Best Practices, Operations, V8I6

Options Are Important

How many of y’all were at the Shed Builder Expo this year? Wasn’t it great?

Unlike other years, I left the show and drove straight home. Normally, I have to have time to unwind, declutter, and disengage before I do such nonsense. Not this year. 

Bessie (2013 Ram) and I had a goal that had me nervous, and I wanted to get it over with. She came through like a champ as always. We pulled into the drive at 10 p.m. Another nine-day trip in the books. 

Yes, I spend a lot of time on the road. But as a retired truck driver family, we handle it well. My family is the star of this show. 

On the way home, I spent a lot of time pondering the last couple shows. It amazes me the amount of support this little industry gets. Support creates options. And I don’t care what part of the industry you are in, options are important. 

I remember one time when we were dealing with an extra tough retrieval that we just couldn’t seem to get. Every time it was put on the driver’s schedule, a few days later I would see it still wasn’t done. 

Having done all my own deliveries the first five years in this business, I was familiar with the address and understood that there could easily be some issues. But I tried to be a good boss and let my people do their jobs. 

After the third time (it’s always the third time), I’d had enough. I made a few phone calls. What’s the problem? Typical response. So, I decided to do what any boss worth his salt would do. 

I would do it myself. 

After all, I delivered it. I could surely get it. Plus, no boss asks people to do anything that he wouldn’t do himself, right? So, I did. Snuck over to the shop one Saturday morning and got in a rig, and off we went. 

I should have just taken Bessie. Well, I was in another Bessie, but still … 

I get out to the address and immediately remembered the place. Oh yeah, I muttered, good old porch building. Why would anyone buy a shed with a porch? You figure it out. 

Mel Weaver and I already know. If the rest of y’all did, you would quit doing rent on them. 

Yep, someone was living in it. I pull in. There are three people sitting on the porch—none of whom I knew to be the little lady I had rented it to. 

See, not sold it to, rented it to. Big difference. 

I climb out of the big noisy semi I’m in and walk over to the porch. “How are y’all today?” I asked as bright and cheerful as if we were at the ice cream parlor. They allowed that they were okay, all while eyeing my noisy truck rather apprehensively. 

“Y’all like my truck?” I asked. Nothing. (It had been there the week before.) “I use it to pick up my buildings that aren’t being paid for,” I said cheerily. There were some mutterings to that. “Where is Ms. Maddie?” I asked, changing the subject. No one seemed to know. 

So, I did what I do best. I threw some options at them: 1) We need to find Ms. Maddie. 2) I need $1,800 in rent money, or 3) they were gonna go on a ride with me down the road. No yes or no, just three options. 

Not gonna lie. I messed up last week. I had a pretty good deal for both parties going. I put a great proposal together. Where I messed up for both of us was, I didn’t give any options. 

The cardinal sin in sales: Never leave a yes or no option. Always give an A or B or even C. 

And I lost it for both of us. 

What are your options? At the Expo, we saw a lot of options. Probably the most were software/tech help. It’s everywhere! All those guys want to do is help you. Make your life easier. 

Then there are website guys. Builder guys. Hauler guys. Even more are RTO options. Even I offer most of those. Are my companies the best? Maybe. Maybe not. You have to look at the options.

What fits you best. What are your needs. What is your style. Your goals. There is one thing for sure. You should be using something. And a lot of times, more than one thing. 

Your customers are the same. It’s not a question of yes or no. It’s a question of what is needed. The more options you have, the better chance of filling their need. 

You should never lose a customer. Do we? Sure, we all do. We didn’t fill the need. Just like all the options available to you to run your shed business, whether building, selling, hauling, or renting, the same applies to your customer. 

How do you do that? You start by asking questions. What, why, where, and how are all important. You have to know what they are looking for. Why do they need it. Where will they put it. And how can you make that all happen. If you can’t remember that, you need to write it out. 

Last week I failed. You will too. Look back. Walk through it again. What was missed? Next time you will be better. 

What are your options? 

As a builder, you should offer multiple models, colors, roof materials, siding, windows, doors, you name it. Shelves, ramps, workbenches, shutters, window boxes, upgraded hardware, cupolas, electrical, and on and on. Double wides, triple wides. Quintuple wides. 

Sales guys, you should have all the builder’s options, plus more. Cash/credit card. Finance. Rent to own. And know how to explain rent to own properly. 

Landscaping, yard decor, flower boxes. Fencing. Decks. Nice pads to set the sheds on. But mostly, LISTEN. 

Haulers. You don’t get out of this either. You should be on board also. If the manufacturer or sales guy hasn’t sold them ramps or steps, you should be doing this. You can do cupolas, window boxes, and landscaping also. Sell those nice pads to set your sheds on. 

Shoot, sell a couple bushes and plant them in front of their shed. But Samba, I’m a hauler! I don’t care. You wanna fish or fuss? Get busy. 

I’m sick of hearing people fuss about being slow or not making enough these days. Yes, times may be tough. But for everyone who is saying that, I got two things to ask you. Are you doing everything you can? And are you doing it the best you can? 

Actually, I have three. Are you using all the tools you have available to you? 

I don’t wanna hear it. For every guy I hear that’s struggling, I know a dozen that are getting it. Get it! Don’t know where to start? Ask. And ask again. 

Those guys sitting on that porch? They chose an option. And it wasn’t yes or no. 

“Nobody is out of options. 

“Nobody is stuck. 

“Nobody is trapped. 

“Ever. Those are lies.” 

— Arlan Riehl (WestoodTribe)

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