Today we're talking with Tom Casey. Tom owns a home services organization, three separate companies in Connecticut, South Carolina, and Florida, all revolving around home services, HVAC, and all the things that go into making a home comfortable.
One of the things this conversation really took on was how do you get into a relationship with people, to be 'their guy' before you've ever had an opportunity to do business with them?
Especially in an industry where it's an emergency that brings them to you.
Nobody's excited about taking preemptive action to get a new air conditioner or a heating system in advance of needing it, and everyone else is going around screaming, trying to be the one they call right now.
We talked about taking a longer term approach and filling your 'before unit' by adopting people as if they were in your 'after unit'.
It's a great way to think about digging a well before you need it and establishing yourself as 'their guy' before they need you.
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Transcript - More Cheese Less Whiskers 086
Dean: Tom Casey.
Tom: Dean Jackson.
Dean: Hi sir.
Tom: Doing awesome.
Dean: Where in the world is Tom Casey today?
Tom: Tom Casey is in Hilton Head today heading back in Florida tonight.
Dean: Okay. You got an empire that spans up and down the whole East Coast.
Tom: Yeah. Something like that.
Dean: It's so nice. This is kind of a nice thing. Usually when I do the podcast, I don't really know the people but we've spent some time together. You've come to Breakthrough Blueprint event, at the celebration, we actually met up at [Mike Aguilera's 00:02:24] event up in New Jersey.
Dean: Why don't you set the stage here a little bit and then you can catch me up on what's been going on and then see where we can take it from there?
Tom: You got it. If you recall, I have three different contracting companies in three different markets, Connecticut, South Carolina and Florida. We are HVAC contractors primarily so heating and cooling is our core business. In Connecticut, we do plumbing, electrical, energy conservation, generators, so pretty much all the systems in a house. In South Carolina, we do … the HVAC heating, cooling, we also do water heaters, water filtration, and/or your quality deck cleaning, things like that but we don't do the plumbing or the electrical yet.
In Florida, we do the HVAC, the water heaters, water filtration energy and we're in the process of adding plumbing as we speak.
Tom: The Connecticut company is Climate Partners and that's an established company. As a matter of fact, I always tell people on the third generation SOBs, southern boss, because that's been around for a while so that's matured, it's larger and it's got market presence, market share. The other two companies in South Carolina, Hilton Head is Summit Services and that's a new company just entering its second year. We started from a dead stop zero customers and our first year, we were … I think made up around $1.3 million of revenues.
In Florida, we're in the St. John's which is sandwiched between Jacksonville and St. Augustine market and that's Griffin Service.
Tom: Griffin Service is also a brand new startup. We entered our second year in the fall of 2017. In our first year there, we did just a little over $1.2 million as well but that was again zero clients, dead stop to start operation.
Dean: I love it. Look at you. That's awesome. You're off to a good start.
Tom: Yeah. We're working really hard on it. We're doing okay.
Dean: What are we going to focus on today? What are you working on?
Tom: There's two challenges based on whether it's the mature business or the newer businesses that climate the challenges in Connecticut. It's what I call a bedroom community. There's not behind these gates lie 500 perfect homes. It's like there's other parts that are more newer developed places. When you go down the street in Connecticut, you can have a great house and next door would be a terrible house. It's just been around so long.
Tom: We have a lot of market share. We have more challenge in determining our target really, Dean, is the house, right? If your house is between 10 and 20 years old, chances are you haven't done anything yet in terms of a system replacement or whatever. If it's a certain size, usually 1,000 square feet up means that you have a little more budget to probably do things than somebody who's buying an 1,100 square foot, one bedroom. Upper to middle class neighborhoods who, they invest in gym memberships already or they do things for their health or they do things … they take care of their lawns, that type of thing.
Tom: They're harder to find because again, they're not behind that early gates and my God, there they are. Our challenge there is … it almost sounds great because we have market share, it's like how do we find the portions of market we don't have and how do we talk to them because they're so used to seeing our brand or so used to seeing our trucks that if they aren't calling, we aren't compelling them somehow, right, because they know, if they're not calling, they're not calling.
Tom: That would be problem one for my Connecticut firm. In South Carolina, at Hilton Head, it's an island of course, right? There's challenges with the island because there's a finite number of everything, right? There's a finite number of clients, there's a finite number of technicians. It's a very good ol' boy type of situation. Everyone has got a guy. Everyone is just in a routine and being not the incumbent, that's probably our biggest challenge. If we go out and say, "Hey we'll service your air conditioner or hey, we'll" … whatever the traditional thing is that everyone else is doing or everybody has a guy, we have to really catch them at this, price this moment where they have a problem and they're unhappy with their guy.
It's not just a crisis moment, but they also have a … they're mad. That really shrinks the pool substantially. In Griffin, in the Northern Florida market, it's very similar. They're a little more advance in there of course. Boom right now, there's lots of great neighborhood so we can very easily see where the fish are.
Tom: Our fish finder can find all the fish really easily. What kind of worm do we put on the hook because they have a guy and again, we got to find them A, when they have a need and B, when they're not happy with their guy.
Tom: Two kind of problems I guess overall for me would be being not the incumbent and being maybe even weather dependent because Dean Jackson is going to love me at the hottest day of the year when his air conditioner is not working and I get out there and fix it for him.
Tom: But on a beautiful 65-degree day, he'll not even give me a second thought.
Dean: I don't think about it. You're right, nobody does. That's really what's you're thinking? That's just reality. That's the way we are as humans, right?
Tom: Yeah. I tell people we do sales training too. I probably told this to you as well. Nobody wants to buy an air conditioner including me and I'm in the business of selling it.
