What's up? This is Keith Kalfas with The Untrapped Podcast and The Landscaping Employee Trap.
We're doing a special talk today and also on video. So not only can you catch this on The Untrapped Podcast, but also here on video on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram.
We have a special guest...
We have Brandon Vaughn from the brand Conquer
What's up, Brandon?
What's up, Keith? Good to be here man.
Brandon is a very special person. Here is a guy who owned a window cleaning, soft washing, and pressure washing business. He brought it from just a little tiny business back in the day and blew it up to a half a million dollars a month.
He had over 60 employees and got to the point where he was implementing systems into his business.
I've learned a ton from Brandon. He has been the keynote speaker at tons of Industry events and also has the Conquer program where he's helping change and improve the lives, families, and businesses of many small business owners.
Like I went to the Conquer Summit that you guys had last year and I was just phenomenal the level of training.
But today we're going to talk about something that's in the air right now and talk about how this COVID-19 Coronavirus is impacting you. How it is impacting your business and what can we do about it.
There are different mindsets to how we are going to respond because we don't really know what happens next, there's a small gap in our ability to respond to anything.
How are we going to handle this? And what are some of the best things that we can do?
What's up, man?
Yeah. This is definitely unprecedented times. Right? I mean, I think it's safe to say that most service business owners have not weathered something like this in their lifetime.
It's new, it's different. It presents new challenges, but your response should be the same whether what the outcome is going to be. We cannot allow COVID-19 to destroy us. We need to be stronger than ever right now.
Something is happening in the economy and we all are up against this nasty bug that's going around.
So our response to this really ends up being kind of the same thing as far as best practices on how to weather the storm and how to handle it.
I think that at the beginning there's a lot of people that we're saying,
"Is this real?"
"Is it really something that is even going to turn out to anything?"
"It's just overhyped Media stuff."
But there were also people who were worried about it from the very beginning. I think now it's starting to kind of turn a little bit more into people understanding and taking this seriously. This means business owners should be extra cautious and proactive with this situation of 2020.
I like to tell a small story about the buffalo. Whenever there is a problem happening in the buffalo's presence, whether it be bad weather or a potential threat, the buffalo will run towards to problem. Any other animal will usually run the other way in the opposite direction. We have to be the buffalo and take those chances.
This is really serious. I think that most of the people who have decided to be the buffalo and run towards the problems rather than run away from them are the people that make it out just fine.
There is shifting right now in everyone's consciousness to where people are understanding this and taking proactive action in their lives and businesses.
Yeah, and if there's one person that knows and I mean it's you. The conversations that I've had with you, the storms you've had to weather, and the anxieties that you've been through in your business have really given you perspective.
Perspective is a huge thing.
I know that when I went through 2008 it was tough, but I had this drive to make it all work and not accept failure. It's interesting to see some people that haven't been through that. Like the younger guys that started young and just crushed it right away. I'll tell you one thing, we came into 2008 swinging, but there are some people who didn't come out so well because they gave up and they lost all momentum.
I think there's an interesting thing that's happening right now in service businesses. There are some people that are looking at something where they're dealing with some real issues. They're dealing with problems and they're crushing it still, right?
So they're actually going out there. They're pivoting. They're offering different cleaning and sanitizing surfaces. They're reaching out to their news and media stations. They're chasing down the problem head-on.
I've talked to some home service business owners where they're booked out for like weeks and months in advance right. One guy I know has $200,000 worth work that's lined up for like the next month and a half.
But then you also have people that are really struggling.
I think it kind of varies in different trades. Some people like to operate in the cleaning industry. You have a unique advantage to really be a leader in your community.
So I think what's happening to people is they're letting the fear and anxiety of what could happen to paralyze them from taking action right now. The thing is, is that I always like to talk about is the 3 different stages.
So, depression is living in the past something that's happened before or in the past year. That's where depression really comes from.
Anxiety is the opposite. It's living in the future. It's being so freaked out and so stressed out about these things that could happen that you get paralyzed. And the reality is that a lot of those things are your deepest fears and your deepest anxieties.
They may never come to fruition. How many times have we been so anxious and so freaked out because we have nothing on the schedule for tomorrow and we're like,
"Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?"
