Guest Interview: Michael Sutton of Kind Home Painting Company “The Tools to $10 Million” Series: Episode 2

Published On: May 1, 2023

Categories: Podcast

Michael Sutton
In this series titled “The Tools to 10 Million”, Michael Sutton of Kind Home Painting Company will be discussing professional tools to enable growth to $10 million.  It is a 5-part series.
In episode 2, Michael will cover the books that have empowered his growth to date.
If you want to ask Michael questions related to anything in this podcast series, you can do so in our exclusive Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast Forum on facebook.  Just search for “Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast Forum” on facebook and request to join the group, or type in the URL facebook.com/groups/paintermarketingmastermind.  Again that URL is facebook.com/groups/paintermarketingmastermind.  There you can ask Mike questions directly by tagging him with your question, so you can see how anything discussed here applies to your particular painting company.

Video of Interview

Podcast Audio

Topics Discussed:

Episode 2
– Books For Growth

Audio Transcript

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Welcome to the Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast. The 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.

In this series titled The Tools To 10 Million Michael Sutton of Kind home painting company will be discussing professional tools to enable growth to $10 million. It is a five part series. In episode one, Michael discussed the professionals who supported his growth and how you can find your own support network. In episode two. This episode, Michael will cover the books that have empowered his growth to date. In episode three, Michael will deep dive into the key employees he could not do without. In episode four, Michael will lay out the numbers that make his business thrive And in episode five, the final episode, Michael will break down the real challenges of entrepreneurship and how to overcome those.
If you wanna ask Michael questions related to anything in this podcast series, you can do so in our exclusive painter marketing mastermind podcast forum on Facebook, just search for painter, marketing mastermind podcast forum on Facebook and request to join the group or type in the URL facebook dot com forward slash groups forward slash painter. Marketing mastermind. Again that URL is facebook dot com forward slash groups forward slash painter. Marketing mastermind. There you can ask Mike questions directly by tagging him with your question. So you can see how anything discussed here applies to your particular painting company, Michael.
Welcome back, man. Welcome Brandon. How are you doing? Well brother doing well. Always enjoy filming with you. We uh we always end up chatting it up for 20 plus minutes before we start warms us up, but I enjoy it, man. I allocate extra time for our podcast recordings. Well, thank you. I appreciate that. I uh I’ve always been a little long winded, so, oh no, I, I uh I like talking with you, Mike. So books. Last, last episode, you, you walked us through some, some pretty crazy stuff.
I I told you it had me thinking my wheels turned and spent the weekend kind of thinking about my personal network and where I could potentially improve. Uh Now we’re, we’re diving into books that really empowered you in business and, and helped you grow the company that you have. Yeah, yeah, thank you. Uh I’m excited to talk about it and um you know, reading and, and, and listening to books has been a, a really powerful thing for my professional career over the last 15 years. Um Hands down, it’s been the largest impact that, you know, I can share with anyone.
Um if you put in the time and you can bring me as much value as it can you or, or anyone else. So, um, yeah, I’m happy to, to share and chat about them. And what I’m extremely excited about is I thought you were going to come into this episode and like, ok, here’s 20 books, you know, we get, we got the whole arsenal of, of everything from, you know, you could want in business and marketing operations. It’s not, we’re gonna cover, you came in only with a handful.
So we’re only gonna be talking about four or five books. We’re only talking about this for probably close to an hour and you’re gonna, you’re gonna kind of dive deep into this. That’s what I like. Hopefully. Uh, and, and if we need to talk about 20 because we run out of things to say. I’ve got a few more. We’ll just throw, throw them all out there. We’ll just totally, totally scrap the initial idea and we’ll just date a dump. No. Um And, and I think even that right, there is a representation of how a lot of people use or misuse literature.
Um, probably read 703 to 50 books a year, uh, or listen to, but you can’t apply all those books and, and how many times do you read a book? And you go, well, that was neat. Lots of good information. You set it down and you never think about it again. Yeah. Yeah. There’s something, there is something to that. So there is, it still kind of can unlock your brain, you know, get the creativity, but there’s also maybe limited benefit if you do that just all the time, but you never super implement anything. Absolutely.
Um And, and I fight that with sales people on my team, with production people on my team is I ask and encourage people to read content. They say, oh, I already know that I’ve already heard that. No, it’s not about just hearing it once or it’s not that you are sometimes you can already know something and still get benefit from relisten or rereading uh rereading because it’s about bringing it to the front of mind, about exercising the thought process that goes into it about like making that recall happen quicker when you need that information.
Um But yes, uh it is different than applying every word and going back to it again and again. Yeah. And I, you know, I’m, I’m always looking for trends of highly successful people Right. And I try to personally model myself after that when I can because there are patterns you can see and, and one of the patterns I’ve identified with top performers, with successful entrepreneurs is they, they like to learn, they have a hunger for learning and for self growth and they almost all without fail, uh actively like to read that the audio books count. Right.
But what, what’s important is they absorb the content. They’re trying to prove people listening to this. Well, they, they are absorbing content. They are that kind of uh they’re already that kind of business owner. Absolutely. So let’s get into it, man. What, what’s book number one? Yeah. Um You know, I’m gonna completely go off track already. Um Mike, we the, the plan, the plan is already off track. Um So, you know, uh I’ll share the very first book that made like a professional impact. Uh And it’s not the book that we are talking about, but it was uh when I first started selling paint jobs before I owned my own company years before and I only had to focus on sales.
Uh I was introduced to a book by Brian Tracy called The Psychology of Sales. And I listened to that book on repeat. I, somebody actually gave me the CD uh one CD of it. Uh It wasn’t the full collection, but for whatever reason, he had one burned copy of it that he gave to me uh you’re like an expert in two chapters. Yeah, it was literally a partial book and I listened to that thing on repeat for four or five months. Almost every single time I got into the car and he talks about Automobile university and it started kind of this progression of sales training that I put myself through that went through all the old grades.
