Successful Life Podcast

Allan Ferguson: The Hottest Australian Plumber with Unmatched Skills and Seductive Charm

May 12, 2023 Corey Berrier/ Allan Ferguson
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Show Notes Transcript

[00:00:00] video1728138900: Welcome to the Successful Life podcast. I'm your host, Corey Berrier, and I am here with my man Allan Ferguson. What's up, brother? Yeah. Look, I'm happily here sitting in Houston. The weather's nice. I'm working with my favorite people, other contractors and love and life. Yeah, it's great. I love it.

[00:00:22] Dude I, think we're gonna have a great conversation. Alan I'm, super excited about this. You and I have connected several times, you know, prior to this and had some pretty interesting conversations. But before this we start, I, you know, you mentioned that you're taking Service Nation back to down under, so, and my question to you was, there's gotta be, there's gotta be a little bit of fear around that because you didn't necessarily leave there on a great note.

[00:00:48] I shouldn't say leave there on a great note. The, they put you through hell basically. Does that sound right about right? I've been through hell and then some. And you know, some of the things that we've, discussed previously is why am I, diving back into the fire? I think that's a good question.

[00:01:08] And look, I believe in, in, in what's best for the industry and I want. The best practice, the best, practice groups to go back to Australia. And and I'm all about helping other contractors to succeed. And you know that's, what I'm about. Corey. So let me just ask you, cause maybe this is bad on me, but when you say best practice groups, can you define that?

[00:01:35] Yeah, the best practice groups, in my opinion I've been playing with companies like Service Roundtables, service Nation and there's been a few others, but the groups that are training contractors on how to be successful, help helping them with their pricing and their financials, and just being around other really successful contractors and you meet them all via the best practice groups and there's really nothing in Australia that stands out.

[00:02:02] I mean, I had it, I had what I believe were the best of the best with the best practice groups, but Australia is so far behind with that, and that's why I've, been to America over 50 times now and that's why I, love to come over here and meet people like yourself and, all the greats, the Matt Michelles and the Frank Blouse and the Ron Smiths and and there's a lot more Na and the Billy Stevens, you know, so, Yes, I a hundred percent.

[00:02:33] So is it, so when you go over, you'll be obviously be coaching and consulting with different companies, but in my brain, I feel like it's almost like you have a, you'll have a core group of people, maybe in a group. Does that sound more like it?

[00:02:52] We had I mean, when we had Service Roundtable in Australia, we had about. 70 members. We started up Service Nation, which is more of the elite group. We probably had about 12 members. But I'm starting to build a fair bit of a, reach with social you know I've, brought back my Pipeline to Profitability podcast, which you are gonna be on next week.

[00:03:17] I'm really looking forward to that. I, just feel that, like I said, Australian needs. Best practice, they need to know what's really going on because it's completely different world over here. Even though Sydney where, my businesses were based were pretty advanced, especially in the drain space, which is what, you know, the area drain.

[00:03:39] And plumbing is where I spend most of my time. But It just you guys over here, I [00:03:46] mean, think about it. America is 13 times the size, maybe even bigger now than Australia. And when you work with the top 1%. Of the industry in America. There's, a lot of really amazing dynamic people and some of the names I've already mentioned.

[00:04:04] Did I mention Cory Barrier as well? So when you're working with the top 1% of the industry, and I don't just work with plumbers I work with electricians, air conditioning, even Garrett, there's a. Guy by the name of Tommy Mellow and garage's, doors, and he's, I mean, it's all about service, home services, home service, whether you're doing pest control or alarms.

[00:04:30] So, I, you know, I want to bring the best of what I've learned here in the us, which I love. That's why I've decided to live here and bring it back to Australia and let the contractors know back home. Back in Australia that they don't have to travel 15 to 20 hours, depending on where you're going. I mean, to the West coast is like, it's a 15 to 17 hour flight, but then from the west coast to the East coast, another five hours.

[00:05:00] So, so what I want with, technology and the internet and zoom. We can be anywhere in the world. Right? You don't know. I could be sitting here in I, could be sitting in Sydney. It wouldn't really make a difference. Right? That's right. Not to me, cuz it'd be my, it'd be on Eastern time for me.

[00:05:21] That, that's the only, that's the hard part is getting the times right because you know I, was, when I was coaching. My American clients when I was in Australia, I'd sometimes have to get up at two 3:00 AM to meet their schedule. And and now that I'm based in Houston and I'm coaching clients back in Sydney, it's like they have to get up at two 3:00 AM So it's, but it's good.

[00:05:51] I love it. I love what, the industry is about, about, and yeah. So bringing Service Roundtable back to Australia. Is really exciting for me and and I'm hoping it can help, our struggling. Some of our contractors are really finding it tough, adapting to the changes that are going on, which are happening really fast.

