Author Archives Curt Kempton

Comparison Shopping

You’re going to have to trust me when I say there is a point to the story I’m about to tell.  Trust me, at the end it will all make sense…
My window cleaning company (5 Star Window Care) had a really awesome opportunity back at the end of February.
We had the opportunity to clean the solar telescope at the top of Kitt Peak called the Pierce-McMath telescope.

What made it cool as experience was actually not so much the work but the people that we were around. The scientists were about as geeky as a scientist can be. But the good news is that I found myself  right at home, trying to geek out as hard as they would.
But you don’t really care about that job I’m sure. What I’d like to focus on today is a discussion that I had with the scientists one day.
What we were discussing was the enormity of our sun. The fact is, our sun is pretty huge.  These scientists stare at the sun and understand what it means when they see “activity” on it’s surface. What was interesting to me is that even though the sun is so entirely huge, these scientists would discuss light years the same way you and I would discuss miles when it comes to distance.
If you think about our earth, and what it might mean to walk all the way around it, you would probably think it’s a huge task, and you’d be right! Because our earth is huge. Look at it compared to Titan and the Moon:

But it’s not so large when compared to the sun. Check it out:

Of course our sun is huge, right? Sure. But not when compared to Arcturus, another star:

Of course Arcturus is the poster child for enormity, right? Wrong. Just look at it compared to Antares!

Our sun is about 1 Pixel in this picture!!!
So what is all this have to do with window cleaning? Well, when it comes to your prices, it’s just the same as anything else. Big looks big when it’s next to small. But big looks small when it’s next to enormous!  Remember that when you are pricing your next window cleaning job.
I used to try to upsell my customers individual services and I did so with modest success.  But it was complicated, and you know what? I was fighting against the grain of how my customers were used to buying things.
Think about it:

You buy your fast food in value meals and compare the different meals against each other.
You buy computers, TV’s, and any electronic devices based on the “packages” of features they come with.
Your oil change provider offers a Bronze, Silver, and Gold package– each containing a myriad of services
You even “bundle” your TV and Internet services…

So what do these different industries know about selling that I didn’t?  They know that simplicity in the purchase is way more important than even price.  People will gladly give you their money in exchange for a simple and clearly defined plan of action.  Also, we know based on the example above that when you put something HUGE next to something large, it puts things into perspective.  So, smart marketers have realized that even though people want to get 3 bids to make sure they don’t pay too much (and maybe even get a bit of variety), they will settle for 3 service levels and choose the level that provides them the best value… all in the name of simplicity!
How do you like that?  Bidding against yourself is the best spot to be.  If the prospect gets 3 bids and they’re all from you– who’s going to get the job? You!
If you are that “Super High-End” company that offers a $600 solution to their problem, but they just can’t afford it, maybe they would love to be able to say they used that company, but settle for a lesser package, knowing that the company is of the caliber to offer something they can’t necessarily afford.  What a great positioning tool!  How much more powerwashing would you sell if it was bundled into your high end package and people were able justify paying much more for your service because you were willing to offer something no one else was willing to offer.
Keep in mind the example I gave with the planets & stars above and check out the master of pricing strategy here.  If you aren’t a follower of Dan Kennedy & Bill Glazer, you need to be looking at them anyway.
The point here, is that you can use your pricing strategy to cover lots of ground:

Position as the industry gold-standard
Allow the customer to upsell (or downsell) themselves
Offer services in a profitable way that you normally might not put in front of each customer
Simplify the buying process
Simplify the employees (technicians) life at each job
Sell in a way your market is used to buying

If you aren’t currently offering package pricing, feel free to take advantage of our FREE “ResponsiBid In-Person Template” (RIPT) and begin taking advantage of the incredible opportunity comparison shopping has to offer you and your business.
Click here to get the FREE template.
Of course, we hope you will become addicted to this simple way of bidding and begin using one of our paid packages– but if nothing else, we just want you to enjoy doing business like the big boys… even if you’re small!
Be sure to comment and let me know your thoughts!

date:  Jun 11, 2011 comments:  0
by:  Curt Kempton category:  Blog Read More

Groupon Works?!

It kills me to say it, because I have looked down on Groupon for so long. But I think Groupon could be one of the best things out there for a window cleaner to grow his business. If done correctly.
First of all, the obvious:

Groupon kills your initial cleaning invoice.
Groupon seeks out “bargain hunters” and adds them to your customer base (price sensitive customers)
Groupon floods you with work that isn’t paying– so cashflow is pinched hard.
Groupons are not known for their “upsell-ability”.