Brian Tracy Zig zig zig Ziegler, Tom Hopkins, just these like classic sales gurus that talk about the impact of breeding. And every one of them said if you want to be in the top 5% of sales people, if you want to be one of the best with your company, listen to books every time you get in your car. And I said, well, ok, I guess the there’s gotta be something to this if every one of these salespeople that I listened to said the same thing. So I made a commitment to turn my radio off and I only listened to books when I got in my car for six years.
Um and it started with Brian Tracy’s Psychology of Sales. Um Today, it’s the thing I miss the most about being in the field. Uh And I don’t get, I don’t personally spend my days doing estimates anymore. So I’m not driving between appointments. I don’t manage paint projects. I’m not doing much quality control. So very rarely do I have reasons to go out and, and be in the field to meet with clients and that’s what I feel like I’ve lost the most of is the time spent listening and, and the time growing through, through books and podcasts.
Uh Bye. Go ahead. Oh, no, I, I mean, I was just commenting that, that, yeah, that otherwise downtime and I think a lot of people who listen to this podcast are actually in a similar situation where they’re, they’re driving or out of, you know, some people painting, you know, and listening to it. Um But yeah, there’s, there’s something very important and empowering about utilizing otherwise considered downtime or, or kind of wasted time. Uh And now you have this situation where you have to, you have to work to intentionally carve out the time because it’s not already built into your schedule.
It’s 10 times harder. Find two hours in a day when your entire day with meetings and appointments and back to back conversations because there’s something else you could, you could always be doing and it’s hard to say, oh, no, this is my two hour, but it, it almost feels wrong. It almost feels unproductive even though it’s actually super like, oh, what do you mean? You’re not gonna work from 10 to 12, you know, we’re supposed to have this meeting. Oh, no, you’re just gonna read from 10 to 12. Yeah, this is my reading time, right?
Not disturb. Do not disturb. Yeah. A scotch and, and you’re in your leather armchair, I wish. Um, you know, and I share that because, uh, the impact that I think that, you know, the books make and I think I said this last time on the podcast was you’re the same person tomorrow as you were today. M is the things you ate, the conversations you had and the books you’ve read. Um, and if you’re not consuming something positive you’re not gonna grow. Um, but the first one we had discussed uh and probably hands down the largest impact on our business up to this point was a book called Traction by Gino Wickman.
And I’ve heard a lot of people starting to talk about it and, and apply it and I will be the first to say that it has been, has uh very much become our business Bible. And um we started uh self implementing Traction at the end of 2019, we are wrapping up our second year. And uh you know, you had asked me, how did those books, like, how did you find certain ones of these? And this was a book that came through uh my board, somebody on my board had mentioned it.
Somebody on Tommy Mellows podcast had mentioned it. Someone uh my CFO had mentioned it and I said, what are all these people mentioning the book? I’ve got it. I’ve got to just like listen and um it was a book that I listened to finished it immediately hit play again. Listened to it a second time and said, uh I think I’m gonna need the paper copy, gonna mark this thing up. Yeah. Uh bought it, read it and then I said, OK, I think we’re gonna do it. Um And for a company without a leadership team at that time, basically, I was managing 17 or 703 people.
That sounds fun. Uh um And, and the foundation of what E OS Traction says is about letting go of the vine and giving uh the ability to other people to step into leadership and management. And it really defines how do you build the system of management within a company? And uh I kind of read it, selected the people who I thought would be uh who would benefit from it, who could help me uh and step into those leadership positions, asked all of them to read the book and as they completed them, uh I would ask them to join the leadership team and that’s cool.
So people basically got kind of promoted, you built a leadership team from internal team members based on this book. Yes, that’s definitely a growth in the company. Um And it’s our every person on our, our company who has uh stepped into a leadership role, all started by reading the book. Um our sales manager, our marketing director, uh our production manager, the lady who runs our call center and my wife who would be kind of operations manager director of everything. Uh make sure it all is working. Yes.
Uh And um honestly, E OS has been a, a difficult thing to do. Um Are you familiar with it? I am and I know that there’s self, there’s self implementation. We’re actually working on it ourselves. At painter marketing pros. I’ve read the book, I think three times now there’s the self implementation or you can actually hire an implementer right to come in and do this for you. Why did you guys select to, to implement it yourselves? Um Probably two reasons, uh probably arrogance and probably like Brokenness.
You always seem so arrogant. Like that is the one, that’s the one thing that except not no, um financially, uh when you’re a small company and you’re trying to bootstrap it’s expensive. 10,000 $20,000 is a lot. Yeah. And when you have a playbook right in front of you. Yeah. And, and that’s why, you know, E Os does, uh in traction so well is that they give you the system? Um So we still have weekly leadership team meetings and in the book, it talks about identified, discuss, solve and that at every leadership meeting, you should be bringing together or you should be bringing to the table issues.
And the objective is to solve those issues within a one hour meeting on a weekly basis. And the topic of our last one, the issue for our last leadership meeting was solving issues. It’s, it sounds redundant, but that’s actually a big problem in a lot of companies. What’s the process for solving our problems? Yeah. And, and this is 3.5 years into doing it. And people started saying, well, how do we want to do our I DS? How should we bring issues? And I said, um, guys, before everyone goes and makes recommendations on how we should submit our issues.
Will people reread pages 1 35 to 1 47 that tell you exactly how to do this. Um We model each of our quarterly meetings off of it and uh this was uh something really powerful for my team just two weeks ago as we did our first quarterly, it says, uh human beings operate on 13 day cycles and you can set a clear path and a goal and if you wait 90 days, you’re gonna be off track, almost guaranteed, momentum starts to die down after 90 days. And that’s why you do quarterly meetings to bring people back on track, to reset your focus, to reenergize and rejuvenate.
And that’s what that 90 day cycles for. Well, it’s similar to what you and I were talking about, you know, just before we got started was every 30 days you take a, a reset. Yeah, people have to have those resets, those refocuses and it’s incredible that he’s Gino has given you that playbook for how frequently you have to reset. How do you do it as a team. How do you get your leadership team to be excited again and back into it after 90 days of getting your butt kicked? Yeah. Yeah. If you’re growing, you usually are getting your butt kicked.
