“If we try to play like the Yankees in here, we will lose to the Yankees out there" - Billy Bean, Money Ball (2011)
This is one of my favorite lines in cinematic history. All of the old Oakland A’s scouts are sitting around the table talking about one prospect or another who can replace Giambi and Damon, yet none of them are addressing (or even looking at) the true problem facing their ball club. “There are rich teams and there are poor teams, and then there’s fifty feet of s**t, and then there’s us”. Billy Bean (Played by Brad Pitt) uses this analogy to show that the challenges facing them as a franchise are inherently different than those afflicting the big market clubs like the Yankees or Red Sox. “If we try to play like the Yankees in here, we will lose to the Yankees out there”.
Who are the Yankees of the home improvement industry? This is a rhetorical question of course. If you work in the industry, you know very well who dominates your trade in your market. The REAL question is, how are you competing with them? If you are a small independent contractor, it is important to realize that you cannot operate your business the same way a giant of your industry does. The economy of scale for a contractor doing less than $5,000,000 (especially those doing less than $500,000) is completely different than a company doing $5,000,000+. If you’ve ever had a strategy call with me, you know that I don’t give much credence to “industry standards”. The reason being is that the home improvement industry is too diverse to have any one-size-fits-all solutions.
What is your sales process? If you listen to podcasts, read blogs, or watch youtube videos of high-level executives of big companies, they will tell you that the sole purpose of a sales call is to schedule a consultation visit. That might be great if you have a multimillion dollar marketing campaign producing dozens of leads a day coming into your call center who then dispatches a sales representative to the property in a Prius covered in the company logo. But does that really work for your company? For most independent contractors, the answer is no. For them, the sales process is more beneficial when there’s a lead qualification element to it. If a sales rep of a big company makes a trip to a homeowner in the planning phase, it’s not a very big deal. But if you spend your time making that same trip, you’re taking time from another job, another lead, or your family. All of which are unacceptable losses to your income, or personal life when you’re relatively smaller.
Being Small is Your Strength
Being the smaller company in your trade is not always a disadvantage if you understand the strategic differences between you and the big guys. A well-crafted lead qualification system can not only prevent wasteful consultation visits, but also establish a rapport with the homeowner. If you really focus on making your client retention processes personal, genuine, and consistent, your referral base will keep you from needing to compete toe to toe in marketing. At Home Logistics, our goal is to help independent contractors break away from the industry standards that ultimately hurt them by creating systems and processes for our clients in sales and customer service, which benefit each of our client’s unique businesses. By doing this, our clients can feel more comfortable and have more confidence when they break away from the industry standards, knowing that they aren’t shooting in the dark or going at it alone with their new systems.
Compete on Quality of Work!
When it comes to your quality of work, stand toe to toe with the big guys in your trade and compete like hell! But when it comes to your sales process, lead qualification, pricing, customer service, organization, and marketing, be strategic and lean into your strengths. Run your business from the inside out and always ask yourself, “am I working in the best interest of my company and family, or am I following the crowd?” Doing what everyone else does, even if you know it’s wrong, is the easy way out. Have the courage to audit your systems and processes and make the necessary adjustments. And if you need guidance or encouragement to do that, set up a strategy call below. We’d love to hear from you!