How tradies can attract more 'A-Class clients online | #01
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Tradie Web Guys & The Site Shed
Matt Jones, owner of Tradie Web Guys & The Site Shed Podcast, is a tradie evangelist with a passion for helping tradies successfully transition off the tools and into the often-unknown business world. Matt, as a former plumber himself, understands that making the transition to a business owner can be very difficult; as Matt states “as a tradie you don’t know what you don’t know about business.”
Since 2012 Matt has educated thousands of tradie business owners to improve their marketing, attract better quality clients, develop systems, and connect to a global tradie community via The Site Shed.
There’s loads of tips and insights that will help you build a business that delivers profit and freedom.
Hit the PLAY button above to listen now, or subscribe free to hear the full interview. You’ll also find the full interview transcription below.
If you have questions about how to successfully run a tradie business then you’ll find the answers in this interview, including:
- Why it is important to ‘niche’ your business?
- How to attract and convert quality clients from your website?
- How systems and processes allow business owners more freedom?
- Why business owners are often the roadblock to success?
- And plenty more …
“If you’re that type of person that thinks, they’re a shit customer.
This guy’s a shit employee. The projects I keep getting are shit.
The problem is not them. The problem is you. Look in the mirror.”
Full Episode Transcription:
- Tradie Web Guys – tradiewebguys.com.au
- The Site Shed Podcast – thesiteshed.com
- Power Up Your Tradie Business book by Matthew Jones BUY NOW
- Personality Plus book by Florence Littauer
- WIKI system – https://www.tradiewebguys.com.au/systems/
- Tim Ferris Podcast – https://tim.blog/podcast
- Podcast Studio: RadioHub
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How tradies can attract more ‘A-Class’ clients online
Matt Jones Interview Episode 01
Matt (Host): [00:00:06] Hi and welcome to this episode of Power Up Your Business podcast. I’m your host Matthew Jones and I’m here with my co-host Craig “Bush” Markham.
Craig: [00:00:13] G’Day Jonesy, great to be here.
Matt (Host): [00:00:16] Today a very special guest, someone we’ve got a lot in common. Not only do we have the same names in Matt Jones but Matt Jones is a plumber. He’s been on the tools for 15 years. He made that transition off the tools in 2011 and started up Tradie Web Guys focused on the tradies market and get them to have a digital platform. He then started the Site Shed podcast in 2016, which is now the biggest tradie podcast in Australia and getting reach now overseas. It is internationally recognised. Ultimately one of the key things that, you know well I’ve done a lot of work with Matt over a long period of time, is that he is a tradie evangelist. He does want the tradie business owners to operate more successfully and help them transition from the Stone Age into the Digital Age. So welcome Matt.
Matt (Guest): [00:01:09] Thank you for having me.
Matt (Host): [00:01:11] Very exciting very exciting.
Matt (Guest): [00:01:12] What a flattering intro very flattering intro.
Craig: [00:01:15] Big shoes to fill Matty and there’s two Matt Jones’s, I don’t know who to look at.
Matt (Guest): [00:01:18] I know I know it’s a classic. Every time we do these interviews, it’s always interesting introducing yourself to yourself.
Craig: [00:01:24] And both plumbers and you know what, both professional podcasters.
Matt (Host): [00:01:28] And both good looking.
Matt (Guest): [00:01:29] Devastatingly.
Craig: [00:01:30] In the podcast scene, you guys would definitely be great shoe models.. either that or full Face Helmet marketing. Good for work safety.
Matt (Host): [00:01:42] One of the things that we’re about here, it’s all about business change. One of the things we try to do with our listeners here is that they can relate to a story of change. One of the things, which is no mean feat and I can attest to that, is making that change from the trade to the business world. Being comfortable on them, from my perspective, one of the things that I was very comfortable with for a long period of time was to be good on the job, good on the tools and get the job done. It’s a totally different mindset when we go to business and that’s one thing we see time and time again where a lot of businesses struggle because the owner is good on the tools but not good on the business.
Matt (Host): [00:02:17] From your point of view making that catalyst for change in 2011 from the tools to the business, what really drove that?
Matt (Guest): [00:02:29] It was more of an observation, I think. As you know going through your trade but doing your apprenticeship like that stuff, you go to TAFE and you learn I suppose the basic skills of what you then need to go on apply on the job in order to get good at your trade. One thing they don’t tell you is how to run a business. Well I mean they do, I think there’s like a six week course where they teach out to write a business letter or something garbage.
Matt (Host): [00:02:53] I don’t think anyone turned up for those.
Matt (Guest): [00:02:55] No and I don’t think you needed to be honest it was an absolute bloody joke. Anyway I think that’s kind of the problem with the current model is they teach you the trade and then that’s the end of it. You’ve got your license and it’s like, “Well off you go, go run a business if you want.” The reality is you don’t know how to run a business. The whole idea behind sort of what I’ve been setting up over the years was kind of to help people especially with the Site Shed is to help people like yourself get a bit more knowledge in that area. So we do focus largely on the digital side of things but not entirely on the digital side of things. So that shift from me stepping away from the tools and stepping into what I do now, it was more about being able to give back to that industry because like clearing blocked drains is great but you know it’s not as rewarding as being able to help people grow their business. This was kind of where I’m at.
Craig: [00:03:57] Mattie, as a plumber and a former plumber, when you talk about making the transition, when you look back what’s the one thing you say that’s a commonality amongst plumbers that they just always seem to do? It’s a common story amongst all trades.
Matt (Guest): [00:04:10] Like a common thing they’re doing badly?
Craig: [00:04:12] Yes, just in the sense of where they could do better in business? I mean they’re all having a go we know that. What’s the one common thing that’s a common thread between all trades that aren’t working for them?
