From $200k/year to $1.1m/year in 13 months [Case Study 2021]

From $200k/year to $1.1m/year in 13 months [Case Study 2021]

Table of Contents

One of the many case studies I’ve built over the years happened with a client that I usually wouldn’t have ever worked with.

In my years helping contractors scale their businesses, there have been very few times that I’ve ever worked with a company making under $1m in yearly revenue. (hint: this is one of those times)


Well, there are two major reasons. For starters, and probably the most obvious reason, any serious marketing agency is going to be expensive.

Ask yourself this, why would anyone that has repeatedly helped contracting companies make hundreds of thousands of dollars, charge just a few hundred bucks for their services? It just doesn’t make sense. So oftentimes, companies making under $1m/year, simply don’t have the necessary tools in place to afford our services.

What do I mean by tools? Well, the most important tool that you can use to grow your business, and an integral part of how we help contractors, is credit. You should preserve cash like it’s the last bottle of water during a 100-mile hike through the desert. But that’s a story for another time.

The short answer is: Most companies making under 1m/year, simply can’t afford us.

The second reason we don’t work with companies making under $1m/year, is that they usually don’t have the mindset or infrastructure to handle growth. Of course, I can go step by step with small contractors and help them set up the necessary systems and infrastructure to scale, but that’s going to be a long, difficult process that most business owners simply don’t have the patience, foresight, and understanding to withstand.

Working with a company that simply isn’t ready to grow, is just going to lead to a completely lose-lose situation. We’re going to be upset by letting down a client, and the client is going to think that they just got scammed.

Not worth it.

So, why did I just waste your time talking about why we don’t work with small companies in an article about our case study?

Well, because there was one time that we made an exception- and it paid off tremendously. 

I was so shocked that I decided to regroup and analyze everything that we had done up until that point and see how we managed to grow so much, so fast.

Challenges & Goals for The Client 

Our first consultation call revealed several different problems that Picazzo painting was trying to solve and the biggest issues that were preventing them from scaling.

Like most of our clients, their immediate focus is always on generating more leads and getting more jobs, but sometimes when it comes to growing, that’s the worst thing that you can do. More leads and more jobs without the systems and resources to handle them will only do your business harm.

With that being said, here are the challenges that we had to overcome.

Scaling During The Pandemic

The first time Jorge, the owner of Picazzo, reached out to us, he had just gone through some serious revenue loss from some of his top clients. At that point, over 60 percent of his revenue was coming from some of his long-standing commercial clients. However, with the uncertainty that came with the pandemic, a lot of those commercial property owners decided to save every dollar until things started to normalize.

On top of that, he had lost 3 employees who decided that they would stay at home to avoid any risks of catching the virus.

So immediately, he found himself with fewer employees (which might have been a positive given the revenue loss), and without any work.

Finally, the residential clients that he did have, were extremely cautious with the project. That meant having to be extra flexible when it came to the timeline for finishing projects. A project that might have otherwise taken 3 days, was now taking 6-8 days to complete.

Cash-flow Was Tight

This was one of the top problems we faced, and one of the top reasons that I mentioned that I won’t work with smaller companies.

However, we were able to work out a completely different structure for payment.

The last thing I want is to become a nuisance on my client’s balance sheet. If paying my marketing fees means that they can’t pay bills or employees, then I don’t want to put that pressure on them, or my business.

The only thing more important to me than results is my conscience. I would never set up a client for failure.

Thankfully, the solution to this, on top of the restructured payment program, was fairly simple and it didn’t stop us from working together.

Solopreneur Mindest Limiting Growth

The absolute biggest challenge I had to face was that the owner’s mindset was geared towards being a solopreneur. He never thought about his company as a business, he just thought about it as if he had built a steady stream of work and income for himself.

He might have been the business owner, but he was thinking and working like an employee. He was cutting a ton of corners when it came to establishing lead sources, back-end processes, customer relationship management, referral generation, review generation, accounting, and the list goes on and on.