Dean: Right. That's what we're saying. I think I told you in the last two or three years, I've had to buy three air conditioners from three different people because nobody kept in touch with me, right? Literally, I got two at my office from two different people and one at my house. That's just a testament that nobody is focused on even building a relationship with them, with clients, with me.
Tom: Right, right.
Dean: It's an interesting thing. I look at it that you hit on something where the house, that's really what you're focused on is that you know there are certain things that are inevitable that HVAC system a lifespan. It's going to need to be replaced, right? You mentioned that there's a certain timeframe when that's going to happen. It reminds me of an episode of I Love Marketing that Joe Polish and I did. We did a Yellow Pages Roulette episode. One of the things that we did, it was always one of the most popular ones. It's the speed of what the More Cheese Less Whiskers podcast is because we would … as soon as the yellow pages would arrive, I would text Joe and we would get on and pick a page number and then brainstorm whatever business that is, right?
One of them was a roofing company. I started thinking about what's the context for this, right? What's actually happening? Roof is not something that somebody is going to switch out just for fun or just in case. They're going to get … a roof has a period of time that last and then it needs to be replaced and you do it and you move on, right? That's the way it is. Nobody is preemptively replacing their roofs at half of its lifespan or nobody can ignore when the roof fails and it jumps to the top of your to-do-list, right?
I would say that 99% of the roofs that get replaced are replaced almost too late that it can't be avoided. The other 1% are when the people are seeing that it's inevitable now. It's like right on its last length. Let's go ahead and replace them now before it fails. I would say that that's probably completely accurate. Including for myself, I just spent $43,000 on a new roof. That one was something that I was looking forward to or looking to do and I would have loved to have avoided it but it's inevitable.
Dean: I've been to Joe that it reminded me, let's say that the functional lifespan of a roof is 15 years for an asphalt roof say in that 15 to 20 year range. I was in Toronto at the time and I was sitting in an area where all of the … where I started up my real estate career, there was this whole area of homes that between 1988 and 1998, probably had 3,000 homes built in that period of time or more maybe, but they were all new construction, right? When you think about it, those homes at that point were now entering towards, they're going to have to get a new roof.
Dean: When you look at it, that we did the total yield, let's say that the first 1,000 of those are approaching the 15-year mark or it's the 14th year and you know that some of those roofs are going to need to get replaced a little bit ahead of time. Some of them are [crosstalk 00:13:52] squeak past that period but it's going to be something that has to be done. If you look at it over the next five years that there's a really high probability that 80% of those roofs are going to need to be replaced that it makes sense to target that as the audience to get in front of those people.
If they take that approach of being in front of those people at just the right time, it would be an amazing thing. We looked at it … what's the average roof for … let's say a shingle roof might be $15,000 times 1,000 homes, you're talking there's going to be $15 million in new roofs in the next five years from these homes. I take it if you take that then extrapolate from it, the same thing here that if you think about HVAC systems, how long do they last?
Tom: Like for the southern markets in Hilton Head and the Jackson area probably about 10 years of running pretty much year-round, right? Just like more miles than the north HVACs only on it for a few months. 10 years, it's a sweet spot. You can eke out national average is about 15 years, so somewhere between 10 and 15 years.
Dean: Right. You look at it that you got two opportunities there, right? First of all, the homes that were built 10 years ago are one potential thing that they're all itching up to work that. Then the homes that were built 20 years ago are coming up to needing their second replacement, one probably, right?
Tom: Right, right, exactly.
Dean: If you think about like that as two targets there. Those are all knowable things, right? You can know that that's where those homes are. When you think about working backwards from how much replacing the HVAC systems are, I think what's the price? I'm still confused by this … I have to replace them with different things like the box outside for the air conditioner, the air conditioner.
Tom: Right, right.
Dean: Then the one in the house too, the air exchanger or whatever-
Tom: Air handler.
Dean: Air handler, yeah, yeah.
Tom: Air handler, yeah.
Dean: There are two different things.
Tom: We would work and say okay, probably the average sale is $8,500 should replace the two boxes simultaneously which is what it should do. If I had a complex with 1,000 homes behind those magic gates and they're all the right age, those 1,000 homes got built under 5 to 10 period most likely. I would say, okay, there's 1,000 homes times $8,500, the value to market is that to me.
Tom: That's how I think about it too and I don't care if it's a young single professional living that in that behind those gates or it's a retired couple behind those gates or if the house has got the things that I need to do.
Dean: Right. Yes. It doesn't discriminate. It's not going to hang in there because it's an older lady that's living in the house. Do you know what I mean? They don't have any billings, it's just going to happen.
Tom: I feel bad here though, the lady [crosstalk 00:18:00].
Dean: He doesn't care that you just had a new baby, right, or whatever. Yeah. It's going to happen and it's going to be need-based. There's no way around that. What I mentioned to Joe once is there's a way that you can get in front of it and I may look at doing something where I was transparent about things and showed that there are some things you can do to extend the life of your roof as opposed to replacing it right now that if there's a way that you can endear yourself to somebody by showing them how to delay a little bit the inevitable, that would be a good investment.
Dean: It may seem shortsighted. It may seem, well what are we just waiting then? When it breaks, then they'll need a replacement or the roof is going to need to be replaced. It's like an annuity in a way, right? If you're the one that gets in and helps them extend or maximize the last remaining years of their roof, that's going to … now you're somebody that is on their team. They're happy that you are there.
Dean: When it does need to be replaced, they wouldn't think of choosing anybody else, right?
