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Brian Reis

Guest Interview: Brian Reis of Bella’s Army Painting – Round 2

Brian Reis

Brian Reis, founder and owner of Bella's Army Painting, discusses how his sales-first mindset has allowed him to effectively outrun other problems in his business, and a shift he is taking this year to rightsize and improve operations. This is Brian's second time on the Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast, and he takes an even deeper dive into why his sales process is so effective, and how other painting company owners can implement a similar process in their business. Brian explains how he is constantly pushing himself and his team members outside of their comfort zones, and the benefits as well as mental challenges of this constant iterative improvement.

Video of Interview

Topics Discussed:

  • How to empower your customers in the sales process to improve your close rates
  • Why uncovering objections is so important, and methods for doing so
  • The J Curve, and why Brian is constantly living outside his comfort zone
  • Brian's surprising experience increasing his prices drastically
Audio Transcript

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Welcome to the Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast, a show created to help painting company owners build a thriving painting business that does well over one million and annual revenue. I'm your host Brandon Pierpont founder of Painter Marketing Pros and creator of the popular pc, a educational series, learn do grow marketing for painters. In each episode, I'll be sharing proven tips, strategies and processes from leading experts in the industry on how they found success in their painting business. We will be interviewing owners of the most successful painting companies in north America and learning from their experiences on this episode of the Painter Marketing Mastermind podcast.

We host Guest brian Rees Brian is the founder and owner of Bella's army painting a residential painting company based in Pittsburgh that does over $1. 5 million dollars in annual revenue. In this episode, brian discusses how his sales first mindset has allowed him to effectively outrun other problems in his business and a shift he is taking this year to right size and improve operations. This is brian's second time on the Painter Marketing Mastermind podcast and he takes an even deeper dive into why his sales process is so effective and how other painting company owners can implement a similar process in their business. Brian explains how he is constantly pushing himself and his team members outside of their comfort zones and the benefits as well as mental challenges of this constant iterative improvement. If you want to learn more about the topics we discussed in this podcast and how you can use them to grow your painting business visit painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast for free training as well as the ability to schedule a personalized strategy session for your painting company. Again that you are l is painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast brian Thank you for coming on the power market mastermind podcast for the second time man. Yeah. Thanks for having me. It's great to be back. Yeah. So you were guest number two numero does for us. So this is uh this is a big throwback awesome man. Your podcast has come a long way a lot. Like pretty quickly I'd say thanks man. Yeah the the P. C. A. Um the pizza has been doing a good job just promoting their podcast in general. Been good. But you and I were talking before we started recording and you were telling me how everything is roses and perfect for you. Talk to me about that. Well it's so like here's my perspective on the whole thing. So like what I was trying to say was everything is it seems like it's always perfect and like things are going great and like you're doing awesome. Um like just with conversations you have with people online and stuff like that, but right, like the facebook, everybody's smiling all the time. You know, everyone's life is perfect except your own. You're the only one who's sad or has family issues or anything like that. Exactly. And it's it's interesting because like the same struggles you go through going from like zero to like 0. 5 million revenue or like whatever that would be. You go through the same similar life cycle no matter like what layer you're at in your cycle point in your business. There's just a different like animal every single time and it's it's an interesting perspective at the least. Yeah. Yeah so I guess let's kind of dive into that because you you have achieve the salt level of success. Your your first podcast episode was really focused on the sales first mentality. Um And then it it seems like now you've kind of shifted the focus a little bit and you kind of have to always I guess balance that sales versus operations and if one leads the other needs to catch up. Um Can you speak to that a little bit? Yeah so um again like at the base point of starting a company you have to lean into what you're good at usually. So we were good at just selling the jobs and getting the work. So um we would usually just outsell other problems and that's just like that influx of like being really good with this the volume of lead flow and workflow usually outpaced and masked some other problems in the actual company. Um For example like just not like optimizing certain G. P. Points or like you don't have an actual like S. A. P. M. Process for like producing something and it's not replicated across the board. How does that long term effect of culture? Um It's just there's a really deep layer to certain aspects of the people part of this and that's where right now like we we are doing a hardcore focus on that and just kind of re learning and adjusting and just like making sure that everybody on the on the company board is on the same page and it's just uncomfortable which we get as owners and like that is part of the process and journey but Whenever you have 1015 people on staff and it's uncomfortable. Sometimes it's it's a lot of like conversations and work with the people and just making sure that they're okay with that for the next couple of months or something like that and some people aren't which is okay I guess. Yeah. Well I've always um found that the more people you have on staff the easier changes for everybody. No I'm I'm just kidding. Um So you I want to dive into this because this is a really really interesting point and not something I don't think that I really covered in depth in any other podcast episode. So you guys you guys lead with sales, you were able to basically outsell your other problems and then now you can correct me if I'm wrong now you've consciously decided hey um we're gonna not stop selling but but stop making that that such the focal point and we're gonna kind of switch focus as a company to sort of right sizing or correcting some of the internal issues and then maybe we'll go back to the focal point of sales. Is that where you're at? Um Yes, so so like how we kind of like got to where we are now um we figured out how to optimize the sale process, so like we immediately hired out for that because it was usually like music owner consuming the entire like roll on that. So we hired for that had a person shadows for like a month and then uh he's been taking over the majority of lead flow, we have another part time salesperson and then I do a little bit here and there just as a safety net. But um my time allocation is more heavily on the operations and people and culture side now, so not once that's kind of like optimized, like that's why like the growth and volume is not like a huge influx right now. Like we chose to kind of like stay like at a certain points to just like you know spend more time to make sure that this one section here, it's actually not gonna like blow up on us in like a year or two if we start adding more people in layers to this organization. Sure. And now you guys are are using employees or subcontractors. So we use both, we have um 10 employees in the field right now operationally a P. M. Couple sales consultants and then uh to trade partner teams that we work with. So it equates to like 15 people total. Okay and then I guess a couple of crews of of subcontractors. Yeah yeah that's what the trade partner was and I was referring to got it and then you said it makes some people uncomfortable so when you kind of shift the business focus and I guess it sounds like when you shift the business focus that's really you shifting your focus as the leader of the company uh can you speak to that you know makes them uncomfortable, What does that mean? And what happens? Yeah so um here's an example like we so like let's just say 2. 