That’s why I said, despite his official role, he was just an employee.

As A Company, He Hardly Existed Online

It’s 2021, and at the time that we first spoke, his business was  nowhere to be found on the internet.

Well, to be fair, a couple of different directories had picked it up. But if you were a customer trying to find his company, you’d find 4 different numbers, 3 different addresses, and two company names in the process.

At best, his digital presence was confusing and unorganized, at worst, it was nonexistent.

The crazy part was, he had somehow managed to grow his business well into the 6 figure range in revenue, with insanely high-profit margins, even without any digital presence.

While this was a huge problem, It also presented itself as a super obvious area for improvement that would generate near-immediate results.

Only One Lead Source- And He Was Terrible At It.

After 25 years in business, the only lead source that he had managed to set up for the business was referrals. But not only was he not taking full advantage of this, but he wasn’t maximizing his chances at generating referrals.

He wouldn’t put himself out there and ask for referrals, he didn’t have any referral programs, and he didn’t track referrals as referrals.

While referrals were essentially keeping him in business, he never treated it as a source of leads.

He just got by. He just survived.

Why I Decided To Make An Exception

I have a couple of requirements for clients to meet before I accept them as clients.

Like I mentioned earlier, one of the most important requirements is that each client is sitting somewhere around, preferably above, the $1m/year revenue mark.


This almost guarantees me a couple of things.

  1. These companies have the cash to invest in marketing. Successful marketing isn’t going to be the difference between starving and eating.
  2. They have the resources. They have the bandwidth, both financially and internally, to adopt new strategies, policies, technology, and lead sources.
  3. They have dedicated receptionists. This one is still pretty hit or miss, but I’ve found that 9 out of every 10 contractors I’ve talked to that make over a million a year will have receptionists. This is crucial for getting the most out of your marketing efforts.
  4. They probably do a good job. No matter how well I set up your internal processes and marketing, I can never help a company scale if they do a poor job. As cliche as it sounds, I need to work with companies that take client satisfaction seriously.

Well, with that being said, why did I decide to work with Jorge and Picazzo Painting?

Well, believe it or not, he had met all of these requirements without hitting the million-dollar mark.

He had been in business for so long, with so little overhead, that he was sitting on a mountain of cash. After seeing what had happened to him as soon as the pandemic hit, he knew he had to take marketing seriously- it was his only chance to grow.

As far as resources were concerned, he had the capital, and access to additional employees if a ton of work came in quickly. Plus, his wife had been serving as the administrative help for years, and was great on the phone!

Finally, the second that he told me that he had been in business for 25 years, solely off of referrals, without doing any kind of active marketing- I knew he must be good.

There’s no way that people would keep calling him if he was doing a terrible job.

I had heard enough and felt like he was ready to grow.

But most importantly, he was determined. He was frustrated with having been in business for so long with no real growth.

When I explained to him that he was self-employed, not a business owner, that seemed to resonate with him.

He knew, as soon as I stop, this whole company stops.

He was finally ready to do whatever it took to build a business that would last beyond him.

Our Strategy

During our first week of strategy calls, the client told us his priorities and goals for his business.

While we had identified a variety of issues, the number one goal for the client was to generate enough leads and consistent work to start bringing on employees full-time.

Up until this point, he had hired subcontractors on an on-and-off basis, but he was looking to change that and have enough consistent work to hire at least 2 full-time employees.

With that being said, everyone we’ve ever worked with has always been focused on “get me more leads.”

That’s rarely ever the answer to the problem- see, what’s the point of building a house on a rocky foundation?

That’s basically what we would be doing if we focused strictly on building lead sources, without implementing the necessary frameworks and systems to deal with those new leads.

With that being said, here’s how we took this company from $200k/year to $1.1m/year in just 13 months. 

Step 1: Build A CRM

The absolute most common, and most important mistake that I see so many contractors make is not having a CRM.