So much anxiety in your heart that feels like racing in your pulses, pounding and you are just freaking out. All of your employees are all stressed out and then later on that afternoon you get a call for a huge job, and you are now booked out for 2 months.
Then you're like,
"Oh, sweet everything's good."
But that time period when we are so anxious, you're worried about things that may or may not even happen.
Whereas that contentment, that happiness, is being in the now. Taking things one day at a time.
Just present this with your team or your family. Present this with your life in general. The fact that we're here and we can breathe in and we can enjoy it. I think that mindset is a big critical component as a business leader to whether your business is going to struggle or whether it's going to thrive.
As a business leader, it is so important to be present and then demonstrate that, and be the role model to the people on your team and in your family, and also friends. Acting as though you have a sense of calm about you no matter what.
And one thing I want to add to what you're saying is, for some of you guys out there that know this, I used to be a huge conspiracy guy back and 2008. I was on the internet too much and I went down a rabbit hole.
This is a good point.
I spent a few years thinking about the worst possible scenarios. I'm mad because that stuff didn't even happen and I spent so much time worrying about it.
I realized it because I make YouTube videos.
Anybody can make a really catchy thumbnail and a catchy headline. This is how you can drive traffic. There are people that put content out there to capitalize on the chaos. It is not something that encourages positivity, and I urge anyone reading this to not get sucked in.
Example of chaos generated thumbnails to hook you into watching:
Yeah, I think it's a good point. I think the one thing that you mentioned with regards to, you know being surrounded by it, and kind of being in that world, is just kind of managing the stress and making sure that you're not totally freaking out. You have to take a break from it.
Take a break from social media. Take a break from watching the news and checking these things out.
And if you're constantly Googling like,
You're just going to go deeper and deeper. As a leader of your teams. I just have to tell you that your family is counting on you. You can't just do that. You have to be present and make sure that they know you are going to keep it all together.
One thing that I have personally experienced in my business before was as the CEO, I would walk into my company and people would sense that I'm anxious. I'm talking about how I'm stressed out I am about work. I would talk about how I'm stressed about this vehicle that's down, or I'm stressed out about this next job that might be canceled.
Things start to happen like where everyone is bickering with each other and now they're stressed out and freaking out. Then the performance of the entire team goes down. So I actually had to put on this face of coming into my company and being like,
"What's up, guys? We're going to crush it today. We're going to have an amazing day. You guys are amazing. We absolutely got this."
You have to have that confidence level. It's almost, kind of like a for me, was like a fake it till you make it type thing. I had to fake that I was confident and I had to be that persona until finally, it would start manifesting itself in my company.
And then once that is manifested in my company, things were under control. Then it really gave me the confidence that I was pretending I had before. It makes a big impact on how you deliver that message to your team and your family.
I want to put you on the spot right here too because wouldn't you say that, learning how to respond and be responsible for the energy that you bring into an environment around other people is so important? That contributed to all the success that you've created and where you're at today?
But also, can you tell the story along with that of the story of how you had the word control ripped up on a piece of paper?
Yeah, so it was in order to be able to grow a business you have to put a lot of trust and confidence in other people. You have to be optimistic, especially if you're going to grow fast. If you are always worrying about what could go wrong or how much could crumble and fall apart and asking yourself,
"Well, what if that new employee screws me and what if this person takes advantage of me?"
You're never going to be able to experience growth in your business period. You have to let go of control. I was at this point in time to where I was in a bad place with my business. We were experiencing rapid growth and then it almost kind of imploded. Half of my employees quit on me within 30 days.
I was really freaking out.
I became very bitter towards other team members. Other employees became like,
"Oh, I got to do it all myself."
It wasn't until I sat down with my business coach. She actually made me write down the word control on a piece of paper. She slid it across her desk and I picked it up, I wrote it down, and I said to myself,
"Okay, I got this."
But then she's like,
"No, I want you to tear it into a million tiny pieces that you possibly can."
She just sat there quietly at her desk while I did this and I just tore all of these pieces apart. I actually started crying. I actually got emotional because I was tearing this up and it was a silly stupid thing. There's a piece of paper that had the word control on it, but it just symbolized kind of a turning point for me when you realize that you have to depend upon other people.