So Michael was referring to there, I have a, a mandated refresh once a month. I’m in the, the Army National Guard. So I get yanked by the collar, pull out of my life and uh get to do some nice introspection for a little while monthly. It’s difficult, but it also is incredibly helpful. So these refreshes, they do, they’re, they’re valuable man and I know you, you kind of self implement some of this, right? These refreshes. What do you do in my personal life? Yeah, I get, I can get, you signed up in the guard man.
You can go do this together. They wouldn’t want me. Uh I’ve, uh, I’m too old and broken. Oh, ok. Uh I was hobbling in today, uh, just from walking through the garage. That, that Christmas Light man. I could have, I could have taken down the most fit of athletes, you know, that it doesn’t take much, don’t beat yourself up over that. Yeah. Um, you know, I don’t, I don’t have a lot of like premeditated resets in there other than what this industry typically does for, for painters, um, for a lot of people, there’s a seasonality to painting, which automatically gives you a time to kind of clean house once a year and uh slow down and, and focus on getting everything back together the way it should be.
Um, for us in Colorado, we have slower winters. So pretty much December, January is gonna be a highly reduced workload as far as work or as far as painting goes, which means you can kind of focus on the other components of business, the budgets, the, the plans, the projections, the, you know, the marketing strategies. Um and there’s every year, uh we give time for our employees to, to reset, go on your trip, take a month off, here’s 30 days off. What are you gonna do? Yeah. And um we look forward to that reset all fall and we kind of celebrate it all spring and uh that reset that we give everyone in the companies starts coming to front of mind in about July.
Obvious people start saying, man, I can’t wait for my 30 days off. I’m really excited. So that’s one of the things that we’ve built into our business. So does everyone get 30 days off or how does that work? Um A minimum of two weeks for everyone. Uh A lot of people are kind of in that 30 day period and you guys just kind of, I mean, obviously the company hasn’t shut down for 70003 days. So you guys just space out, I guess who takes what time, you know, six project managers and I only need two of them.
Yeah, we can give some people a little bit extra time and then as they’re back, give a little bit of time for someone else. So that’s so great because that’s another trend that I’ve seen among, amongst, you know, the most successful people is they find what would typically be considered bad or a challenge and they make it work to their advantage. And that’s something I’ve heard from AAA select few painting company owners that, hey, winter, you know, the slow season is really great because it lets us do X Y or Z. The common refrain is oh, seasonality and obviously, yeah, you, you, it’s scary. Right.
It’s scary. Like a reduction in business isn’t usually a good thing. But you’re like, oh, we’re trying to, can’t keep our painters busy. We’re worried, um, that this is definitely not to, to reduce the importance of that. But I think it’s really great that you find the opportunity there and that people are almost looking forward to. Ok. There’s not gonna be quite as much work because we’re in Colorado and the exterior season is gonna shut down. Um, but it gives us such a cool opportunity to refresh personally.
And then also what’s broken in the business. What didn’t really work that well, this year, what do we need to go in and fix? So, prior to ramping up in the spring, we’re ready to go. Yeah. And it’s, uh, you know, one of the things I’ve struggled with is that I, I’ve created the time and space for people within the team. For me, it’s a little stressful. Uh, it tends to be one of the, all the problems are your problems, brother? Oh, and, and making sure that I frame that correctly because it is supposed to be a time of rejuvenation for people on the team.
And even if, you know, I’m concerned that cash flow or now I have to do taxes or, you know, whatever it falls on my plate to make sure that you’re giving space for other people to celebrate and win in there. Even if it is a little bit more difficult in January than it is July. Yeah, business ownership is, is not without its burdens. Yeah, for sure. So, ok, so you, you survey in traction um started, you know, you started to self implement E OS uh because you, you felt capable of doing it and financially it’s a lot to hire an implementer to come in.
Uh One of the first things, it seems like you did. One of the first major things is you found internal team members and you essentially gave them the opportunity to rise to the occasion and become the leaders within your company. Uh What are some of the other big changes that, that you uh that you made and maybe kind of the order and what you made them through that book? Yeah. Um One of the things it talks about is a 10 year vision and working on a 10 year cycle and a three year cycle when it comes to goal setting has been very powerful.
Us, uh excuse me, very powerful for us. And it’s really realizing how far out and how big what you’re trying to do is. Um And I would say when I first started the business, it was difficult to put a 10 year goal in place. Seems like an eternity when you’re starting. Feels like a lifetime. Yeah. Uh And now it’s one of the most exciting moments every year is when we look at our 10 year vision and say, are we, are we sticking with it? Uh Are we still on track for it?
Does it need to be reset and, and in traction, it doesn’t say to reset your 10 year every 10 years, but which is unique. Um So we’ve had the same 10 year goal for, for several years now, three years um before you reset it. Uh And you make sure that that 10 year goal is still relevant and ours is to get back a million dollars in economic resources to developing kind homes. Uh I would say a kind home is a well maintained safe place that is abuse and addiction free where you can raise a, a healthy family.
And we made a commitment on day one to give 10% of our profits back through what we call the kind home community outreach program. And that being our 13 year goal, what’s the impact that you can make locally within a community as you grow and you give back to the community that’s been the most uh rewarding and exciting thing that we’ve put into place from traction as well. The management, what a goal. So you’re, and I know you, you and I kind of like to geek out on the numbers.
We both both very data analytics driven. And so you, if, if you’re saying, OK, you want to give a million dollars per year to this, obviously, that that is a big number, right? To a cause it can make a big, big difference uh in people’s lives in your community. Then you, because you know, OK, we’re gonna give 10% of our profits. You can essentially back into how big this company needs to be, right? How much revenue you need to be doing, how many team members you have. And essentially you can, you can chart a business course for what is really a value driven um initiative.
Yeah, 100%. And at one point, we had a 10 year goal. That was a, a big revenue number and it was uh during an annual retreat where we realized like, what’s the point of having a big number for us? Yeah. What’s good for us? Who cares? Like uh it’s, if you’re gonna set a big goal, set it around, like what’s the impact what’s that mean for the other people? What’s it mean for the community uh for you to reach a certain size? Yeah. And that’s going to probably be much more motivating for the team, you know, as opposed to, hey, if we, if we make a bunch of money, then, you know, Michael can make more money and, and then that’s our goal is achieved. Yeah.