Now for the not so obvious:

You don’t have to do a HUGE dollar amount for Groupon
You can make it a gift certificate– not a defined job (simplify it– with the right tools)
You can put in your item description that scheduling is done on a first come, first served basis.
You can make it so the Groupon HAS to be upsold (ie, price it as a “gift card” that wouldn’t cover the full cost of an average service)

Now for the reason I have flipped my Groupon paradigm…
Check out what was in my email from Jason Evers of Coastline Window Cleaning yesterday:

Well, Jason… You hit the nail on the head, and I hope that many more are able to leverage the power of these 2 forces. I have heard many people on window cleaning forums speak badly of Groupon– but I think you have overcome.
It reminds me of a little parable taught at NOLA (I hope I don’t get in trouble for sharing):
There were once two great shoe salesman, both sent to Australia to sell shoes to the natives for their company. Both salesmen are excited at the opportunity to experience such a great new adventure!
However, two days after their arrival both salesmen checked in with their superior. The first salesman said to his boss, “there is no opportunity here, all the native aborigines don’t even wear shoes––bring me home.”
The second salesman got on the phone with his boss and said, “You’ll never believe the opportunity down here! The aborigines have never worn shoes!  I’m making friends for life!”
I hope the point of this parable sounds as loudly in your ears as it did mine. In the areas where it seems there is no opportunity, attitude, tenacity, and using the proper tools is where the real opportunity lies.

date:  Jun 08, 2011 comments:  0
by:  Curt Kempton category:  Blog Read More

How to NOT fall off the curb

Do you remember when you were a little kid, riding your bike all over town? I sure do.

I remember when my bicycle was my key to freedom. I used it to escape the constant hostage of Saturday chores. In fact, sometimes I finished my homework before the sun went down I would sometimes just ride around until I couldn’t see the street anymore because of how dark it was.

I’m not sure if it was a consequence or if it was in spite of it, but I was bitten by the bicycling bug. There was a time in my life just a mere 10 years ago, that I wondered if I could make a living just riding my bike.

The funny thing is, that it took until I was in my very early 20’s that I realized how to break the age-old psychological trap that we’ve all experienced: where the bike pulls us off the curb even though we’re fighting with all of our might to stay up.

Perhaps I’m not explaining it very well, imagine riding down the sidewalk on your bicycle and inching closer and closer to the drop-off of the curb. You’re riding parallel to that 3 inch drop off and inching closer and closer to it. About the time your tire crosses the line that positions you within 4 inches or so to the edge, the curb becomes very magnetic––dare I say as if it was a black hole sucking you off and into the asphalt. You remember how funny you looked as you fought to keep your bike upright. But invariably, you end up either crashing, almost crashing, or just looking silly but no matter what; you came off of the curb.

It wasn’t your fault.

In fact, even when I was beginning racing mountain bikes through the deserts of Arizona I was plagued with this terrible psychological pummeling when I tried to right along the curb.

Would you like to learn the secret?

I’ll share it with you, but you have to promise that you won’t laugh when you hear how simple it is.

It’s sometimes simplicity that makes us shrug off some of the most valuable pieces of information we’re ever given.

So: with that understanding I now share with you how to ride a bike along the curb without falling off.

Look where you want to go. Do not become distracted by staring at where you do not want to go.

See, I told you it was simple.

Go try it, get on your bike fix your vision exactly on the path you want to ride along. And you will be astonished. It’s that simple.

So what’s the meaning of me telling you this? It’s the irony that this is exactly how we as business owners can be. If we stare full of fear at all of the terrible things that could happen to us, and allow our minds to be filled and clouded with all those fears and worries, we will find that our focus is exactly where we don’t want it to be. That misguided focus will act as a tractor beam pulling us into exactly what it is we are trying to stay away from.

Do you believe that?

Do you spend your time focusing on what you want your business to become, who you want to become, or moving towards the goals you’ve set for yourself? Or do you just have some abstract idea of what you’re trying to stay away from and spend your entire day trying to keep that from happening?

is there a spiritual void in your life, because you are spending all of your energy on material wealth? It won’t go with you. Focus on being a blessing to others, and you become indispensable– by definition! Take some time to find out what God’s plan is for you, and you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in your day to day life…

Kind of interesting isn’t it? I can’t say I’m perfect, but I’ve learned to ride along the curb with about 90% success ;)

Did this resonate with you? Share your comments below, what are the things that you are avoiding and what are the things you’re focused on?

date:  Mar 20, 2011 comments:  1
by:  Curt Kempton category:  Uncategorized Read More