[00:06:13] I mean, you, I mean, with what you are doing at the moment, tell me not things aren't changing at the fastest pace they've ever changed, right. It's it's unbelievable. I feel like if I shut my eyes for an hour longer than I need to, I'm gonna miss three weeks of time. It's moving so fast, it's moving unbelievably fast.

[00:06:35] So it, is, and it's really not hard stuff, right? This, we're not talking about rocket science. It feels that way because it is moving so fast and it is technology and a lot of folks. Just our adverse technology and because it, in the past technology's been a challenge. Look, it was a challenge for me, a hundred percent.

[00:06:57] It was a challenge for me. And the only reason it's not as much of a challenge now is cuz they've made it a lot easier to understand and to reverse engineer and so on and so forth. It, look, you use use AI in your in your trading company, right? You don't, your technology uses ai, which is Yep.

[00:07:17] You've been using this for how long now? Look I, think a ai I, don't know you would probably be able to advise me on this, but it's been around, I'm guessing five years, but it's [00:07:32] really sped up in the last. Few months, but it's been around for a while. I mean, I, we look, I look at what Billy Stevens is doing with his product, sira, which is gonna rev revolutionize the industry, in my opinion.

[00:07:47] And unfortunately, anyone that's watching this podcast in Australia, it ain't coming down under for a couple of years, but it will. But Billy's been using AI within his product to just to streamline process. And you know, like, you know with, how AI is helping our CSRs to get their scripts right, to be able to answer que, it's just amazing what's going on and and I'm really excited to with what you are do currently doing with AI as well.

[00:08:20] Corey, We yes. I'm excited too. I'm, just about to jump outta my chair to go screaming to the top of my lungs. I tell everybody, but, and we're so we did get the M V MVP built. I'm super excited about that. And I don't know if million people know what M V MVP means, but minimal, viable, pro viable products.

[00:08:40] So we've got the core of it, right? I didn't build it, but we had it built. And so I'm, yeah, I'm super, super excited about that. It's go to streamline call centers throughout the country. And I'll be honest, throughout the world, in my opinion, the way we've done it is significantly different than what everybody else, you know, there are companies out there that run sentiment analysis and they run different data points, but they've not done what we have.

[00:09:08] And so it's gonna be, it's gonna be incredible. So Alan, where do you see, you know, We were talking previously, where do you see the industry going? Okay. Look, I wa I watched what's happening in the US because you guys are on top of it. And the number one thing that comes to mind for me is service.

[00:09:34] Okay. So when I say I work with the top 1% In the us, in Australia, obviously the top 1% in Australia is a smaller percentage. The companies that are delivering phenomenal service, whether that's via the phone service or the way they dispatch and the way the technician arrives, the company that are really standing out there are able to charge a premium price and with happy customers.

[00:10:03] So I think anything that can. Make the lives easier for our customers and deliver phenomenal service. Those companies are gonna move ahead a lot faster. And if you can incorporate AI into helping our, not just our technicians but our customer service reps to make the experience better for our customers, those companies are gonna stand out.

[00:10:32] And then e everything that I'm about with my training. I'm more specific to plumbing and drains, but it's all about providing a good level of service and having the processes in place that the technicians follow. So yeah, if you can stand, if you can really provide high level of service, and this has been the case for, I don't know, the last 40 years since I've been in the industry, but yeah, I just think that's where.

[00:11:01] Companies that are gonna grow the fastest are gonna really have that by the balls. Right. That's right. You know, and I think transparency is important. I think. You know, being honest with your customers is important and it goes [00:11:18] so much, it goes such a long way when you can, you know, when like people need to stop selling.

[00:11:25] Like if you try to sell something, it turns people off. Yeah. It makes people feel like you're a traveling car salesman. And that's just, it is what it is. But if you lead with your heart, you lead with service, you leave, you lead with trying to do the right thing by the customer. You're gonna win. Yeah. It's the law.

[00:11:45] You're gonna win. Absolutely. Look you know, this is, My, my mentors, the people I worked with that have worked with, you know, like my business partner Joe Cunningham, was his, mentors were, well, his mentors and friends were Zig Zeigler, Jim Ron, Tom Hopkins who, we still communicate with. And the very first, you know, the, if you look at the basics of sales is.

[00:12:13] Everyone loves to buy, right? But no one likes to be sold. So think about that. When our customer caught rung up and said, look, I've got a block drain send. Do they say, send me around a salesman so I can get a complete sewer replacement? Or do they say I, need someone to come and make the water go down?

[00:12:32] Okay, so. You know, if the technician arrives on site and provides a, fair service and does a good job and then explains to the customer, look, your drains are stuffed, and if we don't fix 'em, they're probably gonna block up again at the worst possible time. Since when the drains ever block at the best time.