5 years ago um there's people within the organization that we're part of our team. Um They stayed because like they liked our intent and the kind of people who are and that says a lot whenever the operational like workflow wasn't like perfect so through that life cycle and journey uh we got to the point where like we're now putting attention and time on that and it could be like a core value thing or it could be like just like what's the kittens and just like standard and how we present ourselves and like like all the SNPs change and like we just slowly start adding more detailed layers of things and it's a different operational like way of life than what we were doing two years ago, so you know people that got really good and like into the routine with the different like operational mindset sometimes it's tougher to change and they either just like work through that little hump and kind of like get to the other side which will help them overcome that or they just stay kind of like stuck a little bit in their comfort comfort ability zone, right? Yeah the people needing to change especially sometimes for for people who are not business owners not kind of accustomed to having to be so adaptable, they want a job and they're good at that job that's not always their strong suit. Yeah like what I've realized is like certain team members, they want to have like a really structured optimized environment and for things to be going great and like for you to be there and like all that and like it's certain things whenever you're just being pulled in different directions you just have to So I just have the faith lean in wait four months, trust me we'll get there. Yeah brian, is that is that a paint marketing pros hat behind you? On, on top of uh Yeah I was looking at that, I was like man it looks really similar to our hats. Uh I tell you what that's cool um so so these that makes sense so you you you know you kind of disrupt people's routine um as you improve the processes and it's kind of similar to I guess in a way to the episode that we have with Zach Osterman where he talked about succession planning and when you improve a culture you disrupt people and even if it's for the best some people don't want to be disrupted and and that can be that can cause conflict. What are some of the I guess the major S. O. P. Changes that you guys have have been making. So like obviously just like operational like workflows for like each surface and each like thing that we do um That's obviously different because we never had a specific process for doing certain things even though we did a little bit but not really. I think the biggest thing with that is just like whatever like production was never my strong suit. For example there was always a sales game, so like the confidence level of operational confidence is what we've been calling it, It wasn't 100% and it was tough to have like the conviction and just like the confidence and just like ah you know the basically you don't have the ability to like articulate like hey this is how we do stuff, this is like what we're about um we know for a fact that this is like an optimized way to do it just trust our process that was never there. Then we added the SMP layer because we kind of like converse with the entire staff with the data. So we knew that hey, we have a solid reference point now now we're going to be more serious and leaning into this. So a lot of that's been going on is just like the confidence level is a lot higher um which were able to kind of just like talk, talk with more conviction and just like be more consistent I guess because the inconsistencies is where the trust kind of like goes down a little bit. Sure that's part of the game it is now it's and that's a great point. You know, if you, if you demonstrate, I think I think the term would be cognitive dissonance, but if you, if you have a strong sales game but it looks like you don't entirely know what you're doing or not as well versed in the actual fulfillment as some other companies. Then you can, you can basically create a cognitive dissonance in the mind of the, the potential customer and that causes them to not trust you because you look strong in one element and then you, you look like you're not as strong um in what they would really want you to be strong. And so my question to you then because that's really interesting, a lot of painting company owners, especially ones that I speak with are so confident in their fulfillment. You know, we're, you know, we're everyone's the best so obviously that's not true, but everyone thinks that, that, that they are the best painting company in town, but they struggle kind of demonstrating that or closing or they get underbid by, you know, the guys who aren't as good as them or whatever. How do you or how did you, so how did you have such a strong sales game when you weren't quite as confident and you openly acknowledge that, which I applaud. You know, I think a lot of people like confidence in a lot of ways, they try to hide it. Um, but you realize, hey, there's some room for improvement here. So you're kind of having that in the back of your mind, how did you still sell so strongly in the, so I guess that was just how I was taught to do it. Um, like I, I got like whenever I first learned to sell, I initially got, um, just thrown into it and saying like, Hey, just like this is like what a fish board is, just what sighting is. Just, we spray it, Just trust us, we do it this way, then you don't, then you roll, if you have to do that. Like it was like blindly confidence in terms of like just what I was being like relayed and we had to sell work without having any people employed yet. So we sold with complete blind faith and like I think that kind of carried over to that because no matter what goes on in the back end like we have the ability to put our blinders on and say like at the end of the day like we don't say this to our customers but like thinking in the back of our heads no matter what goes wrong here, if something does go south, if we don't know what we're doing, we're not gonna leave these people hanging. So like we can sell with the conviction that like this generally is the best option for them with the perspective of like they're not gonna like being a really weird heated situation ever. No matter what. Yeah. So you're basically selling knowing that you might be a little outside your comfort zone or maybe hey I need to figure out how I'm actually gonna fulfill this job once I sell it in the beginning. Um but also knowing your values and the value system of your company and that it's going to be okay because you're gonna make sure it's okay. So you don't have to feel unethical. Um Or like you know I guess to be crude like you're you're potentially screwing these people because that's not gonna happen right? And honestly I think another factor that too is um the S. O. P. For like production standards and credit production rates. I