You have to depend upon your team. And you just have to lead with optimism.
I think that's a challenge. Especially in the age of social media and keyboard warriors. Everyone wants to give their opinion and if someone's really struggling, in order to feel better about themselves, they post all their negativity online and tear everyone else down because it makes them feel better.
We're surrounded by that everywhere that we look.
So as a business leader, what are you going to do? Are you going to buy it?
A lot of business owners are going to rise above it and lift people up. But some are going to try to tear down and be a fear monger. I think that that's the kind of choice that you have and that I have. We all have that choice right now. Amidst the crisis like this.
When people look back on it, the leaders are the ones who are going to thrive after it. They just are.
I know that things are going to be a lot harder right now. So we have to hustle that much harder and gather all of the skills that we've learned these last few years. All of it is going to come into play right now.
So what are some of those behaviors and things that you foresee are the most important right now?
I think the most important thing is to be proactive. Don't be reactive at this time. Don't say,
"Oh well. We'll just wait and see what is going to happen. We have to wait and see until this all shakes out before, you know, we make decisions to keep marketing and to keep reaching out to our customers."
If you are like,
"I'm just going to wait to see what the market is going to be like so I can kind of see how things shake out."
You're going to find yourself in a really bad place.
You have to make sure that you're putting the gas pedal down because right now there are people who may not want to use your services. But there is also a bunch of people that do want and need your services. There may be a whole new area over here of opportunity that's available to you.
And there's also all of the odds and ends that constantly need to be done in our businesses that we can play catch up within this downtime.
If you actually are proactive, then you will go out and try to find that opportunity. I think that the people who tend to be thriving are the ones who have already created a video educating all their customers about the things that they're going to be doing.
They've already created the content to be able to educate their local community. They're already reaching out to the news media. They're being proactive and are not waiting to see how it affects their business. They're just moving forward as if they are going to thrive.
You just gave me a massive Insight. I was concerned about that specific thing and I don't mean to sound cold, but the other companies that are shrinking in this time. They're going to reduce their capacity to take care of clients.
So moving forward and being fully proactive and on the hustle, you have to keep putting the gas pedal down.
I think this is a really important thing when service business owners are looking to put the same effort as if you're trying to grow your business and continue to grow your business. You may not actually grow leaps. You may be able to just stay at the current level to where you're not having to lay people off or have to make severe moves.
If you can't work out in the field during these times, then you can start working from home building your online presence for your company and getting into programs that will automate everything in your business.
Start building all of that stuff out if you haven't already.
One of my favorite programs we use is JOBBER. So far we like it a lot. Jobber makes things so much easier when it comes to being able to make a quote up quickly or send your customer an invoice.
JOBBER has so many capabilities, including scheduling, sending text reminders to you and your clients, keeping track of all of the client's data, and more.
Our website is built on KAJABI and it allows us to grow our service business by being able to access our website, marketing, community, and more from one single dashboard. I also make awesome looking emails that look professional and structured to my customers.
KAJABI is awesome. I think that if you have a budget for it, then you should really look into this platform. Here is the link that you can click to check it out.
These are just a few platforms we use to run our service businesses.
You can also send out text blasts to all of your customers on other platforms. Send out e-mail blasts. Voice mail Bomb Blasts.
Like, keep the pedal down. We are supposed to be starting next week. We're already getting booked out. The phone's ringing.
And normally I don't like to start until the first week of April. That is when the business is full-blown and the schedule is starting to become packed. We're getting all of our ducks in a row in Michigan where I'm from. It was literally was freezing the other night, then the next day it's warm, then the next day it's freezing and snowing. Michigan weather won't make up its mind. But it looks like we're starting a couple of weeks early here depending on the restrictions we may face considering the social distancing policies. But landscapers work far apart and outside. So I do not really see why our business would be shut down, but we'll see.
And so so what about guys in different areas of the country that are in different industries?
A lot of guys here that are reading this cut grass. They trim bushes. They install landscape projects.
What do you think about that? High ticket luxury projects versus all the general maintenance that's going to need to get done?
