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The X Factor: The Power Of Honesty And Client Focus: A Formula For Closing More Deals

February 28, 2023


In this episode, Ari Greenbaum interviews Jonathan Bird of Greenbriar Remodeling & Painting to discuss the importance of honesty and a client-focused approach when it comes to running your home improvement business.

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Ari: Welcome to The X Factor: A Home Pros Sales podcast. This podcast is about all things sales to help home improvement pros generate high-quality leads, and most importantly, close more deals. I am your host, Ari Greenbaum, and in this podcast, we’re talking about different tactics, tips, and resources to help you grow your business, all while interviewing experts in the industry and people out in the field to give us their take.

Before we get into today’s episode and introduce our guests today, just a quick little housekeeping as always. Rate us on Apple podcasts, the little purple icon and give us a five-star rating or leave a review to let us know you’re enjoying the podcast. We love the feedback.

Today we’re gonna be focusing on a not so much different topic, but maybe a different approach to it. I am excited to have my guest with me today. His name is Jonathan Bird, he is with Greenbrier Modeling and Painting right here in our backyard in metro Atlanta.

He is very successful at converting leads, and not just leads, but any inquiry into closed deals at a very high rate. He’s also a conXpros valued partner. But when I was having a conversation with Jonathan, prior to doing the podcast together, I was extremely excited to have him volunteering to be a part of it as always with any of our guests. But he shared something with me that I thought was amazing and is really just going to frame our topic for today.

He said, I really got to brush up on my own sales stuff and I have a lot of areas that I can improve in there. But I’m just honest with people. And I immediately said to Jonathan, and I’ll let him introduce himself in a moment here as well. I mean, that’s the topic of topics right there. We just hit the nail on the head. So I’m gonna introduce Jonathan, we could dive right into this in a few moments. But Jonathan, maybe if you give a quick little intro to yourself, you know, a little bit of your background, we’ll get some fun going here with what you’re doing to be so successful.

Jonathan: Yeah Ari, thanks for having me on. My background, I was in insurance for a little while, then got a job working for a handyman company in Atlanta, did that for a few years, and then just eventually got on to doing my own thing. And so I’ve got about seven years’ experience in the industry. And, you know, I’ve been doing pretty well. As I said, I could definitely do my sales a little better. But I haven’t had any sales training, really.

Ari: That’s, you know, that’s what I love. And that’s what you share that with me, I was like, Man, this is as real as it gets. And hey, there’s not a person I’ve ever done sales my entire life, more or less than I can remember. And there are tons of areas we all could still improve on, we’re constantly striving to get better.

That’s the point of this podcast, as well as to help you get better and thrive. So I felt it was a perfect thing when you shared that with me exactly that and said, what it is that you as like a key thing if I said, Hey, can you identify what it is that you’re doing? That’s making a difference? And he just said to me in the most honest way possible? If I’m just honest with people,

I’d love to talk about that. Because at the end of the day, you know, people get so hyper-focused on selling. Yeah, as you said, you need to improve your sales skills. I mean, it’s the name of the game sales.

But they forget about one of the critical ingredients, which is what you’re already doing naturally. So tell me about that. When you approach customers, you know, when you’re, you know, from the start, even, you know, getting a lead or an inquiry and getting involved with them? How does that honestly, like, how does play into the conversations? How does that play into the relationship? Because I mean, that is, to me a critical factor of your success there. Well, I mean, I just when the lead comes through, I immediately call them, and then, you know, we just talked about their project.

Jonathan: Last week, I had a lady, who had a new fence, and I just told her, like, look, your fence isn’t ready to be stained, because you just built it. She’s like, Oh, well, I had someone else wanted to come out and stain it tomorrow, you know, and I said you can’t, it’s not ready. It’s gonna peel off. I was being honest and telling her we need to wait another month or two before we can actually do the work.
She’s like, wow, appreciate you not trying to come out here today just to get some money, you know.

Ari: I’d have to imagine that from experience, that kind of interaction with people at that kind of level. directness and honesty in a month when they already do the project. There’s no one there calling but yourself. Is that fair?

Jonathan: Yeah, I mean, I’m gonna follow up with her in a month or so even though it’s a pretty small job, but people know when you’re BS, and I can’t do that. I’m a terrible actor. So I just have to be brutally honest with people and not tell them I can do something that I can’t.

Ari: So, from that initial call, it wasn’t about how you could sell to someone or how you can benefit or profit from it. It was more for this person.

Jonathan: Yeah, it’s more just a consultation versus a sales appointment. Do you know what I mean? So just, however, we can help them, or at least point them in the right direction. That usually works out better than just trying to upsell everything and get money as soon as possible.

Ari: Do you feel that that’s something you can literally feel like a tangible feeling from the homeowner that when you express that appreciation verbally, do you can you sense like a shift? Like when you start, giving them that honesty and just telling them like it is that they are just one over?