kind of memorized that and knew that from the place I came from. So that alone made it a little bit more easier to have like a reference point of like hey like I know this works at the national level, it's going to work here with some variants at the very least. And where were you working previously? That was what college works painting? College works painting. And you were you were doing sales for them? Yes. Okay. Nice. Okay. Great man. So yeah that is um it's an interesting journey you know kind of hearing about the last time you came home was a ways back and and now hearing about your progression, how are you, how are you going about building those S. O. P. S. Are you just I mean are you are you going through some sort of structure course? Are you just looking back at things that went wrong and and fixing them retroactively. What's your process? So I would say it's a little bit of both. So like retroactively going back and just like analyzing stuff at an ownership level. We have done that a lot and it's just been a combination of mixture of just everything. So like whenever we don't know something we openly just ask people, we talk to people a lot of like DM conversations um people would share their documents, we would kind of get information and ideas and then once we feel like it felt like we had enough ideas and just like perspectives to kind of like you know more than two like what we think we want to do. We just converse with our entire team and said that hey like we think that this is right like what do you think the process is? Let's go through it. And then once I talked with like individual people talked as a whole team in unit and said like how does this look any more tweaks and adjustments where you want to make? I wanna make sure we're all in agreement that this is how we're going to do so from here on out. So you loop the entire team in to the process. Yeah. Yeah. Nice. And do you have I know a couple of things you said that you're you're working on is the increasing the gross profit probably making making that more consistent of your jobs. So I'd love to hear kind of what your target is there and and how you've worked on that and then um Standardizing your fulfillment and your S. O. P. S. How are you thinking about that in terms of priority? So to kind of like pinpoint your question you're like just read it. It's kind of all over the place. Yeah. Let's start with let's start with girls profit. So you're what are you trying to get to and how are you trying to get there? So this comes back to the sales confidence. So like for the longest time we're figuring out how do we produce this the same time or the same way every single time which was consistent like VP and for some reason there was always just an inconsistency somewhere. So after looking at the data, we realized with how many hours we were actually like blogging as a company versus like what was actually like budgeted for jobs that we can actually produce and do output with. There was a little gap there meaning like if we only had like 1100 hours allocated for possible production from jobs that we produced, We might have actually logged 1400, so like there was like a huge available gap usually. Um So we kind of just chose to cluster that together and then whatever that percentages, what percentage was, it was like 22.15%. We just increased our price. So that was a really easy way that we did that for. Um and again, that's kind of like what my conversation was with you before this on, we're experimenting with how high we can go, what we can do, how to improve our sales game because even though I had sales confidence, I know for a fact there's optimist or optimization points that we can still improve on in that category and we've been converting, which is awesome. That is awesome. So you, so yeah, there's a couple ways to increase gross profit and increase your price and so you have a higher top line revenue or you can increase your efficiency. So you have a lower cost of bid sale or cost of services sold. So you guys have really up until this point, I know you're focused on the operational efficiency, but it sounds like the first thing you did was say, let's increase the price and then we'll kind of circle back and maybe try to figure out Um what's going on, you know, try to get these wise are 1400 hours, but but we thought it was supposed to be 1100 hours. How are you? Did you just say, Alright, we're increasing at 22%. That was that you can just increase everything 22% or how did that go? Yeah, it's amazing bro. I love that. My goodness. Because like at that point I'm just like, you know what, like I think like how much of this is actually in my head and how much is actually real. So I wanted to test the theory on that and just be like, there's really no reason not to try it. Let's just see how it works. And um like a result from that, for example, we figured out how to close and convert more and higher rates. Like we itemize everything like perceptively looking at things at a smaller micro scale, um You know, instead of charging 65 or we might be charging 96. So like it's, I don't know to me it was, we had like so many decisions, we could have like done with that and it was more just us being kind of exhausted and tired from doing operational fixes that we weren't really confident in. So go back to your sweet spot of selling. Yeah. And not that we're neglecting the operational thing, like we're still like optimizing that, but um, this is the easiest and quickest fix to do both. Um And if conversions go from like 50 to like 38, so be it oldest increasingly flow. So have the, now, have you noticed, I mean, how long have you been doing this? Have you noticed a change in the close rate? Yeah, dramatically. Um if so if we don't push, so you said we just go on the consult and because we've been doing this for like I say two months, three months. Um if you don't try and push and like ask for the sale intentionally, Maybe 20%, 25% is what close rates are and that's just through pure follow up. If you close and you push and you improve your sales game and comfort ability and like you train daily with that stuff, It pushes it from like 30 to 45. Okay, and then you're saying before you guys raised it, it was really around 50. Yeah, I would say mid 40s actually. Um but again, like our comfort ability with sales was never to be like truly hate the word pushy, like more sort of, I guess the way I put it. So like we're treating like we can close everything out and we're being very intentional and just like improving our game on a daily basis. Yes. A lot of, a lot of um you know, painting company owners are uncomfortable with, with selling, you know, for better or for worse I think generally for worse, as long as you're fulfilling on it, there's no problem selling. And one of the themes that I've found with a lot of our guests is they are really sales oriented and that's why they are where they are. Um And this thing that, well I actually run a sales company, sales marketing company or a people company that does painting is a theme that's come up repetitive lee, but I want to dive into your tactics a little bit here, just so people can understand cause otherwise we'll push yourself. Dude, like force people say, hey you're gonna sign right here, what do you use a kind of training on it? Um You go in with the conviction you're gonna make the sale, what does the sales process actually look like? So it's um your typical prepositioning post positioning and like presentation stuff. Um it's just like increased like increasing the amount of time that we're giving them valuable information I guess. Um But I think the biggest point that we're that we did that kind of like change the game on that is if we go into an interior house. Yeah, we ask them questions directly. There are like very, very direct actually in terms of like price