Stop Leaving Money on the table…

Up-selling/Cross-Selling

Most small trades business owners are very good at their job, fitting boilers, changing consumer units, building extensions etc…But many will openly admit they have had little to none business training.

I am no business guru, but I have some experience and feel a lot of people could really take what I am about to say in this article to really rocket their net profit!

What is Up-Selling and Cross-Selling

For those unaware of the term up-sell and cross-sell I will quickly explain,

Upselling is a sales technique that people use to maximise revenue from clients, Wikipedia’s definition is –

“Upselling is a sales technique where a seller induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale. While it usually involves marketing more profitable services or products,[1] it can be simply exposing the customer to other options that were perhaps not considered (A different technique is cross-selling in which a seller tries to sell something else). In practice, large businesses usually combine upselling and cross-selling to maximize profit.”

Up-selling is encouraging the purchase of anything that would make the primary product/service more expensive. For instance, when selling a Boiler Installation you could upsell the clients a better model of boiler or better control system to complement the performance of the boiler.

Cross-selling is the suggestion of any other product/Service to be purchased in conjunction with the primary product, for example, whilst selling the boiler installation you could sell the customer A system filter, maintenance plan or smoke/ CO alarms

So now you understand what up-selling and cross-selling is, let me explain how and why you should be utilising these very simple techniques to start maximising your revenue and net profit from every client!

How to up-sell/cross-sell

Depending on your business there are many ways to use up-selling/cross-selling…Let me start with a very simple example to start us off with-

Basic up-sell Example

You have just sold a boiler installation to your customer, you could then explain to them that for just £x extra they could have a better/higher output of boiler or all singing and dancing control system… Obviously with some added margin for yourself added on!

Basic cross-sell Example

You’re at your customer’s home carrying out a boiler service, the customer is already in a safety mindset so it would be a perfect cross-sell to mentioned to them is that you can provide smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, Right there and then. These products are super easy to acquire at discounted rates via trade suppliers and online sources and can be sold by almost any trade on any job for solid mark up.

All you need to do is carry a few on your van and at some point on the job if you feel that it would be beneficial for your customer to have them, simply highlight the facts, ie, to protect their family and home, give peace of mind etc and make the sale.

The above examples are just to open your mind to the possibilities, see below some products/services that I up-sell/ cross-sell within my plumbing company-

  • Sure stops
  • Scale reducers
  • Service/maintenance plans
  • Smoke alarms
  • CO alarms
  • Inhibitor dosing
  • Eco flush syphons
  • Internet controllers
  • Add a Boiler Service to your landlord safety
  • System flushing
  • Other services ie plumbing, electrics, plastering etc

The list could go on and on.

DO NOT offer multiple options to the customers, this will only turn them off to what you offer, be strategic in what you offer each customer, for example, you would be wasting your time trying to sell an internet controller to a 70+ retired person, but a Sure Stop isolate on the other hand would hold great value to this customer.

Up-Sell / cross-sell sales give a huge boost to Net profit because whatever mark up you make goes straight onto your net PROFIT! ( the most important pot of them all) As there is no new specific overhead to account for ( apart from the initial costs of goods/labour). I challenge you all to buy 5 smoke or CO alarms and make the decision to cross-sell them a soon as possible and see the results for yourself.

That said, as with anything you sell the customer has to see the value in what you are offering, so don’t be ‘the pushy salesperson type’ this will only hinder your chance of up-sell/cross-selling and could damage your reputation. Only offer a product or service to someone if you feel it can bring value to that person otherwise, this may have a negative effect on your business

A lot of tradesmen feel uncomfortable when selling, but the easiest way to overcome this fear is to simply offer your customers something that you honestly feel would benefit them, it sounds simple and is… We as human beings have a habit of over-complicating things when in reality simple is the best way to do anything!

Up-selling/Cross-selling is used by all the big company’s, its a proven way to increase profits from every sale. As with anything dont run before you can walk, simply try a few of the basic tips i mentioned earlier and build on from there.

Well, this has been Wayne Bettess writing his views on up-selling/cross-selling, if you found this article to be helpful please share it with anyone else you feel it could help.

Thanks for reading.

Creating your Company Vision

Now we have worked out our ‘Why’, we have some ‘Core Values’ and a ‘Purpose Statement’, it’s now time to be creative and imagine the where, the what and the how. By the way if you’re reading this and wondering what the hell I’m talking about you might want to read about ‘establishing your why’ first of all.