I can’t say that enough, a CRM is critical.

Not only does it facilitate scaling, but it also makes it possible.

I can talk about the importance of CRMs all day, but here are the reasons that you need a CRM:

  1. Allows you to track customer information more accurately, which massively improves customer service.
  2. Allows for more consistent and trackable sales cycles, especially on larger jobs.
  3. Enables an entirely different marketing channel with email marketing.
  4. Follow up with customers after months/years to solicit follow-up services.
  5. Track warranty information, or avoid having customers call you to fix “issues” that you fixed years ago.

There are many, many more benefits to using a CRM, but those are the most critical reasons.

In this specific case, we went ahead and built his entire backend process and CRM with HubSpot.

While I love HubSpot, and personally use it for my business too, it’s not my recommended CRM for most contractors, and especially not for General Contractors.

For any company that already has an internal structure, experience using CRMs, full-time employees, internal processes, and just more “well-structured” in general, I recommend Buildertrend.

In case you were wondering, I’ll usually recommend these CRMs:

  1. Hubspot – Best for smaller, less tech-savvy construction companies.
  2. Buildertrend – My usual “Go-to” CRM recommendation. Great for everything construction-related: project management, billing, managing paperwork like lien waivers, job progress, finance records, and just much more.
  3. ProCore – In my limited experience, this is the holy grail of construction CRMs, with one major catch. It’s stupidly expensive.

I can get into all of the ins and outs of each CRM, how we set it up, how we implement it within a business, and so on- but that’s a long topic for another day.

For right now, let’s just talk about how and why we set up this client with HubSpot.

Well, if you read my explanation of the benefits of a CRM, then you know why this is usually my first go-go optimization for contractors.

In this specific case, we used Hubspot to accomplish some simple CRM roles, which is going to come especially in handy since the client isn’t extremely tech-savvy.

For right now, we’re using it to:

  1. Import all new website form submissions into the CRM for the automatic sales process to begin.
  2. Basic email automation for lead submissions, job completion, and review requests.
  3. Enable and keep track of sales follow-ups and just overall better handle on deal pipelines
  4. Enable tracking and collecting of KPIs, such as customer lifetime value, average sales cycle length, average job size, and more.
  5. Build an email list that we’ll use to send out email campaigns over time.

Imagine forfeiting all of those benefits, simply because your staff hasn’t had the time, know-how, or dedication to build and stick to a CRM. If you’re serious about growing your business, then building a CRM is essential.

So how did this work out for him, well, I’ll get into that later in the results section?

Step 2: Start to build employee/independent-contractor network

The second step that we worked on for this client was to start building a list of painters that he could either hire part-time, full-time, or on a contractual basis.

Up until this point, the client had been spending a ton of his time working on-site, again, he was more of a solopreneur and quite frankly, he was just a self-employed contractor.

With this second step, we started to redefine what his role would be, and while we agreed that he should probably continue working on the jobs himself, particularly because he loves the physical reward of working on projects, we also stressed how important it would be for him to take more of a leadership role.

With that being said, how we found employees wasn’t too surprising- we stuck to the basics.

  1. We used local Facebook ad campaigns to generate cheap leads on potential employees.
  2. We built a relationship with other painting companies that specialized in working a lot like subcontractors. Most of the time, these were very small companies, like self-employed contractors. However, they all came with their insurance, paperwork, and licensing.
  3. We leveraged relationships that he had built over time with the staff at Sherwin Williams and managed to find a couple of potential painters there.
  4. Used local Facebook groups, especially ones that were essentially job boards on Facebook.

While there are a ton of different ways to find painting crew members, these 4 strategies were more than enough for us at the time. We managed to find one employee that came on full-time as an independent contractor and had access to a ton of other crew members as needed.

If you’re looking to find high-quality painters, there’s just no way around it- you’re going to have to pay them a solid wage. Last I checked, my client was paying contractors around $150 per day of work, and would payout weekly.