points. Like how they're looking to structure this. Is it one option? Is it like itemized option per room? We might spend another like 45 minutes at the house but we can give them like 28 options of stuff. So like like there's one person that I literally just gave them like it was an itemization of every room, Every closet was itemized. Um The uh there's different paint products and like options and stuff like that. It's a lot more work but like we built auto couch sheets to kind of spit out numbers pretty quickly. Which that was an improvement. And um. Yeah it might be a lot more like it might be a $27,000 job compared to like 14,000 compared to like a competitor. Like perspectively and psychologically I can get them and convince them to go with like a $1,500 option. You know like if you're looking at a $1500 price tag, if it's like an itemized option versus a $27,000 bill, they're okay kind of like justifying it to themselves. This does make sense I guess. Um I think that like it's just the itemization I guess it's kind of like the biggest breakdown on that and we just increased the time we're actually spending at the house too. So we're intentionally just talking to them a lot more, being more direct and picking uh be more selective like hell the layers back while we're there. So being being more selective and peeling the layers back I guess dive into what that means. Like what what what would the line of questioning, how would the line of question change or how would that, how would that? I know I'm pushing you brian but I know a lot of people, we're not really going to have any idea what what you mean by that. Okay, so you're going to someone's house, you want your goal there should be to get what's the underlying reason for buying? Like what's the real objection? They might say, hey, I need to think it over somebody else that's probably not anywhere close to what they're actually thinking inside their head for like the real objection. Uh it might be like timing related, It might be like, I don't know like I have three other options that are 14 and you're showing me 27, I don't trust you. Things like that kind of pop into place. So um I guess like certain questions we would ask for, try and think real quick, so I want to give you specific examples of things that I know that have worked. Um I mean we usually start up kind of like asking like have they ever done this experience before um like with a painting contractor? Yes. No, it doesn't really matter, we explain with how we structure it. And usually from there you can kind of like toss around the whole landscape like we can give like different options that are like more high end, we can do like price of immunization. We give like like once you have the range laid out of like low verse, mid verse high grade options and that you do have the option to choose where you want to be. Um You can ask them like what makes more sense to tailor our conversation towards today. Are you looking to be more towards like 700 per room or 2000 per room and painting a picture on like what that looks like and what we actually do to get it to that point? Um So that's a direct question if they're like maybe in the middle, like you can kind of like indirectly get a sense for how much money they're willing to spend based off the room counts in their goal. Um asking them like doesn't make more sense to itemize every single thing here, or do you want to just get it all done now? Do one option here because again this range can be like I think I can show you something this within like a $5,000 range or the $35,000 range. where do you want to be with that? And um questions like that that are more direct like we we just started talking more about money budgeting goals, trust factors, what's important to them, Are you getting phases and once you have like that underlying goal uh understood at least a little bit better whatever their objections pop out at that point. You handle them and address them if they say like hey like I'm not or what is it? Oh yeah, I don't know, I don't know where I'm going with that but like nonetheless at the very end you want to kind of like ask questions like that and get to the very end and say or have them not really have any chance to give an objection. Unlike why they can or can't do something if if they say it's like a little bit more money than they're used to spending or like they can't spend until they talk to this person. Um There's like a grocery example you can use. So like you know do you do the grocery shopping in your house and things like that? Okay. Um If you do, how often you do it twice a month, how much do you spend per month or per shot? Or trip? 400, per trip? That's 800 a month, times 12 is what? 7000 something. So like if that person spends seven grand a year without consulting their other partner, Do you need to really consult them on a $4,000 purchase right here, something that's going to last you 10 years like I don't know there's different ways you can kind of like dive into it but we found that there's a different layer to like just like the sales game to make them feel more comfortable to seeing. Sure. So you yeah this is gold brian, so this is really gold, one of the things. Well actually I want to ask the question right there. Do you guys try to close on the spot or or not, yep. So we never did but like after we increased we had to so we asked twice at least on every single consult. Sometimes we ask like three times or four times but like the tricks to be able to do that in a way that you feel comfortable as a project consultant and not coming off as pushy and doing it in a way Like you don't have to ask all times at the very end. You can ask literally the 1st 10 minutes of conversation you plan on making decisions today. Just ask a direct question like that that's one time. And throughout the entire presentation portion you might be able to ask them like softly four times at the end, two times pretty hard and direct and you know just toss down some challenges and just like be like I don't know like you you're you're peeling back the layers of like their defense mechanisms and once you just understand it's what they value as a person, it's not a weird uncomfortable conversation I guess. Yeah, so I think I mean were you know painting marketing prose works with painting companies around the country on how to market itself effectively. And some of the stuff you're saying is really counterintuitive, especially for people who aren't really used to sales or don't have a sales background, but this idea of uncovering objections and and really almost fishing for the note, you know, everyone wants to hear the yes. Does this seem good? Yes. Do you want to do this? Yes. You know, this is kind of silly idea that if they just keep saying yes all the time, uh, then they'll they'll accidentally, or their brain will just be programmed to just say yes to the sale because they're already on this Yes. Track. But the reality is a lot of times there's they don't, you know, people are conflict diverse. You know, they don't want to tell you, um, well, your price is too high because what they're really telling you is either they don't have the budget, in which case you probably didn't do a good job qualifying your lead, uh, and you need to revive, you need to figure out where you're getting your leads from and what you're pre qualification process looks like because otherwise you're gonna waste a lot of time or they don't see you as worth it. You haven't demonstrated the value. And like you said, the trust, they don't trust you, you're coming in at 2027 the other people are at 14 And they don't see us 13,000 more. They see you as someone who's potentially trying to rip them off. Is that kind of how you're how you're thinking about this. Um Yeah I would say it's pretty accurate and I think this might be an easier way to work at