More Leads Online Podcast Episode 010
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Steve Sheinkopf (00:00):
So what happens is we grow up without the foundation of growth. So what happens is, or we, we, we, we add like 20 cookie cutter stores that have absolutely no imagination. So what really happens is as you grow, you get your top line revenue, but there’s no bottom line revenue. And you know, it’s not satisfying customers anymore. It’s almost like a gravitational pull to mediocrity.
Nathan Young, MLO (00:29):
Growing your home service business can be a pain in the, but we know you want to grow on the home service leaders podcast. We interview leaders in the home services to find out how they’re building their companies. So you can too. Hi, this is Nathan Young with the home service leaders podcast. I’m here today with Steve, correct me on your pronunciation, shine, cough. Oh, thank you. Right out of the gate. Ah, yeah, I’m one for one so far. So he’s the owner of Yale appliance. Steve, tell us a little bit about Yale. Tell me more about you.
Steve Sheinkopf (01:05):
Well, it didn’t really take any talent for me. I was kind of born into it, you know, as far as how it gets started, every family gets together as like a different story. The latest iteration is, uh, you know, my grandfather came over from Poland, brought all his other brothers in work to bring all his brothers, uh, started working at Yale somewhere around 1923, but he definitely bought into it around 1932. I’m okay with that story because, you know, 1932, wasn’t exactly the banner year for the American economy. So took all his money. He had $3,500 device into the company and it’s been on the family ever since, you know, my dad took over from my grandfather and you know, when I was seven and I got woken up and I started cleaning light fixtures and sweeping floors and, you know, putting stuff away, like pretty much everybody else back then. So that’s, uh, that’s the brief family history
Nathan Young, MLO (02:01):
Sounds like we could probably have a whole thing just on that. I have some suspicion that you left out a
Steve Sheinkopf (02:08):
But really you only told them we had 40 minutes. Right?
Nathan Young, MLO (02:11):
Well, and what is, what is the business look like now? You have several locations. You’re a lot bigger.
Steve Sheinkopf (02:18):
Yeah. I mean, it’s changed the one, obviously, you know, we started it and like we started actually, um, on Portland street, which is in Boston don’t know Portland street is fine because it really isn’t there anymore. It was, um, taken by the state and eminent domain. Uh, it’s not like the state house. So we moved to canal street, which is right across from the Boston yard. Then my dad, we got, you know, we’re a work for like 25 years, the landlord sold it. So we had to be out. My father found it here and measured on like on the coldest day, like 1983. So Dorchester were one of the Dorchester section of Boston, which back then was really scary. Now it’s kind of, so in 2015, we, um, we built our, our second store in Framingham, which is kind of near where I grew up. I grew up in Needham and then last year in the middle of the pandemic, we opened up on the social war in a Hanover, actually not a middle of
January 4th. So we had a good six weeks before the pandemic or eight weeks. Not exactly the best time we operate out of us Stoughton minutes to, with the warehousing and trucking. So.
Nathan Young, MLO (03:27):
Okay. So what would you say one or two things now? Obviously a lot, you just mentioned that there would be a lot, but what would you say are the, maybe the top three things that have changed since your grandfather founded the company originally? Right. Like since, since it started, what is, what are the top three things that have really changed?
Steve Sheinkopf (03:46):
Well, you know, my, my grandfather may have worked with seven to 10 people. We had about 190. So a lot of it is communication and clarity and enforcing the standards. Not, I don’t mean enforcing our share. I mean, you know, managing the standards you don’t, I think growing and I’m certain, you’ll probably talk about growth. I think growth is good if it’s good organic, or if you’re satisfying your customers. And again, you know, the whole customer, we started in service like in the nineties and that’s certainly a big part of our business too. That was never part of my grandfather’s vision. And so really from what it w it’s it’s as much people management in terms of customers, internal customers, which are in my opinion, as important as your final customers, if you don’t treat them right, they’re not gonna treat the customers. Certainly your vendors would be a part of that. And just that whole management, HR piece scaling up is, is really hard getting from that kind of entrepreneurial to more of a corporate without losing the personality that made it engaging. Initially, that’s, that’s really the hard part.