Tom: Yes. For us, that is coming out and doing preventative maintenance [crosstalk 00:19:53]. Before in Florida, it's winter for two weeks and then it's going to be … summer is going to come so we want to come out now to the Jackson residence so we want to clean and tune up and make sure they're … prevent little problems or big problems. That will extend the life. There's a lot of statistical data that supports that. The large challenge is the whole industry is shouting the same thing.
Tom: In your mailbox arrives postcard after postcard on your radio, on your TV, every billboard you drive by, everyone is screaming the same message, tune up, tune up, tune up and then demand economics, the price goes really down. What ends up happening is you can't possibly do a good job for the price and so the customer thinks they're getting something they're not getting but that will be our version of getting in and preventing and how you displace the incumbent from who they've called in the past.
Tom: Right now, we can't start. They're not doing good jobs. I'm staying in touch with them anyways, but they feel like I have a guy so what makes me want to consider another guy?
Dean: Yeah. I don't know how much of that is through estate … as far as they've got a guy, if it's … I'll take your word on that but the people I talk to, it's almost like they don't have a guy. Almost notoriously, there's not one particular person. I mentioned to you I would love … I long for that. I mentioned to you when you were in Orlando that my … had someone come to the Breakthrough Blueprint who was working to start that concierge type of service to integrate into their home services business.
I think I mentioned to you that my dream come true would be to live in my house like I'm a guest in your house.
Tom: It's like where we really suffer and I think we stink at honestly is the compelling of the person, right, because we go, I think when you did a review, you took one of our postcards and you read our headline back. You said to me, "Pretend I'm shouting it to you." It was like get your AC turned. It was so obnoxiously not appropriate.
Tom: It didn't compel anyone to anything. We suffer from that. We suffer from lack of-
Dean: I remember that now because the postcard has a van on it. I said, imagine driving the van right up on their lawn and yelling, put some air conditioner-
Tom: Yeah. I think about that and I look at all this stuff and I'm like, my God, we suck so bad at this.
Tom: What is compelling to a home? What would be the thing that would get us in front of them?
Tom: We suffer in that message. We've just completed a book with you and it's beyond the box. The five essential elements of comfort.
Dean: Nice. I like that, yeah.
Tom: We're going to teach people, get your free book or whatever and we're going to use it on … we go to meet people, here's our gift to you.
Tom: We're building our whether like insider tips kind of thing. Here's a list of the 20 most common problems that happen in your house with your heating, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical and here's what you do about them. Really, it's like what's the initial message that we're saying to somebody they're going to go you know what I'm interested in that because we have so many clubs in our bag, right? We have a driver, we have a totter, we have a wedge.
Tom: It just seems like bring the potter to the driving … we swing really hard but it doesn't do a very effective job.
Dean: Not the right thing, yeah.
Tom: Yeah. We're compel impaired.
Dean: I wonder so much of it again is that nobody is really looking for taking proactive action on anything unless there's some really compelling reason to do it, right, like a need for it as much as we want them to. it's true across the board in any situation, right? Nobody is doing preemptive or preventative stuff. Very few people. That's fairly after the fact that when they've had something, then somebody says, "Let's keep on top of this." That way, it will happen again so it's usually that's … yeah, that was bearable. Let's not let that happen again.
Tom: When I do sales training for my teams and this resonates what you're saying maybe and I know that it's happening, I just don't have the solution. I say to the team, "Would you rather take a vitamin or an aspirin?"
Tom: I go further and say, how many people have been to the doctor for a physical? I'm 51, so now my wife actually go every year so that the insurance policy stays up so she's set when I pick the buck kind of deal.
Dean: Right, right, right.
Tom: When I go to the doctor, he never says, "Tom, you're the picture of health." He always tells me you live a few pounds, I got to eat better, I got to exercise more and he has all the statistical data I could die if I don't do it. I leave his office and I go get a cheeseburger. There's something there and I feel like that's what our … that's my life or death. This is about cool or not cool. That's the silver bullet we don't have.
Dean: Right. That's the thing. I can get my … spending money on this preemptive thing that I don't really need right now or I can get this new big screen TV or whatever, something more pleasurable. I get it. One of the things that … Is there a way to go with that in that you could perhaps look at how you can maximize some things? I think I mentioned to you that when my friend Neil and I ran a painting company, we started another company called Name Droppers.
What we did was we hired college girls to go out into neighborhoods in the evenings and on the weekends and do surveys, this is in the spring, looking for people who are going to do home improvement projects that summer. We had a whole form and on there, we have a list of all of these things whether they're going to do out roofing or siding or windows or driveway or garage door or painting, fencing, decking, pool, landscaping, all these things that painting was one of them but we ended up with turning our lead generation into a profit center.
Dean: We would make more money often. We would make more money referring a pool job or a roof job to somebody than we would make if we did the painting for them. Right, what was really an amazing little adventure for us. One of the things, when I think about this, if you think about the category, right? There's all these things that could go wrong in your house, many of which you are the solution and some of which somebody else might be the solution. Would there maybe be a way to team up and create something like the household emergencies handbook or a little book that … a little thing that is like a little directory by the telephone that was just covering the things that could go wrong.
Like if your air conditioner breaks or plumbing or your water heater breaks or you break a window or you get locked out of your house or there's … any number of things, right? Your roof is leaking or your … you think about what would be in that category of household emergencies that get triggered by something happening. I call it emergencies like urgencies, like that. That might be when you collectively then have all those things, odds of something like that happening might be a nice way for people to have something on hand.
Tom: Yeah definitely. We're building that right now.
Tom: The question is how do we then deliver … for lack of a better word, how do we go to those 1,000 homes and do we simply just [crosstalk 00:30:30].