When it comes to painting, just as it would be with another business that’s scaling, hiring, and keeping employees can be incredibly stressful, time-consuming, and even harmful to your business if you have tons of turnover.

If you find contractors that are worth keeping, make sure that you do everything necessary to keep them!

Step 3: Build a website 

I’m sure that you’ve heard this before, so I’m not going to bore you with an extensive explanation of why you need a solid website.

If you don’t have a website, get one.

If you have a bad website, upgrade it.

If you have a great website, optimize it.

It’s simple.

If you’re going to get into digital marketing, and you’re going to invest in ad campaigns, then you need to be investing in your website.

It sounds cliche, but it’s quite literally your most important salesman.

If your website is cheap, confusing, lacks information on your business, or paints your business as a “cheap” website- then you’re probably missing out on dozens of leads.

For this client, he didn’t have a website at all, but he did have an aged domain (which helps with SEO). So we went ahead and built him a website that was not only geared for conversions but painted his business as a long-standing expert in the field.

We built his website with:

  • Home page with all services (but focused on the primary service)
  • Secondary pages for each service
  • Contact page
  • About us page (very important)
  • Local service pages (great for SEO)
  • Gallery page
  • Service request form
  • Web Chat app that connected to his Whatsapp
  • Dedicated landing pages for each service that we were going to run ads for
  • Referral page

That’s the short description of all of the work that we did. Honestly, the website has worked great so far, a bit better than we expected.

But more on that later.

Step 4: Build Lead Sources 

Ah. The part that every contractor seems to be interested in.

How did we get more leads?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, he had only one lead source at this point, and that was referrals.

Here’s what we did, how we did it when we did it, and why.

But first, if you’re interested in learning more about 5 contractor marketing ideas for generating leads, check out this video I made.

I highly recommend you watch that video, I mention a couple of strategies that I’m not going to talk about here.

But anyway, here’s how we turned this client’s business into a lead-generating machine.

Lead Source 1 

This should be obvious.

It’s a good philosophy in business, and especially for marketing, to continue building on what’s working before going to work on something new.

With that in mind, the first thing that we did for the client was build a more structured referral program.

I built a page on their website with information about referrals, stressed to him the importance of communicating to clients about referrals, and had a ton of brochures printed that they could give to clients about their referral program.

I knew one thing already with him, he was doing a great job because clients were giving him referrals without him asking, so imagine if I built a structure for generating more referrals.

Another strategy that I implemented was using the email list I was building using the CRM to send out periodic emails (about once a month), asking clients for referrals.

As far as the referral program is concerned, this is going to vary greatly from business to business, depending on your profit margins, average customer lifetime value, and other variables. For this client, we used a simple $250 credit for every referral project that we closed and signed.

For the sake of understanding the finances behind this, the average project size this client would get from referrals was around 5-8 grand. Working with 40-60 percent profit margins on average (remember he works on the projects too), we were looking at anywhere from $2,000-$4,800 in profit per job.

With a $250 referral reward, that works out to be around 5 to 12 percent in “commissions” for the referrer. That doesn’t sound bad at all.

Obviously, on the low end, this might be a bit of a stretch, paying around 12 percent of a 2000 profit job for acquisition, but if you work out the averages, then this strategy is infinitely scalable.

One thing’s for sure, he’s never going to lose money working with this strategy, and that’s great.

Lead Source 2 

After we took advantage of highly profitable referrals, we decided to work on more organic marketing.

The second lead source we built was SEO.

Here’s why I hardly ever recommend SEO, but did it for this client.

Well, unfortunately, SEO gets a tremendously bad reputation from all of the low-quality providers that exist.

Quite frankly, someone promising to rank your website for $500 a month, is just a lie.

So when I give contractors a quote for ranking their website with SEO, most of them are shocked by the price and don’t want to invest.

Which is sad, because in the long run- it’s easily the most profitable strategy.

