to adapt to mobile technology before they get left behind while the competition roars ahead.

If you are a contractor or a company in the inspection, cleaning and restoration industry, and have found that what was working to grow your company from point A to point B is not working to get you to point C, Business Development Associates, Inc. might be the solution for you. We are helping companies across the country predictably control the growth of their companies with proprietary sales and marketing programs that are generating millions in new business. Email us at info@thebdaway.com or call us at 773-777-9956 today!

Maryland Joins Other States In Banning Contractor Rebate Offers

Earlier this month, Maryland joined other states that are putting the kibosh on contractors who offer rebates to homeowners as a way to secure the repair contract. These contractors typically come with a shady motive behind the rebate, as they will perform substandard and inflated work, leaving the homeowner with a property not restored to pre-loss condition and affecting the overall value of the home.

These contractors use rebates of the homeowner’s insurance deductibles as a way to dangle the “carrot” so to speak in efforts to secure the contract. The homeowner, who sees savings of hundreds of dollars, believes they are getting the deal of a lifetime. In the end, they are disappointed to find that subpar materials and questionable or downright improper repair was performed.

In the cases of area-wide catastrophic weather damage, storm chasing contractors of the predatory nature will knock on the doors of homeowners who are under a great amount of stress and need even more urgent repairs. Once the shady contractor is able to get in and secure the contract by offering the rebate, they again perform substandard repairs, or in some cases, ask for a large amount of money up front and disappear completely with no work done, and never to be seen again.

It’s also important to note that a homeowner’s policy may not cover the repair of the fraudulent work done by the shady contractor. (To read more about Maryland joining the fight to stop scrupulous contractors in their tracks, click here.)

This type of fraudulent actions tarnishes our industry and makes it harder for honest contractors to assure their customers that they will follow the Standard of Care and follow the guidelines, ethics and practices set forth by our major industry associations and institutes. In order to help protect their reputation in the community, restoration contractors can use a variety of methods to get out their “good news stories” and spread customer testimonials, both online through their website and social media platforms. There’s also more direct marketing tactics you can use as well to spread the good word about your company.

Are you facing sales and marketing challenges that you need help with in order to grow your company? If so, reach out to us at info@theBDAway.com or, call us at 777-773-9956 and we can setup a brief time to talk about them and how BDA might be a good fit to help you get to the next level.



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