Jonathan: 100% they feel more comfortable and they’ll share more with you. It’s all I can do right now, I don’t really have any secret sales techniques. But one thing I’ll tell people sometimes that could lose me a sale…if I’m looking at someone’s exterior home and to paint it, but it actually doesn’t need to be painted. I’ll tell him, hey, you know, you really don’t need to paint this year. You know, you could probably go another year or two. Unless you just don’t like the colors, you know, but you know, the paint is, it’s good for right now. But they’ll be like, wow, that’s super unusual. That’s for sure. Yeah, let’s just do it, you know, because they trust you. But so little, I’ll do some little things like that. That’s a little sales technique that I do.

Ari: Look at the end of the day sales is just communication, right? It’s being able to communicate with people. So it’s not about technique, just how you present things. And if you’re sending them in that kind of honest fashion. Just, you know, this is what it is. And I’m here to help you. And from the sounds, just the honesty, is that if I’m reading it correctly, you’re putting the client’s needs first, like that’s what’s most important, educating them, letting them know you’re helping them, not overselling I’m just giving them what they want and what they need. I mean, it’s really simple.

Ari: Don’t overcomplicate it either. I mean, it really is that simple. So I mean, this is something you’ve been doing all along? Or is this just something that you’ve come to recently and shifted to know? How did you come to that? It’s the only way I knew how to do it. I don’t really know another way, do you know what I mean? I mean, it’s just like how you were like you said, you work with a handyman company priors.

Jonathan: When I would sell jobs for them. I mean, they never coached me or anything, they just kind of threw me to the wolves. And I’d go out there and just give people my honest opinion, I didn’t get a sales commission on the, on the job. So it really didn’t affect me either way, if I was hitting sell anything to this customer, I just told him, gave him an honest evaluation, this is what I would do, this is what we can do, and go from there. And that worked out pretty well.

Ari: So, it’s this has been something you’ve been doing that is just natural, it’s not something that someone coached you on or taught you how to do and said,

Jonathan: I would say my boss at my previous job, you know, that’s kind of his demeanor. He wasn’t a salesman. He had a lot of experience in the home, home repairs, that kind of stuff. And he just helped me with the customers, telling me this is what I would do and this is the price that we can do that for.

Ari: It’s a missing piece, unfortunately, for a lot of people. A lot of people will say I’m sure just treat it as if it’s a sale, it’s an opportunity to get a commission or become revenue. And they’re misguided. I’ve talked to a lot of folks on our podcast, and it seems like that is a critical factor, whether it’s turned to honesty or, again, just putting the customer first. That is a critical element here. And especially if I’m understanding today’s environment and the world more people are more tuned in and the radar so to speak, is a little bit more. They’re ready to call out a salesman, but don’t like butter when it comes to an honest dude. Right?

Jonathan: If you go to a car lot, you’re expecting them all to run out there and start selling you but not when you’re going to someone’s home, so it’s a little different.

Ari: How do you feel that impacts things like post-sale? I mean, obviously, every contractor I’ve ever talked to I mean, they always talk about referrals as a big source for them. I mean, your referral pipeline is big in attributing it. Yeah, that’s the way you interact.

Jonathan: Yeah, I mean, that’s just that’s also part of it because you’ve pointed them in the right direction, given them what they wanted. And there at the end of the job, or happy you didn’t over, you didn’t pull out or invent some kind of change order.

That was what you knew from the beginning, You gave them a price, did the job, and finished on time without charging more. They’re usually generally happy. Not everyone does that, doing what you said you were gonna do.

Ari: You back up your words with action.

Jonathan: Exactly. And that’s just I think a lot of people where they mess up as though they’ll take jobs that they took because they need money, or whatever.

Ari: Different motivations. That’s unfortunate. It comes down to what’s in your heart and what’s motivating you.

Jonathan: Yeah, that’s one thing. I think a lot of customers will get burned on, They might have someone do a little something at their house, and it was great. They don’t quite know how to do that job. But they’ll take it anyway. Because they want some money and it ends up not turning out well.

Ari: So if you turn away jobs, I mean, I’m not just to say hey, this is not the right time for painting you have another year, but you actually say hey, this ain’t something I’m going to be the best to handle and maybe refer them elsewhere. Right?

Jonathan: 100% If I was like, look, I could do the job but I got someone else that would be better suited to handle this project. And I’ll point them in that direction, they appreciate that.

Ari: I’d be willing to bet 5% of those probably hire the guy you referred them to as a result anyways, based on that.
Jonathan: Customers want you to be honest, when you start telling them, you can do plumbing or electrical, in your opinion, or I mean, it’s, you know, just stay in your lane and do what you’re good at. And now I appreciate that a lot more.

It’s such a simple concept. I know when we talked about initially the fall was, hey, this is so simple. And it didn’t even think it was something that mattered. But it really does move the meter. I mean, that is what people want. You’re in their home, it’s their number one possession in life. Typically, we’re gonna care about the most because they’re humans, they’re emotional.