Matt (Guest): [00:04:20] I think it’s education, you don’t know what you don’t know. How can you get it when you’re not expected to know it. You have no way of learning this stuff unless you go out there and you have a vested interest in finding and seeking the right help. So I think for us it’s growing now with the entrance of podcasting and all this kind of stuff. People are starting to take an interest and there’s people out there that are wanting to help. If you’re looking for help you can get it. People are listening to these podcasts, they’re the type of people that want to help and they’re looking for it. People that don’t listen to podcasting they want to go and listen to NOVA that’s not the type of people.
Craig: [00:04:58] They get education but it’s just a Kardashian education.
Matt (Guest): [00:04:59] Yes, it’s just advertisements and all of that.
Matt (Host): [00:05:02] Now before we go to the podcast, I want to dive into that but taking a step back in the digital space where you’re helping tradies transition from a notepad onto a digital framework i.e. websites. How are you finding one of the biggest roadblocks you’ll find to get that successful transition so that a business owner can actually understand why they need to go digital platform?
Matt (Guest): [00:05:27] It’s been and is constantly a work in progress. So this is not like a destination, it’s a bit of a journey. So we’re always learning new things and figuring out what people see. The figures are well right, people will come to it. They’ll ring me and they’ll say, “Oh you know I want a website or they need a new website.” I say, “Okay cool.” Let’s have a look at your current website. So what’s wrong with the current website? “Well it doesn’t get me any leads.” Okay well this is the thing right, there’s buzzwords and there’s keywords. People they think they know what they want but they don’t actually know what they want. So you’ve got to go through this process then of helping them understand what they’re actually figuring out and diving deep enough into what they actually need to figure out what that goal is. Then trying to build the solution around it because they might be familiar with the term SEO, adwords or websites. They’ll come to you and say, “I want this,” but it’s not going to help them get to where they want to go. So right it’s what I’ve coined the digital ecosystem. You’ve kind of got to understand how everything ties in together. You’ve got to understand how your website will help your conversions for your Facebook marketing campaigns and how your SEO your content on your website affects your rankings on the Google’s search platforms and all that kind of stuff. So I don’t think there’s really like any one thing or one big problem that I have that I come out come across. It’s really now we sort of got to the point where we’ve really got good at diving deep enough to figure out what actual what they want and how to give them that result. Some people can get bogged down. I’ll talk to a mate at the pub and I’ll talk to someone at Reece counter and you know, “You need a new website mate.” “Okay, I need to get a website.” What we find in the tradie mindset, it’s all about today. “I just need it today,” whereas what we try and get them to do is take a breath, stand back and look at the big picture. It’s like, who do you want to actually attract on that website, who are the people that you’re talking to, who do you understand, who are you, what we term, the masters of their problem. Too many times when you are in the tradie mindset you’re trying to the scattergun approach and try to be all things to all people.
Matt (Host): [00:07:36] Right and be nothing to anyone.
Matt (Guest): [00:07:37] Right. 100%. This is one of the key problems. So before we try and talk about marketing, who is your core business? Who actually loves what you do and appreciates what you do? More importantly, who are happy to pay for your service and your expertise? This is what I find a lot of the time is people don’t stop to try and craft. Let’s put a message around that appropriate business owner that they want to attract. Ultimately this is where we talk about playing a big game. As a business owner and keen to hear your thoughts on this matter but as a business owner, I’m in a lot on for a long game. I’m in this for 10 years 20 years 30 years. I want to build a brand. I want to have a lifetime journey and relationship as opposed to a tradie mindset, which is all about today. This transaction and I hope to God I get through Christmas.
[00:08:18] Yeah I think what a lot of business owners and this is not trade specific by any measure but I think a lot of business owners don’t understand that their business is at the end of the day is a direct reflection of themselves. You know if you don’t have that brand that’s professionally representing your business then it is a reflection on you. So I think it’s important for me when I’m talking to clients, potential clients or even just teaching in one way or another, it’s important that people understand that customer journey and how important it is to have those ducks in line. So when people come to us and they say, “Oh I want more leads,” the first thing we do is we look at where and what’s going to happen in that lead process. So when people we get them more leads, what happens when they land on that website. Is it going to convert? It’s such a paradigm in the thinking that a lot of people need to understand. If your websites are converting at 2% and if you’re spending a thousand dollars on ads, if you can raise your conversion on that website to 4% and you’re still spending a thousand dollars on ads, you’ve got 100% improvement on your marketing budget and all you’ve done is change the website. You’re not spending any more money you’ve just improved the conversion. So it’s a paradigm in the thinking.
Craig: [00:09:38] Mattie, what are some of the challenges? You can sort of picture and visualise it, I mean, Jonesie, you are alluding or both of you alluded to it, when I say Jonesie, I mean both of you. You both alluded to it before. People just focus on the now and you know what colours I’m going to have, what about my logo, how does my front page, mate that photos no good, I need one of me digging up a sewer. All the things that are I suppose intangible, they need to focus as you’re saying on the strategy. To say that you’re going to improve 2% actually sounds terrible but when you actually look back that’s 100 percent improvement. Those little goals if you like or kicking the can is amazing. What are the biggest challenges you have with plumbers to get them to realize that?
Matt (Guest): [00:10:22] To be honest, we don’t really have a challenge communicating that because when you put it in that set when you communicate it like that they understand and it makes sense to them you know. So there’s so many little things that’s one example of you know dozens and dozens that I can dive into. It’s just about communicating with them on their level. I think that’s another really important thing. You would know for sure as well. You know it’s when you’re talking with trade-based businesses, you kind of need to know how to speak their language, like they’re not going to go for the polished, you know, refined sort of communication pattern. They want to be spoken to in language that they understand.