it. What we don't want to do is present them a price blindly before we actually present them an option. We know exactly what they're going to say yes to okay from starting from kind of getting that baseline right when you start yes and like that that can be done on an initial phone call. That can be done with your pre positioning in photos articulating, being transparent with their pricing option range. That could be done like during the 1st 10 minutes of your sit down. You know you can do certain things like that like whenever we were presenting price blindly And just crossing our fingers and showing them a price of 35 k. It's like pulling teeth to get the same thing after they see the price but like getting them to open up and feel comfortable with you before you do that, you'll know it makes no sense to show them a number that like that show them like seven or eight different options and like presented in a way where like it looks like they're price shopping but they're doing it with you. They don't have to talk to five other people If you're showing them a range of like $10,000 variants and what we can actually offer. Um there's tons of negotiating power there and leverage. Yeah, so like it just comes down to like did they trust you? They like you and like I know we all hear that general cliche thing but like there's more truth to that I guess if you have enough conviction in your voice and you're like you genuinely believe it like you're like the best option for them because like you know that you put so much time and attention and energy and effort to make in the back and work which is extremely difficult for anybody who's trying to do it right? So yeah the the I mean you're you're basically talking about value based selling, cost based selling and I used to read um goose bumps when I was little was kind of scary little book series or whatever and they came out with they started coming out with this, choose your own adventure kind of deal, you know and how do you end up dying or whatever in the book because you open the door, do not open the door, do you do this or that? And then skip to the different pages and that's kind of what you're doing, You're you're sort of giving you're letting people almost build their own estimate and and therefore in the process you're probably gaining that trust and when they get there it's not, I mean they chose to open the door, They chose to do this, they chose to do that and they still have the ability to make other decisions. Unlike the Goosebumps book where you're dead, but they feel more in control in the driver's seat. How do you feel like it's that mentality of being in the driver's seat. Is that giving them more trust? Um Yeah I would think so because you know, compared to yourself, like if you go to a store and like like if you're buying something and you're looking to spend a lot of money, like say it's like a mattress or something like that, They can be a couple of $1000 like you want to go in there and feel like you're you're making a decision, you have high certainty in yourself of making the right decision. You don't want somebody kind of push into something that like you didn't think you're gonna be focused on at one point. Unless they just like open up your eyes and kind of just like laid out on the table. So it is having the conviction certainty in oneself. I think you have to figure out how to get them to that point for them. Do you have any recommendations for how someone could get better at this? Or if they don't have that certainty if they don't have that sales background that kind of almost X. Factor what what you're talking about here, what can they do to try to get it? Um Honestly I would just say you almost have to just like really good at it and just follow because like it's it's nothing that we're making up, like everybody knows, like I feel like people know they probably should be doing this, asking this at this point. Um I was guilty of it. Like I don't mind nature as a person, I don't like being more assertive like that. Yeah, it's not comfortable but like there's things you can do on a daily basis that like makes it more second nature, so it doesn't feel like you're changing yourself. So I would I would boil it down to just find somebody who's doing it that you think is good at it, get feedback or like coaching or mentorship from them or just like physically go out to them and just like see what they're doing and then on a daily basis you have to train yourself. Like if you're not going to sit there with somebody on your team and like do a role playing every day and just like get used to like saying things to white customers who might say things to you, then you're never going to get to the point of it being second nature because whenever you're in the house, you might know what to say, but you might lock up and not say it sure. So this idea of role playing sales of you and someone else on your team or you know, let's say you're listening and you're a solo preneurs than you and a friend or family member and and you have them, maybe even if they're not in the painting industry again, kind of if you are a solo preneurs or maybe even give them objections or give them what you think our objections and and have them kind of push you as a customer and you practice that sales environment, so to speak, even if you're a solo preneurs, um you can get a small journal, you can go on your consultations every time you hear an objection, write it down okay. And then whenever you go home, record yourself on video of just saying the objection and then you can sit in front of a screen with yourself, play it deposit and then handle the objection of what you said. So there's no excuse to not really have a way to practice it. Is what I'm trying to say and that's cool. Yeah, you're role playing with yourself and video of yourself and the second we started doing that on a daily basis, it got so much easier. Like the guy that we taught for sales this year, he just had a 20 K day yesterday, completely new. Never even saw anything in his entire life and he's just he's very, very comfortable just like kind of getting right to the point and it's like not being afraid to ask certain things, I guess. Yeah, and I mean sales is is uncomfortable for most people, but this I think this idea that the way you guys have structured it where you kinda let them almost take the lead, you give them options, but say, hey, how are you thinking about this project? Um makes it so you're not going through and and thinking, man, they're gonna probably have a stroke when I when I present them the price, because I'm not sure we're aligned here, you're kind, you're almost sort of micro selling or making sure you guys are our sync up throughout the process. So there's not a huge disconnect and there's like what, you know, when you actually present that final price. Exactly, and every time you hear an objection that you can't handle and you write it down, um it's not just the role playing, you have to dissect what you just did on that experience and like you need to add something prematurely at the beginning of that process to handle that before that even comes up, nice to kind of get proactively kind of searching for those nose or those objections and unwrapping them because just because you don't hear a no or somebody doesn't tell you that your price is too expensive, what's gonna happen is you're gonna feel good, they'll say, oh I need to talk to X, Y, Z and you're just not going to get the job, yes, and it's gonna sound really weird, but hearing a no is a form of a yes. So like everybody is looking to spend money, Everybody's looking to buy something if they say no, it might be no for that. But like they're not saying no. Yeah. And there was, I think that's a really good point. There was a, it's actually a book I read. I think it I think it might be never split the