Uh And you know, it’s to put a 10 year goal on a wall so that any time somebody walks into it, they see a 10 year goal and where the company is going. Uh It didn’t feel as good when it was just a big revenue number. Yeah, you switch it to what you’ve given back and suddenly the team got excited about it. It’s something that people get excited about when we’re interviewing and hiring. Um It’s something that the, the meet uh the leadership team and the management team feels connected to.
Um And truly, I think the, the 10 year vision was one of the most powerful things out of traction, but it goes on and on as far as the value. Um I couldn’t imagine starting over or trying to do this again without somebody introducing that book to me. Uh And I read it several times every year. So if you’re listening and you have not read Traction or listened to the audio book, check it out. Right. Yeah, it’s, it’s one of the, and I’m always almost a little resistant when people talk about the same thing over and over again because I think sometimes in, in industries, you know, the painting industry, a lot of, a lot of people listening to this podcast are involved in the PC A. Um, there can be sort of, sort of fads almost. Right.
Like everyone gets on a certain bandwagon. I see it in our, our marketing groups that we’re a part of, you know, the, the kind of the shiny object. Oh, it’s cool to, to do this, implement this. So we’re all gonna do it and then post on social media about how we do it. Um but traction is, I guess it could be considered a little bit, you know, of, of a thing, right? People want to show that they’re doing it but it’s, it’s, there’s a reason there’s a reason that people are doing it and, and the reason, the reason we’re implementing it at painter marketing post, uh it’s not something we publicize or, or go try to be cool about it because it actually works.
It’s actually really, really solid. So if you, if you’ve seen it, you’ve been kind of wondering um check it out, right? Um I wanna do you have anything else to add with traction right now? No, I know, I know you had given me, um you’d given me four or five books and you, which you already messed up. Like because you started with another one but, you know, I’ll say that we’ll save that after the recording, we could talk about that. But, uh the, the book two you had given me, I want to skip it for right now because I wanna actually go to book three because it, because based on this goal that you were talking about and kind of like how you’ve established this company, let’s, let’s go into the, you know, some of the signs and next stuff that you were talking about. Yeah.
Um Simon Sick start with why. Um It is, it’s a powerful book. Uh But it also comes in bite size chunks and he has a, a pod or a TED talk that I think has been viewed close to 30 million times. Uh It’s 15 minutes long. Uh I encourage all of our employees to watch it. I encourage people as we’re interviewing to watch it and it comes down to people don’t buy what you do, they buy, why you do it. Um And it’s refocusing the intention of business from what you provide to why you provide it for us.
Um Our goal is to make a positive impact within our community. It’s the kind home community outreach program. It’s the 10 houses that we painted for free last year. Uh I exaggerated was set in uh seven houses that we did for families in need uh that were nominated by our own clients who said I can’t afford, they can’t afford to paint a house but they need it. Yeah. Um, it’s the ability to give back to, uh, our team. You know, one of the things we do is, uh, we do a toy drive every year and the first thing we do is invite all of our painters in to grab toys for their families and their extended families.
Um, before we take toys to the donation place. Um, and, you know, that’s something last year we gave away, uh, about 53 toys. That’s a lot of toys. I had no idea how much space 500 toys was. I can’t, I can’t imagine that’s a lot like a huge warehouse of toys. Well, it took two offices, man. Just, well, some toys can, you know, some toys are, are sizable man. Some small, some are actually pretty big and, you know, who knew that Walmart doesn’t like for you to come in and buy like 300 toys at once.
It was that kind of an awkward experience. Never done that. No, it’s incredible. Uh, we had, you know, anyone from the team who could do it, go and do it, but I’ll tell you the cashiers were not happy. Oh, yeah. No. Hey, this lane is gonna be blocked for probably next 30 minutes. Yeah, you’re a cashier. I mean, what’s the difference between us or somebody else? There’s something, something mental about spending that long on one person versus just a ton of people. I don’t know. Yeah. Um That being said, um he talks about identifying A y within uh each of your, each of ourselves.
So each person has their own why? And, you know, I’ve read the book for 10 years that I’ve referenced it. Listen to the TED talk over and over again. Fold hundreds of people about start with why. And then, uh I started questioning, do I even know what my own? Why is, why did I start this company? Why am I doing what I’m doing today? Uh Running a business is not necessarily easy. Um Oftentimes you end up working more hours than you could imagine. Oftentimes there’s less financial reward than you expect.
Um It’s not the easy road for sure. It is not the easy road. Uh You might think it would be and I’m starting to ask myself why, why am I doing this? What, what’s the, is this really what I should be doing or what I wanted to do or does this even align with what I was put on this earth for? And uh I read Find your y and he writes just like traction a step by step process to follow, to identify your why. And uh after I read the book in something like May of last year, uh to find your, why I said I’m gonna do this.
And the first thing it says is you need to have a, a facilitator who’s gonna help you find your, why and uh it needs to be somebody who will spend a couple of days with you who will listen to you talk for a couple of days, not have a ton to say, but have a lot of questions to ask. Um And Simon lays out this path of going through your life and, and identifying moments within your life that you can recall very well, memories that you can see memories that you can hear from your childhood, from your teenage years from, at any point in your life.
Uh, and you’re supposed to share those memories with someone, but that person can’t judge you. They can’t have heard all these stories before. Um, and they have to be genuinely curious with them and you’re supposed to go away to a place where there’s no distraction and you can just openly talk through things that you’ve experienced within your life. And once you’ve put all these stories onto paper, he says you’re gonna identify the golden thread that, that ties all of these things together and that thread, the commonality between those stories that you bring up and how you discuss them is where you’ll find your y the facilitator identifies that they help you discuss commonalities.
Are they, are they like, you know, an E OS? Are they, they like a certified facilitator or what is this? You can hire Simon’s team to do that? OK. Or he gives you a book that tells you exactly how again, I Find your wife. Find Your Y OK. And his main book is called Start With Why? That’s the business book that everyone references. That’s the TED Talk. And then he wrote a secondary book called Find Your Y to tell you how to actually identify what your, why is some parts of the road map to actually achieving you start with.