Well, I mean again, I think that the people are going to start panicking, are the ones that are going to start looking at how can they cut expenses. They're going to start looking at things they think are unnecessary expenses.
I think that the reactive business owner is going to take a look at that and they're going to say,
"Well, I'm just going to see how many people cancel. I'm going to see how many people decline services."
You shouldn't be thinking that way. You should be thinking about how you can get 10X more customers than you currently have right now. Ask yourself,
"How can I market to get even more customers coming into my business?"
Do you know who you just reminded me of?
Tony Robins, Personal Power, back in the day.
I was listening to that while I was out cutting grass. He had the story where he was in a race car getting coached. He said he would be turning the car and then he would pull this lever, and then spin the car out of control. And at first Tony Robins would always look at the wall to try to avoid the wall. So the professional race car driver coach conditioned him to look at where he wants to go and not the wall. Because his mind was pulling him into the wall and he was unconscious of it.
This is very important right now. We have all these distractions coming at us like being in a batting cage with all of them turned on and we have to focus on the target even harder now and really get clear about distraction.
Commit to yourself that you are only looking at the news twice a day instead of refreshing literally every 20 minutes. I mean dang, I know you want to be informed but too much obsession over it is going to be too much on your mental clarity.
Social media can be a really big problem too. One thing is that I just want to encourage anyone here is that the industry as a whole who's a service business owner right now is that we are all in this together.
You really have to view everyone in these industries as a family because everyone all over the country and our industries are struggling to wrap their head around these new rules and lockdowns.
There's a lot of people are struggling to survive. Not everyone, but there's a lot of people that are struggling. Like I just lost another $5,000 job and I just lost another $400 job. Thanks a lot, COVID-19. So I get it that right now, everyone is facing a struggle. But if we stay strong, and keep going and trucking through it, we will make it out on top.
I just watched the people of Italy singing from their balconies this morning and was beautiful. It was so inspiring. You have these people that are going through one of the biggest National Crises ever and everyone's all locked up in their house and they still manage to sing.
If you haven't seen that video you have to go watch it. It's really heartwarming. It was moving to watch this. There are all these people that are standing out on their balconies and they got their accordions and their drums. They're just singing and everyone is trying to be together, rather than in isolation.
I know people are freaked out, stressed out, and completely anxious. But you have a choice. You can get out of the balconies and you can sing, encourage, and lift somebody up.
Or you can be in isolation. You can post on social media and just talk about all the negative things that are going on right now and how it's impacting you in a negative way.
Now. This doesn't mean you shouldn't have an outlet to be able to handle and talk to someone or to have a support system on dealing with these negative things.
We still have the reality of the situation, but how you publicly project energy into the world is going to make a massive impact on our industry.
How awesome would it be if we could do that same thing like they're doing in Italy right now in our own industry with each other?
Reaching out and helping each other, providing each other with strategies and tactics and wins rather than just turning to social media to complain of all the terrible things that are going on. I mean, it's such a different way to look at it, but it's a choice.
That's true leadership.
You know, the encouragement is a very high vibration versus fear and discouragement. And so I'm thinking about that even now. So instead of just encouraging your household and your team, encourage your friends and family on social media too. We're going to get through this. Everything's going to be okay.
What are some of the experiences that you have heard of in the Conquer program? Are you getting the concerns expressed? And how do you communicate with them? What are some of the results that you're seeing?
Well, we know that none of us are immune to this virus and everyone is experiencing fear and anxiety, especially if they're on social media a lot and interacting with the negative posts.
But the biggest thing that we're coaching people is that we are trying to arm them with tools and practical steps. And the thing that makes me most proud about our community of 200 Conquer members, is that everyone is collaborating and sharing what they're doing that's getting really excellent response in their community.
They are sharing social media posts that are doing well that drum up a whole bunch of new business. They're sharing how they're communicating with their customers.
One of our concrete members created this insanely awesome video about all the steps that he's doing to make sure that the customer as a homeowner feels safe when they come on-site and are performing services.
He shared the b-roll with all of our Conquer members so that they could all produce their own videos. So there are ways that you can share and collaborate and team up, rather than just to be by yourself trying to figure out this all on your own. Get part of a community. If it's not Conquer, get part of a Facebook group and find a positive.