Sure, it’s going to be a big investment upfront, but that’s how business works. You don’t buy new equipment, a new truck, or new real estate with the hope that it’s going to pay off instantly. Otherwise, you’d probably never invest in any of that stuff- but you still invest because you understand how important those expensive tools are. For the sake of analogies, just think about SEO as an expensive tool that’s going to make you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years if done right.

So let’s run the numbers on this quickly.

Let’s say, HYPOTHETICALLY, it costs $10,000 to rank a website on the first page for a top keyword.

For example, let’s use the keyword “painting contractor in Miami”, which has around 1,000 monthly searches.

Sure, it’s going to be $10,000 to rank on the first page, and it’ll probably take around 6-12 months to see any progress. But once you’re ranked, I could easily see this $10,000 investment making you hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Talk about a return on investment.

Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it usually is.

For this client, SEO was a huge source of revenue, drawing in over 40 percent of the $1.1 million, so go figure.

Granted, it cost him more than $10,000 to get ranked, but at some point, you have to bite the bullet and invest and invest well. Eventually, you’ll reap the benefits.

However, some specifics on what we did for this client.

  1. Ranked his GMB for top services
  2. Ranked his website for top services
  3. We’re currently working on building rankings in some slightly further locations
  4. Working on ranking some of the secondary services

My recommendations for anyone looking into SEO. 

Make sure you know which service is being pushed hardest in the rankings and always prioritize your most profitable service. 

I understand that some companies like to go for “quick wins” and rank for the least competitive keywords, but sometimes that’s just not profitable at all.

A ton of thought and strategy building has to go into this, and unfortunately, most SEO companies just don’t have the business acumen to understand or prioritize appropriately.

Lead Source 3

This one is my secret weapon, and it’s something that I’ve used to scale serious contractors for years.

The third lead source that we used was directly reaching out to our target GC firms, especially ones that did tons of work in our area, and asking to be added to their subcontractor ITB (invitation to bid) lists.

It’s not great for everyone, because it does require some technical abilities including:

  1. How to read construction plans
  2. Solid proficiency in computer construction software
    1. Bidding software
    2. Takeoff software
    3. Excel
  3. General computer savviness

If that’s you, then this is going to be a great tip for you, and if it’s not, I have a strategy that I use to circumvent these requirements, but you’re going to have to reach out and schedule a strategy call for me to discuss that with you.

It’s just too good.

I’m not sure if it’s because of the pandemic, or if this strategy is truly just that great, but this strategy alone built solid partnerships with 4 huge GC firms in our area, generated over $300k in revenue, and is probably going to be one of the strongest channels for us as we continue to grow.

Of course, there are tons of ways to do this, but I have my method that I use for my clients.

In short, do these things in order:

  1. Build a list of target GCs
  2. Reach out to these contractors via email or phone
  3. Introduce yourself and your company
    1. Include what you do, the industries that you specialize in, have experience in, and just overall pitch your company
  4. Ask to be invited to their bidding software and ITB lists.
  5. Submit competitive bids, earn trust, and then raise margins.

If you’re a specialty contractor, building partnerships with GCs will be one of the most important things that you do to grow your business. 

Lead Source 4 

So far, all of the lead sources that we’ve built have one thing in common.

They take time to mature and produce results.

While they’re extremely important, and will ultimately become the most important lead sources, relying on them at the beginning of this client relationship was going to be too risky.

So, for generating quick and reliable leads, we got into the more traditional lead channels.

Facebook and Google Ads.

These avenues are extremely profitable if done right, so we launched about 4 months into the partnership.

Here was our strategy for each:

 Google Ads

Google Ads were my bread and butter when I first got started in digital marketing. Rightfully so, this is where we started their paid digital marketing.

I can’t reveal all of my strategies, but I am going to briefly cover our strategy.

For starters, you’re going to want to pick your most profitable services and do extensive keyword research.