Too many self employed trades professionals are working extremely hard whilst going in no particular direction at all, they just keep rowing out to sea without a compass…. they have no idea where they’re going which doesn’t matter because what ever direction they’re going in, they’re going there really fast! They could be going round in circles for all they know, and if they continue doing things that way you can guarantee they’ll still be there in 10 years time.

The Company Vision creates the destination.

Like any thing, if you don’t know where you’re going to end up, how are you ever going to get there? We need a destination to begin with so we can then map out which route to take.

If you’re anything like me when I first started out, then you’ve been bouncing off walls going in different directions or worse,  just going round in circles. Well, now’s the time to sort it out. You’re going to create the destination which will then shape every decision you make for your business to make sure that your staying on the right road.

Once you have a ‘Company Vision’ you can then reverse engineer it to give you actionable steps into getting there. Mini goals every week that slowly compound into bigger goals developing your business to either be bigger or more streamlined but ultimately to be more profitable and for it to serve you.

Remember, the vision doesn’t have to be to grow to a massive company, it’s about what YOU want, if you want to be in more control and just work on your own that’s absolutely fine.

Where do you start when creating a Company Vision.

First of all you need to decide how far into the future your ‘Company Vision’ will be, I found 3 years to be a good number, it’s far enough into the future for you to make a difference but not too far away that you’ll not take action on it.

You need to try and forget about your business today, forget about the things that don’t work right now and imagine how it will look when it is working, you need to imagine how it will be showing up to serve your customers and how it will be serving you by incorporating your ‘Core Values’.

Remember, the ‘Company Vision’ isn’t something set in stone, it can’t be. Things evolve and change which means your vision may need altering now and again, this is completely normal, but having something in place which is written down to paint a clear picture means that you’re already ahead of most of your competition.

I’d recommend taking yourself out of your day to day here, be in a place that’s peaceful so you can forget about your daily struggle, it’s important not to worry about what’s not right today but focus on who are in 3 years. Try not to use language that says we ‘should be’ or ‘we will be’, try and use language like ‘we are’ and and ‘we do’. Write in the present tense, imagine you are 3 years in to the future, who are you now?

Questions to help you keep on track with your ‘Company Vision’.

To help you keep on track with your ‘Company Vision’ here are a few questions you can ask yourself to make sure your have the important stuff included within it. Grab a pen and paper and just jot down whatever springs to mind.

1. What sort of customers do you want to work with? Will you focus on businesses, or seek private customers?

It’s important to describe what sort of customer they’ll be, why do they want to work with you, what do they value when they’re choosing a company to work with? Let’s build a mini customer profile here ready for when we dive into this deeper in the future.

2. What services do you plan to provide to your customers and why will your company be different from the rest?

You can keep this simple, if you want to provide a plumbing and heating service or you just want to build extensions, fine!  But how are you going to it differently to every one else.

What is it about your company that makes you stand out? We don’t want to be trying to shout amongst all of the noise, we want to separate ourselves so we can be heard.

It’s worth describing things like how a customer feels when they’ve used you, do they feel trust, like they’re in good hands because of… x, y and z. Your quality, professionalism etc.

3. How big is your company going to be? How much profit are you making? How will you track this? What sort of sales figures are you achieving?

Cover off a few facts and figures which we can later use as performance indicators to make sure we’re getting to the right place.

4. If you plan to grow a team, how are you going to make sure your team is right for the company? What sort of people are you looking for? How are you going to achieve results from them? Will you have written policies and guidelines in place for them to follow? Will you have regular meetings with them to help develop them? What sort of culture do you want to run through the veins of your company?

Refer to your ‘Core Values’ here, make sure you’re culture embodies everything you have already worked on.

5. What sort of marketing will you be doing? Do you plan to have just word of mouth referrals, how do push this message to your customers? Or will you try and make use of modern technology and spread the word about your company by using social media?

Hopefully, once you have answered these questions you’ll have a much better idea of what to have within your vision, hopefully it’s made you think of a few things that you haven’t thought about in a while.

Once you have this vision written down, get it printed off and stick it on the wall, right where you work when your sitting down doing your business development work or your admin, take pride in it and be inspired by it!

Is there a perfect ‘Company Vision’?

Honestly no! There is no perfect ‘Company Vision’ and let’s not worry about how you’re going to achieve the ‘Company Vision’ right now, just be creative, dream big if you want to, dream small if you want to. Just create something that’s going to inspire you to build a better business than what you have now.

If you’re struggling to picture what a ‘Company Vision’ looks like still and you need some inspiration then I’m happy to share mine with you.

Hopefully you like what you’ve read or seen here today, if you have any questions then there’s a comment box below, just ask your questions and we’ll help you paint the picture.

