Building Your Remodeling Team Is Like Fishing

I love to catch fish. I didn’t say I love to fish. There’s a difference. I love to put fish in the cooler so I can use them for food or bait. True fisherman love the activity of fishing. If they catch some fish, that’s good, but a day fishing with no catch is still a good day. That’s not me.

To get the results I want — more fish in the cooler — I have to better prepare. But I’m terrible at prep for fishing so I don’t get the results I want. My fishing buddy, Brian, actually looks up information on line and reads it. He subscribes to an email chain where people share where they are catching fish and how. He prepares. So guess what? When he’s on board, I catch more fish. 

How does this apply to your remodeling business? You have to be honest with yourself, and build your team to fill in where you’re weak.

What Do You Really Want?

Identify what you want to do. Be completely honest. Do you really want to make money over and above your salary? Or is providing a good income for yourself enough? Do you want to be a full-blown company, or is designing and building one project at a time enough? If you want the business, the net profit, and the multiple jobs that running a company requires, what weaknesses are getting in the way? 

A contractor told me one time that he could sell anything. When you looked at his net profit you could see why. His prices weren’t high enough to sustain his business. Other remodelers have hiring problems — they keep bringing peopleon, but they quickly quit. Instead of admitting that maybe they could us some help hiring, they just say, “no one wants to work.” Just admit your weaknesses! 

Build a Team to Get You There

When it comes to fishing, I don’t like to do the prep. So, I take Brian along to help. If deep down inside you can admit a weakness, build a team that fills in the spaces. If you’re not selling jobs at high enough prices, get someone that can estimate the job properly and mark it up. Then you sell it for that. Don’t say “we can’t sell it for that” and drop the price.

If you can’t keep employees, get someone who can manage people well and let them do that. Imagine me having Brian on the boat and he says “let’s go over to 100 feet of water because that’s where people are catching the fluke,” and I say, “you know, Brian, I’ve been fishing for fluke all my life and I think we’ll stay right here.” No, I start the motor and get to 100 feet of water, and I get happy because I catch fish! Not listening to Brian would be like a remodeler that has really good people on staff, but tells them it’s good enough the way it is. Build a great team and let them work their strengths.

Learn from those doing. If I want to catch fluke I have to learn from those actually catching fluke. If I want to catch black bass – the same thing. My team, Brian, helps me with my weakness through what he learns and it leads to my success. When we come in we can say “look what we caught!”

Many people working for remodelers are highly motivated to see the company succeed — it actually identified as the second-highest motivator in employees. They read books, go to training, and participate in conferences, all so they learn what really works. Let them have an impact on your business. But remember you’ll learn best from people that have met your goals, not just those known for running or working in a great company. Just because someone has a reputation for being a great company doesn’t mean they’re accomplishing anything you want to learn. It‘s like a boat named Fish Slayer that never leaves the dock!

Team Building Will Be a Major Topic…

At this year’s Production Conference in Orlando! Building an effective and productive team will be a theme running throughout many of the presentations provided by some of the industry’s finest production “gurus.”

As you can see in the post above, team building is such a critical piece in the process of improving your remodeling business. Don’t miss this opportunity to attend… or send your Production Managers, Project Managers and Lead Carpenters! Register Today!

Team Building Through Troubleshooting and Problem Solving

[Editor’s Note] If you saw think you may have already seen this post, you aren’t imagining things.. the heat hasn’t gotten to you. We posted this 2 weeks ago, minutes before we launched our new website, and then the post went “poof” and went into cyberspace, never to be seen (or linked to) again… We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to hear from Tim Faller, so enjoy!

You may have added workers in the field and in the office to keep up with the booming business of the past few years. Are they working as a team or as individuals? If they’re not all working together, it may be costing you money on jobs and in the office. It’s time to pull them together through troubleshooting and problem-solving.

Team members want to win, they just don’t have the information or opportunity to do so. Here are some ways to get folks working together, while solving problems that may be eating into your profits.

Identifying Problem Areas

Most business owners think they must be the person to make everything work and fix every problem that develops. Instead, gather your team to identify the areas of the company that need work. Be sure they have all the information they need. If you’re struggling to meet the budgets on jobs, for example, be sure they know it and how bad it is. Identify all the things the administrative folks need to fix, then look at the field issues.

Prioritize It

After you have a list of things to fix, let the team prioritize where to start. After they say the estimate needs to be fixed (Yes, I know how it will go!), agree to work on that, then nudge them to a field problem. Once the list is prioritized, get to work.

Brainstorming for Team Building

Have a meeting to brainstorm solutions. There are several very important aspects of brainstorming that you need to keep in mind.

All ideas are valid. Never say something like “that won’t work” or dismiss any idea. People will shut down. You want to create is a continuous stream of ideas — at some point the one that resonates with everyone will pop out.

If someone sits back, let them know you’ll call on them in a few minutes so they can prepare. Many people will hold back, so actually calling on them involves them. Great ideas will come out.

Be prepared to actually adopt something the group suggests. In my consulting, it’s amazing to me how many of the field staff will tell me that the owner asks but then ignores what they say.

Don’t leave the meeting until a next step is decided. After the brainstorming, get consensus on the next step. Designate a small group to select the best path to take. Within the group, decide the best idea to tackle and assign people to work out the details. The owner of the company shouldn’t say “Thank you for all this. I’ll get back to you.” Let the team help with the specific solution.

All this takes time, but most of your problem areas can’t be solved in one easy step. By getting the team involved they are more motivated and you get a better solutions that they will embrace. And they’ll draw together as they do it, creating the kind of cohesive team that will drive business forward.

[Podcast] Episode 44: Building a Remodeling Sales Team with Andy Wells

Most remodelers start as the sole salesperson for their companies. Stepping out of that role is arguably one of the hardest things you can do — but you have to if you’re going to grow your company. Hiring, training, and managing a sales team is a challenge.

Normandy Design Build Remodeling has a sales staff of 22, and all have design or architecture backgrounds. This is more important to the company than having pure sales experience.

In this episode, Andy Wells talks to Victoria and Mark about hiring and training superstars at Normandy, where he’s the president and owner. Normandy has been in business for 40 years and does additions, kitchens, and whole-house remodeling throughout the Chicagoland area. Andy has been with Normandy for 21 years.

Expanding and growing your company takes sales, and more sales, says Andy. His newer salespeople are selling $600,000 per year; some with more experience are doing $2 million, topping out at around $4 million sold by one salesperson. Andy talks about hiring and training the Normandy way, with information you can use to build your own sales staff, including:

  • Why passion is the most important thing
  • How to be a Sherpa for your clients
  • The importance of being nimble
  • Clicking with the customer
  • Training in the culture
  • The value of ride-alongs for sales
  • Scaling the commissions and compensation
  • Moving from salary to commission
  • Meetings — what to cover and how often to hold them
  • Why sales managers can’t do all their own selling
  • And more…

So much more, in fact, that we ran out of time. Since we didn’t even get to the management part, we’ll be bringing Andy back soon!

Tell us about your experiences with hiring and training a sales staff in the comments.

Click Here to Listen to Episode 44 >>