Y Yes, absolutely. And I, uh I identified somebody on my team. He was a younger gentleman, very close friend of mine. Uh to be my facilitator, I went to Seattle for three days and I took two days to work through exactly his, his outline for how to do it. And it was one of the most powerful weekends that I’ve had on my own. Ever. Now, you, when you were doing this, you were talking about childhood experiences. I, I assume, you know, any kind of like trauma or life changing things may have come up.
I mean, this, this sounds heavy, man. You know, a lot of people have a hard time opening up even to um you know, professionals, right? Like therapists, uh psychologist, psychiatrist, that kind of stuff. How do you, if you’re listening to this, you’re like, well, that sounds really powerful. There’s nobody, I’m gonna tell this stuff to, there’s not a chance I’m gonna go, how, what would you recommend in that case to be patient and to take your time? Uh Like I said, I, I probably first read it in May, maybe April and I didn’t actually identify a facilitator until July June.
I talked to a couple of people about it. Hey, I’m, I’m, I’m thinking about doing this weird thing. Would you maybe consider doing this with me? Um, and make sure that you are comfortable with it. Um, and so many things in life you get out of it, what you put into it. Yeah. Take the time and do the work ahead of time so that it’s powerful and beneficial and you’re supposed to write down 15 stories or something from your, your early years that you can recall that you’re gonna share.
And I think we ended up doing 30 or 40 but I had 15 written down and a good facilitator. They ask a story and then they say, well, how did it feel when you were going through that? How did it feel when you were, you know, delivering a sermon at your grandfather’s uh funeral? My grandfather was a pastor and uh I did, you know his funeral when I was 21 it was a powerful thing for me to stand at his church in front of his congregation. Um You know, but it’s the feelings that you had while you were doing it feelings after.
Um It is i it was uh emotionally challenging but and it’s also you don’t just have to focus on trauma that should be a super negative, painful thing. But yeah, you know, moving or changing schools or meeting a person or something that happened with your family, a vacation that you went on and you start to see. Wow, these are the pieces that I remember with it and it’s in those memories that you start to hear what your Y is. That’s so interesting. Does, does the book find, or why does it talk about, or, or give kind of a, a plan for actually finding a good facilitator what that person looks like?
Yeah, several chapters of it. That’s interesting. And you, and if you don’t have anyone but you have the financial means then you can actually hire Simon and his team to help you with this. Yes. And, uh, you know how the universe does these unique things? Universe is weird, man. Two days before I was going, uh, I interviewed somebody who had actually gone through Simon’s course. Wow. Done to find your way. I had never even heard of that book to find your wife. So I can’t imagine it’s, you know, tons and tons and tons of people have actually done it. Mhm.
And two days before I went, I met somebody, the conversation turned into this where I said, yeah, I’m going to Seattle. I’m gonna do this weird book thing. And she’s like, oh, what book Simon? Si Find your way? Oh, my God. I did actually a leadership retreat where we did this. That is cool. I assume you hired her I hope you hired her. No, that’s ok. Universe is weird. You know, and it’s, is it because you’re listening that it came up? It, you know, are there more red cars on the road after you buy a red truck because you bought the red truck or is it?
Yeah. Uh, stop playing mind games on me. Stop playing mind games on me, Mike. I can’t, you can’t keep like lingering in here after these podcast episodes, man. No. Yeah, that sounds, that sounds incredibly powerful. I’ve, I’ve read uh start with why a couple of times. Actually, something I’ve struggled with though is, is ok. You know, it start with why you can sit down, you can think and meditate on it. But I always find it really, really helpful, more of kind of step by step building block approach.
I think it’s why people like this podcast is a, is I try to take it from theory to how do you actually do what the heck people are talking about there? Much theory, you know, do this as a business owner, do that as a business owner, you know, make sure you, you give back and then you all of a sudden magically have this really big company that everyone loves. How do you actually do that? Like, you know, get down to kind of brass tacks. So this fine your why I’m extremely excited to read that book.
I hope that it has meaning for you. Uh and if you do the exercise, it will be, it’s always fun to talk about yourself. It’ll be fine. Yeah, we’ll, we’ll have another podcast. You, you can come back later later in the year and we can do like a flip, a flip interview and be like, how did, how did Mike Sutton change Brandon’s life if all of his episodes? No. Oh, I love it, man. OK. You want to circle back to number two, the one we, the one we skipped leapfrogged.
Check out. Um They ask, yeah, and honestly, you know, after implementing traction where there was a little bit of a gap in our business and there was a marketing hole and I know people talk a lot about marketing and how do you do it? Well, uh I hate, I hate marketing man. We’ll just, we’ll get this done and we’ll just move on. Yeah, that’s fair. Um A marketing is difficult and uh there’s lots of books on marketing and I’ve read a ton of them, but I’ve only read one book on marketing where I said, wow, I need everyone in my company to read this and I wanna start applying it today, which was uh they ask you an answer by Marcus Sheridan, which has everything to do with outbound marketing or excuse me, inbound marketing.
It’s trying to get your phone to ring rather than you calling them trying to get them to call you. And it’s about creating content and answering questions that people have, they ask you answer. And um it has been a foundation for how we’ve built our website since 203. So we spent the last 3.5 years dedicated to making sure that we were putting helpful answers to as many questions as we could on our website and our content for our clients, whether you work with us or not. It’s a, a primary component to every one of our estimates.
So that when we meet with a client, it’s not necessarily about just winning the business, but it’s about educating the client on what to expect when getting a professional house painting project completed when hiring a painter, when choosing what product you’re gonna put on your house. What’s the difference between all these Sherwin Williams products and why do they matter? So it’s focusing our energy from trying to get from our clients to what do we have to give to them whether they work with us or not? Yeah. Yeah, that’s, it’s a super, super powerful strategy.
So one of the things we’ve we’ve started implementing with some of the companies we work with is actually Facebook group monitoring. So a lot of places obviously have these, these local groups um on Facebook that that kind of your neighbors, right, or neighborhood and write different referrals recommendations and a a really key sort of grassroots Gulla marketing strategy for a lot of painting companies is to be in these groups, right? Be hearing what people are saying. And so when you, you can actually set up your software, you, you can actually monitor for a certain words by like painting, painting company, you know, recommended painter, things like that.