Alternatively, if you haven’t already joined our Facebook community then search for ‘Warrior Trades’ in Facebook and request to join, it’s full of trades professionals working with each other to do better in business.

Look forward to seeing you there.

Establishing your ‘Why’

Hey Warrior, in this article we’re going to be ‘establishing your why’.  In our last article ‘Do Business the Warrior Way’  we spoke about how your business should serve you and your life. Establishing your why is the first step towards having  a business that serves you.

How is having a ‘why’ going to transform your business?

When I was learning about business this ‘Why’ thing kept cropping up, there are whole books written about having a ‘Why’, so I figured this thing must be important.

When I first started trying to implement it I felt like I was wasting my time, I had too many fires to put out and this ‘Why’ thing isn’t doing anything instant to help these fires go away.

Once I finally got through it I realised that my ‘Why’ was about to dictate everything we did moving forward, the ‘Why’ lead to the creation of our ‘Company Values’ and our ‘Vision’, and if a decision we’re making isn’t honouring our vision or it’s not in line with our values then we simply do not do it.

Your ‘Why’ isn’t just about feeding the wife and kids, it’s about satisfying your needs to feel good about yourself too. Your ‘Why’ is going to cover things like – Why do we serve these customers, what sort of customers do we serve, why do we employ these types of people etc. It’s a set of values that should motivate you and keep you on track to achieve your vision.

Where do you start when working out your ‘Why’?

The first step to establishing your ‘Why’ is taking a look within yourself. I would recommend asking yourself these questions and writing down the answers to them. They should help bring things to the top of your mind, things you probably haven’t stopped to think about for some time.

1. What do you imagine your life to be like if you were to have it your way? Where would you be? Who would you be with? What would you be doing?

Write a paragraph or two about what sort of lifestyle you want to live? Is money the most important thing to you or is having the time to spend with your loved ones more important?

2. What is it about your life that’s missing right now in comparison to where you want to be?

We’re going to keep this in mind because in order to achieve the end goal that you have just thought about you’re going to need to take massive action and when things get tough, the comparison between the two will help keep you motivated.

3. What are your strengths? List 10 if you can.

4. What are your weaknesses? List 10 if you can.

5. What things don’t you want in your life?

Let’s forget about having no money or no house or cars here and focus on the emotional things, a few examples could be – dishonesty, disrespect, disloyalty etc.

6. What things do you want in your life?

Looking over what you definitely don’t want in your life is going to help highlight what you do want.

Answering these questions is quite hard, especially if you’re not used to putting yourself first and have never stopped to ask yourself these sorts of things before. Once we have a solid list of the things that you want your life to be about we can outline your ‘Core Values’

What are your ‘Core Values’

Now we have established our list of things we want in our life, we can elaborate on these to set out our ‘Core Values’. Our aim here is to have 5 – 10 values, which correlate with the things you have established that you want in your life, this can then be transferred into the business.

Once you have your list of your ‘Core Values’, turn these into sentences. For example if one of your values was to ‘Be honest’, create a few bullet points on how you want you and your team to be honest.

Example – Be Honest

  • Be honest with our customers by not telling them they need something they don’t and giving them good true advice on things that would benefit them.
  • Be honest with your team members, if you have feedback for someone which is constructive then you’re prepared to share with them.

These core values will help you employee the right people who fit in with the what the company is about, it will help you and your team serve customers in a way which helps everyone feel good about they are doing and ultimately allow the business to serve you and your needs and it will also help you hold your team accountable when things don’t go to plan.

Create your ‘Purpose Statement’

A purpose statement is a paragraph which encompasses your ‘Core values’. The purpose statement is something you and your team members can have in the back of their head when dealing with a customer or a problem. It helps them make decisions without the need for getting in contact with you.

They can ask themselves “Is this inline with our purpose statement and our values”,  if whatever they need to resolve falls in line with the purpose statement and the values then there’s a good chance that they’re not going to make the wrong decision.

To Wrap up….

So the ‘Why’ is more than just ‘why do we get up and go to work in the morning’. It’s something that  will set the foundation and the benchmark in how your company is going be moving forward.

You can use it to make decisions for the company, you can use it to hold your team accountable, you can use it to decide what sort of customers you want to work with, ones who value your values etc. Ultimately, it will help the business serve you!

Now we are sure about who you are and what your company is all about, we can now start being creative and plan our future. By setting your ‘Company Vision’.

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Do business The Warrior Way.

