When asked why he thought the Chicago Bulls achieved an NBA best 72 and 10 record, Michael Jordan’s response was, “We make every possession count.” Now that may not seem like an earthshaking statement, but if you apply it to your personal life and your business, it’s profound. Consider the things you do every day in your business.
A possession is a phone call from a potential client. It’s the lead that you set, the sales call that you make. It’s the presentation you give and the contract you write.
A possession is the schedule you make for the job. It’s getting the job started and completed on time. It’s the contact you have with your subs and suppliers on the job, and contacting the neighbors that live nearby. It’s building the project you contracted to build, and leaving happy clients.
A possession is a call from a newspaper or a magazine asking about you and your business. It’s your presence in a local trade show or county fair. It’s organizing your time so that you’re available for your spouse and family each evening and on weekends. And, just as important, it’s being thankful for all these possessions.
As you go about your days and your weeks, every possession will either be won or lost by you. You can rationalize, debate, and discuss it, but the bottom line is that you are the responsible party.
So what are you doing about it? Are you and your staff trained on the phone, answering it properly and returning all your calls the same day or by 9:00 am the next day? Do you have a lead slip to record all the information that the caller provides before you end your first phone call with them? Do you ask the appropriate questions on the phone to be sure they qualify to buy from you, instead of them qualifying you?
Do you arrive on time at every sales call, well-dressed with a decent haircut and clean shoes, ready to do business? While you’re there, do you ask questions and really listen, or do you spend the time telling them everything you know?
When you write a contract, is it complete and blessed by your attorney?
Do your jobs start on time, and do you complete them on time with no excuses? Are your jobs kept clean from start to finish?
Do you follow up with a questionnaire asking how you did, and then asking for at least two referrals? What kind of advertising program do you have in place to keep leads coming in?
If you’re willing to do an honest gut check, how are your relationships with your spouse and your children? Are you a family or do you just reside in the same building? As I tell every class and every coaching client, your business will be a direct reflection of your marriage.
Many contractors who write us are having a problem with their business, and in many cases, it’s because the contractor has lost focus on what’s important. They’ve drifted into dealing with minutia instead of staying focused on the purpose of being in business.
Stay focused on winning. You’re in business for just one thing: to provide a service and make a profit doing it. When you succeed, it enables you to take care of your family and provide for your future. The way to succeed is to make every lead, every sales call, every job, and every possession count.
You’re not in business to drive around and give out bids or free estimates. You’re not in business to provide a free design service or to make selections for your clients. You’re not in business to provide jobs for other people, including family members.
Stay focused on being profitable. In business, that’s winning.
NOTE: This was first published in our email newsletter on May 17, 2002, later incorporated in our book Profitable Sales, A Contractor’s Guide.