Depending on how tight your budget is, I would recommend starting by targeting only long-tail keywords. For example, instead of targeting “painters in Miami”, I might start with “ best painting companies in Miami”.

There’s going to be less volume, more intent, and ultimately higher conversion rates. However, this strategy is very limited in volume, so if you’re able to allocate any kind of serious budget, then it’s not going to be enough.

The next step would be to add more general keywords, more services, and more locations.

Now, I’m not sure why I’m posting this online, but I hope someone puts it to use and improves their marketing performance.

One of the special strategies I’ve been able to use has been implementing detailed targeting strategies based on average neighborhood income.

How did I do this?

Well, you can buy census data from various providers that give you an excel with ton of demographic information for all cities, boroughs, and neighborhoods

Here’s one source that you can use for this data:

Link to zip code data

You can sort through the data depending on where your company operates, and filter it out by target incomes.

Using this strategy, you can prevent a lot of the low-quality leads that come in when you run general google ads.

If you want to learn more about how you can implement these strategies in your business and Google Ad campaigns, you can schedule a free strategy call with me.

Schedule a free strategy call.

Facebook Ads

Another great source of leads is Facebook ads.

However, we didn’t rely too heavily on Facebook ads for this client because of the recent changes to Apple’s privacy policy.

However, if you’re able to come up with creative offers and ads, then Facebook Ads can be very profitable.

One thing to note, Facebook ads usually generate a much higher volume of leads, at the cost of lead quality. The most important thing for getting the most out of your Facebook ads is to make sure that you ALWAYS pick up the phone when someone calls.

This goes for all paid ads actually, if you’re not available to pick up calls then I would suggest that you don’t commit too hard to paid ads.

While we were able to close some jobs through Facebook Ads, we didn’t commit to it enough to warrant a full strategy explanation.

Lead Generation Strategy Overview

Now that you know what we did, it’s almost more important to know when and why we set up each of these lead gen sources.

The first thing that we did was set up referral programs to get more out of each client. Luckily, the owner had access to contact information for the bulk of his past clients, so while he didn’t have a modern CRM solution, he had his own analog database.

So we built a referral page on the website, printed referral brochures and hand-outs, and started to do some outreach to all happy customers.

Within 1 week, we had over 10 free quotes scheduled, 13 reviews generated, and eventually ended up closing 5 new jobs.

Crazy, right?f

Imagine if he had been doing that the entire time. The craziest part, we only spent around $2000 total, including the referral fees and printing costs, to generate over $60k in new work.

Over a 30x ROI! I bet you’ll take that any day of the week.

Most importantly, we had set up a system that had proven itself and was now primed to continue to generate more and more work as time progressed. Eventually, as these new customers begin to get funneled into the CRM, this referral system will continue to snowball and just generate more and more revenue as time goes on.

Next, after only about 2 months together, we started to work on SEO. The good part of SEO is that it’s absurdly, and I mean, ABSURDLY profitable. The bad news is that it takes months to get to work, especially on websites and Google My Business listings that are brand new. However, we were able to justify the quick and heavy investment into SEO because of the new revenue generated from all the referral business.

As far as results are concerned, we started to get leads around 6-7 months in, but on a very inconsistent basis. However, some of these leads that we did get, just so happened to be decent sized commercial jobs that we closed, so great news!

In the 13 months we had worked together, Picazzo Painting Corp. had managed to generate over 50 leads and around 15 jobs from SEO. This was absolutely insane, especially given the timeline.

But what allowed us to generate over 400k in revenue from just 15 jobs, was that the first keywords that we ranked for were ALL commercial painting related. So each job was well into the 30-40k range. Crazy!

One of the most important things here was that as the leads started to roll in, I made sure to train Jorge’s wife to answer phone calls and book appointments. Out of the 100 ish calls she received, she only missed 2. That’s what it’s going to take to get these results.

Answer the damn phone! I’ve worked with so many contractors that drop over 50% of their calls, and then they don’t understand why they aren’t getting any results.