Matt (Host): [00:10:59] I think too many people try to jargon, an acronym or some corporate speak. It’s not relatable. We said time and time again where a lot of trade business owners will talk to website guy, an accountant and they’re talking in language that they can’t understand. One thing that we’re about and this is the whole thing. It’s about being relevant. Then the key thing that we both share was we’ve walked in their shoes. We understand their story. This is why I love when I do workshops or events. People come up to me after business, “You’ve been a fly on the wall have you. You’ve been following me around everything you’ve said is exactly [00:11:29] me to a tee what you said. [0.6] I said, “No, I’ve just actually walked in my shoes for a long period of time.”.
Matt (Host): [00:11:34] Now coming back to the podcast moving into the podcast and because this is a great medium now. You know we hear from a lot of tradie business owners and business owners in general that they’re time poor but podcasts and the audio works in really well in terms of it’s a good medium when they’re driving to work. What was the big driver for you to move into the podcast, other than obviously increase your reach and obviously make a greater impact? What was that key driver that you see and more importantly, well it’s a twofold question one, moving into that space and then for you to try and power up your podcast business what do you see? What are you going to be working on just from your own business point of view?
Matt (Guest): [00:12:12] Well the podcast really was a, you basically hit the nail on the head, it was a way that we could impact more people. We get more reach. You know get the message out there to more people. This is really where it started and that still is the fundamental backbone of the Site Shared, like that is there to reach more people and impact people positively. So that will continue to be the driver and I think as well with any sort of content marketing related strategy that has to be the backbone. It’s got to be, you know, it’s got to be valuable content that people are going to get benefit from. Otherwise it’s dead in the water. So did I answer your question?
Matt (Host): [00:12:52] 100%.
Craig: [00:12:54] I mean I’ve been doing my little bit of research here so that people come here for the content but stay for the community. On the podcast myself, with Silky my partner, and I understand podcasting. I think what you do empowers people. Let’s focus on that content’s one thing, how important is community to the brand of the Site Shared?
Matt (Guest): [00:13:13] It is and it’s a big thing. So the community, like people do, they’ll hear the podcast and they’ll come to ,they’ll listen to and they’ll enjoy it and then they’ll find their way back to our community whether that’s our Facebook group or whatever it is where they can become part of a ridiculously amazing conversation like that. The caliber of the people that are in that group and collaborating on those conversations is what keeps people there. It’s really powerful.
Craig: [00:13:41] How do you structure? Where does that start? How do you set this up. You got some plumber out there says Matt I can contribute. I can do things here. What if he wants to go ahead and say, “Right, I want to talk about it.” He might niche it down to blocked drains.
Matt (Guest): [00:13:52] Yes, we encourage that. So when we invite people into our community, we put them through, I suppose, like a questionnaire. We make them answer questions to come into the group. Some of those questions are, “What are your pain points?” So, when they’re coming into the group we kind of know what their problems are and then we encourage them we say, “Hey listen ask some questions in the group and they do. Then if you’ve got a collective group of thousands of people from around the world in different markets, same industry maybe slightly cross cross-industry, but different markets around the world. This is pretty powerful because you’re not getting, you’re learning from people all around the world that have a lot of experience in these areas so it’s really cool.
Matt (Host): [00:14:29] One thing the reach is really a massive thing at the moment where people often we found in the back in the day if they’re talking about community in their local environment. Some people are not too big on sharing their fears or someone may be taking it away. Now in this global age, we are in a global world where community is the world a lot more people are happy to share. I think that’s where a lot of tradie business owners in the past have struggled to, “That’s not my business. I don’t want to share with anything. No one knows my gig.”
Craig: [00:15:00] The herbs and spices sort of mentality isn’t it.
Matt (Guest): [00:15:03] This is a conversation that I regularly have when we try and help business owners implement systems-wide processes into their business. They go down I say, “You’ve got to get these out of your head and turn it from intellectual knowledge into intellectual property and you have to document this. This is how you’re going to train your staff.” They go, “What happens if somebody reads my systems and then they go take him elsewhere.” I’m like, “Well what’s that saying. What’s more costly, is it to train your staff or not?”
Matt (Host): [00:15:32] This is one of the key things we talk about, which is success cycle, whereas a business owner your number one priority is to focus on process first. As opposed to being a firefighter where you just jump in and micromanage issues with the customer.
Matt (Guest): [00:15:46] It’s easy as business owners and we all do it. I still do it. I’m definitely not perfect at it but you know it’s easy for us to a task pops up and we know how to do it so we go and do it. Instead of creating a process on it that can train somebody else. It might take you three times as long to do that task in creating that process but you might not ever have to do it again.
Matt (Host): [00:16:05] You know that’s the thing about playing the big game and that’s where you’re in the business mindset. I don’t want to answer this same question again for the next 10 years.
Matt (Guest): [00:16:15] So I’m happy to spend a day out of my businesses, it’s not losing money which a lot of people think. “If I spend a day out of my business I’m going to lose money.” Dude, Jonesie, you haven’t got the time. You know it’s going to cost me money.” You’ve got to do this and that’s why I’m so passionate. I shake people around. One of our premises is you got to change the way you think.
Matt (Guest): [00:16:34] Yes that’s right. We’ve got to the point now we’ve even created like a custom, like a platform, for tradies to go create systems and processes for themselves. A platform they can own and they can take charge that. This is how important we feel for you.
Matt (Host): [00:16:49] What’s that called, that platform?
Matt (Guest): [00:16:51] We call it our Wickie. It’s a tradie web guys Wickie but basically companies can come in and they can buy. It’s all set up. It’s got the whole process platform built for them. All they need to do is go in there put their own systems into it.
Matt (Host): [00:17:03] Where do they find that one?