Can you talk about the experience you went through in your business before you sold it last year to move on to Conquer and built this whole community?
I remember on Facebook your team flew a drone up and it looked like an army that you had built and just in the video you could see your ability of how you empowered so many people to take the reins.
What is something really hard that you went through in your business that you had to control your mindset and get through? And you did get through it?
Probably one of the toughest things was when I had a former disgruntled employee who ended up just being total cancer to our company. Literally, he probably got a half dozen other employees to go into almost a full-blown revolt inside of my business.
And this was someone who I spent a tremendous amount of time, energy, and effort into building that person up and helping him. I even gave him personal loans. I gave him access to personal work equipment to be able to do what he wants with it. I actually just ended up spoiling them. It ended up turning into a really bad situation with him and several other people on our team to where we just had to cut all of the cancer out.
I remember at one point in time, it ended up getting so bad that I wanted to just give up. I mean really. It just felt impossible. Like an impossible situation to try to get back hold of. So when I made that really tough decision to literally fire a half dozen plus employees and kind of cut out this big chunk of cancer that we had in our business, instantaneously the morale lifted up in our company.
We had people coming to me sharing all these stories and horror stories of things that we're going on behind the scenes after we were gone.
It actually was the immediate hundred and eighty degrees switch inside of our business of terrible cancerous environment to positively thriving.
Really it just kind of comes down to if you are prepared to make the necessary hard decisions. Because it was tough. I mean when we fire that many people all at once I had to jump back into the field full time. My wife had to jump back into the field. She liked to help me pressure wash some of our jobs. She had to jump back in work full time again.
I mean it was hard. It was a hard move but it made all the difference. It instantaneously made our company more healthy.
Brandon has some stories that would be some of our nightmares and you've lived them out. And that's the reason why you're successful. Because you kept charging forward instead of crawling in a hole.
I think it was the book Traction that said after you cut the cancer out and you get rid of some of those employees the other employees will start coming out and revealing things that were happening all along that you weren't even aware of and how they felt. And you will be like,
"How come you didn't tell me this beforehand?"
Can you lay out five to six things that service business owners need to be doing right now and need to be doing every day in order to keep the ball moving forward?
I think that one of the cool things that our Conquer coaches did as last week was they spent a minimum of 20 hours collectively of their time putting together this incredible field guide to basically survive COVID-19 and your service business.
It's just this massive 20-page long document with faqs and everything. In fact, if you want I can give you a link to share with your listeners so that they could download and check it out. It's a completely free resource just for the industry.
We just want people to be able to thrive throughout all of this.
That sounds awesome. I want it for myself.
So the first thing is really identifying really clearly your market positioning. Is there anything that you can do to provide services or can provide support to customers who need it.
The whole reason why we exist as entrepreneurs is because we're serving our customers. That's it. That's why we're in the service business. We're servants. So the first thing we have to do is ask ourselves,
How can we serve our customers? How can we allay their fears of having someone onto their property? How can we put ourselves inside the mind of our customers to be able to figure out how best to serve them in the best way?
The act of serving others is what's going to get you what you want. Zig Ziglar said,
"You can have everything you want life if you help enough other people with what they want in life."
So that's a really big thing. How can you Market yourself and position yourself to still provide service to your customers?
There's a lot of service businesses that are doing this very well and it means pivoting and doing some things that they are not a hundred percent comfortable doing because they're not an expert in this field or they don't know if it's going to work. They're just trying to figure it out.
Call some of your customers and ask them if there's a is anything that you can do. I know that exterior services may not be an absolute thing that you might need right now. But is there something else that we can do to provide some kind of service to you? So it kind of starts with that.
The second thing you can do is every single day you have to recharge yourself. You have to make sure that you're filling your own tank personally by spending time with your family, being in gratitude, and just being appreciative of what you have.
Because it can be really easy as service business owners to just obsess about our business and think about how it's being impacted. But for those of us who have kids and have family members and a spouse and a community of people that are looking to us, we have to make sure that we're also serving them and, sometimes that means stepping up as a leader. They say heavy wears the crown the heaviest and it's true being a leader requires carrying some of that burden and it's hard.