[00:12:53] And if we follow a process, and like I said Corey, I'm all about process. If we follow a process and give the customer some options, always give them something they can say no to. They will buy from your company. Will they buy on the day that you arrive? Maybe not, maybe you haven't deserved the right to make the sale, but good service.

[00:13:16] Follow up and just, basic process and yeah, you'll win in this game of you know of, plumbing electrical, H V A C. Yeah. I look, I totally agree with you. It's really simple. If you follow the direction on the back of the cake box, cakes go, come out, right? It's the same thing, right? It's the same thing, right?

[00:13:39] Yeah. Stop selling, start delivering service, you know, and Yeah. And look we, years ago, we stopped using the word sales. I mean, yes, we need to make sales because no sales, no company, but Don't use the word sales. We, used to be very careful about what we call our technicians. They weren't sales technicians, they were service technicians.

[00:14:05] Our senior guys, our comfort advisors which I'm not a big fan of, the word comfort advisor. We, would call our guys that were, had better communication skills and we're able to make the big sales. We just called them the senior se service advisor. And, you know when a one of our technicians went to a job and he didn't feel comfortable with presenting a big number, it was a phone call.

[00:14:30] And let's bring in someone that, that can communicate to the customer the reasons why they need to move forward with the repairs. So it's I think we overcomplicated at times. I'm about simplifying it, having really easy processes in place, all of the processes that a company needs. In my view that a technician needs to cover everything he does should be able to be fit on one page.

[00:14:57] If there's any more than that, it's too much. And I think about 18 things that a technician needs to do to run a [00:15:04] successful service call. If you can simplify it to that, train on that and get everyone on board, that's not, just the technician, but the service, the managers, the dispatchers, everyone needs to know.

[00:15:18] What that technician is doing when he gets in front of the customer. That's right. I agree with you and I, a hundred percent agree with not calling them the technicians. Any, anything that has to do with sales. They are not salespeople. They are at the end of the day, but they're not salespeople, they're technicians.

[00:15:36] They wanna work with their hands that when you call 'em salespeople it's, demeaning. At least my, experience shows. They, feel like you're, you know, that they're wanting to do a job that they're not qualified to do. And all it is language. You just have to change the language around it. It's why communication skills and I did a recent podcast with Victor Rancor who I think is, doing some great things for the industry.

[00:16:08] And, you know, we talked about He, said to me, Alan, I was, I did a podcast with him a couple of weeks back. He said in the other room, we've got training going on and we are teaching contractors communication skills. And I thought, fucking brilliant. Like, that's perfect because it does, when you think about it, it comes down to customer communications so important.

[00:16:32] And yeah, so I think, you know, there's a few things in the industry that we do need to look at. What we are doing and, the turns we put on 'em. But yeah, no, I think that was that was a bit of an eye-opener for me. I thought that was great. Yeah. And it is I agree with, what he's doing.

[00:16:51] A hundred percent. Because if you think about, you know, when technicians, especially when they first get out of school they, wanna throw around big words. Cause they've just learned the big words. You know, you hear people call, you know an angle stop, but people don't know what an angle stop is.

[00:17:09] They, they, just don't. They just don't. And the customer would rather not purchase those three angle stops. Then look stupid. Does that make sense? Yeah, for sure. You know, one of the things I did years ago was you know, when I, started training technicians around 2005 in Australia when we brought flat rate pricing down under.

[00:17:34] And and I used to say to my guys you're going to a ga And you know, cuz we, started off as a plumbing drain company, then we added electrical and, air conditioning and when you go to the customer you have to be careful what term terminology you, you use. It's a bit like me.

[00:17:54] I've never played golf, and if someone says to me, you know, I've just had a birdie or and, they say stuff like that. Now what the f about? Like, what does that even mean? So we go to our customer, we say, well, your gullies stopped up and your, boundary traps collapse. They're going. Like really?

[00:18:12] Can you maybe explain it to me so I understand? So I used to be big on diagrams, videos, diagrams, take the customer through so they know exactly what you're talking about and you can apply that to any trade. Yeah, and I, had a, I did a really good, podcast. It was only last week with Andy Hoba from Hoba Services and he said, Alan when I go up into an attic, I go up and I video everything so that I, cuz the customer might not want to come up into the attic with me, especially if it's an elderly customer.

[00:18:48] So he said, Alan, I [00:18:50] video it, I go down and I take the customer through and show them the video. I mean, we do that with. Put drains, we put cameras down, drains and the customer can't be there with us. We wanna take them and show them what's going on because you really can't sell anything until you've brought the customer along on the journey so they can see exactly what's going on, try to make a sale when the customer's not involved.

[00:19:13] It might be the reason why you've got technicians that ain't making sales. You know? I agree. The difference. You know, it's funny, I wor I, you know, I've worked with obviously a bunch of different trades and, r roofers. I, that is one of the things that I would teach them to do is, or I do teach them, is that when you go up on that roof, first off, the customer's never gonna go on the roof.