Matt (Guest): [00:17:06] Go through tradiewebguys.com.au/systems.
Craig: [00:17:09] We’ll put that in the show notes.
Matt (Guest): [00:17:13] It’s great. We’ve built it off of a framework that’s owned by Google. So it’s all hosted on Google servers, which makes it very cloud based and reliable.
Matt (Host): [00:17:22] So it’s a number one thing where a lot of people struggle to get the procedures down pat. I’m sure the listeners will testify that it’s a slight.
Matt (Guest): [00:17:29] Yes it’s hard. The one thing that we see time and time again and I was stuck there when I was operating my gig is, “Why don’t people think like me?”.
Matt (Host): [00:17:37] You’re never going to replicate that.
Matt (Guest): [00:17:38] Yes and again that reason is education because you’ve been there, you’ve invested in yourself and you’ve learned these things. There are people out there that want to do the same, which is where we come into play.
Craig: [00:17:51] Perfect segway to my question. So I’m going to address you as Guest Matt Jones so as not to confuse our listeners, Special Guest Matt Jones, as opposed to Host Matt Jones. Special Guest Matt Jones, how much barrier to entry? It strikes me that you would have a lot of plumbers coming, based on the conversation we just had at last a couple of minutes, “Yes, yes Jonesie but I’ve got this secret recipe and I don’t want to let go.” Then they come around again they have another chat. What is it for you to convert them to get onto it? You say the Site Shared on your website you say, “Site Shared is for action takers.” I love that, which makes people that are willing to let go and invest in themselves, that’s how I take it. If it’s you I’ll see you on the inside. So how many touch points do you have to have with some people, not all, to get them to the point where they go, “Jonesie, I think you’re right.”.
Matt (Guest): [00:18:33] It’s a good question. To be honest with you it varies a lot. Obviously with the podcasts, if people have been listening to the podcasts a long time.
Craig: [00:18:42] It’s an easier conversion.
Matt (Guest): [00:18:42] They know, like and trust us. This was part of the reason why we did it. I mean, it was a way that people can know, like and trust us as an authority in that market. Crediblity.
Craig: [00:18:53] I think the community, I think you raise a really key point. If there’s a tradie out there listening to this, this is an interview with someone who’s walked in their shoes. I love it said Matt Jones Host, walking in the shoes and Matt Jones Special Guest has also walked in the shoes of a plumber. So we’re not talking to two people here that have come from the outside as business consultants. We’re talking to a couple of guys, who have done their apprenticeship, done the TAFE course, made the same mistakes that you’ve made and now it’s you guys have risen yourself. This leads me to my next questions, what got you there? What got you to stop being the plumber? How did you manage to educate yourself? What was the critical point?
Matt (Guest): [00:19:27] I spent a couple of years, well 3 years, travelling. The standard Australian pilgrimage, North America, Europe and that kind of thing. While I was away I started reading. I really took an interest in books and business books. So when I got back to Australia, I was sort of in that mindset of I really enjoyed it. I really enjoy that. I know a lot of people don’t appreciate that. However I quite enjoyed it. So that’s gotten got me thinking. To be honest with you every book I read and read I think it became more and more unemployable.
Matt (Host): [00:20:03] You got to do it yourself.
Matt (Guest): [00:20:05] Right. So anyway then I found myself in a sales and marketing role for a plumbing organization. We were bringing in technology out of Europe and selling it to plumbers predominantly throughout Asia-Pacific. It was high ticket product investment for them. I just noticed, at that point, that there were so many people that really had no idea. They’d go on to spend you know 300,000 bucks on a set up and they didn’t know how to market it. “Okay so this is going to be a problem for him?” How do we get them to that point where they’ve got the equipment the technology and all the stuff they need to do the job? Now we need to make sure they’re getting it in front of the right message in front of the right people. So to me that was a relatively easy segue in the sense that I think I could see there was a problem there. My goodness, it was apparent. I’m not answering your question am I?
Craig: [00:21:00] No, you are, beautifully.
Matt (Guest): [00:21:04] So then that segue into that business that was quite easy based on the fact that I sort of already knew that was it was valid and there was a need for it. Then the rest of it, it kind of again, sort of evolved through observation. Now we’re obviously educating people, we’re running workshops, we’re getting good feedback from you know the web design side of things, how can we impact more people? Well let’s try podcasting. Do tradies listen to podcasts? Probably not. There might be 5% of them back then that did. Now that 5% of people that listen to podcasts were the 5% that I want to be talking to. I don’t want to waste my time.
Craig: [00:21:42] Action types.
Matt (Guest): [00:21:44] Exactly. So it’s a good filter as well. It’s a testament to the community we’ve built by the people there in that community. They’re all very likeminded and they’re all action takers. So the conversations that are in there are excellent. It’s got nothing to do with me. Even to be fair the podcast themselves have nothing to do with me, like it’s who you have on the show. It’s their stories. People don’t want to hear me crap on about how to build a website. They don’t really care. People want to hear success stories or they want to hear from people that are really good at what they do. This is what has grown that brand or grown the entire brand both businesses really.
Craig: [00:22:21] Have you got a favorite book?
Matt (Guest): [00:22:23] I do have a favorite book. It’s a book by Florence Littauer which Matt is pointing out his own book. It’s a cracking book, by the way, you should definitely go and read, “Power Up Your Tradie Business.”.
Matt (Host): [00:22:37] Well they didn’t have to read it.
Craig: [00:22:39] Perfect.
Matt (Host): [00:22:41] It’s a book by Florence Littauer called, “Personality Plus.” It’s a book on personality profiling and that book changed my life. You know these people have books they gift to way beyond their own. I’ve given that. I used to buy that book in boxes in the case and I said give it away to people.