So the third thing I recommend doing is get in support group get people who you can count and trust. Rather than venting your public things out to the general public. Find a couple of people that you can just kind of team up and just really help each other work through some of those tough times. You have to have some kind of a lifeline for that part of it.
And then also, make sure that you're taking preventative steps to preserve your own health and on a daily basis. I think they said that one of the biggest risks right now for this whole thing is obesity and people who are not taking care of their health currently.
So an immediate thing you can do is start taking care of yourself. Drink tons of water, exercise, stretch, meditate, do whatever you need to do to kind of clear your mind and make sure that you're in a good place. Read the Bible, you know practice good mental and physical health.
Just be a more spiritual person. Focus on being connected and with each other. That will go a long way. It's going to be a mind game a hundred percent. Mindset is what's going to rule the day. So you have to focus on practical steps that improve your mindset. Maybe that means playing the piano for an hour a day. If you play the piano or going out and fishing or playing some board games.
It's something to recharge yourself for sure.
Breathing exercises are huge. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, there's this practice that one of my best friends does. He is a private Mastery coach. He's NLP certified hypnotherapist. The guy's incredible and you take a deep breath into your diaphragm and at the top of the breath, you hold it for two seconds. Then let it out slowly.
Proper sleep is key too.
I won't be going to the gym because they are closed here in Michigan. I got a gym membership this winter and I've been going two to three times a week which is like the best decision ever.
Example of keeping your mind healthy during these times. Man reading a book in complete bliss.
And so now I'll be working out from home and we're taking our dogs for walks around the block and things like that to keep the routine. It is so important because I remember a time in my life that I mean, you literally end up in the bedroom under the covers scrolling on your phone. Don't let yourself go to that place.
So we used to exemplify this a lot in our service business. It was actually one of our core values. I'd be the Buffalo that runs towards the problems. And this is what we have to do right now. We have to run towards those problems. We have to identify that the best action that we can possibly take is proactive action.
You're going out there and actually addressing it headfirst. Check out the supply chain, get your team involved, and sit down with your employees. Rather than just laying everybody off and giving up.
Maybe you can have everyone take one day off a week. Drop your schedule down to four days instead of five days. Like a small action. Small so that everyone gets a little bit of an impact rather than just a few people taking the full brunt force of the impact. And get your team involved in it to find some solutions. You don't have to do this alone. You don't have to be alone in trying to figure this out.
I've gotten so reliant on marketing such as leaving a message the voice mailbox of my customers that I record just one time. The email broadcast is amazing by the way. We do postcards and send customers brownies. Actually picking up the phone and calling customers, texting them but calling them and just easing their fears. You can say stuff like,
"Hey, we normally service your property. Let's get you on the schedule. If we come into the house, we're going to wear masks, rubber gloves, and shoe covers to make sure we are doing everything appropriate to the times we are living in."
So one of our conquerors Caleb created this epic killer video and he shared it with everyone inside of our Conquer group and basically he talks about how one of our core missions is to make sure that the world is a healthier, happier cleaner place.
And so because of that, he shares the steps that he is taking to make sure that the customer is protected. Then he talks about the fact that his team is mostly window cleaners. He talks about them keeping their hands clean all throughout the day. Towels that they use. They take their towels and they don't reuse them from job to job. They put them into plastic bags and they launder them to get cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis, every single day.
They go through all the hard surfaces in their offices and disinfect them. If someone shows up to work, they take their temperature of every single technician. If someone exhibits a fever or something, they send them home. Show a video of one of your employees getting their temperature taken before they come into your home. Say we wear booties, we wear masks, we wear gloves on a video and share this with your customers on social media or send it straight to them. You can say that you dispose of these gloves.
Make it to where your customer feels confident in hiring you and having you and your employees on their property during times like these. Some of these things are actually good things to implement in your company even after this virus is gone.
"Okay, I don't have to worry about someone just showing up and just being a big COVID-19 petri dish."
Because these are the steps that you're doing and you are being proactive about it. Like do the video now and send it off. When he sent it out to his customers, the customers were totally appreciative because it'll eliminate a bunch of their fears and concerns. Someone reached back out to Caleb and said,
"I was thinking about canceling, but now that I see that you have been taking all of these preventative steps, I feel very comfortable with you coming into my home."