Hey Warriors, in this article we want to share with you what it means to do things the “Warrior Way’. In our last video/article we shared with you the first mistake I made in business, where Jamie shared his experience of where he went wrong at the the start of his business journey. If you haven’t seen it yet then  I recommend you starting there first!

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The first mistake Jamie made was not having his head in the right place, purely because he was programmed to think like an engineer or a technician -someone who completed tasks to get jobs done, which led him into doing everything himself, causing overwhelm and resent. Something we find a lot of self employed trades people can relate to.

In this article we want to share with you our way of thinking, which might seem a bit alien to begin and difficult to adopt, but without changing your way of thinking from a “doing everything” perspective to a more creative and managerial perspective, your business will never grow to be bigger than you or work and grow without you.

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The business should serve you first, not your customers.

A huge mistake self employed tradespeople make is they sacrifice a lot for the business, they serve the business! This is done unintentionally, most of the time the business owner thinks they’re sacrificing everything for their family to create something for them, but really all they are doing is sacrificing the time they would usually spend with the family to please a customer.

But this is all wrong! Ok, customer satisfaction is important, but it’s also important for a customer to understand that there are such things as normal working hours and between certain times people deserve ‘family time’ or something else called ‘a break’.

The business should serve you – the business owner, first! You went into business because you wanted the freedom and the choice to do things on your terms, so don’t forget that!

The business should serve you in other ways too though, you should get some sense of achievement out of it. You have to have a passion for it and it has to make you feel good in some way, not fill you with dread because you have a pile of paper work to get through.

As your business grows, you’ll become a leader and a mentor, watching your team grow and flourish beyond your capability is the best part about being a business owner, this is where the real rewards come! This is when the business really serves you!

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The first step is committing to change.

If you’re someone who wants to grow a business that can work and grow without you, to give you freedom to enjoy your life, but you’re a one-man enterprise doing everything from book keeping to online marketing, then you have to commit to change.

It’s not your fault that your brain is programmed to think that you have to do everything, our education system doesn’t encourage leadership and entrepreneurialism. Instead, we’re encouraged to get a job, work hard and  you’ll be rewarded when your retire! ……. Great! And of course, we’ve become so used to doing everything ourselves, and lack the leadership skills we need,  we struggle to trust other people to do things for us, “they’ll never do it as good as me”. Sound familiar?

The commitment to change is hard, and takes practice, but it’s necessary to create the space for developing a business into a machine that works without the sole input of one person.

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Going into business means you have what it takes.

If you made the jump into the business world then you have the characteristics in you already. Before the business, there was nothing, you thought up the name, the brand, the processes into making it all work. You most likely created everything and when you were happy with what you had created you set to work on making sure all the ‘stuff’ got done.

This is where you made the same mistake as Jamie.  As a small business (who most probably lacked the capital to go on and employ everyone needed to keep the machine going) someone had to do the work to bring in the revenue to survive. You most likely became so bogged down with the day to day tasks, that the development stopped and you became an overworked tradesperson/ bookkeeper/ administrator/ salesperson/ ……you get the point.

I’m not saying stop what you’re doing and focus purely on creating and developing, I’m saying you need to work out a balance, that keeps the machine going, whilst continuing to travel towards a bigger picture …. The Vision!

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Your time is your most valuable asset

Time is something that we can’t get back, as the CEO of a company your time has a value attached to it. I’m not talking your hourly rate to do whatever it is you’re skilled at doing. Your value attached to your time as CEO could be described as intangible, it’s something that you can’t put your finger on for sure, how much do you value your time? Our experience shows that self employed tradespeople tend to undervalue their time and spend too much of their time doing things for free.

Rather than spending your time looking at bank transactions, or seeing if people have paid on time, imagine if you spent some time making contact with potential clients and ended up bagging yourself a life changing contract for example.

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Leveraging = acceleration.

Leveraging is key, but in order to leverage you need to have a few things in place to make sure you can hold people accountable for achieving the results they’re responsible for.

If you’re unsure what we mean by leveraging, then don’t worry we plan to go into this in more detail, but in a nut shell, leveraging is making the most of someone else’s skills, expertise or money to achieve faster results.

Sure, you can sit around for hours on end learning how to do something – bookkeeping, accounting, online marketing, website building etc etc, and finally after hours and hours or days and days of hard work you will finally achieve your result.

But if you were to leverage from someone else, who already knows what they  are doing, then you will have the hours and hours or days and days free to develop, build and create.

Before you go off-loading all of your ‘stuff’ to someone better qualified than you, you need to understand that it’s still your responsibility to make sure this ‘stuff’ gets done to the standard you expect and need for your business and not just assume that everyone will do it the way you would without them being properly inducted.  To help you make sure of this we’ll be going into a lot more detail in a future episode.