Craig: [00:22:57] It talks about working with different people and four different personality types.
Matt (Guest): [00:23:01] Yes. What it taught me was it’s common to be different in a few different things. It’s actually an ancient, it’s not ancient. It dates back to Greek mythology that the whole mindset of people falling into a combination of four different personality patterns. Understanding first of all your personality and why you annoy people so much. Actually I released a podcast probably a year ago. It was called, “Understanding why you annoy people so much.” I was talking about some of these principles. When you do understand that like I realized why I piss people off so much. Can I swear on this podcast?
Craig: [00:23:34] Of course you can.
Matt (Host): [00:23:38] That’s where we have to kick you off.
Craig: [00:23:39] He’s a tradie.
Matt (Host): [00:23:39] This is the lunch shed.
Matt (Guest): [00:23:44] When you understand your personality it makes it a lot easier to communicate with different types of personalities like you understand how to speak to them differently. If it’s an analytical person, they want to hear things about figures and that kind of thing. If you’re the party type of personality, don’t start talking figures. The key thing about their personality is about getting the right person in the right role. Often a lot of people are put in a role that they shouldn’t be there. They’re not productive. There’s been a lot people who say, “This person is no good or they got no idea.” If you put them in the right role they can thrive.
Matt (Host): [00:24:15] Exactly.
Matt (Guest): [00:24:16] This comes back to, it’s all about understanding, that everyone’s different. How do you approach people differently? You know I was back in the tradie day in that tradie mindset. Too easy, so this bloke’s an idiot move on. So it’s all about that’s the whole thing about, we as business owners need to get a community of a team on board that are engaged and put the right people in the right place. This is one of the key things in moving. Just do it. The key question now and this is just relates directly to your business. Okay so we said we’re in a time now where things are changing rapidly in the world that we live in. Business is moving fast. Technology. We’ve a lot of competition. The barriers to entry are quite low. It’s not hard to be certified right now. Customers expect plenty. I love saying when we were doing a tradie workshop where your customer will see a couple seasons of the block and they’re very happy to tell you how long it’s going to take and what they are going to charge. So they know it all. The customers know it all.
Craig: [00:25:18] It’s a great point isn’t it?
Matt (Host): [00:25:21] My wife she thinks she’s a doctor. Yes. Yeah. It’s amazing.
Matt (Guest): [00:25:35] So there’s compliance cost. The cost of doing business is tough. Then the fourth thing is to then the cloud. The technology like what we’re playing now and where you’re applying in a digital platform is changing all the time.
Matt (Host): [00:25:49] So Mattie from your point of view how are you going to position your business next year, year after, next decade to ensure that you remain relevant in a very hotly contested space?
Matt (Guest): [00:26:04] I would argue that it’s not very hotly contested because a lot of people out there, I mean sure there’s web designers, there’s marketing agencies but there’s not really a lot of people that focus exclusively on the niche. So yes I mean there’s people that do the same thing but they don’t. It’s not like their driver you know. Staying relevant is about evolution. You got to evolve, like you said, the landscape of business is changing. I don’t know if that’s necessarily changing more today than it was 20 or 30 years ago, which is different right now. Now we’re moving online. I mean I’m sure they had problems back then as well. You know like, “Wow, look at this. This is like, check out this phonebook it’s amazing, you can put your phone numbers on a phone book?” Can you imagine how much of a real revelation that would have been back in the day.
Matt (Host): [00:26:51] A little bit of a revelation too when Henry Ford come up with an automobile.
Matt (Guest): [00:26:54] Right. Exactly. So I think it just changes and you’ve just got to be as a business owner, any business owner, it doesn’t matter what industry or niche you are in. You’re either green or growing or you’re ripe or rotting. What do you want to be? You got to keep moving.
Matt (Host): [00:27:07] I like that.
Matt (Guest): [00:27:08] Thank you, you can use it.
Matt (Host): [00:27:09] Thank you.
Craig: [00:27:11] That’s pretty good.
Matt (Host): [00:27:14] I love what you said about the niche. There’s a lot of tradie business owners. They struggle to get a real niche. They’re trying to be all things to all people. They say yes to everyone because I think if I say no then they’re not going to get the next job. Unfortunately the old mindset, they try to please everyone, the people they don’t please is generally their family and themselves. From a marketing point of view there is nothing more painful than when somebody, when we are trying to build a web project or a marketing strategy or something like that for a company, they say. “What do you want to do?” They say, “Well plumbing is my game right.” “Okay cool. So what do you specialize in?” “Well everything, I do everything.” “What do you mean everything?” “Oh I do you know maintenance and I do construction and I do new homes and I do tap washers and I do all this kind of stuff.” From a marketing point of view how the hell are you going to show up? Who are you targeting that marketing towards? It’s very easy, if somebody, I’ve been saying this for years, if you can niche yourself in something it doesn’t mean that you only have to do that. What it does mean is that you will get your foot in the door with that certain thing and then you get the opportunity to sell into other areas.
Matt (Host): [00:28:24] 100%.
Matt (Guest): [00:28:24] It’s amazing that trying to be all things to all people and that’s the thing where generally when you try to be all things to all people you are going to compete on price a lot. Why? Because you’re not seen as an authority, you’re not exactly sure. This comes back to your website. You’ve got to speak to that profitable client. When I talk to a lot of clients I say, “Who’s your most profitable market?” Then we look at the numbers their numbers their profitability is down that’s actually that type of client is costing them money but because they’re busy because they have them on their beck and call they think automatically that they’re the best clients. Don’t be afraid to fire the client. Like I sacked one last week. I just love it.
Matt (Host): [00:29:02] It’s the best.
Craig: [00:29:02] How empowering is it? How did you do it? Let’s get to that point. It’s nerve racking?