Anyways, the setup for all of the key SEO components only took about 5 weeks, and after that, it was a rolling effort every single month.

But after SEO, around month 4, we started to get into Google Ads heavily, and some Facebook ads. I did this on purpose because I wanted to make sure that I was offsetting some of the SEO costs through new revenue generated from Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

In 8 months, we spent around 50k in ads and generated around 290k in new revenue. This is nuts, but even more nuts when you consider that a lot of these customers will also turn into additional referrals, so the return is even higher!

If you haven’t gotten the point yet, the first thing that I did was set up referrals because, without them, you’re not going to be getting the most out of every other marketing channel.

Without referrals, it’s very possible for your business to grow if you know what you’re doing, but WITH REFERRALS, you’re going to experience explosive growth.

So to sum it all up, here’s the order that we did things:

  1. Set up referral programs and implemented them into the sales process
  2. Started working on SEO about 2 months in.
  3. Scaled into Google and Facebook ads around 4 months in, and increased spend gradually as profits justified.

Believe it or not, with just those 3 steps, we took this company from around 200k a year to 1.1m a year.

But you might be asking yourself, “I’ve hired lead generation companies in the past, but It just didn’t work out for me like this.”

Yeah, of course. Because leads are nothing without a solid system in place to take advantage of them.

This brings me to my next point.


Step 5: Critical Internal Systems Necessary For Growth 

I’ve mentioned this a couple of times throughout this post, but for the sake of organization, I’m going to outline all of the systems that we put into place that helped us grow this quickly.

If you’re going to invest in any kind of marketing, then I highly suggest that you get these pieces in place before investing heavily into marketing.

  1. Understand how to deal with your leads 

Leads are not business, and leads alone won’t grow your business. You need to have a solid plan for what to do when the leads come in, and that starts with having someone that will reliably and consistently pick up the phone or reach out to web submissions.

I can’t stress this enough, the faster you respond to a lead, the higher your chances of closing that deal.

Check out this research done by Lead Response Management:

“Responding to leads within 5 minutes dramatically increases the likelihood of connecting with prospects. Waiting 30 minutes to contact that prospect will result in 100x fewer chances of connecting.”

So ideally, you pick up immediately or reach out immediately. But if you don’t, then consider every contact by a customer to come with a 5-minute timer. If you run out of time- that lead is as good as gone.

  1. Know how you’re going to close that lead. 

If you’re dealing with leads, you’re a salesman. You need to have a plan for every single lead to close them at the highest possible rate.

Sales and sales optimization is an endless topic, but here are some things that you can do to improve closing rates

  1. Respond faster
  2. Answer questions, offer help
  3. Don’t just send estimates, first call and give them the estimate in person or over the phone and answer questions and gauge their response
  4. Build professional proposals. This can be a template where you only change a couple of elements, but it looks infinitely more professional.
  5. The money is in the follow-up. Always follow-up, especially if they say that they need time to think about it. Schedule that next call, or better yet, say that you’ll just call the next day. Don’t give up, make at least 3-5 follow-up attempts before calling it quits.
  1. Capture necessary details, and understand the post-sale process.

Your customer’s worth doesn’t end with the job you sold. You now have a happy customer, you need to get the absolute most out of every connection possible.

Remember, we’re trying to collect as many details as possible – we’re growing a business and CRM database.

Make sure to get their email, make detailed notes about anything they might need in the future, after the job, make sure to invite them to the referral program, etc, etc.

Don’t give up after you collect the check, you’ve only scratched the surface of opportunity.

  1. Overdeliver. 

This should go without saying, but your business is absolutely nothing without its product. Whatever service you’re providing, always make sure to go above and beyond to please that client.

Some of the best ways to go out of business are to provide a bad service or nickel and dime your customer. There’s almost no loss that’s bigger than getting a bad rep.


“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. “ – Warren Buffet

We’re not here to make a quick buck- we’re here to build and grow a business that does much more than just feed your pockets.