Tom: What we're trying to do which is along this line is we're saying, okay, whether it's correct or incorrect, I'm assuming everybody has a guy or looking at when we go to a very defined target of these 1,000 people and say, get your heating tuned up. Here's a discount. Bla-bla-bla and it's a super low, very low response. When we go in there and find out, they've already got … they called somebody else, whatever, or they don't do anything. We say what are the things that we do that no one else does?
We put this thing. We had a whole list. One of them was dryer vent cleaning, okay, because there's all these issues. It's like the number cause of fires in houses and all stuff so we asked around some of our clients, went on Facebook and did some little survey. Everyone is like, my gosh, I would totally have you come clean my dryer vent.
Tom: I said, would you pay for it? I even once said, "What if I cleaned your dryer vent for free?" The way we're setup are professional. They can get out there in 30 minutes and do an amazing job. We thought if we got into do this service that nobody else is providing, then we have a whole conversation. It's them raising up their hand on that so my thinking of these emergency handbooks is we were approaching like raise your hand if you want the book. What I hear you saying is no, just give them the book. They need it whether they need it or not.
Dean: Right. That makes sense that it's got the emergency … the Red Cross type of thing, [inaudible 00:32:20] on the side and the household emergencies. I'm talking about it just like a one folded 8.5 by 11 postcards type of thing which is just like the directory of the … some things that could go wrong or whatever, not like a booklet but just the directory. This goes wrong, here's the number where it's a cooperative thing in a way, right? Like somebody who's got a window, that's a rarity that somebody might break the window but statistically, something is going to wrong with somebody's windows in 1,000 homes.
Tom: I see.
Dean: Do you know what I mean? It may be not even necessarily that it's all just things that you do. I'm talking about-
Tom: No, no, I get you.
Dean: Yeah. What made Name Droppers work was that just like we were, our selfish desire was to figure out how that identify people who want to get painting done, right?
Dean: Our solution was to go out and door on higher people to go out and door-knock basically but it's a wasted … it's an inefficient thing. There creates an opportunity that while they're door-knocking for us that we could be door-knocking for the entire category. We're representing all of this group of people who do household improvements because we don't do roofing and we don't pools or landscaping or driveways but we know that while we've got somebody out there, it's just as easy to ask them that question. I wonder if it's like one layer back, almost like if it were some of those things that people know they need to do but don't get around to or nobody offers to do it for them like when you think about the things like dryer vent cleaning or gutter clearing or window cleaning or changing their air filters or the things that are just like if somebody would just wave a magic wand and they could get them done, they'd get them done.
Dean: I wonder if you start to think about that, what are the things that really are going to happen in those 1,000 homes that would fit under the category of household maintenance? That's really the broad category that you serve the bulk of.
Dean: Right? Because you serve the big ticket things.
Tom: Yeah. We know statistically, if we have a house under management and a major thing happens, in 80% of the cases, we're the one who's going to resolve that major thing. They need a new water heater, they need a new air conditioner, we're their guy, we do it. If it goes to what we call a marketed lead, meaning they don't have a guy and they go to Google or wherever, the conversion ratio, that goes more than half. Nationally, average is 30%. We're better than 30% but it's more than half.
Clearly, being the guy is a huge advantage.
Tom: We're trying to see especially in a mature market like Connecticut, they already we're the guy. We have our database, we segmented it, we went through and said, okay, we have X,000 people. Who's used us in the last 18 months? We look at beyond 18 months and said, did we lose those customers? We went and started calling and they go, no, we love you. You're still our guy. We don't have any reason to call you.
Tom: [crosstalk 00:36:43] blows up your guy.
Tom: Holy crap. We have literally 80% of our database is not engaging with us.
Tom: In a new market like Summit and Griffin, we're going to [inaudible 00:36:53] amazing thing we do but no one is calling us. We started to say to your point, dryer vent was really good in Florida. Our Facebook blew up, our reviews blew up, we signed them up for our Total Care Club. Another one we have been playing with is we call Drain Care Club. Everyone waits until there is a drain that's plugged and back up to call. We're right now demoing a process, kind of work out the kinks where we'll come to your house. Do you have a slow drain and you want to prevent? The messaging is how can you keep your drains clean? You can do this, this, or this or you can just call us and for $129, we'll come and sneak and clean all of your drains and it's not a moneymaker for us by any means.
Now, we're in your house and we get to look at all your plumbing, we get to test your water, we get to do everything and chances are there's a conversation we could have. Is that the type of thing you're talking about?
Dean: Yes absolutely. That's exactly what I'm talking about is can you get onto the smaller things that lead to the bigger things? One of the things I've been sharing with people that the reason that in Connecticut that people tell you you're the guy is because they know you like you trust them, right? They have all of those boxes kicked. We talk about that, know you like you trust you, but when we have that conversation, every time people are talking about it, they talk about it as … they read it as one thing, know you like you trust you, as if it's one word.
Dean: What I look at is that it literally is know you, like you, trust you, it's a progression and that's there's a great value in going from somebody who doesn't know you to somebody who knows you. Just that alone makes a big difference, right? If you're doing something like that where you are becoming somebody who is like a … I think there's a big opportunity for somebody on a local regional basis be like a … almost like a Bob Vila or a who's the guy at homes-
Tom: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Dean: HD TV like the guy who … this guy has got a TV show and he shows … it's almost like he goes and shows how all these contractors are ripping people. He's on a mission to save homeowners from all of that stuff, right?
Tom: Yeah, yeah.
Dean: If you look at it that even on Facebook right now, Facebook Watch is really I think going to be an important piece of this because it's there. It's integrated into the app now. It's right there on your home, on the Facebook homepage. They're trying to categorize video content like YouTube but within the Facebook environment, right?