difference. I don't know. It is one of these books, I think it is actually never split difference. But it it talks about getting to know. Um or it might have been pitch anything, but it was a sales book talks about getting to know. And I talked about how people's default, their safety net is no. And when you think about what you do with your kids, it's known I started thinking about it and people will automatically default to know because that's sort of the safety. I'm gonna I need to think about this for a second. I'm not comfortable with it right now. And so the word no will come out and I realized I do it all the time with my five year old daddy. Can I know. And then I sort of process, I was like, okay, yeah, you can do that. But the default of no means I didn't just commit to something that that would be a mistake and I have to tell my father, oh yeah, I said you could do it but now I just changed my mind it kind of buys me time I guess in a way and I think that that people do that all the time and it's not something you know we think we hear no and it means no you hear no and it just means either they need to process it or maybe you don't position it quite right or maybe you're not Quite offering what they're looking for. Like you said the kind of $700 a room or $2,000 a room, what what are they trying to accomplish with their house? Yeah exactly, I mean I could have said it better myself, you got this dialed in brian? Well yeah, I mean unfortunately we do like again like bringing it back to like the original conversation, there's a whole another animal layer that we're dealing with two that like we're generally not good at, so we're trying to figure out ways to get as specific as we are with the sales game, with the operational game, do you guys have any sort of disqualification process or if you go in and and I assume it might start on the phone um but I'd love to hear about the whole process but if you go in and you say hey You know you're trying to get the range of the 700-2000 and it looks like the range is 400 and this isn't really gonna make sense. How do how do you guys have, what's your disqualification process look like. Um So it's well when there's job type, if it's something small we don't go out there we'll do it virtually. You have kind of a minimum a minimum job size where you'll go out and conduct an estimate. Yeah. Yeah. Well it's got to be like at least like 3000 to go out there. We have ways to kind of just like that. But if it's lower we'll just say to send pictures to this person's number, we'll give you a virtual quote Within 24 hours. So you don't tell people that you have a minimum $3,000 job size. You have a process of figuring out what the job is likely to be correct. Okay what does that process look like? Um I mean like we just kind of dissected our data and got like a price per bedroom. So like price per bedroom on average 1500 Did you take, could be 2000 could be like 1200. Um So like that's an example of just like on the initial call script paper Bedroom. This much money. Um if they say they have just like wallpaper removal and that's it or if it's like just a exterior wrought iron railing, it's like 12 ft long. No like we're not, I'm not gonna do that, it's it comes down to training and kind of getting like really rough ranges. Um And like we have like a list of like too small with like bullet points below it. Um So just look out for these general categories here and then on the initial call they just grab specific questions that they asked to like uncover that. So if they say like interior painting, okay. How many rims? Okay is it just the surfaces or is all of these? Do you have any preference on like the range? How we kind of talked before like there's a huge spread here. What are you looking for? Things like that? You can kind of uncover pretty quickly and so you guys have a script that you use when you're on the phone. Yes. Yes. Yeah so you have the you have, it sounds like you have extremely dialed in S. O. P. S. In terms of your sales process. Yes exactly and that's where the sales confidence comes into play. Um And like with with that script too like we know like if they're on the lower end of that range and they're not anywhere close to $2,000 for bedroom. Ah what you say? Okay well it's probably not the right fit. No. Hard feelings is looking for an option within this realm. Probably go for somebody who looks like this like for describing a company structure type or even just like a competitor or something like that. Well you refer them sometimes to competitors. Yeah so you you will be just candid that. Hey this, you won't say we're booked out for this longer. You won't try to kind of blow them off. You'll just say, hey, this isn't a fit for us, yep. Um, every, every time I don't operate with truth and transparency, it feels weird like that's just a personal nature choice, but um, very, very transparent because like we never say in a jerk way right? For sure. Yeah. Not, not in some kind of condescending way. Your job is too small. Just I think it's coming and I think if you add value and you actually recommend them to a company that, you know, does quality work and would, would like the job then you're still adding value to them. You know, you're not leaving them high and dry. Hey, you guys aren't worth our time by. Yeah. And I do want to note, we do accept small jobs if we don't go out there and we do it virtually, we'll do it small as long as it's at our rate because like the lifetime value of that customer that's more important to us than having an inefficiency for one day for one painter, lifetime value of customers. So what do you guys, did you have any, anything, any sort of process for getting repeat business, any, you know, database reactivation would be the ridiculously complicated marketing term, but whether you're reaching out by email or sending birthday letter. Do you guys do anything like that? Um to be, to be honest Brandon, we don't do enough of that. So you, you eat what you kill man, you go out there, you're hunting fresh meat every day, you got a, you got a cooler full of meat over here but you don't, you don't want it. I know it sounds crazy to like admit that, but like that's that's something that we generally need to execute more because like there's so much you can do with that, like so much creativity, so much touch points and ah that's another layer that like we're empowering our sales staff to be able to like have their integrated like methods of doing that and um not just putting it all kind of like the back end office person to do that. Yeah, yeah, but it's just a restructuring thing but she's like, we're definitely losing a lot of money not doing that, you know, you recognize it, I think what's what I love about this episode? Well first off is it it's a really deep dive into sales with like a deep dive into, into actual strategies and psychology and that's amazing. But also you came on this, this podcast a long time ago and it, I mean things are good for you so you know, don't take this the wrong way, but it's, it's, this is a real episode, you know, you came on and it was while I, I blew up and I just sales oriented and rainbows and unicorns and you just have to be sales oriented and now you're coming back on and it's well hey, you know, we've hit some bumps and that's okay, you know, we're pivoting not and not every employee has remained a fit and that's okay, but this is entrepreneurship, this is business growth and it's for everyone listening, it's never perfect. It is the struggle, you know, for better for worse, the struggle's gonna somewhat continue. Uh and that's okay and I wanna bring you were talking about something before we started about this idea of I kind of view it as a video game, but I want you to you to talk about how you view it as you, you're always kind of outside your comfort zone, you're