You know, again, if they feel that someone is selling to them, it’s natural for people to put up their defenses. But if it’s a natural conversation with an honest person that’s genuinely caring and expressing that. And that sounds like that’s your forte, here’s, again, just be it worked for me.

Jonathan: Yeah, it’s worked for me. I know, there are some other guys that probably have better sales rates than me that are, I don’t know, they’re a little more skillful. But it’s worked for me so far.

Ari: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I know there could be higher percentages, but from what I understand, you convert at a very high rate when you’re in front of a customer.

Jonathan: Yeah, I did pretty well, especially with your leads.I know, I’m considering the price, and the money I spend on leads, and marketing. So I’m keeping that under 10%. So I spent 1000. with you guys, I need to sell 10,000 or more.

Ari: At the end of the day, you know, the proof in the pudding, as they say, you can be as skilled as you want in sales, but what you’re doing is working, you’re converting at those rates, and you’re in multiples of 10x. That’s the name of the game. For anyone listening here, it’s just the honesty of it.

One of our account managers here shared this, and it obviously goes a long way because that was reported to me. And that’s why I said, Hey, we got to call Jonathan to come to our own home and help us out there as well.

So you met my wife recently and came over to the house. And that was the same thing she shared with me is, man, this guy’s just as genuine and real as they come. And she was super impressed with you. Yeah, so it’s real. It’s not just something that you’re sharing, it happens outside. I mean, even in my own home, I’ve experienced that as well. So again, this is seemingly simple, but it is not so simple.

And that’s what people hopefully listening really can understand this concept is stop selling. It’s not that we can stop selling, yes, you got to move some of the longest sales processes but focus more on the follow-up.

Jonathan: I mean, you still need to call the customer, follow up, and do all that. So you know, I need to follow up more because I just get too busy. But I could probably increase my sales more if I would just follow up a little better.

Ari: That’s a feather in your cap. And I definitely applaud you for that. That’s fantastic. And that’s the kind of message I’d love to see. Other guys that are listening and anyone else that’s tuning in, to learn from it, because everyone does get misguided in terms of where their focus is and what their motivation is. And it sounds like this is just something that came naturally to you, as you said you had a boss, but he said just threw you to the wolves.

You did your way and just now, your own company, thriving, doing well doing it this way, which, again, is not rocket science, it’s just tuning into the people. And I’m super impressed that people following this kind of idea are doing a little less selling and a lot more than just communicating to compensate.

At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. It is a people business. And that’s what sales is. We are connecting with people. And the old saying has been in sales since well, before my time, they buy you not the product.

There are a lot of guys that can put something together and make things happen. But at the end of the day, that’s a connection with you as a human being and you’re not gonna get any sales and referrals as well. That’s the pipeline talking about the growth of businesses and pay it’s much easier to go into someone’s home and just do your thing. When it’s not coming from a lead source or an inquiry on the street. It’s coming from a referral. That’s a Shaquille O’Neal slam dunk kind of situation. So we love those.

Jonathan: It seems like y’all kind of refer us. Y’all do something a little different than the other services because I don’t know what exactly y’all do, but y’all are calling a customer for me. And my conversion is better on your leads.

Ari: I don’t want to promote our services. I’m happy and I appreciate it. Trust me, I love the feedback. And I love hearing that people are succeeding and it makes me smile bigger than I do. But you know, at the end of the day, That’s the name of the game. But at the end of the day, it’s not just the leads, you could talk to guys that are even within our own system that don’t have the success you have.

But a big part of it is what you’re sharing is how you approach your leads. And are they approaching them in a similar kind of fashion? Or are they just focused on getting a sale recouping their cost, and then hopefully, being profitable? It’s a very different mentality. So I think it goes hand in hand, I don’t think it’s just the source. This has a lot to do with people that are the end user, so give yourself the credit, you deserve. What’s really important, but at the end of the day, I’ll take the compliments but I know what reality is, as well.

I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been on your side too. And, you know, I’ve had bad leads sources and good ones. So it’ ‘s not just the leads, it’s how we approach those things and all the things are exactly aligning with, and, how I know to approach customers, but I know a lot of people, unfortunately, fail in this area. So I’m hoping that people tuning in can really wake up and see that that you don’t need to be you know, Grant Cardone or Zig Ziglar of the world. I mean, he closed a lot of deals just by being real, being honest, and putting the customer first.

I really appreciate you coming on here and sharing these things. I know that this is not your forte but you know again, just that sharing with others what makes you successful, that’s what this is about.

So I also want to thank our listeners here for tuning into the X Factor, A Home Pro Sales podcast. I do hope it brings you value and helps you take your sales game to the next level.

Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on the next episode and your action items as the listener, wherever you’re listening to this right now, is to hit the subscribe button that way you don’t miss it. You can also follow us on any of the social platforms Instagram and LinkedIn at conXpros. And if you didn’t catch that, check out the description for all of our social media links. If you have questions, shoot us an email at love to help you out as well.

Happy hunting out there and thanks for tuning in.




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