That's amazing. So we do landscaping and window cleaning. I'm just thinking about all of the customers that normally blow up our phones for interior window cleaning this time of year that are not calling.
And so if you do interior cleaning services, send out emails, call the customers, and put on the website that at this time, you'll be wearing new bootie shoe covers on every single job. All the tools would be disinfected and sprayed down. No towels will be reused. They'll be sealed away and properly put in the laundry. And tell them you are only going to use sanitized fresh clean towels.
I think the some of the businesses that are allowed to operate at the moment are cleaning services. But it varies from state to state in this current time.
If your services are considered a non-essential business right now, talk about some of the exterior services that you're doing. Talk about how you accept online payments. So you won't need to speak face-to-face with your customers. We have online bookings.
Tell your customers that these are the steps that you are doing to make sure that we still service your property and make it look beautiful without having to interact face-to-face. We can send pictures of whatever your customers may be concerned about and how can you fix it.
One of our Conquer companies actually got a fogger and they're going and disinfecting by fogging for free on every single customer's house. They come in and they disinfect and fog in the entire house and like in every single one of the rooms and they're doing this for free. So now she's like had an even bigger demand for customers wanting to get services done because I mean shoot, yeah come in and disinfect my whole entire house.
Then you got the other germaphobes that are like,
"I don't even have germs in my house but come disinfected anyway."
So it's just opening up the opportunity to serve people.
That's interesting that you said,
"Put yourself in the mind of your customer."
I went grocery shopping just the day before yesterday and the stores are pretty hit up and everything, but I got some things that we needed. So I come into the house with groceries and I went to set them down. And then I said to myself,
"I can't. Wait a second. I just walked on my kitchen floor with the same shoes that I wore in the grocery store."
I took my shoes off and I cleaned the floor. Then I switched to my slippers. But my mind started going into the secondary order. Consequential thinking.
What I'm saying is that customers think like this way too. They're just people and people think of things like this. So eliminate people's fears by showing trust and that you are careful and conscious.
These are all ways to make money. I think that the important thing is that there's a difference between taking advantage of a Crisis and genuinely serving people. The side benefit of the service is the income period. It always has been.
Literally billions of masks are being sold. Millions, upon Millions, upon Millions. There are companies right now that are raking in profits from this. Not because they're taking advantage and price gouging, or fear-mongering, or using fear tactics. They are just selling a basic need that the world is in desperate need of.
That's where you start crossing the line if you are doing that.
But if you have a truly valuable service that people want and need, and you charge for that, there are zero things wrong with that. Now if you make it to where only certain types of people can get access to it because you price things so ridiculously high, then that's up to your moral compass as to whether or not you're comfortable with it.
But I think that providing valuable services to people when they need it and when they want is definitely a way that that you can continue to stay in business serving your community.
Another positive note is just literally before we got on here my phone rang for work. We're about to turn on the calling center. Once we get really busy they will take all of the calls. But for now, I'm taking them in. I answer the phone like this,
"Kalfas Professional Services. This is Keith. How can I help you?"
That's awesome. You sound very professional and trustworthy. It is good to show that confidence so the customer can receive it on the other end.
And I just want to say to everyone that is here. You're not the only one that's struggling with these types of things. And if you go in with the mindset of just serving others, whether it's your fellow window cleaner, fellow landscaper, fellow maid service, or business owner, someone knows that your words matter.
And when you're on Facebook, your tone and positive outlook will affect other people. It just will serve others in a positive way. And all of that positivity will come back to you.
This is not a permanent situation. This is a temporary situation. We will be on the other side of this looking back just like in 2008. We thought the world was ending or at least felt like it. During that time period, you really don't know how you are going to survive it, but then you do.
We look back on it. We learn lessons from it. We're more prepared for the next time. So everything is going to work out in the end. It's just how are you going to respond right now. Be proactive or crawl under a rock and just be terrified.
I have a story I want to share. So this was several years back and we landed this really big hospital job. I mean this thing was like one of the biggest projects we've ever done. It was like 60K plus and it was this big mass of a Hospital and was complete exterior soft washing. We had to use some chemicals in certain areas because of mold, mildew, and stuff. It was grown into the surfaces.