always finding this this point of, oh boy, what do I do now? Let's talk about that. Yeah. So um it's I think everything reflects from you as an owner. So like what I mean, I don't know if it's just like a personal choice or like my nature, but um there's obviously gonna be people out there that like have a really sweet spot for comfort ability and they just want to kind of like stay there perfect lifestyle business type. Yeah. Yeah. I mean you could be bringing home 200 K. And like have like a team of people that just like love painting and just like you know like that's that's awesome actually, so that's not so bad. It's pretty good. Yeah so like it all depends on that kind of like underlying goal but like um there's different layers to what we figured out that we come into. So like I'm going to compare it to the book, the J. Curve. Um There's always like a little dip right below where like the break even is so like it's like you kind of like eating dirt for a while um That's learning a new skill that you're uncomfortable with, that's the whole point of entrepreneurship and starting a company. Um The whole goal is to get past that and then just like get it to a point where there's traction and you have people around you that can help you bring that higher quicker. So um once once we reach personally at a peak where we're like wow this is awesome. Like I'm not stressed Like physically like don't even need to be doing anything for the next like 10 hours, 15 hours. Um But we're out putting more work than we have ever been. Um It's awesome to stay there but like I don't know like we just can't kind of keep ourselves to ah coast like that. Um I think it's kind of dangerous at least for like how I am and how I operate but like we're attracting people that have that similar mindset so like if the team is specifically if we're trying to attract people that don't like to do that either, we owe it to them to always be doing something different to like have them grow um but like if we were, if we had the goal as an owner to like just like get to a point in Khost and like have people that paint and just paint forever and state like a certain point that employs ah growth pattern does matter too because like you don't, you don't feel obligated to like do more for them. So I think that's where it kind of comes into uh it's just your obligation to like, like you owe it to your team to like push them out of the comfort zone and make them grow which ultimately makes you grow and the only way to do that with the growth is to just do something that you're really not good at and again for me, operations for me it's working with people for me it's like doing cultural based activities and stuff like that, Like Brandon, I could be from my laptop for like literally 14 days straight and be happy as a clam not talk to us all. Yeah like I pushed myself out of my comfort zone daily to like try and be okay conversing and learning more of the emotional stuff and like that other layer that does matter as you get to a certain point but uh that Jacob reference That's like one snapshot, you just do that, complete it and then he started new J curve and you just do that and come to terms of doing that forever and I think that's kind of like the mindset that helped us adopt that I guess. Yeah man, that's great, what a great analogy, you guys just love the taste of dirt, you know, you gotta gotta have it um but this idea of being comfortable being uncomfortable, you know and what is what do you want out of your business and if you are, if you're attracting people who want growth, who want, who want to you know transformation who are driven by that and that's kind of your marketing, your company, you better offer it, you know, you better be willing to to level up, level up your skill set, get outside your comfort zone because otherwise those people are gonna leave or they're gonna become, you know um not happy at your company now if you're running lifestyle business and you just have painters and they want consistency and stability only um you know then that's a different story but but I like how you incorporated the entire basically corporate culture into that, you know what that looks like for employees. Yeah, at least we're trying to build that more strongly um Yeah, I mean like we're again we're not perfect with that but like it's it's definitely something that is very intentional like the people that share that same dynamic that has an underlying goal in like perspective with yourself. It just makes it so much of an easier harmonious thing which makes it kind of cool. Yeah that's great man. So you had kind of shifting gears a tiny bit you had mentioned um If if your close rate drops then you just need to get more leads and make sure you qualify leads, how are you guys getting the majority your business right now? Um So it is well there's been some like effort put into like the S. C. O. Game. Um The advertising obviously is always there. The repeat and referral. We have been actively working on that even though we're not like utilizing all potential of that. So Yeah I would say that repeat and referral is probably 15% advertising is still pretty heavy right now and then um commercial repeat is a thing. So like that's that's a certain percentage. We're trying to like just expand the repeat and referral market I guess and get our ad spend down. But we're also experimenting um Kind of like having the ads always being there as an avenue but like putting a lot more money into the long term growth of the brand. So I think that's going to like have a huge Arli down the road with the ads. Have you found that google ads facebook ads, Tiktok, what have you found to be the most successful. Um I mean it's for now it's still facebook and google. Um it's not as like appealing as it was like a while ago but like it still works so that comes back into the whole sales thing too. So like that's where we're experimenting with like where is that seesaw actually kind of like and again we've been we've just been able to outsell our problems usually, which is a good thing and a bad thing. Apple kinda kind of made facebook a little trickier there with their privacy. They're not tracking update there. Yeah. Is what it is, I guess that's be comfortable being uncomfortable. Yeah, if it's hard for you it's hard for everybody else so it's actually not any harder for you really when you think about it, it's just the whole the whole competitive landscape has shifted a bit. Yeah. Which um also uh we went to a home show recently um we get we had decent success with that. Um never really been to a home show that was like at that scale but we scheduled like 103 consults from that alone. Um so so that's another avenue but uh yeah, I don't know, we're just trying to do it, be unique, be different and I love that you do marketing too because like you you know, all the avenues to go into it um in your opinion. Brandon, what's like spending money on somebody for like being a full time content creator or like being able to post on all platforms daily increasing the organic and stuff like that. Do you think that's a huge importance To like actually think of spending money on overhead over the next couple of years on that company. You're hiring a person say 45 grand or something a year to, to basically be a social media person. Yeah, because I could be wrong. Tell me if I'm wrong. I think that that increases a lot of the actual like lead file, like be more active on everything and kind of increasing your like, I guess presence everywhere. Yeah, it can, you know, I would, the only thing I would caution I guess is don't mistake activity for achievement. So it's john wooden quote, if you're gonna do that, make sure that you have, you have a really strong, like you said, you're investing money in your brand, make sure you have a strong brand. I think that starts