[00:19:35] You know that. I know that. So they've gotta trust you. Take video, take picture, and put all that stuff together right before you come off of that roof. Take the cust knock on the door, hand the customer your phone with the video, hit play and turn around and walk off and take your ladder to the truck and take your time.

[00:19:54] And guess what that does? Y it's does the whole sale for you? Yeah. The whole sale's done. Yep. And it takes that communication point per, you know, takes that, that awkward conversation with sales and, the awkward being the sales takes all that out of it, you know, it does. And it's communication. You know you, are communicating to the customer and showing them the problem that they can't see.

[00:20:21] And yeah, look, I just thought that was such a good tip from Andy. And and yeah, look, the more, you know we, used to take photos of everything. Like it was just, some would say to the point of ridiculous, but, you know, foray, when we're doing a a, drain excavation, And you know, when you're doing several thousand service calls a month and you're digging up properties and you're repairing drains, I used to wanna make sure that the work was done correctly.

[00:20:51] So my technicians knew when they dig it up, they take a photo. When they replace the drain, they take a photo, they don't backfill anything. Until that the, office has accepted that. And I did this, it really pissed off the guys on site this time. They they called in and said, job's done. We're finished.

[00:21:12] We're backfilled. Everything's fixed nicely. Where are the photos? Ah, We forgot to take photos. Guess what you're doing now, guys? You're digging the thing back up. Gonna show me exactly what you've done. These guys took a few shortcuts, so they they thought they could sneak one past, but it, you've gotta be that thorough, you know, the jobs that you don't inspect and, you're not watching the work.

[00:21:35] And look I've seen some of the most successful companies I'll, say ghetto would be one that would come to mind where they, everything's. Photographed, videoed of all the work you want, the highest standards. This is all part of customer service being the best. Another great example I used many years ago, we had this this, Customer who was a local, guy, had been doing his work for years. And he used to get us to get up on top of his, he had some big factory warehouses that we used to get up and, clean the roofs down. And he got us out to one of his his, units. And when my guys went up, they cleaned the roof and we sent him a bill.

[00:22:23] It was probably a couple, we were probably way too cheap, couple of hundred bucks. And I got a phone call from him. Graham was his name. He said, Alan Your guys, you've sent me a bill, but you haven't done the work. I'm going, oh [00:22:36] shit. Okay. So we went back in and we actually had the photos and everything.

[00:22:40] Sent him the photos and he goes, oh, okay. Oh yeah, it was windy overnight, so maybe all the leaves came back again. So, but if we didn't have the photos to show him that we'd done the work, he probably would've been a dispute. So look that's, probably going a little bit off topic, Corey, but you know, it's all part of good service, right.

[00:23:00] It is and, it's insurance. Really what you're talking about to your exact point you just mentioned, it's insurance that if they do have questions, you have the proof right there. And you don't have to worry about having to fight. You don't have to worry about having to refund people or go back and do the work.

[00:23:17] Just take the damn picture. Yep. Yeah. Yeah. So this, look I'm, Between you and me, I'm really excited about what's happening in the industry right now. There's some a, as much as who knows what's going on with the economy, are we heading into you know, some tough economical times? Maybe we are, not.

[00:23:42] But all I know is the companies that I work with that have a coach me and. Because everyone needs a coach, right? These companies are gonna have, get so much market share over the coming years because one thing I know, and this is, it's if you're not prepared and you're coming into a down economy, it can be really tough cuz the phone stops ringing.

[00:24:07] And you know it gets hard customers less. They, they're less willing to, re repair things. But one thing about coming into a slowdown is recruitment will never be easier. There will be guys that shouldn't be work that have been working for themselves in a good economy.

[00:24:28] They shouldn't have been working for themselves. They're gonna be looking for work. So anyone that wants to grow and has a way to. Generate leads without having to spend them a lot of money. And as long as they're not using Google AdWords, they'll be fine. And they're gonna get market share because everyone else is gonna be pulling back.

[00:24:51] But it do look when, I mean I, look back at we, we navigated our businesses. Successfully through the G F C 2007. And we actually grew because of there was more talent available. But one thing that it does is a lot of, because our, market was made up with, let's say 80% of the contractors were, was small companies.

[00:25:16] 1, 2, 3 truck, they stop bringing in, they stop bringing on in apprentices. So it does, it can leave a hole years down the track. If, companies stop training, and this is why I believe that the training industry, especially with what Joe Cunningham's doing in Houston with his tech training, schools can bring technicians up to speed in a really short time.

[00:25:41] I think companies like that are really gonna. Go. Well, so you know, if anyone that's listening to the podcast is, feeling it's a little bit tight at the moment and is thinking of laying staff off, I would probably double down on your existing clients, increase the communication, maybe put some marketing automation in place so you can communicate to your customers via.