Dean: I wonder it's almost like if you created a reality show that is just based in St. John's that's only shown to the people in Jacksonville or whatever and it's all just a weekly tips about the house kind of thing that people start to get to know that somebody as the … it's almost like building that kind of celebrity type of thing, somebody is appointing themselves to the position of advocate.
Tom: That's interesting because it went with our strategy and we've been doing it in St. John's first. In Florida, we have that cold snap recently and people had just not seen that sustained cold temperature 10 or 12 years and a lot of stuff failed that wouldn't have failed [crosstalk 00:41:26]. Yeah. We didn't go in and … You there? Hello?
Dean: Yeah. You faded out for a second there.
Tom: Sorry about that. What we did is [crosstalk 00:41:41] this idea of if we … Can you hear me?
Tom: We had this idea of having do-it-yourself videos or just tips. For example, we said, hey, it's really cold. Here's how your system works. Don't set back your thermostat during this next week when it's these temperatures or your house won't keep up. Then it was like p.s., if you're having a problem, give us a call. We'll get somebody right out there.
Tom: We're thinking that way to build this content of how does this work? How do you change your filter? How do you program your thermostat? Inevitably, 80-20, there's the one guy going to get it perfect. He's going to go Home Depot, he's going to buy what he needs, he's going to do it all and then the other four people who are going to try to change their own thermostat, they're going to have no heat at the end of it. They're going to need to call somebody. That idea is what we were thinking and we actually … the name we were playing with was … off at the Holmes on Homes, it was Casey on Comfort. They have this personality driven thing.
Dean: There you go, yeah, yeah. I think that's great because you would be perfect at that. You're that kind of personality. That's a great thing.
Tom: Yeah, that's interesting.
Dean: You're the reason that there's a guy that if somebody was going to get any home improvement project on and Doug Holmes or whatever the guy's name is land right in your neighborhood, you'd call him, right, because you're going to get-
Tom: Yeah. Absolutely.
Tom: Absolutely. 100%.
Dean: Yeah. I think there's that element of it that there's a lot of opportunity to appoint yourself the mayor of that category, right? The mayor of comfort. Really, that's the thing, right? I think when you were in Florida, we talked about the leading edge of all the home automation things that are coming.
Dean: You're sharing all of that stuff to get people excited about that that they get to know you. The thing is nothing you're going to do is going to convince somebody to get a new air conditioner if they don't need one right now, right? That's really it. There's no salesmanship. Nothing. It's really only going to be a matter of time and that when that happens, you're going to be the guy that they need. I've been sharing with people, I had something really like almost startling happen in the last little while. I have a big community of real estate agents and somebody posted in one of our message boards, they posted a message that said, "Does anybody have a contact for where I could get a carpet installed the same day? We've got a closing and there's an issue I need to get it done right away."
What happened next in my mind, without my permission even started immediately singing 805882300 Empire.
Dean: Because that has been drilled into my brain, against my will, without my permission, it's been embedded in my brain and was triggered the moment that I thought somebody need for same day flooring.
Dean: I never thought consciously about Empire flooring but they smuggled that into my brain, right? I had to respect that right away. You got to revere something like that when it happens because I'm always hyper vigilant when marketing is working on me.
Dean: Because I pay so much attention to it.
Tom: Got you.
Dean: It's so much a thing that when somebody … where all of these things you see it now everywhere about those have a deeper understanding for this long-term imbedding something in somebody's brain.
Tom: Yeah, I know what you're saying.
Dean: Being there at just the right time.
Dean: That's where if it's like you're wrapping that in a wrapper of having somebody … if your bigger purpose is that, you handle all of the comfort things that go into the home, right?
Dean: You extend that to the softer things that the things that people can do themselves that are adjacent to that category but then whenever there's an emergency, you're right there and of course you're the person that they know, that they like and that they trust even if they haven't done business with you because you've been preemptively adding value to them.
Tom: Right, right.
Dean: You look at that. With the things that we're talking about, when you're talking about 1,000 homes and I think that as the spot here, if you think like if you had a budget of 1,000 homes that you're going to send a postcard or a jumbo postcard to every one of them for a year, every month for a year, you've got say $12,000 investment in that.
Dean: What would be the odds of all of the things? What's the total yield of all the things that are going to be done just on an actuarial basis of what needs to be? What are they going to spend on an annual basis on things that you do? Do you have any stats like that actually?
Tom: Yeah, we looked at that exact thing-
Dean: … maybe somebody would do? Yeah.
Tom: Like a typical house, it's like the right neighborhood which we're targeting. Like 10-year period, they might spend $30,000 on all the stuff-
Tom: If you have 1,000 houses and they send $30,000 each, it's a huge number.
Dean: $30 million.
Tom: They just knock down and say, "Okay. Even if we only got 10% of them and we got this many-
Tom: You look at that.
Tom: The multiple is pretty big and our mistake has been going wide instead of deep.
Tom: We're mapping out this thought now of doing this monthly campaign.
Tom: Then what I looked at was the greeting card companies. It said, they have a holiday every month that I'm sure they invented, you know what I mean?
Tom: What if we came up with, February is, I don't know, gutter cleaning month. Can we just create our own holiday, our own event and then mail those out to people like, hey … like your realtor card, just a little note, this February, it's gutter cleaning month. Log on and there's a free checklist of how to clean your gutters and dah, dah, dah, dah, dah and p.s., if you need a little help, let us know. What's your thought on that kind of a thing to go really deep into that market?
Dean: I love that. I love that. That's exactly what I'm talking about. Then each card also would carry your super signature, right?
