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The Profit Builder

how to not waste time interviewing the wrong person

Have you ever wasted a few hours interviewing someone only to realize at the end of the interview they were not really a good fit for the job? It was from having this experience myself that I came up with a phone screening process that lets you quickly identify if the candidate is worth interviewing in person or not. This process takes about 10 minutes and is guaranteed to save you time in your recruiting process.

Listen to this 5-minute video to get the simple steps and outline to help you screen out candidates that are NOT a right fit before you interview them.

Enjoy!

 

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.

how to know WHO you’re hiring for

hire word bubble

Have you ever wished the caliber of person you hired was more skilled and better qualified at the job you hired them for? If yes, you’re not alone – most leaders have experienced this at some point in their hiring careers.  Often part of the problem is a lack of clarity about WHO you’re actually hiring for.  We often think that a job title means the same thing in every company.  It does not.

So, how do you know who you’re hiring for before you even begin interviewing, and never have this happen again?

In today’s video, I show you how doing one simple thing before you begin your next search will stack the odds in your favor of hiring a more skilled and qualified employee. Just like a well-run project begins with pre-planning, this is also true of hiring.

Listen to this 8-minute video to get the simple steps and outline to help you plan for your next hire.

Enjoy!

 

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.

how to know the right person to hire

Have you ever hired someone as you were growing only to find out that while that person was helpful, they did not really alleviate any of the pressures or stress on you? Or maybe you’re about to make a big hire in your company and you’re wondering which is the right position to hire for.

A simple way to know the right place to make a new hire is to first assess where you as an owner or manager are spending your time. Then you want to ask yourself where is the best place for you to be spending your time, and brings the most value to the business. It is those other areas where you want to consider making your next hire.

In today’s video, I show you a simple way to do that assessment and know the right person to hire.

Enjoy!

 

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.

Get Intentional About Your Profits!

Imagine it’s December 2021, and you’re reviewing the results of your business for the past year and you notice that compared to 2020, your profits are WAY up, AND, you didn’t have to kill yourself to make it happen! How great will that be?!

That’s what’s possible when you get intentional about your profits. Planning for increased profits by creating an operating budget for your business is the first step. I don’t just mean a revenue plan (most people have one of those), I mean planning for bottom-line net profits and increased cash flow.

In today’s video, I’m going to share with you the tools and steps to employ to help you do just that for your business.

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3 Proven Ways to Recruit Quality Employees

One of the biggest challenges I see contractors facing these days is finding qualified employees.

In this presentation I did for Contractors Success Academy, I shared 3 proven ways to recruit quality employees. In it, I share links to sites that have helped folks just like you find great employees.

If you’d like more resources and tools to help you recruit, interview, and onboard great employees, check out my “Managers Hiring Toolkit” and get a ton of great tools and templates that will help you hire right the first time.

If you’ve not subscribed to the Contractors Success Academy podcast, I encourage you to check it out.

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Are your employees stealing from you?

The latest statistics on fraud should send a big jolt of fear into small business owners. According to an embezzlement survey by HISCOX, a specialty insurance company, 80 percent of embezzlements occurred at small businesses — defined as those with less than 150 employees — and 30 percent of embezzlements involved a loss of more than $500,000.    

The first time I witnessed someone stealing money from a company I was shocked and dismayed.  I couldn’t believe that someone in the financial management field could be so unscrupulous – after all, by nature of their job in accounting, they are the gatekeeper of a company’s money. 

At the time I was 29, and that experience opened my eyes to understanding that having financial controls in place is critically important.  In the years since I’ve seen many instances where a company’s lack of controls has resulted in people stealing from them.

In this time when more and more work is being done remotely, including paying vendors and processing payroll, it’s critical that you have controls and processes in place to avoid this happening to you.

In today’s video, I share simple practices and processes to help you avoid accounting fraud and stealing in your business.

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The Story Your Numbers Tell

My client, Bob, called saying, “I’m a little freaked out, and I need your help.” He continued, “I’ve been working my butt off to get my revenue up, but my bottom line profit is dropping.”

If you’ve ever experienced your revenue increasing, but your bottom line staying flat, or worst yet declining, then you can probably relate to why Bob was freaking out.

Making a consistent profit can be a common problem for many contractors, but it doesn’t have to be your problem.

When things like this happen, I tell clients to start with the data. Numbers always tell a story. So Bob and I sat down together armed the company’s profit and loss reports.

Sure enough, he was right. Revenue was steadily increasing, but the gross profit margin had been falling little by little from 30% a few years ago, to 27%, to 25% this year.

Contractors live and die by gross profit margin, so this decrease was worth a closer look.

If you’re working super hard, but you’re just not seeing the results you want, keep reading. I’ll explain to you why this happens, and then, what you can do to change it.  We’re going to talk today about what causes gross profit margins to drop, how to avoid “overhead creep”,  and how to price for increased profits.

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My Move to Kansas – The Struggle and Learning

When we had our first open house on March 15th and then were put under a “shelter in place order” on March 17th, I just assumed we’d be staying in California for at least another six months.

The universe had a different plan. 

A week after our first open house, with no more showings, we got an offer that was exactly the price we said we’d be delighted with, so we took it.

While I anticipated moving across the country would be an adjustment, I never thought these past four months would play out as they have.

Those first two months were filled with a flurry of packing, and helping clients navigate PPP borrowing along with the many other changes they were instantly facing with regards to their teams, and their bottom line.  I was grateful to be fully consumed with these projects as it barely allowed me to notice the fact that I couldn’t go anywhere or see anyone.