[00:26:08] Email, SMS voice broadcasting, which I love, and double down on your marketing efforts to actually get some market share over the coming 12, 18 months. I could not agree more [00:26:22] because if you back off, you're for sure going to be left behind. In the people that double down in a down economy, they win. Very rarely does somebody double down in a d in a down economy.

[00:26:37] And not come out on top because of the very reasons that you said. Yeah. You never, the, you know if you look at, say, a football game, the company on the defense never wins the game. Right. It's always the company on the attack. So, so I'm, saying in anyone at the moment, if they're finding it's a bit hard, not too sure how to navigate their business, get themself a coach, someone that knows what to do, join a best practice group and there's some really good Best practice groups out there.

[00:27:07] I won't mention any names like Service Roundtable or Service Nation. Get yourself a coach. Get you, get part of a best practice group. Surround yourself with other successful contractors that have been where you want to be, and you'll be just fine. You know, in not every industry is this way, but the, home services industry contractors specifically, They want to help.

[00:27:35] Like, you know it's not 20 years ago, it's not, you know, where it's a dog eat dog world. Like people don't mind helping you, but you gotta ask for the help. Yeah. You do. The biggest thing that helped me in the early days, you know, from, let's say 2002, 2003 when I entered the home service space was the fear.

[00:28:03] Off the competition and not wanting to talk to the competition thinking, well, what we are doing is secret. It's not, you're not doing anything that hasn't been done by somebody else. The best thing I did was to reach out to my competitors who were actually larger companies than me at the time, which was the best thing I did.

[00:28:22] And it was amazing how those contractors opened their doors and you know, not only showed us what they were doing, but said, well, you need to do this, and. And this to succeed. So those contractors, actually it's, a fact, right? Anyone that's read the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People when you can teach and coach others is, that's how you grow yourself by helping others.

[00:28:49] And, I used to love helping other contractors. And I still do. And now I do it. It's, what I do for profession. But yeah there was never, a time in my, you know, I had my, companies that I wouldn't help someone that, that needed my help. Yeah, a hundred percent. I agree.

[00:29:12] And guess what? These bigger companies, if you're a smaller 2, 3, 4, 5 million truck or truck, whatever company, You know, these larger companies, they're not worried about you taking their market share, so they don't mind giving you information especially if they know that you're gonna do with it what you're supposed to do with it.

[00:29:31] Right. And, people can tell, you know, people could tell if you're trying to, you know, ha, I don't wanna say hustle, but, you know, get information to try to steal their market. That, you know, I just don't feel like there's a lot of people out there that, that. You have to worry about that with No, it's a lot better in the US and in Australia.

[00:29:55] There is a, it's, the culture is a little bit different in Australia, but it's like we're probably 20. When it comes to best practice, flat rate pricing, we were about 20 years behind. [00:30:08] Wouldn't have flat rate pricing in Australia unless I brought it down. But look, we are behind in certain areas.

[00:30:17] But what a great teacher, the us you know, and best practice groups. That's why I'm so goddamn passionate about bringing it back. To Australia and you know giving, all my funny talking Aussie friends, some some value with with the best practice from, here may makes sense. It ma Yeah, it makes total sense.

[00:30:41] And you surround yourself with the, some of the smartest people in the industry. And so, you know you're, really giving people the playbook from the best. Yeah. Yeah. Yep. And by the way I did get, a chance to connect with Joe. I did talk to him last week. He's funny as hell, dude.

[00:31:04] He is so funny. You know, he's, I don't wanna get into it, but I super, great guy. I really like him. He's super nice guy. Yeah, Joe's the real deal. And I if funny I don't, I dunno if I've mentioned this before. I met Joe Cunningham at the same time. I met Ken Goodrich at a comfort tech event in I can't remember where it was now, but and I got to know Joe and the, thing is, I'd been using.

[00:31:34] Kenny Chapman and, Tack Ddy, Charlie Greer for training down under. And then when I heard Kenny said to me, Alan, I bring Joe Cunningham in to train Mu cuz Kenny had actually had a home service company that, and he used to bring Joe Cunningham in. I thought, wow that's good. And everyone talked about Joe, about what a great trainer he is.

[00:31:57] And we started bringing him. Down under he worked in our companies. We put on public events. He taught me call by call management 10 years ago. Which everyone seems to be the rage at the moment. It's not new. Anyone that's joining in this podcast, it's been around for a while. I don't know when Joe started doing it, but it would've been at least 10 years ago.

[00:32:21] Rehashing. Which is basically just following up your leads. Joe brought that down under 10 years ago. And then there's another thing that I'm big on and I learned this through. Best practice group I was with around 2006 and it's profu and that stands for propo proposal. Follow up. Following up your leads and any opportunity is one of the most powerful things any company can do.