Matt (Guest): [00:29:08] No, not at all. I’ve done it enough. I love it.
Craig: [00:29:10] For you but for the average plumber out there who listen to these podcasts.
Matt (Host): [00:29:12] The average business owner is tough for them.
Craig: [00:29:14] Let’s just say for the novice, the guys complained, “Jonesie, this client drives me crazy. I don’t know what to do. What’s the advice?”
Matt (Guest): [00:29:22] So this has been a conversation that’s been happening in our group. Only last week actually. It’s really important as business owners and yes it is tricky if you’re running a business and maybe you’re just getting started. Look I’m guilty of this as well. Back you know when you’re getting started, you often just take work because you need it. You’re not alone. You don’t take it cause you necessarily eager.
Matt (Host): [00:29:43] You need to get started somewhere.
Matt (Guest): [00:29:44] Right. So I think like an important exercise for people out there that are listening to this would be: get an idea and write this sort of stuff down. Get like a profile down, profile the type of customer that you’d like to work for. Profile the type of customer you’d like to work for. Profile the type of jobs that you would like to be doing. Build I suppose a service or build your offering around that and take that to market. Don’t go out there with a shotgun approach and just you know go okay we will do all this sort of stuff. Really think about what’s the profitable jobs for you. Where is the money? What are you good at importantly? What problems are you an expert at solving? This applies to people that are already in business and they’re looking at ways that like, you were saying before, there being too much to everybody within their own company like as business owners they’re playing in the accounting, they’re playing in their marketing.
Matt (Host): [00:30:43] They’re wearing multiple hats.
Matt (Guest): [00:30:46] They’re taking the calls. They’re dispatching. They’re doing all this stuff.
Matt (Host): [00:30:49] Hiring and firing.
Matt (Guest): [00:30:50] So you’ve got to sit back and you’ve got to assess, where is your time best spent within your organization? Likewise where is your time best spent for your customers? Then you can figure out a way from there to either outsource the other tasks or what we’re talking about targeting marketing towards a certain niche and that certain customer because that profiling that will dictate your marketing if you’re doing it properly. It will dictate your language and your website. It will dictate your logo design and it will dictate everything. If you’re designing, you know if you’re like a home automation specialist, you’re not going to go out there with a traditional looking brand that speaks to a 90 year old.
Matt (Host): [00:31:31] Stone age.
Matt (Guest): [00:31:33] So all this stuff is relevant and it’s all part of your message and your brand.
Matt (Host): [00:31:36] So as a takeaway there because that’s a really good point for the listeners this is how one of the key things we work on profiling ABC- 3 key things we are working on. Number one is what is the gross profit that that customer delivers. Two, are they good payers? Do they pay on time? Then three do they refer? Great work. So if they tick those boxes they’re very profitable, they pay on time and they referred work within it within your community. Then they’re A game and I would say that probably the last two of those would come down to, as the business owner, the way that you handle system and that process. So are they a good payer? Okay well what systems have you got in place to ensure that they’re paying on time and they’re sticking to those payment schedules? Like if you just send out an invoice to somebody and they don’t pay it. You go “nup, crap client like they don’t pay”. Is it really their fault or is it the fact that you’re not following it up properly?
Matt (Host): [00:32:29] They need the process first.
Matt (Host): [00:32:31] Right. And the same would apply to the gross profitability. That comes down to, “Are you efficient at delivering that work.” Sometimes you might be doing being busy doing a lot of work but you’re clunkier doing it right.
Matt (Guest): [00:32:48] This is what I’m saying you know like figure out what you’re actually good at so you can offload what you’re not good at. Third thing where I come down to which is referring work is critical, which a lot of people don’t take into consideration, because I’m talking about people, who you need to be work with brand advocates. You need to work with brand advocates that actually get and appreciate what you deliver. Those brand advocates will actively be telling people it at the barbecue go talk to Jonesie because he’s a freak. You can still work with people, who are potentially good profit, pay on time but they don’t really get the value that you deliver. They’re not going to extend your mark as you’d agree. Most businesses word of mouth is critical in terms of getting that brand advocacy because I see it time and time again where I’ll be in a room full of 30 tradies. “How’s business?” They’ll go flat out. Business is booming, can’t keep up with the leads, can’t keep up with the referrals and then I say, “How’s your cash flow? How’s your profitability?” I’m struggling hand-to-mouth and can’t keep up.Well straight away your getting the wrong type of referrals.This Is a key thing where they’re the type of A grade clients and we’re playing a long game here. It’s not about getting our lead to be busy today. I want to build a relationship that I am with you for the next 30 years.
Craig: [00:34:01] Gents, can I ask you both another question on profiling. I think you raised a really good point about personality before Jonesie you’re talking about profits or gross profits. Then we talk about profiling customers. Is it important for tradies to profile their own team and contractors. It’s one thing to profile your customers but also you gotta have the right team on board and that gets back to have I got the right system.
Matt (Guest): [00:34:25] Actually’ it’s more important.
Matt (Host): [00:34:28] You can break down an employment agreement and all these company policies and that the one document I’m a big believer in which is the way we do it. Number one, these are our values. This is how we roll on a date. This is what we believe in. This is how it dictates our behaviors. Number two, this is our customer promise, as an example one call then it’s done. Do we believe we can deliver that? Then also our vision. What’s our purpose that we’re trying to attain? I think I’m a big one on hire an attitude and train for skill.
Matt (Guest): [00:34:55] Yes. Well yes, I mean to a degree. Yes, I mean a prime example of that would be, we get people all the time offering like marketing services and things they wanted to work with us. I don’t give a shit if you’ve got a marketing degree. Show me what you can do.
Matt (Host): [00:35:12] That comes out of your attitude doesn’t it.