And you can actually get alerted when this stuff comes up. And when it comes up, you can see oftentimes people are asking for, for referrals and, and references and there’s a whole strategy around that to actually drum up business for you. But another time people are, are just asking questions in general about painting, right? And you can also go on to, to Google. There’s tools to actually figure out commonly search questions, you know, and then you add fa Q S to your. So this whole they ask you answer, what do people want to know?
Uh And then tuning in the internet is a absolute gold mine of information and you can know exactly what questions they have, who to target, how to target them in ways that cost very little. If you implement this, that’s super powerful. Wow. I didn’t. Um you know, or I, I have so many questions about a tool like I, I and I’m just listening to like, wait a second. This thing will monitor and listen to all the groups so that you don’t have to pay 100% attention to all of them. Yeah. Yeah.
So we’ll, we’ll uh connect I, I might share it. It’s something we’re a little bit EMBA in but so far it’s working really, really well. So I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna fully go into it. Um, but I will tell you that so far the results are very good. So, yeah, you, you can essentially, you, you can monitor for these, I mean, there’s all kinds of, of software that you can layer on top of Facebook, you can, you can add Google chrome extensions on Google. The the marketing world is extremely complex, uh extremely technical, but there are a lot of, of um almost unfair solutions that you can use if you know what you’re doing.
So, so the the other painting companies maybe trying to manually go in and scroll these groups and how many groups are there? Should, you should be in a lot of, right. So you to, to actually have someone scrolling every day and then try to get back to them in a timely manner. So becomes almost uh impossible. It’s really cumbersome. But if you can use software to do some of this stuff for you and then you can go in and almost uh almost covertly, you can go in and essentially get recommended almost covertly in these groups.
Yeah, strategies like that are real fun to talk to, you know, they’re, they’re real fun to implement very painting companies know about that stuff. Uh uh um you know, and Facebook specifically that engagement within those communities has been difficult um, you don’t want to just come in and be like, oh, I’m a painting company, you know, hire me. Right. That’s a huge turn off and you’ll probably just get removed from the group anyways. Yeah, if you, you spam it, um, you know, like E Os and, and traction start with what I followed them to a t, every word that it said.
I tried to implement and into exactly like those books said, they ask you answer, there’s a component of it that I, I have not been able to an, been able to fully implement out of fear. Uh But I, I feel like it’s worth sharing that uh Marcus, he owned a pool company that was his business. So he, he went into homes and he built pools, he sold in ground pools to clients. And um he shares this story about how his early on in his career when he first started his pool company, he had something like a 15 to 270% closing ratio.
So 270, 21 out of, you know, seven of the, his clients would say yes. And then on the, the pool insulation industry very well. But that, that doesn’t seem super high. No. But at the same time, they’re big ticket jobs though. You’re selling a $27000,21 pool. Yeah, they’re big ticket. It’s not a $25 paint job. Uh And he was working his tail off doing as many estimates as he could working 1003 2100 hours a week trying to get in front of clients and winning a small amount of them. Um And then he developed his inbound marketing and strategy and he put together an E book and this ebook was a requirement that every person had to read prior to him going out to give them an estimate.
There’s some 230 page book about all the questions that you should ask before you buy a pool. So it’s a, it’s a assignment based selling essentially 214%. See himself as the expert prior to showing up. Yep. And he said after writing the book that when he forced somebody to consume the content prior to him giving them an estimate, his closing ratio went up to something like 85% by reading it. And he did one year where he didn’t make it mandatory to read the book. And on the people who didn’t read the book, he had something like a 7% closing ratio and the people who did it was somewhere up north of 80%.
Well, obviously you hear that and you say, well, I don’t have a ton of estimators. Our appointments are valuable. Maybe we make them complete an assignment before doing an appointment. Um We have not implemented that component uh because some of the people are not gonna do it and you have to follow through. If you’re making it mandatory, you have to remove them from your calendar you can’t say it’s mandatory and it’s not mandatory because now you’re already establishing your company that, that you lack integrity, that you don’t actually do what you say you’re going to do. Yeah.
Um, are you familiar with, have you read? Uh, they ask you answer? I have, but it was, it was a couple of years ago. Ok. Um, it’s interesting, you know, uh, I think the latest Google update, what was, is it called the friendly helper? Yeah, it, it’s uh yeah, there’s E E A T now there’s a, there’s a major algorithm update recently um that added to that Google’s constantly updating. So their algorithm, I mean updates hundreds of times a year, but then they have these major ones, right?
And so if, if people listening, if you’ve seen a shift in your rankings, if you’ve seen them drop, go up whatever. Uh a lot of it now is really related to that, to that helpful content on your site. And, and what would, what was it called? The E E A T E E A T? Yeah. So now it’s, it’s very focused on making sure that the content you’re putting out is, is relevant, right? So exactly what you’re talking about that they ask you answer, are you answering questions that people care about?
Are you putting out content that’s value add, what Google is always trying to do and what these, these algorithm updates are often based around is adding value to their user base because that’s how they, that’s how they make money, they make money on Google ads, right? How do they, they make money on Google ads? They make money on Google ads by people using Google as the premier search engine. It’s just default in our head. I could find myself falling into it thinking Google is like just permanent, just permanent.
Oh, you use Google? You’re always gonna use Google. It’s forever. But imagine if Google started delivering horrendous results, that’s like the easiest way to think about it. Imagine, imagine if Google uh you’re searching for a painting company and they’re putting, you know, they’re just showing you a bunch of plumbers. Eventually you’re gonna be like, yeah, go Google sucks. Like that’s just what? Totally or they, they recommend these recommend, right? It’s S E O kind of quote recommend uh these painting companies because they’re at the top of Google.
And every time you, you, you, you engage with one of these companies you’re finding through Google, you have a horrendous result. Eventually you’re gonna be like, yeah, you know, Google is not very good. They, they don’t. So their whole thing is they need to actually add value to their free user base, the free value because the more and more eyeballs and usage, they get the higher prices they can sell the paperclip for which is really where they’re monitoring their, their search engine. It as that update was described to me.