[00:32:51] You've got no idea what you're leaving on the table. And I learned this from a company. There was only this company was quite well small in, you know, it's where we took our company, but it was a, $3 million company that was generating about 1 million a year from following up proposals that the technicians didn't close.

[00:33:15] So anyone, if you know, if we are giving away little bits of information to help anyone follow up your freaking proposals, I'll tell you whatever you can do on that. We'll pay dividends, but aggressively follow ups, not just one phone call. It could be five, it could be six. And this was the, I always found this amusing when when I was working with this company.

[00:33:40] I said we got a guy that's ruthless. He just follows everything up. Sometimes the customer said, this is the sixth time you've called me. Just like, just go ahead and do the bloody job, will you? I'm sick of bloody [00:33:54] hearing from you, so that's probably not gonna happen that often. But follow up is such a powerful thing, you know.

[00:34:01] It is one of the key things that I work with people on, and I'll tell you you, I'll just tell you exactly. Usually I go in and I don't say I'm gonna create an inside salesperson outta your csr, but that is exactly what I do. I go in, I'll just take the best csr, the one I think's most coachable.

[00:34:19] And I just shift them over to by themselves, and I have them follow up and I have a process that I take 'em through. And it's really simple. You shoot people an email and the email says, Hey, I'm, you missed my call. I, called you earlier, you missed my call. Here's what I really want to say. And then you leave my voice message a, ringless voice message.

[00:34:41] Hey, just wanna let you know I sent you an email about X, Y, Z, and then you sent 'em a text message to say, Hey, sorry, Mr. Call X, Y, Z. And it's like you hit people three times and they don't know they, don't realize because of the language you used, it's circular, if that makes sense. Yeah. And look what Joe taught me, and you know, one of the things he installed in our companies was, you know we, start with.

[00:35:07] Maybe a letter, you know, you send them a letter saying, look, we left your proposal. Then that letter, maybe it's an email, and then it could be a voicemail. You, have a process in place. I mean, this is all basic Dan Kennedy stuff, which I learned 20 odd years ago. Where, you know, I hear of companies that have like 20%.

[00:35:30] Success rate with direct mail. Now anyone listening will go, well, that's just not possible. Well, hang on. Yes, it is. Because if you have a process, if you have a three step letter and then you have all the steps and you have lots of touchpoints you can, I know companies that do get 20% conversion on direct mail when you think about it, very few people do direct mail.

[00:35:54] So if you wanna. Really turn up your marketing and not, be raped and pillaged by Google. Try direct mail. Agreed. And the same thing with the phone call. Most people won't pick up the phone and call to follow up. I know. It's wild to me, but it's so, and it's so foreign for people now in 2023 started, you know, a, after everything happened with Covid and everything, I.

[00:36:24] People will answer the phone if you call, because it's rare people call. That's why I love voice broadcasting, or you call it ringless voicemail. I mean I, you know, I've taught, I don't know of many companies in the service industry doing it. I can say, I can safely say anyone that is doing it and they've got look.

[00:36:47] You've, gotta dial into a marketing automation platform. You can't, a lot of the, off the shelf dispatching products don't have true. C r m capability. But if you dial in a product, you know, we use a product called Infusionsoft. Some call it Confusionsoft cuz it's quite complicated. I got put onto that by Dan Kennedy probably 20 years ago, and I trained several of my staffs.

[00:37:14] My daughter was in our marketing team. I sent her across to the US to get trained at at. The Infusionsoft headquarters. But if you dial into a C R M A true c r m and follow the process and use, look, just think about it. What if you had 20,000 customers and let's say [00:37:40] 20% or, 10% of them had service agreements, you could send a voicemail, you know, I could record a voicemail and send it to a thousand customers all in the click of a button.

[00:37:52] Sure. Just think of the results you'd get. Oh, okay. I've got a, phone call from the owner of the business saying, look, you know we're, in your area and you know, we're gotta come and service your system. So, look, there's so many good ideas out there and you know, anyone that I work with, Corey I'll, share.

[00:38:12] Everything I know with them very, few will actually implement it. And this is probably the biggest weakness I see in the industry. Those that do implement get phenomenal results, but most people, I could give them everything that. They need to run a successful company, but they just won't do it.

[00:38:33] I still haven't worked that one out, but hey, you know, I don't have all the answers. Well, you know I'll tell you my theory on that, and partially because I'm a little, maybe I'm a little biased, but my experience in working with is many contractors as I have, most of them have either a touch or a lot of a d h, adhd.

[00:38:54] Now, the reason I say this, Is because things like follow up and email, it does not light our brains up. So quite frankly, it's the last thing on the list that we want to do and that list, normally that last thing gets pushed to the next day and the next day and so on and so forth. And so you gotta make it fun to a degree or get somebody else to do it that's actually gonna do it.