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Self discipline leads to greater rewards

In order to get your business to the next level it’s going to require a tremendous amount of self discipline. Changing your daily habits to become more in control and more efficient at what you do isn’t something that comes over night.

You need to be sure of what your purpose is, what your passion is in life and what inspires you and gives you the greatest sense of achievement to keep you going through hard times. Which leads us onto our next article – ‘Establishing your Why’.

Once we ‘Establish your Why’ we can create a business that embodies your values and purpose, so that everything the business does, it does it to serve you!

The first mistake I made when going into business.

Hello Warrior! My name’s Jamie Cureton and this article is all about the first mistake I made when going into business, actually, it was an on-going mistake which I continued to make for some time. If you’re not the sort of person who likes to read, then you can skip straight to the video which at the bottom of this page.

When I went into business, I assumed that being a self-employed trades professional meant that all I need to do is take a few phone calls, turn up on time, do a good job, get paid, and move onto the next one, I was completely oblivious to what actually running a business would be like.

Little did I know had just walked into a whole new dimension. Where ‘turning up to the job on time and getting paid’ actually made up about 5% of everything I needed to know.

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It all started so well…

To begin with, things were great, I took the phone calls, I turned up on time, did a great job and provided a great service, easy! Oh, and got paid, of course! At the start things were great, a steady flow of work came in which gave me time to learn about the admin and the marketing and gave me time to do the development work of getting the website up and running etc.

I loved it, it was all new to me and challenging, I knew I was building something for me and my family, it was exciting! I became quite addicted to it actually, and spent more and more time building and growing, I was seeing results which encouraged me to do more and more.

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But then things changed…

The service I was providing my customers meant that word quickly spread, I was all over the internet and people were finding me easily, the flow of work kept increasing. So what do you? You keep filling your diary of course! Think of the money!

At the beginning I was leaving for work at 9:00 and getting home for 3-4:00, I promised I’d always spend time with my daughter and never let that slip. The problem I now had was because I was booking more and more work in, I had to leave earlier and get home earlier, the time I spent with my daughter got less and less, but guess what? All the admin work, the marketing and the development work still needed doing, my days stretched from getting up at 5 am to finishing at 11 just to keep up! But it’s cool, I’m building an empire for the benefit of the family, aren’t I!?

Sure! Building an empire for the family, the family which began to fall apart! I forgot about the other half, I had neglected her and things fell apart. We’re no longer together!

Of course, there was more than just that which caused the breakup but you can bet it was a good catalyst for bringing it on, but I still had my daughter to think about so continued to crack on.

At the start, I was so energetic and free to provide the service, but things were coming through so thick and fast, I was working almost 18 hour days, I began to fall apart. I forgot to get back to customers, I forgot to get payment, I forgot about the admin, the marketing, everything became a chore. Eventually, I began to resent the business and began to feel disappointed in myself.

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Something in me changed…

I believe you need to hit rock bottom to come back up again, if you don’t feel the pain then you don’t have the emotional drive to make the change. I knew there had to be a solution! I realised that I was great at being a heating engineer but I knew nothing about what a business should actually look like and how it should operate. I was once a cog in a machine as an employee, but I needed to figure out how to build the machine. So I took action and learnt as much as I could.

This is the biggest mistake every trades person I know seems to make, they’re trained at being a great tradesperson, great at doing the work. We’re not trained in business, and that’s the same for most people who decide to go into business. They start up, struggle and close down, most businesses fail in the first five years, I wonder why!?

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There is another way…

The thing is, there is another way! There are companies out there who started out and ended up making a huge success of it, this doesn’t just happen by accident. They learnt how to build the processes and systems and learnt how to lead people and manage people to perform better than what they can. Of course, this in itself is a huge task, but it’s so rewarding and the time invested will pay dividends once you start getting some freedom back!

For some people, they don’t want to be a company and have other people work for them who they have to deal with and manage, and that’s cool! The best advice I give you is, charge high rates, do less work and keep spare time during the day to manage the admin etc, don’t overbook yourself, and cut into the time you would usually spend with your family. Don’t do what I did!

But to the ones who are reading this thinking Yes!! I want something to work without me, I want to build something that will give me more time to do things in life I want to do, on my terms and produce a nice income to enjoy some nice things! Then stick with us, make sure you’re following us, we’re going to sharing the steps to take to create this freedom. But first, we need to start from the basics and build a solid foundation, not one that’s on quicksand!

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy the video!

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