Plumbers Work ON Your Business, Not IN It

Plumbers: Are You Working ON Your Business?

It is critical to your long term success to find a good balance between doing the work you love and trained for, doing work to develop new business, and making sure that you have all the other business management elements in place.  Plumbers (and most business owners) seem to always want new business to “find” its’ way to them, but as we know, that rarely happens.  On top of that, you have said to yourself a thousand times, “I can do this so much better than my employees.”  Even those that are really good at getting referral work still have to do something seriously awesome to make that happen!

For you to really succeed, you must find time every day to work on at least one critical aspect of running your business.  This might include networking, cold calling, marketing, or even reviewing the financials.

As the owner, You have to market and promote your products and services:
If the thought of marketing is overwhelming or intimidating, start with a simple strategy of scheduling lunch meeting with every business person you know in your community.   You need this exposure and interaction.

Block out time on your calendar to devote to working on your business, and don't let anyone or anything cancel that time. Treat that time seriously, as if it were a client meeting.  As a business owner, it is absurd to think you can turn the entire marketing process over to a sales manager or a salesperson!  You own the business; YOU are responsible for making sales, in addition to expecting your sales staff to do the same.   If you delegate most of this to someone else, you are in effect saying - “I’m trusting my business and future to someone that is working here for a paycheck!”

See the vision as a roadmap, and then drive toward it:
Visions are more powerful than goals because visions have an emotional component. When you see a picture, it evokes emotion – involving your heart, not just your head. This is far more powerful than only writing down an idea.

Every business owner I have spoken with always says “I wish I could find sales people that have the same passion as I do.”    The reality is these people would own their own business if that were the case.  They will NEVER have the same passion and vision as you, so plan to set parameters, targets, rules, expectations and metrics to measure their successes (or failures).

If you don't tell people about what you do, why you do it, how it will help them, then it’s like you are shooting ducks in the dark.  As a business owner, you need to get from point A to point Z, successfully, so there has to be a strategy and you have to see where you are going to achieve this.  Nobody gets into their car, puts on a blindfold and starts driving down the road!

Use Social Media to Get More for Your Marketing Buck:
Determine what social media networks your ideal clients use, and post to them frequently. For example, if your client or customer base is primarily retail type consumers, post on Pinterest or Facebook.

If you are mostly a B2B service, LinkedIn and Twitter work well to get your message out.  Since I teach an eight-hour course on the best ways to use Social Media for Business, these two sentences can’t begin to say what you need to consider or do with social media.  Just don’t be lulled into the belief that you don’t need it right now, because that’s sticking your head in the sand!

Today is a new world. We have a different culture and society whether we like it or not. This new society uses Social Media – a lot.  Your customers ARE using it to communicate about your products and services, even if you have not embraced the social media world.  Don’t get caught directly behind the eight ball, totally oblivious to what is happening with a large percentage of your existing customer base.

Properly Train New Employees:
Whether a new hire remains with your firm and becomes a productive part of the team depends a lot on how well they are integrated into the team. Do they have a welcoming first day? Are they given proper training?

In house training is extremely important if the new hire is going to be involved in sales/marketing. You must make sure they understand the value of your services and how to communicate that value. You can't drop a new hire into a selling situation, say, "Go to it!" and expect them to generate good results. Even if the hire has a great sales track record, they need instruction and training.

"Executives think they can go out and hire great salespeople. In their minds, they're hiring a salesperson in a box - just bring them in, add water, and the sales just roll in. Further, most sales and marketing people learned the process from “old school teachers” that made the sales calls about themselves.  Teach your staff that it's about the client NOT about your company, or you will lose in today's world.

Dick Wagner is a HVAC /Plumbing Sales and Marketing Consultant