I said, wow, Marcus wrote about this 10 years ago and said, yes, you’ve been doing it what you’re supposed to do. Um It’s what we’ve outlined our website to be about. And then Google does a primary update that says we’re gonna, yeah, 100% focus on relevant and useful content and websites that are providing that for their clients. Yeah. If you understand what, how, how Google makes money. If you understand what they are doing in the space, then you’re already, you’re already ahead of the curve and you are already, you know, essentially understanding that because Google is a business, they’re a business and so their, their business is to add value so that people keep coming back to them so that they can then sell them ads. Yeah. Yeah.
I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s, there’s a little more complexity to it, but that’s that, that’s basically what it is. They’re, they’re an ad selling search engine, they sell ads. Yeah. Um When you meet with somebody on the marketing world, do you give them an assignment at all prior to meeting? So we, we do, it’s uh it’s not a 25 page PDF. We actually have, we use a software called type form. So type form dot com. You can set up, I think we have about 303 questions there and then we have them have to fill that out prior to meeting with us.
It’s, it’s labeled an assessment. They take this assessment prior to meeting with us, we have some uh, pre qualifying questions that have to make sense or else we’re not, they’re not even going to come on on the calendar. So, again, disqualified potentially, if they’re on the calendar, they then have to move forward with. This shows us that they’re serious. And it also lets us know, uh, a lot more about their company, right? Because we’re, we’re very partnership focused. We, we don’t just pedal, push products down people’s throats.
Um, so if they’re not invested into us learning whether or not we’re a fit and kind of what they need and actually crafting something for them, then we’re not gonna put them on the couch because it’s just a waste of everybody’s time. Yeah. Um, there’s something magical in that assignment prior to appointment. Uh, and it doesn’t have to be a lot but making sure that your homeowners have done something and putting some kind of barrier. Well, they’re invested, you have, you have a century. Uh, it’s a sunk cost, right?
It might not be a financial one, but now it’s a time one. So now they’ve invested into your company already. If they don’t move forward, it can feel like a loss. Mhm. Uh Which do you know that fear of loss? They’re trying to prevent, uh, people respond, peop people respond to pain. People do. They don’t want to feel like they wasted their time. Um One of my good friends he owns a distillery and they’re going through a rebrand. And uh he was meeting with the designer and there was this five, I also know the company who is uh working on this redesign for him and he was getting frustrated because they wouldn’t let him meet with the designer.
I go to my buddy and I say, hey man, he really wants to meet with the designer here. Uh Can you like streamline this? And he goes, look, there’s a five question questionnaire that he needs to answer. He has not submitted the questionnaire to meet with the designer. Oh, ok. Um So it’s again using that assignment, making sure that you’ve done the homework before sitting down and wasting someone’s time. And as a, you know, when you own a painting company, every time that you meet with the client, you’re making an investment into that client, you’re taking an hour out of your day to make investment. Yeah.
And, and if they, if you’re meeting with that client and they block the time off, then you can’t meet with another client. So making sure that each one of those appointments are the highest value that you can. Um it is valuable, it’s meaningful and it’s what Marcus talks about and they ask you answer, uh It’s making sure that you’re getting the most out of every appointment you go to. Yeah. Yeah. Worst, worst scenario, worse than not having the lead is going out and having it be a bad lead because now it’s, it’s a net negative.
You’ve wasted, you’ve wasted your time, you’ve paid for it. A net negative. Um All right, we do, man. I was worried we weren’t, we weren’t gonna get through all this stuff or, or that we weren’t gonna fill up the hour. We heard more than filling up the hour. So I want to get on to the fourth book, I guess the fourth slash fifth because I know we, we talked about um this start with why and also find your y but let’s get into this last book. So The Great Game Of Business by Jack Stack.
This is a new book for me personally. Uh I was just introduced it uh two months ago and I’ve listened to it uh three times. I’ve, I started to read it and I’ve given it to four people on our leadership team. Um I’ve gotten the same degree of excitement that I got when I read Gino’s book Traction for. Wow, I need to implement and roll this out in every way possible. Um The great game of business is about open book management. It’s about teaching people the financial literacy to run a business.
It’s teaching people one how to understand a profit and loss statement. Yeah. What are you spending money on? What are you making as a business? Uh And then two teaching people about a balance sheet. What’s an asset and what’s a liability how much money do you have as a business? How strong and how secure are you? Um, and this came, uh, from a gentleman on, uh, one of my men’s groups that he recommended it when I had, had expressed some financial stresses that we were going through as a business.
Uh, as a lot of people know, spending habits may have changed slightly towards the end of last year when we start talking about a recession and when the stock market starts going down. And, uh, that’s why people just throw money at paint jobs doesn’t even matter anymore. Uh, they, they, they often want to, you know, buy the most expensive options at that point. That’s what, yeah, price insensitive. Um, you know, in, in starting August September last year, we could feel people not wanting to buy the same way they had been buying, leading up to it and, uh, it impacted our business over the winter, uh, undeniably.
And I had somebody recommend I read this book for my team, uh, to really, uh, start to understand, uh, what we were doing as a company, why we were doing it where we currently sat. And, and basically what Jack talks about in this bit, uh, in this book is that if people don’t know the rules to the game, if they don’t know the game, if they don’t know the outcome of the game, they’re not gonna play it successfully. Um, and in order for people to know you got to teach them in our business.
We spend money on five things. Payroll painters materials. I give it to you. I’m gonna take all of it, Michael in marketing and then everything else is like very little. Yeah, some like software and stuff like that. You know, 90% of the business is gone or 90% of the money that you make is gone by paying four people. Payroll subcontractors materials and marketing. That’s almost the whole thing. Um And starting to educate people on what that means and how important 2% points means on a, you know, a gross margin.
You know, how, what is one gallon of paint equal if you bought an extra gallon on that job? Well, a gallon of a $70 you know, $70 a gallon paint is 1% point off a $7000 job. What’s 1% point over the course of a year? It’s incredible. Um And Jack talks about opening up your books and sharing those with people on the team, assigning people numbers, giving ownership around the budgets, uh and tying everyone’s incentives back to the profitability of the business, which is what I thought was so exciting. Um As a business owner, I think it’s really easy for you to think that, oh, I have to give carrots for every single K P I imaginable.