[00:39:21] That's why, you know, we're with our coaching business, we are introducing that service. It's not, quite ready yet. We're building it at the moment where we will actually do all that for you. You know, as long as we can get. You'll get your clients into a C R M that we can manage and we'll send them out the email, we'll send them out.

[00:39:44] The s m s we'll send out the voice broadcasting. Obviously you have to do the actual recording, but we can do that for you. And that can take a lot of the burden off companies that just don't want to do it themselves, cuz it, you know, like it's a bit of a myth saying, well it's it's cheaper to, it's cheaper to.

[00:40:06] Bring an existing customer back than it is to buy a new customer. Well, that's a myth in my opinion. It depends what medium you're using. Back when we, started using Google AdWords around 2004, we were buying a. Leads for 15 bucks. I mean, if anyone that was doing it back then and, like we were a little bit ahead of the game.

[00:40:28] So if we, are buying a lead for 15 bucks, it was gonna cost us more than 15 bucks to do the work in-house, to actually to build the database and do it all. But now would the cost of new client acquisition via Google or whatever, it's actually more cost effective and. What does your technician, would your technician prefer to go to someone that's used your company before?

[00:40:53] That you've got that level of trust or continually looking for new customers? So I think the existing customer, if you can actually automate this and and and, get your technicians back in front of your existing customers, it's a it's, a good way to grow in this this upcoming economy.

[00:41:12] Right. Well, you know, it's just, that's just how people buy. I mean, if you think about, you know, if you get an email about something that you looked at or you clicked on an item on Amazon or wherever, and you start to see [00:41:26] that item all over the place, well, there's a reason why you wind up with that item and that's because you've seen it all over the place and what we're talking, it's the same sort of thing here in reactivating.

[00:41:36] Your email list, re reactivating your customer list is so important in keeping on top of that. Because it's one thing to reactivate, you know a, list that's five years old, right? You're gonna get, so you'll get some movement. Don't get me wrong, you should still should do it. But keeping those people up to date with just information, not with all, constantly selling them something, not constantly offering them something.

[00:42:00] And we're not talking about somebody you just left a proposal for, but, Your customers that you've been, you know, maybe you've sold 'em a, new unit HVAC unit a year ago, will keep them on a list of sort of best practices to use your word words or, you know, Hey, have you changed out your filters?

[00:42:20] Right. Things like that help people like me. I'm busy, right? It's beneficial for me to get that reminder to change out my filters. That's, you know I've, shared this, story in many of the events that I've spoken at and it's, it was an example. And this is very relevant to anyone out there that's not continually hammering their database.

[00:42:45] You know, we. We we had quite a, we've had quite a few homes and, we had a lot of we're built in you know, we're only 20 minutes outside of Sydney, c b, d, but we're in the bush. And lots of termites and termites would get in and and destroy the, timber work, and I'm sure you. You have similar problems here, and we could never find a really good termite guy.

[00:43:09] And we got this guy and he was I, can't remember how he got him. It was probably back with the yellow pagers days, you know, I know it was a few years back. And he'd come out, he did his inspection and he found some termites and he did some spraying and he solved the problem. And I said to my wife, Look, this guy was fantastic.

[00:43:30] And you know, we make sure we use him. We said, you know, make sure you we'll get you in every six months. He said, yeah, we, I communicate and, I'll make I'll, call you in six months. I'll come back and we'll, do this and we'll do that. We love this guy. Was he overpriced? I don't know.

[00:43:47] All I know is he provided a phenomenal service. So six months down the track, I said to my wife have you heard from the termite guy? No. What was the name of his company? Don't you know? No, I can't remember all. I know he was good. We never found him again. Like, so the lesson there is communicate to your customers, even if you provide the greatest service when you're dealing with busy people.

[00:44:14] And let's, base it. Most of us are busy. We got other shit. We're not thinking about the term. Like, guy we used six months ago we, could never find this guy. He never reached out to it. That's a lost, I mean, how many thousands of dollars has he missed out on because he didn't communicate with us?

[00:44:32] That's, if, that's one thing I can give to, your audience is frigging communicate, just so that your clients know that you're still alive. Yeah. Make it easy. You know, I tell any, plumbing company for sure I've ever worked with, I say to them, look. Put a magnet on the hot water heater because if they have a problem and your name is right there on the hot water heater, guess who they're gonna call?

[00:44:59] Ew. You'd be shocked how many people won't do it. It's unbelievable. And that, but there, you uncovered another problem and you would, all the companies are work. Whoa, we can't get the technicians to put the [00:45:12] magnets on the hot water heaters. I said, well, you need a process for that. Sure. Maybe the guys that you don't think are doing it, one of the processes is they take a photo of the magnet on the bloody hot water unit, and that goes into the c r m.