On May 16th my husband Tim and I flew from California to Kansas with our dog Nica, full of optimism and hope for finding and settling into a new home.  Tim is originally from Kansas, so for him settling in was easy – this is home.  For me, I instantly felt the press of being a stranger in a foreign land.  Not wanting to succumb to feelings of sadness and loss as I felt the distance and isolation from everything I knew, I kept myself very busy with client work and finding a place to live.

In the back of my mind, I kept thinking to myself “it will all feel more “normal” and I’ll be more settled when we’re in our new house and I can set up my office.”  And at the same time, I knew there was more to it.

The truth was, there was this sense of loss that went beyond leaving my office of 27 years or moving out of the state I’d lived in for 40 years.  There was something else stirring in me.

It wasn’t until after we moved into our new home, all the boxes were unpacked, pictures hung, yard mowed, and the first pot of sauce and meatballs made (cooking is one of the ways I nest 😊) that I realized that unsettled feeling was not going away.

It was time to face it head-on…

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Navigating Difficult Conversations

Not sure how to get the client to sign that change order? Having a tough time getting that employee to work faster? This week I’m sharing an interview I did with Dominic Rubino about how to make having those conversations easier using a simple 4 step formula.

The formula:

Following this formula will give you more comfort in implementing change, AND, it will give you resources for overcoming resistance to the changes you are implementing.

Dominic and I role-play a few great examples of how to navigate a conversation that could otherwise be riddled with conflict.  One with a client about a change order, the other with an employee. As it played out both parties were feeling good about the results.

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Nail The Sales Process and Close More Jobs

Last week I shared an interview I did on The Designer Show on how, as a contractor, you can stop being treated like a commodity and get in the driver’s seat in the sales process. This week, I’m doing a deeper dive into how to nail your sales process by including 4 key elements that will make all the difference.

MANAGE EXPECTATIONS

When a customer first calls, one of the best things you can do is manage their expectations. From the very first phone call, let them know what your process is, and what they can expect in this first phase of getting to know one another and identify the scope of the project.  This is where you begin to build trust and confidence, and have you stand out from the competition.  This is where you begin to really drive the sales process.

Tip: When you’re done explaining your process, ask them if they are OK with that – then wait for an answer. People will say yes ninety-nine percent of the time.  Getting agreement on things like presenting the bid in person or by Zoom or Skype is an essential piece of giving you a greater chance of actually closing a sale.

SCREEN FOR RIGHT FIT AND STOP WASTING YOUR TIME

Unfortunately, some clients might be “tire-kickers.” They aren’t necessarily really interested in doing business with you, and really can’t just be pushed aside. Ask questions in your initial conversations with a potential client that help you understand if they are a “right fit.” Are they just looking for a lowball price? This is something you’ll want to establish early on.

One of the best ways to ensure that a client is a good fit for your company is to start by setting a minimum size project you are willing to complete. If a job isn’t profitable, why do it?

Create a matrix that could be used to rate a potential project opportunity:

  • Set a goal for the minimum size job you’ll take
  • Define what makes for an acceptable location
  • Identify if the timing works in your schedule

These are just a few examples, and you get the idea.

Tip:  If the rating doesn’t meet your criteria, you politely say that you don’t think it’s a good fit and offer to refer to another contractor. The homeowner, by the way, is always grateful for the honesty. And it will save you precious time by not bidding a job that doesn’t meet your requirements.

ASK POWERFUL QUESTIONS THAT MAKE YOU THE PREFERRED CONTRACTOR

Knowing how to ask questions is the cornerstone of a good sales process. When you take the time to truly understand a prospect’s needs by asking the right questions, you will understand what they value most and ultimately be able to provide superior value and experience. You’ll be able to stand out from the competition and be known as a trusted resource to your prospects and clients.

In my Sales Process Toolkit, I give you examples of some powerful questions you can ask at each stage of the sales process.

Tip: When you begin following a more ‘scripted’ process, it will no doubt feel clunky and awkward. That’s the way it is for most of us when learning a new habit. You’ll likely find that you’ll need to change up the questions to better fit your communication styles. Before long, however, the process will begin to feel natural. You’ll become consistent. You’ll start getting better information from the customer.

KEEP YOUR AGREEMENTS – YOUR MOST POWERFUL TOOL

Keeping your word, doing what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it, is the foundation of your reputation and identity as a contractor. In an industry riddled with dishonesty and subterfuge, you want to be known as someone who can be trusted.

Tip: If you do nothing else I’ve shared with you here other than this one thing, you’ll increase your close rate, and you’ll have people clamoring at your door to work with you. You’ll get tons of referrals from happy clients; and you’ll stand heads above the competition.

IT’S ALL ABOUT CLARITY…

Clarity breeds confidence, and confidence lets us take more powerful actions.  This applies to you AND your customers.  When you’re clear—whether clarity takes the form of knowing the customer’s pain, challenges, needs, and desires, or knowing the clear scope and budget—it’s easier to take control of the process because you’ll know what you’re doing.  Having a solid sales process will let you do just that.

Warmest,

Vicki

p.s. Using the tips I’ve shared above and using my Sales Process Toolkit will have you closing more of the RIGHT jobs.

p.p.s.  If you want to learn more about making a consistent profit and increase cash flow in your business, then check out my book, “The Profit Bleed – how managing margin can save your contracting business.”

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.
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