If you take these things seriously, then you’re in a solid place to start generating more leads, closing more jobs, and growing your business.

Final Thoughts

So now you know what our problems were, how we approached them, and how well each step worked.

But there are a couple of things that I attribute to helping grow this business explosively.


For starters, Jorge’s mentality was in the right place. He had been in business for long enough and struggled for long enough that he was determined to receive guidance and execute at a high level.

He’s hungry for success, and that’s why we succeeded.

I’ve had this happen time and time again. I’ll do some marketing, the client will close a couple of nice jobs, and just completely give up. They’re happy with how much money they made, why make more?

That’s a terrible mentality for growth, and largely comes from the fact that they’re self-employed, they’re not business owners.

For Jorge, he stayed hungry, kept growing, kept hiring, kept improving, and was open to advice and constructive criticism.

When I first talked to Jorge, he would never, ever follow up with customers. He always thought “if they want to work with me, they’ll just call me.” That was a terrible approach to sales, and soon as we fixed that his closing rate benefited.

We Leveraged Credit

Cash flow is king, especially when you start to bring in expenses, employees, overhead, etc. Sometimes clients can take a while to pay out a job entirely, and this is especially the case with large GCs that have accounting departments. Protecting cash is paramount, so getting adequate credit lines to play with can be life-saving.

We Took Advantage of Leads

Of everything we did right, the best thing that we did (that shocked me) was how consistent Jorge’s wife was when it came to answering calls, reaching out to form submissions, and turning those leads into appointments.

If I have to attribute just one thing to our success, besides my marketing campaigns, it has to be this. Without her ability and consistency, there’s no way that we hit this level of growth.

So what does that mean for you? You need to learn to appreciate, invest in, and train your receptionist. Don’t treat this like a bull-shit minimum wage job that you hire anyone for. This is the lifeline for your growth.

Imagine paying thousands upon thousands of dollars a month for advertising, consulting, and software to just have all of that potential growth thrown away because no one picks up the phone.

A lot of the time, your receptionist has your business growth in their hands.

How Do We Continue To Grow From Here?

I think that we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can achieve with Picazzo Painting.

I don’t want to get into too many details because this post is already long as hell.

But here’s my vision for the future:

  1. Continue to scale marketing campaigns (target new services, areas, and increase budget)
  2. Improve internal efficiencies
    1. Focus on email marketing
    2. Continue to improve referral close rates
    3. Improve project scheduling
    4. Improve operational efficiency
  3. Continue to build relationships with large GC firms that will give us reliable work to continue to scale internal teams.
  4. Eventually, I want to get Jorge completely off the tools and teach him how to run and scale his business, primarily building sales and paint teams that can handle more jobs and higher lead volume.

While our goals are lofty, I believe that we’re in a fantastic position to achieve them. However, for the next 8-ish months, my primary goal is to solidify what we’ve done, and replicate the results with another great year in terms of growth.

After we’ve done that, then I can start to optimize the company’s internal systems and structure, and further solidify the foundation that they’ll use to grow.

After all, If I were to simply pump the marketing and pump the lead volume, there’s actually a high chance that I’ll just frustrate Jorge, and either his sales ability will lag behind the total amount of leads, or his painting crews will not be able to keep up with work.

I don’t want to set him up for failure, so for now, we work on what we’ve accomplished and further practice some of the systems that we’ve set in place already.

An Open Invitation

With all that being said, if at any point in this post you found yourself identifying with some of the struggles that Jorge was going through, and you’re serious about growing your business, go ahead and schedule a free consultation with me today. 

I don’t charge anything, and I am firmly against strong, aggressive sales. My goal during that call is simply to get to know you and your business and see if we are a good fit to work together.

However, even if we’re not a good fit, I always gladly give away free advice on how to improve things at your business, including free strategy and free marketing advice.

If you’re ready to talk more about how to grow your business, click here to schedule your free consultation. 

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