[00:45:27] You can systemize anything you want to happen. You can put a process in place for it. And I'm sure, you know, some of the top companies I work with are doing that, right? So technicians won't do this, technicians won't do that because they can get away with not doing it. As humans, we are wired to be, you know, we don't go out of our way to do more.

[00:45:49] We, you know, everyone, every single one of us tries to get away with doing less. Right. It's just the way we are. And yeah, you gotta make it as easy as possible for the technicians to want to do it. But that's one of the biggest marketing opportunities in a home is, valve tags, stickers, like, Put 'em everywhere, anywhere where the customer might need to go, the air conditioning system wherever, so that they think of you and they, don't have to go to their wife.

[00:46:17] What was the name of that buddy guy that we had out? You know? That's right. I totally stuff. Well, so I know we're getting close on time, but I want you to hit on, you know, like strategic partnerships I think is another thing that really is lacking. What I mean by that is, Like, if you're a plumbing company, you should absolutely have an an HVAC company that you're connected with that you can call and refer out.

[00:46:44] I think you should have a window company. I think you should have a garage door company, a gutter company because here's what happens. If you have all those points of contact. You're their guy. All they have to do is call you for all those services. Now, a lot of people are gonna hear this and they're going, well, I don't make any money on that.

[00:47:04] Well, you should make money on it. You should have, you know, get a kickback, get a 10%, whatever it is, but have those people in place so you can be the guy they call. Because if you're the guy they call for windows and you're a plumber, they're certainly going to call you when they need plumbing. Right?

[00:47:22] Yeah. You're just cementing your. Their place in their home. That's a really good one. And we used to do that and it this, is another thing You've gotta set those relationships up, but you've gotta be able to track those relationships. You know, we, when you're doing thousands of jobs a month there is, you know, some of the products out there, I know Infusionsoft, we can set up referral partners.

[00:47:48] So if we, you know, if there is a recommendation, we know that we've recommended them that job and we can keep track of that. But I, think it's a great idea. We used to always recommend. Like window cleaners, appliance repair, that was something that people would ring us all the time. My dishwasher's not working or my stove, well, hang on.

[00:48:09] We've got this guy and he's good. So if, you track it, have the relationship in place, you know, maybe you might get your appliance guy. Catch up with him for lunch and just, say, Hey, you know I'm, happy to refer work to you and I, but I would like a a 10%, 10 percent's a nice, easy number to keep track of.

[00:48:30] Now, if that, oh no, we don't charge enough for that. Well, maybe you just need to judge 10% more on the jobs that I send you away. Problem solve, right? That's right. Not rocket science. It's not And, are people gonna badger you about a bunch of different things? Actually, they're probably not gonna call you about those other things, but they know you're the guy they can call.

[00:48:52] You know what I mean? Yeah. I think that's a great idea, Corey. Sue. Look, [00:48:58] when you think about it there's so many different things that like, because me and you, we've been round the block. We've been a, we've been in the industry for a while. I'm not yeah. For me it's been shit. 40 years. For you, it's probably been like 20, right?

[00:49:15] Yes, ma'am. A little bit less, but yeah, 15 to 20, I dunno, not 40 as for sure. No And I got into the industry late, so I, entered another industry before I got into plumbing. But yeah, there's all these ideas that can actually help any company, but they gotta do them right. That's right what it comes down to.

[00:49:39] Implement, find a way, make it happen. And if second implementation, find somebody that can help you. Yeah, that's simple. That's where I love. You know I, think it was about seven years ago I, went on a journey of e o s, the entrepreneurial operating system, which a lot of companies are doing now.

[00:50:02] One of my friends Daniel was the top guy in Australia and he was like Very, close to Gino. And that was one of the things cuz I o often looked at my personality and I always struggled to get shit done. It was like, everything just to finish shit was hard. And it wasn't until I realized that, you know, companies have, you've got your your visionary, you know, the Walt Disney and then you've got, you know, his brother whatever his name was, no one remembers Walt Disney's brother.

[00:50:37] Right. That's right. And yeah. So you've got your different types of personality, and that's how companies can really succeed when you get the right personalities you need. You need people that are gonna do the work, and you also need the, visionaries that are gonna see and navigate the business through uncertain times.

[00:50:57] That's right. Well, Alan, where can people find you, my friend? Okay. Look, I'm easy to find my my training organization is service success Facebook, just Alan Punchin a Ferguson. You'll locate me there. I'm That's probably the, easiest way to get me. Just search me out and yeah you'll, find me quite easily.

[00:51:27] I will accept anyone's friendship on on social that's in the industry. And if there's anything I can do to help, I will. I appreciate that my friend. Thank you very much. It's been a great conversation. Has been Corey. Yeah. Thanks again. I appreciate you having me on your show and good luck with your ventures and everything you are doing, my friend.

[00:51:48] Thank you my friend.