Dean: We talked about your cookies, right? What's your next offer? In addition to that, you also have and whenever you need it, we're here for you, right. Whenever you're ready, get a free tune-up or get this or get that, whatever the things that you could present to people are.
Tom: That's our thinking like say, allergy season is coming and then be like, hey, March is allergy month or hay fever month or whatever. Here's what you need to get ready for. If you need a filter, give us a call. We'll drop one off to you, even show you how to change it, and just become that way. That's what I think you're saying is get way ahead of … my God, my allergies are so bad.
Dean: [crosstalk 00:51:00] Yes. Own that spot in their mind, yes. Yeah. You're preemptive, right, you are their guy even though they don't have any need? It's almost like you adopt them into the family.
Tom: Yeah. Exactly. I don't know if you remember, we talked about this. You said, you made a comment and apparently was it Mike's place or at the breakthrough about you wanted an easy button push like whenever if something went wrong in your house, push this-
Dean: I lost you.
Tom: Are you still there?
Dean: Hello, hello.
Tom: Can you hear me? Can you hear me?
Dean: Hang on. Tom, I lost you. I lost you when you said, you may remember.
Tom: Yeah. I can hear you.
Dean: The last 60 seconds.
Tom: That was when I was giving you my bank account number to empty into your bank account number.
Dean: Oh, no. Yeah, right.
Tom: You missed that opportunity. What I was saying is you had mentioned that one of the things that you wish you had an easy button that you could push whenever there was a problem.
Tom: We played with that. We actually created this easy button graphic that we list our services and our signature like, hey, we're your easy button. We make it easy. It's just that kind of concept. That by itself, doesn't mean a lot if we're not providing this value to them like, hey, it's algae month, it's gutter cleaning month, it's smoke detector battery month, it's whatever … and see your concepts of, by the way, we're painters, by the way, we do everything. Yeah, it's also time your [inaudible 00:52:59] are tuned up, right, and that kind of thing. Okay. Got you.
Dean: Yeah. You're right. It's like adopting. I think that's really what it is. It's adopting and providing valuable content that is adding value to these people over the course of a year rather than booking just like plumbing the lottery like blasting with the same offer to 10,000 homes instead of going a 1,000 homes 12 different times.
Tom: Yeah. Okay, that makes sense. Sort of stack, here's your home emergency guide with phone numbers. We have all these referral partners already so I can refer you a carpet guy and I already have it all done. Here's everyone's numbers, co-op with them and say, hey everybody, let's mail these 1,000 homes. It's going to cost you $1,000 dollars. There's 10 of us, everybody put a $100.
Dean: Right. That's exactly-
Tom: … spend $10,000 anyway but if everyone spends $100 and it works, we can maybe mail it to more people and then go back to that same neighborhood and stack on like, it's gutter cleaning month and they've already got the guide from us, now they get a tip from us and then post a Facebook video or do a Facebook Live that's only to that geographic. Now, I've seen this again and that is what you are saying in terms of being this ever present in their mind.
Tom: They go, who's that easy button guy? I need the easy button here on the 4th month. Who's the easy button guy, that kind of concept?
Dean: Yeah. You're absolutely right.
Dean: That's the thing and then it's almost like those are … whatever's going to be the triggers and sometimes people may not even know. They may not connect their headaches and congestion and sinus issues which air quality problem or they may not connect dots.
Tom: Yeah. We just saw that happen. We do a thing called a Healthy Home Assessment and we're working a lot of allergy, a lot of mold in Florida, right? Air conditioner is the biggest source and people are breathing mold and so we're working on networking and we had a doctor and he ended up talking about how we test our mold. You can go into someone's blood and you can actually tell all their allergens of course but you can't actually see all these different types of mold. Just to your conversation, it was like we clean that stuff up. We fix that. We prevent it in the systems. The guy was all like, "Oh my God, how do I get you to my client?" Very quickly we created this assessment for $199 and we gave the doctor a $50 gift card to give their clients towards the $199 knowing that they've already been diagnosed with this problem.
They have a very big interest. There's an advocate, the doctor telling them to get this done. I have a guy who does it. Very quickly, we saw immediate bookings like holy cow. If we can come up with a similar thing for other trade or network partners, that would be a really easy way to stack on this but then about the same token now to the know you like you trust you to our own clients know that that's possible.
Tom: We're communicating that to those people who are just ignoring this database of thousands of people not even saying, by the way, it's allergy season, we do this.
Dean: Yeah, perfect. See, that's the thing. That's where you're now … you're thinking like you're treating your existing … so the new people like existing clients. You're adopting everybody into that world. That may be something where if you make it, I have to say to people, "What would you be able to do if somebody" … what kind of publication would you send if somebody was paying you $100 a year to subscribe to it?
Dean: Right. That's the thing, right? You raise it to that level that you start … it changes the way that you think about it.
Tom: All the way. All the way. That's pretty simple.
Tom: Never would think that way, right?
Tom: That's different ... we're just working here in Hilton Head. WHEN we look at clients and it's like this is for our business with a lot of people. We categorize clients through the pie, we divide the pie into three pieces.
Tom: We call them a value client and a value client, that's somebody who wants to get a good value for their money and they want to buy the highest quality. They want to do things right the first time. Price is always important of course but it's not the only determining factor, right? That's category one. Category two for us would be a price customer, somebody who just … they want the lowest price, they want the best deal. If it's not the best brand, that's okay. I'm only going to be here for a few more years. There's a whole group of those people. That's the second category. The magic for us lies in the third category which is I call them betweeners. They could go either way, right? If we educate them and talk to them and earn their trust, they can go to the-
Dean: It makes sense. Yeah.