Craig: [00:35:14] It’s results driven.
Matt (Guest): [00:35:15] Right. It’s a little bit different with plumbing because you obviously have to have a certain level of skill level. However, I 100% agree. I’d rather take an average plumber with the right attitude than a gun plumber with a shit attitude.
Matt (Host): [00:35:27] I’ve been in organizations we’ve got a star on the tools but he’s a cancer for the culture.
Matt (Guest): [00:35:32] It’s common and often those people are the worst because they’ve got that I’m better than everyone out here attitude.
Matt (Host): [00:35:37] The boss is a dickhead and then he can infiltrate the whole team.
Matt (Guest): [00:35:40] Right.
Craig: [00:35:42] I’m going to tell you the takeaway, as a businessman on a journey as well. What I love about being the co-host on The Power up Your Business tradie business podcast, mate I’ve learnt so much just talking to you in this last 40 minutes.
Matt (Guest): [00:35:55] Wait for the invoice.
Craig: [00:35:56] You know what I’m looking for because it goes straight to Jonesie after I add mine. Seriously I mean, where is the starting point? I mean you talk about just on this particular topic, we talk about profiling the customer. Is that first because we’ve spent so much time on process do we get our process bedded down? You make a great point. Is he not paying because I haven’t got my processes right? Is it process then profile then personality?
Matt (Guest): [00:36:21] I’d say first of all for all the listeners out there, if you’re that type of person that thinks, “They’re a shit customer. This guy’s a shit employee. You know this, this piece projects I keep getting a shit.” The problem is not them. The problem is you. Look in the mirror. So you’ve got to look true. You go to look the truth head on. You’re in charge of this at the end the day. You can’t blame everything you on the economy, Donald Trump and all this sort of stuff. At the end of the day, you’re in control of it. You build your own economy.
Craig: [00:36:54] How bad when they killed Osama bin Laden, we had none left. Now it’s Trump.
Matt (Host): [00:36:59] Trump stepped in. Just on that and this is the thing about processes that you know talk about. Easy example: collection. Now, if you’re trying to be all things to all people and to all different customer types. Every different customer has got a different terms and a different way to collect cash. Commercial client is totally different to a residential client. Yes Mum and Dad is different to a builder. Maintenance work is different from a project work. This is the key thing, you’re going to be clunky if you’re trying to be all things to all people because you’re not going to have a tight process.
Matt (Guest): [00:37:27] The irony is, well for a lot of these things we’re talking about, these processes, payments and that payment process that kind of thing, I would say honestly 95% of that I reckon you can automate. I think it doesn’t matter what sort of client you’re dealing with, there might be a builder, project work, could be residential, whatever that process- the follow up process, all that kind of stuff for the better part can be automated. .
Matt (Host): [00:37:58] Would you agree if you’re doing 10 different types of clients?
Matt (Host): [00:38:03] That’s all about focus, one focus just automate and nail it.
Matt (Guest): [00:38:06] Spot on.
Matt (Guest): [00:38:07] I mean look that if you’re trying to be everything to everyone then we’re not just talking about chasing bills. This is applicable, you need to have multiple vertical profiles for every single area of your business. Like it just turns into a shit fight.
Matt (Guest): [00:38:21] Yeah you know you’re definitely right there. That’s why I think nicheing is definitely where it’s at.
Matt (Host): [00:38:27] Now finishing up now, what’s the best piece of advice you can give to a budding entrepreneur? We’re talking about entrepreneurs if you are a trader right now and you’re about to start a business we’re framing you as an entrepreneur. What’s the best bit of advice that you would give to someone starting out right now? They’ve been joining me for a couple of years. What would you sort of give to someone?
Matt (Guest): [00:38:52] Oh man there’s so many. Be careful who you listen to and be wary of specialists that’s always a bit of a catch cry for me.
Matt (Host): [00:38:58] When you say beware a specialist in what way?
Matt (Guest): [00:39:00] Well so for example you know if you go to a SEO specialist and you’re trying to sell e-commerce products, you know you’re not leaving with AdWords campaign you will be leaving with SEO. So just be wary I suppose of who you speak to and that’s what’s important I suppose. There’s a lot of information out there. Just find the right stuff that’s reasonable on the podcast. I’m very selective with guests that we get on the show.
Matt (Host): [00:39:27] That’s why I’ve been on your podcast.
Matt (Guest): [00:39:28] Yes exactly. Yes that was.
Matt (Host): [00:39:29] That’s why you’re in this one.
Matt (Guest): [00:39:29] Yes. Favorite downloads. Top charts gone internationally. He broke the internet.
Craig: [00:39:35] I just want to explore that a bit better Jonesie because I’m getting a lot of niche education here for our plumbers to niche everything down and specialist and niche to me are very closely aligned. How do you differentiate the niche from a specialist?
Matt (Guest): [00:39:48] Sorry. So when you’re talking we’re talking nicheing. We’re really targeting a vertical right. But when I’m talking about like a specialist, I’m talking about people that offer you one solution but don’t consider an ecosystem like that ecosystem that is at play.
Matt (Host): [00:40:03] This is the partners that the business owner needs to engage to help them. What we often, someone will go to a website guy to get the website. They’ll go to someone to give their marketing. Then you’ll get a nice little brochure. You’ll go to someone else, SEO and nothing is integrated. It’s all very clunky and generally cost a lot of time and money.
Matt (Guest): [00:40:22] That’s right and if you do it in the wrong order using that example you might go and have a lovely website, then you got marketing person to go that’s great but this is garbage. We can’t use this for marketing like this is a low converting web page and it’s got no landing pages. So you know as a business owner you’ve kind of got to be, you take this information on board or just deal with somebody who knows what they’re talking about. You go to find those people.