You know, uh I look at these comp plans that I’ve written for a sales manager and you’re like, whoa, I’m paying you off average job size gross margin, uh, revenue booked. There was seven bonus opportunities for a sales manager and maybe that was a little too complex. Maybe it should have just been, did the business make money then you made money? Yeah. Yeah. Jason Paris actually talks, uh, a lot about this, which is pretty neat when people come in and they say, hey, I want, I want a raise or I think I should get a raise.
I says great. We, you know, I, I, I’d love to make that happen for you. So let’s sit down, let’s run through the numbers and let’s figure out with, with this race, you know, how are we gonna keep the profit margin? How, how are, are you driving the value and actually giving them a real way to do it? Right? Don’t, don’t be condescending or jerk about it. But like, how can we add the value here to actually make it, make sense because I would really like to do that for you.
And then what you’re doing is you’re basically everyone can get as many raises as possible, right? If they can find the way to add the value, which oftentimes rock stars they can’t. But you, it, it kind of flips it and it’s not the, the big mean boss. I’m like, no, you, you don’t get a raise or the, the boss? Oh, he’s so nice. He gave me a raise. Let’s problem solve this thing together. Let’s recognize that we’re all on the same team. The, the goal is we need to hit this certain profit margin to have a healthy company and let’s collaborate together on what we can do to get you that race.
Yeah, it’s, you know, uh extending the ownership of the business to people that are, are working there. Yeah. And in order for that to make meaning they have to understand their numbers, they have to understand it so well, where you can say, ok, if you can increase the referral rate on your projects by 5% meaning one out of 20 people gives you another referral that makes the company XX. Yeah. You know, and everyone knows referrals close better way better. Yep, they convert better to close them all day for healthy profit margins and they tend to be more profitable.
Yeah, don’t know why, but they do uh because the client already has trust with you. So they’re not fighting you every step of the way. So how do we get more referrals? How do you incentivize people to do that? Um It’s been uh an exciting book for the last several months as we’re starting to roll this out and restructure our bonus plans uh completely from what Jack gives in his book. So that’s 100% where we’re moving our compensation model to is to fit the great game of business.
And I think there’s something beautiful when you read two books and this is something my wife worries about is, oh no, Michael, you just read this book. What’s, what’s everyone gonna have? What is the fallout going to be? How you’re gonna make everyone go above and beyond and do these things. And I said, no, it actually pairs perfectly with what we’re doing and traction and the great game of business touch uh perfectly with one another and they fit together. It was kind of like a missing component.
Uh to traction was the compensation piece which I was missing for my key members, man. That’s so good. Yeah. Well, I read uh I read the Great Game of Business about six years ago um as a CFO because our, our software company I was working for, had hired a, a consultant to come in and have had the whole leadership team read it, but I haven’t thought about it in some time. Haven’t, haven’t implemented it for pain or marketing growth. So now, now I’m gonna reread it and probably pair, you know, with traction.
It’s uh I found that they kind of like bit hand in hand there and, um you know, it’s incredible when you find those pieces and they just show up and you’re like, well, that’s what I was missing. It makes sense right now. So hopefully some value uh within those books and it can make an impact on somebody’s business the same way it did ours for sure, man. So that’s, yeah, we just spent over an hour talking about four books, super in depth, uh meaningful books. Um Man, thanks for sharing all that.
I, I definitely, when we first talked about this episode, I really did think it was gonna go a different direction, but I, I much prefer the direction that it went. You know, I can not just, hey, read these 30 books and feel good about yourself not to be little reading. It’s important. It’s a great step. But also make sure you pick some Bibles of business as you say, make sure you pick some that are really, really gonna move the needle and lean into those books and actually actually act on those books.
Uh Michael, do you have anything else you wanna add before we wrap up this second episode? You know, um, it is very much like what we were talking about yesterday or last week just, um, recognizing that other people have already figured this out. Yeah, and trying to pay attention to those people. So, um, and, and the, the four authors that we talked about are pretty special people who have figured it out. So, yeah, I give you a hard time for being arrogant because you’re the opposite of that.
So the, uh, you know, every, you have this, this ultra successful painting company or go I think it’s, I think it says 14 million this year, you know, for, for a lot of people that’s, these are kind of mind blowing numbers and almost every single thing you’re saying is, oh, well, the board recommended this, oh, well, this person recommended this. Oh, that I heard it from that. It’s never like, oh, I’m so smart that I just came up with all these ideas. Everything you’re saying essentially is something you learned or your network showed you or you’re leaning on the, you know, standing on the shoulders of giants, right?
As the saying goes, you’re, you’re learning from people who have come before you and, and who are farther ahead than you are and just people who, who in, in the professional network maybe aren’t even farther ahead than you are, but they still have value to share and they’re coming from different industries and they’re making you see things differently. So that, that collaboration. Yeah, Mike. Thank you, man. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This one is an amazing episode. I cannot wait for uh the next one. I think it, it sounds like the next one.
We are gonna be diving into employees. So that’ll pair pretty well. It’s, I think we set this thing up pretty well, man. I, I like the, the uh the series the way that the series is flowing. No, hopefully it wraps up. Well, I’m, I’m sure it will. Yeah, we’re not gonna let, we’re not gonna let episode five be too much of a downer. I know we’re gonna get into some of the hardships of the business, but we’re gonna, we’re gonna also get into solving those and kicking butt. Yeah. Awesome. Well, Brandon, always a pleasure. Thank you for having me today. Absolutely. Thank you, Mike.

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 URL is paintermarketingpros.com/podcast.

Hey there, 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 dot com to learn more about our services. You can also reach out to me directly by emailing me at Brandon at Painter Marketing Pros.com and I can give you personalized advice on growing your painting business until next time.

Keep growing

Brandon Pierpont

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