Tom: Yeah and I have nine and 50% of the people I'm talking to can be value side and otherwise, they go, you didn't compel me. I just want the cheap thing. We were looking at that. We went around and we found these … I took my partners that show me three neighborhoods. Show me a value neighborhood, a price neighborhood and betweener neighborhood and then we're like okay, we can't spend these houses, this neighborhood at the right age but they start at $750,000 and go up to $5 million.
Tom: They're not going to respond to a postcard maybe. They got to have something different that's compatible to this idea, what would I send them? I wouldn't send them the money, the penny pincher because they don't care. They want things right so that's what we're thinking that way. We're just not thinking that way.
Dean: Yeah. It's cool. Years ago, 20 years ago now, I was flying on a plane and sometimes they would give free magazines in the lounges, in the airport lounges and one of the magazines was Today's Homeowner. I have never heard of the magazine but it was a really great household maintenance and improvement kind of magazine. They had really great content. I called them up. I negotiated with the publisher to get bulk subscriptions for our real estate agents so that they could give … they could buy 150 subscriptions to the magazine to give to their … we were able to get it down to $0.60 an issue or something for the magazine and then send along with it a supplemental newsletter that was like a local version of it.
If in the magazine they're talking about koi ponds or something like that as a project for the realtor to partner with or point out to the people who do this on a local basis, and they were able to turn that into a little profit center because each one would probably just send them a magazine along with a cover letter and your newsletter, your client newsletter. Then one sheet that was eight business cards that were people who provide the things that the magazine was talking, little basis.
Tom: Got you.
Dean: On a local basis, all right. I think there's a lot of opportunities for you to probably partner up with a little syndicate of home-related providers and-
Tom: Yeah. Good point.
Dean: Often that's being the same. Real estate agents, for one, would be a perfect example of that that may even be the thing where you start to get the transfer of the relationships that other people have with their client.
Dean: Then trust them.
Tom: Here's what we're thinking about for that. We named it Strategic Trade Alliance and so my thought was I went around talking to plumbers, painters, everybody, landscapers, electricians, brochures and said, "If I push your name on a list which it wasn't this emergency guide you're talking about but now it's going to be, if I produce a thing, I'll handle all the graphics. I'm going to put your number on it," and then my thought was that's the first non-invasive, just put this on your fridge, keep by your phone thing.
Tom: Then if I said, "What I would like you to do as my strategic trade partner is then I want to produce a coupon book or a helpful book where you could mail him or we can also hand it out to all of our clients like my coupons in a book but also yours as when I hand it to my client, they get your coupon. You hand it to your client, they get my coupon because now we have ..." What I think about and I … probably just makes sense, I've always thought about it like a wedding process. Anybody who's ever gotten married, I would always think no matter where you start in the process, they already have everybody else, so if you start the banquet hall, they go, "Do you have a DJ? Do you have a limo? Do you have a photographer?"
You start to talk, you know what I mean? This idea to me is what is lining up in my brain right now if you're saying that, "Let's create this wagon wheel. No matter where you enter, we can take care of everything you need and I'll be looking for leads and you obtainer, and you'll be looking for leads for me at the edge of that guy, and we can get really effective on our cost per lead and our marketing, and our return to that marketing because we're talking to real people."
Dean: Yeah, that's exactly right. It's an alliance.
Tom: That's awesome.
Dean: In that way you can collaborate to be contributors to the content. If you have a content vehicle that is adding value, each can provide content for it.
Tom: Right, that's awesome.
Tom: Produce a newsletter and it's got articles by the 10 strategic people but they're not sales … they're real articles.
Dean: No value, yeah, yeah. Value added.
Tom: Right, 100%.
Dean: Hundred percent you're teaming up for distribution.
Tom: That can send more or less or-
Dean: Yeah, I think when you look at it, almost like if you just imagine what would it be like if you were creating a service or a card, or a membership that was worth $99 a year for somebody that they would get these things and maybe there's some physical planning that you actually could do or they get a special hotline, or they get some special consideration, or offers, or response time, or something that they are like Amazon Prime in a way.
Dean: Just adopt-
Dean: People into that even if you think about when you look at, you talk about your target. It's the house. Well, as soon as somebody new moves into a house, that would be an interesting opportunity to adopt them right away and just adopt them for that first year.
Tom: Right, so it's almost like boy, like [AMEX 01:06:21] has brought that right? They want me to have their cards. They give me these member services which I love, I mean, sign me up. I'm all for that.
Dean: Right, right, yeah.
Tom: There's a member services but do it on a real local basis where just because you live within these … behind these magic gates, you're now a member.
Tom: Here's your benefits that are costing you nothing and your phone number if your tip should-
Dean: Part of it is that … Yeah, yeah, and maybe that you adopt that like where you really get leverage from that is that you take that policy that that's the way that you treat the baseline. Anybody who has a relationship with you already, right, you are after unit, and then you're just extending that value. Even could be a distribution that that would be something that they could give to their friends that it would be that valuable that they could give us subscription to this, a one year membership or whatever it is.
Tom: We were thinking about having it on our after unit but just a quick note in case you hear anyone that's saying blank, I [crosstalk 01:07:38], of giving our clients a fast pass like printing up these thick plastic cards that's like a VIP fast pass like hey, if you hear him, give him this fast pass and they're a VIP customer because of you and we're going to present to the front of the line, right? They get to have service call ahead of everybody so that thing would work till you get that going too, right? That's what you're thinking?
Dean: Yeah, that's exactly right. That's how you can increase referrals because everybody wants to steal an insider. If somebody is saying, "Man, my water heater broke out. I don't know what I'm going to do," and you go, "Well, here. Call this number. I got a fast pass for you," but now it's like I get all the credits for helping you out of that jam, yeah.