with values of your company and that you're portraying those values also for anyone listening. I'm sure you're not doing this but make sure it's not spammy or overly promotional. There's a 80 20 rule. So over 80% of your post should really be informational. They should be interesting. They should be value add and less than 20% of them should be any kind of, you know, call us now or whatnot and for for painting companies a lot of times it's, it's easy because you can put the before and afters, you can, you can put interesting tidbits about a job. You can kind of put neighborhoods and people want to. They wanna if you can show that you're doing their neighbors house, you can show that you're doing doing people in their general areas house, they're gonna trust you more. They're just naturally going to trust you more. So I think if you're doing social media make sure you have if you're paying someone full time to do that, make sure that you have a really well structured plan and objective and that you're putting out a consistent brand image. Don't just, well I just need to post every day because that's gonna magically generate a lot of business it'll help you a little bit but it's not gonna magically generate a lot of business I guess I guess. Yes I think it's worth it. If you have the capacity if you don't if you don't have 45 grand laying around I wouldn't invest that that wouldn't be the first thing I would do would be higher social. You know I would invest into um S. C. O. If you're focused on long term or google ads but someone who knows what they're doing because otherwise you're gonna burn a lot of money and then but if you actually have that capacity to invest in it then. Yeah it's good but it would not be the first avenue I would use for growth. Gotcha. Yeah that's always been a thought of mine like um over the next like 5, 10 years. I think it might be like requirement, maybe I'm just like having somebody who's intentionally like focused on that full time I think. Yeah. Yeah, I mean I can definitely differentiate especially from a lot of the companies that are not doing it, but what we've seen is getting good solid before after photos of all your projects, make sure you're posting your google business profile as well. Don't leave that. You know, people think you set that and forget it do not because it's gonna help your map pack rankings and when google sees that activity, make sure you're obviously spreading across all your platforms, facebook and instagram at a minimum. But if you can do Pinterest, Tiktok linkedin really, wherever you might as well. There are a lot of software that you can use to bulk post things so you don't, a person should not be logging in. Uh, and then posting manually to all these things. Social pilot hoot suite, all these different things. Um, yeah, I mean ultimately it's, I guess it's about leveling up and uh being more present digitally than a lot of other companies in your service area. You know, people want to do business with with companies that nobody can trust. I think you actually, I brought up with Jack McGee, I ran a podcast with him and he, I think I mentioned something, customers need to be touched seven times and I think he said you told him Um which is probably correct that average customer needs to be touched 12 times before they make a decision. But either way you have to touch people a lot of times in some capacity and I know you do the pre sale and the post sale and you guys have the dripping of messages but people need to have some time getting to know you and seeing you and social media came up with that, that brand awareness Don't be a stranger trying to sell a $28,000 job when or 27,000 when your competitors are sung 14. You can't win that as a stranger and I have a random comment of pepper in here too. Yeah, that's sales related but like that that correlates into everything else too. Like you can't be a stranger to your team, you can't be a stranger to human recording like that you want to. Yeah, it's, it's the same exact ball game on all accounts just in different like perspectives and work packages. Yeah, yeah, I love that. And and this idea that employee is selling, you know like this idea of having a hiring funnel and always having kind of people on deck to bring into the team and then giving people a path like you constantly revisiting that uncomfortable J curve to give people the growth opportunities to show they're not sitting here stagnant at this business. This business is growing and they have the opportunity to grow and level up their skill set as they go. So it's also, you know, at the end of the day it's all sales and marketing, you're you're selling the customer on the vision, you're selling on the job, you're selling the employees on the vision on, I'm wanting to work with you. Um Yeah, I think that's a great point brian, do you have anything else that you want to to share today? Um Yeah, sure. So uh no matter what cycle point you're at in your business, um there's always a new thing and a new layer to add. So um even if you're like somebody who's very comfortable with a certain target and like being there um there's still stuff you're going to have to kind of like just like be uncomfortable like learning and adapting to because like this industry and market is changing a little bit, you know, pretty quickly. So um I would just highly recommend and encourage everyone to just like be very accepting your downfalls and your shortcomings and just what you're good at lean into it? Everybody's company is different. So like you can kind of like just make it around what you want to do and you can probably really good at it, How is the market changing as a quick follow up to that. So um it's the standards are just becoming a lot more high and intentional and um the digital landscape is a whole another layer on top of that. And um just like the external factors of the people coming into your organization, there's a lot of influencing factors um that's happening in our world and an economy that's influencing like what they value is important, what they're uh you know, like how much you're making, what they want to do, do they value going on like more interactive stuff with you and your company? Um tons of tons of different layers and like it's just the more people that come in at different age ranges and as they kind of like move up, the motivators will always be different and no, and if you don't change, you're going to have a difficulty at some point with an adaptive, you know, downfall Yeah man, what great points be, be open and willing to change and grow if you want your business to grow, always getting better or getting worse. You're not staying the same brian, thank you, thank you for your time. This was incredible. Uh definitely want to have you back on the show again because you were, you're a rock star man, Thanks for coming on. Yeah, thanks for having me appreciate it. If you want to learn more about the topics we discussed in this podcast and how you can use them to grow your painting business, visit. Painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast for free training as well as the ability to schedule a personalized strategy session for your painting company again that you are L is painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast.

Hey they're painting company owners. If you enjoyed today's episode, make sure you go ahead and hit that subscribe button, give us your feedback, let us know how we did. And also if you're interested in taking your painting business to the next level, make sure you visit the painter marketing pros website at Painter Marketing Pros.com to learn more about our services. You can also reach out to me directly by emailing me at Brandon at painter marketing pros dot com and I can give you personalized advice on growing your painting business until next time. Keep growing.