So there are these huge vents that are up on the top of this building. These big long louvers all the way across and they're just covered in mold. It's really gross. So we knew that we had to go and clean and sanitize them and disinfect them to get rid of all that stuff.
We worked with the engineering department to make sure that they put the HVAC system into what they call ash mode. Ash mode is when they don't circulate air in. They don't draw air in. It is important if you're spraying things with chemicals. So we did that with engineering and everything.
So my team's up on the roof and they are cleaning it and all of a sudden people start running out of the hospital coughing and gasping for air. The head of the Maintenance guy comes out. He's like,
There was a drawing of bleach fumes into the hospital. The fumes were pumping right into the building. So they come running out, bleach fumes are getting pumped directly into the maternity ward. So all these pregnant women and some laboring women were inhaling bleach fumes and it is strong.
So I was panicked. We shut everything down. We clean everything up.
The hospital staff was like,
"You have to stop all of it. You can't do any of it."
And so I thought,
"Well, that's it. My business is over."
But the very next day I decided I wanted to make peace with everyone. So I decided to bring them all brownies. And I was getting death glares from all of the employees in the hospital.
So we found out that my employee that wasn't there the day before didn't read the instructions properly and that is why the vents were left open. He just didn't read the notes right and wasn't there when all of this was specified. So when we started on this part of the area, it pumped the fumes into the NICU, the neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where all of the babies were on life support. Just horrible.
I thought I was going to lose my whole business and then up literally in jail. They wanted SDS sheets. So I'm getting prepared for my deposition already and I'm making notes on what happened because I know of inevitably I'm going to be landed into a court lawsuit or something.
But by some amazing incredible miracle or whatever you want to call it. Nothing actually ended up coming of it. We didn't get sued miraculously. I have no idea how but at that point in time, I just was so convinced that everything was completely over.
It was the most anxious I've ever been in my entire life about anything. It is the worst gut-wrenching feeling ever. I cry a lot if you noticed. A lot of my stories have me crying. I'm sensitive, and my employees pumped bleach fumes into a hospital with newborn babies in neonatal intensive care.
It was really bad and all you are trying to do the whole time was do the right thing and serve your customers. It is crazy that they had mold on the outside of these vents. So we needed to clean them and this was part of the scope. It was all agreed to and everything, but it ended up being really bad.
I thought for sure that it was over but then again it's one of those situations to where your worst fears and the anxiety that you have is all about things that could happen. I was 100% convinced that my business was over. I lost days of sleep. I lost so much mental energy just being convinced that was the case and then never ended up being the case.
So if I would have known that nothing would have happened in advance. I wouldn't have been stressed out but that's the whole part of anxiety. It's just living in the future. We really don't know so you just have to be content in the moment and just do what you can and take problems as you get them.
I am sure a lot of people have experienced similar situations and I just want to say thank you for sharing your story with all of us. This can help a lot of people who are going through hard times and can really help them have a healthy mindset through it all.
I know you have a free live stream called System Saturday. I've shared it before on Facebook. A lot of people watch it. You guys can go back and watch a bunch of them too. A ton of valuable information is shared there and I think everyone should go check it out.
Specifically one of the biggest things that I would say is, you know during this whole thing, is that we just want to help and support people.
Are you still doing the Conquer program? You just had one a few months ago. Is there another one coming up?
Yeah. It's an application process. But anyone is welcome to join. We have people joining every single month into the program. We have 13 certified coaches.
Thanks, Brandon so much for your time, for hanging out with us, and sharing your wisdom on business. It was an honor to have you here.
All right. See you guys later.
Thank you for taking the time to spend listening to our take on this current situation here in 2020 as business owners and the steps we are taking to make sure that our customers feel safe and happy. A big take away I got from Brandon was to not let the anxiety take over my day and to stay strong for my team, family, friends, and peers. We are all feeling this unknown together. But it is a choice whether you are going to let it overtake your life, or if you are going to run full speed towards the situation with a healthy mindset. Stay healthy and well everyone and I will talk again soon.
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