Tom: Hundred percent. I did it. You said that and I never thought about it until I saw you do that at this point now. That's well over a year ago but it happened to a day where somebody had a tooth ... I was having a breakfast meeting and the guy was chewing where and I'm like, "You got a toothache?" He was, "Yeah. I don't know what happened," and I was like, "Hold on." I call my desk, I'm like, "Hey, can you get Mike in?" They're like, "Yeah," "Send them over." It took me 30 seconds and he was like, "My God," and I got a text later, they were awesome, and I'm sure all the chemicals in my brain were just like, I was high. I'm just helping everybody now.
Dean: That's exactly it. I love it.
Tom: Make that easy in the after unit. We're almost we've built out your 8 Profit Activators. We've restructured our companies just for our target are compelling as what you talked back and educate, motivate where you got some ideas now. We can go to ground with this in this phone call. In between or during, we're pretty good at. Our dream come true is-
Tom: We do great. Our customers love us. They trust us. We have great relationships with them. Our after unit, we were okay with. We send them thank you cards and stuff like that but it was … and we contact them a couple of times a year. We're in the process of going to that monthly where we're adopting the, what is it, the world's greatest postcard?
Dean: The World's Most Interesting Postcard, yeah.
Tom: Yeah, yeah, so we're adopting that to be the world's coolest and the world's hottest depending on the seasons and have our messaging on it and start to do this but one of our first thoughts was this VIP like, hey. As we get ready for summer, if you happen to hear anyone with this problem, and so we do really good in that and they were also going electronically to our customers when we wrap up because this whole … we're this more than satisfied guarantee so when you've bought your AC, you said you never heard from your guy again, right?
Tom: We know that's an opportunity so we want to check back with you 30 days later and say, "Hey, Dean. It's Tom over here at Climate. I'm just checking to see how's the new AC working? Do you have any questions in your thermostat? That whole deal," and you're like, "My gosh. This guy called me," and so we're thinking to do that electronically too like a little data of like tips for the new people, right? To put them in a funnel of like it's time for your filter, maybe happy birthday to your air conditioner, and that thing-
Dean: Yeah, I love it. Right, right, right.
Tom: We'll be a good model for the 8 Profit Activators here this year. We're really working hard to put it in place and really change your thinking of how business does this work. It's good and also we sat on these meanings like how stupid are we how we never thought of this stuff? We spent all of our time and money screaming from the rooftops.
Dean: [crosstalk 01:11:40] Yeah.
Tom: We drive our vans in our lawn and say, "Get your air conditioner tuned up." That's our whole focus for 30 years. Now, we're-
Dean: That sounds right. That's funny.
Tom: It's unbelievable.
Dean: A little.
Tom: Yeah, that's awesome.
Dean: Here we go.
Tom: I super appreciate it. I listen to the podcast though. It's an honor to be on it and I often get asked what I want to be when I grow up and I say, "Dean Jackson."
Dean: That's pretty good. I like it. That's right. I was thinking that today. This is a great little work day. I'm sitting here with my evil scheme hatchery just having great conversations and then so I'll hang up with you. We're going to go have some sushi and go to a movie, so it's a nice Friday.
Tom: Yeah, that's living the dream.
Dean: Living the dream. Well thanks, Tom. I really enjoyed that. That was awesome. It's good to keep a … good to see you get in momentum. I love that.
Tom: Yeah, and once we get this going, I'll be back in because I got the consulting side that I want to come and I'll come through another breakthrough with you and I got a lot of book in the works and-
Dean: Perfect. That's great.
Tom: We're going to shift from the [crosstalk 01:13:01] be a little bit. Yeah, so super appreciate it. My best to all your team. They're all rock stars. We really appreciate all the hard work that you do for us.
Dean: Awesome. Thanks, Tom.
Tom: I'll be going.
Dean: Talk to you soon. Bye.
Dean: There we have it, another great episode. That was a really great conversation. I love that Tom is such a concentrated doer. He came to our Breakthrough Blueprints last year and was sharing with me all the things that he's been doing to implement and apply the 8 Profit Activators to their business and it's really great, the progress that they've been able to make and I think that the ideas that we talked about today are going to fit really nicely. They're out of the box thoughts that really separate the components of know you, like you, trust you, so that we're focusing on getting so that people at least know you, so that they can get to like you, so that they will start to trust you. I love these content ideas and I love the ideas of adopting people and treating them as if they're your clients and I like the idea of teaming up with other people in other adjacent businesses that do things that you don't do but are in the same category to make somebody's overall experience in that category better.
I think there's a lot of ideas that we're stimulated there that you can apply to your business. Of course if you'd like to carry on the conversation, you can go to morecheeselesswhiskers.com. You can download a copy of the More Cheese Less Whiskers book and maybe be a guest on the show. Just click on the be a guest link. Now, this whole show revolves around the 8 Profit Activators and one of the things that really helps is to understand how the 8 Profit Activators are working to either grow or slow your business right now and we have an online scorecard that you can go and see how they're working in your business right now, and you can go to profit activator score to take the online score card and you'll get an output that shows you where the big opportunities are for you.
Tom mentioned having come to our Breakthrough Blueprint event and we do nine of those events a year where we get to spend time three days in a small group in a boardroom style just having conversations like this focused in applying the 8 Profit Activators to your business so if you'd like to join us for one of those events, just click, just send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org and put Breakthrough Blueprint in the subject line, and I'll get you all the details and the schedule of when we're doing these events, so that's it for this week. Have a great week and I will talk to you next time.