Matt (Host): [00:40:44] So and that’s a hard thing in this day and age.
Matt (Guest): [00:40:46] Well it is because there’s a lot of people out there who proclaim, I suppose, to be that person. I think if you just take a step back and you sort of observe from an observation point of view, you know just you don’t have to act immediately on these kind of things. Let’s just be open to ideas but you don’t necessarily have to jump all over them.
Matt (Host): [00:41:07] I’m a big one on with business owners talk about being a student not a follower. So get a lot of information on a lot of different people then make up your own mind based on the facts rather than just take for granted this is what someone said.
Matt (Guest): [00:41:20] So what that means is you’ve got to always be a student. As a business owner you must be astute. You’ve got to try and learn every day. The key thing is about the community, which is a great thing that you’re building. You know you’ve got a good community there of trust and authority and that’s a great place to put a question out. “Hey guys what do you think about this,” which is you know one of the big things about your platform which is a credit to what you’re building. I suppose as well but different businesses are different. There’s different ways that you could build communities within different organizations. If you’re a maintenance electrician or plumber, it’s probably not going to have like a massive Facebook community where you’re talking about electrical related things but there’s other ways that you can do it. So just going to be creative. I suppose explore those different options and see what’s going to work for you. It might be a newsletter or it might be like a some sort of meet up and whatever it is.
Matt (Host): [00:42:11] It’s all about test to measure.
Matt (Guest): [00:42:14] Right. Well that’s the thing as well like, there’s no right or wrong here you’ve got to split test things.
Matt (Host): [00:42:21] Just finish up, what is the best bit of advice that you’ve had on your journey today? So very clearly that stuck out that based on that advice it really changed your trajectory and probably thinking?
Matt (Guest): [00:42:36] Good question.
Matt (Host): [00:42:36] Stumped him.
Matt (Guest): [00:42:40] I think as being told I think the best bit of advice, the best revelation that I had in the business was understanding why I suppose my personality and then how I can communicate with people as we talked about before. So that was important that didn’t necessarily come as a bit of advice that anyone gave me but it’s something that I learned which was very valuable on the way, which is why everyone just loves me now.
Craig: [00:43:07] Who inspires you? Who are your mentors that you take advice or you know people guide you through this journey?
Matt (Guest): [00:43:13] I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts. I’ve got some good people in my life. Matt knows, Peter Cox quite well. So he’s helped me a lot over the years and I listen to a lot of podcasts with people. The beauty of podcasting you can have these mentors and not pay for it.
Craig: [00:43:30] What are some of your favorites? Let’s get a couple out there.
Matt (Guest): [00:43:32] I love the Tim Ferris podcast and I love the guests that he has on the podcast. That’s another thing as well You know a lot of these, you can listen to something and they might have written a book. You know the guest on the show may have written a book and you can go and download the book and you can read the book and then you can learn from those people as well. So there’s lots of different ways that you can get exposure to these things and things that as well it may not be directly reflective of your business. There’s a podcast I listen to at the moment, which is about storytelling. Now that’s not necessarily directly tied to a digital business. However what I’m trying to learn there is how to communicate better.
Matt (Host): [00:44:15] So every business owner needs to improve their storytelling.
Matt (Guest): [00:44:17] So there’s little things like that you know and you can pick that sort of stuff up. You can go and search for things that you want. You can effectively get that information just by looking for what you’re after you know. It’s there you got to go find it. In terms of mentors, coaches and stuff like it’s something that I’ve been so wary with this over the years because I’ve had so many business coaches, which to be honest they’ve just really not cut it. So that’s a work in progress, finding people that can coach you the right way. It’s great now because especially for my community. We’ve got so many really good people coaches and people with programs things like that that I can refer to people, who are looking for certain areas in their business if they’re tradies. So that’s been really powerful for them because it’s kind of like I’ve filtered all this shit out for them.
Matt (Host): [00:45:10] Well that’s why you’re the authority. So they come to you, trusted community like that. The great thing on your podcast you have interviewed a lot of people internationally, in America and overseas, who have done very well yet. The people can again not just in their own little environment but they can really get a feel for what’s happening internationally.
Matt (Guest): [00:45:29] It’s good having guests on the show or being guests like yourselves like people. If it’s something that you say communicates or resonates with that person then they know where to get you. They’ve sort of got that but that’s why it’s quite a powerful platform because it gives people that initial level of entry.
Matt (Host): [00:45:55] Well Matt, awesome to have you on board today. Thank you very much.
Matt (Guest): [00:45:59] No worries.
Matt (Host): [00:46:01] Where to find Matt, we’ll be having the show notes for the tradie web guys and the Site Shed podcast.
Matt (Guest): [00:46:06] Yes. You can find it through the siteshared.com obviously across iTunes Stitcher, SoundCloud wherever you consume your podcasting media.
Matt (Host): [00:46:15] Oh very good he’s done that before. Awesome what you’re doing. Really love, we’re passionate about the tradie industry and the more people that we can impact, improve their performance and improve their lives ultimately than happy days, that’s what we’re really about.
Matt (Guest): [00:46:30] Yes that’s right. It’s good as well I suppose working with people that have that same sort of drive and that same goal.
Matt (Host): [00:46:36] Let’s just smash it.
Craig: [00:46:39] I’ve taken a page full of notes, Jonesie great to have you in. Jonesie, great to have you hosting.
Matt (Host): [00:46:43] Thanks Bush.
Matt (Guest): [00:46:43] Thanks boys.
Craig: [00:46:46] You’ve been listening to the Power up Your Business podcast with our host Matt Jones and of course our special guest Matt Jones and no they’re not the same person. They look the same. They sound the same. Great advice. Listen In tradies.
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