Nathan Young, MLO (04:59):
I have a suspicion, but what would you say has stayed the same the whole time aside from the product
Steve Sheinkopf (05:07):
Well, I, I think we kept the whole family plot. We want it to be nimble, like, because you have to be nimble. If anything, last year teaches anybody, you have to be able to readdress the way you do things. And you can’t do that with, with really a, um, a less than skilled workforce. Man. There’s so many things. Uh, but, um, but what was the, I’m sorry, I mean, this is going to sound dumb. What was the original question? As I go off on a tangent,
Nathan Young, MLO (05:35):
You have so much history that you could talk about. Like it’s hard to not get yourself lost in that a little bit. I said, what’s something that has definitely stayed the same. And it sounds like the number one thing is family first, not losing that feeling, but also the quality of the employee serving the customer.
Steve Sheinkopf (05:52):
Exactly. You know, you gotta be more corporate, but you can’t lose the personnel. Yes. And that’s a, that’s a tough balance. And, you know, we don’t act like, you know, and, and I have nothing exchanged with home Depot Lowe’s best buy. We have to be different than that. In order, we have to be more compelling to them to win a customer service we’re selling commodity. So we have to be the intangible that people buy.
Nathan Young, MLO (06:16):
I recently have been talking a lot with business owners in the upper North. I’ve mentioned this. I just moved to Minnesota. And I don’t know if you’re familiar at all, but there’s lots of cabins up here. Lots of cabins. Uh, several of the guys that I’ve been talking to, one of them is the owner of a saw mill and other guys sort of in a very similar space construction for these sort of hideaway homes and places where people want to live up here. And they’ve been saying very similarly, like, look, you can go get a kit. You can go get your materials from the big box store. And there’s nothing wrong with that. And we understand on some level we are selling the same thing, we’re selling wood planks. And so we have to differentiate, we have to have the experienced advice, that knowledge that is born of not having just a commodity perspective on the product, but of like this being what we do. And it sounds like you’re saying something very similar.
Steve Sheinkopf (07:25):
Yeah. Th that that’s definitely is, um, you can’t, you can’t play somebody else’s game. When you’re talking about a block store and internet company or any of the other 60 competitors we have in the 20 mile area of Boston that we compete with. You have to be special. There’s some dimension that you have to win and you have to be competitive in the other dimensions too. Can’t be high in advice and tremendously high in price. Right. It doesn’t work.
Nathan Young, MLO (07:55):
Also. One of the things I’ve been talking about, again, we, you know, my company specializes in doing marketing for home service and we’ve seen home services, frankly, get a gigantic boost over the last year. It’s been really interesting to watch what went up and what went down. But as people left the office and they sat in their house and worked from their homes, they suddenly realized that maybe it’s time to expand that patio. Maybe I hate my appliances and would like to upgrade. Maybe my lighting does suck. And I, you know, like, and we, so we’ve seen sort of this big market shift over to the home and I personally have also done this. So I’ve been a consumer of in the same way. How has this for, so for some of our guys, it’s been a boon, you have retail stores. So I can’t imagine it’s not a little different for you. Has this been good? Has it been bad? You just mentioned you opened up a different store right? At the, like, tell me a little bit about that.
Steve Sheinkopf (08:57):
Well, it’s, it’s, it’s really, the story of two years is the story of the first year, the first half of the year, maybe since February to like say June where it was no demand and okay. Supply. And then the back half of the year, it’s exploding demand and no supplies prior SAPAC problems. You can’t blame them. I mean, you know, COVID through the factory now you’ve got associate distance in factory that you didn’t have to socially distance. You’ve got to, we think that, you know, their parts supplier went down with COVID now you don’t have hinges. You can just can be very important when you want to open a fridge. You know, one of the reps told me, you know, if you have 80 of the 84 parts to make a dishwasher, it doesn’t mean you shoot the dishwasher. So it’s been challenging. I think for the first half with that, I was, I think all of us were scared.
Steve Sheinkopf (09:50):
This is not an event we’ve ever seen. What we were able to do is because we have a, we’ve developed a pretty good it department. We’ve got everybody labs, laptops. We increased the hours that we worked from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM on the phone and virtually and chat. And then we had the stores by appointment only. So we’re able to limit and really curate the people that came because we went from
3000 visits, roughly in February to 273 in April. So what we did is we converted all that business from walk in brick and mortar to a virtual chat, show them appointment and click to chat. So we had something, we went from 1,474 chats, January to 3,875. And in April,
Nathan Young, MLO (10:43):
Um, I’m counting mentally, I’m doing some quick math, right? Based on how many visits that you said you had to, how many visits you said you had the next month and then how many chats in one month to the next one? And I’m going those sound pretty close to each other. The difference
Steve Sheinkopf (11:00):
It’s there. It’s really, the number was like 4,430 in February. February’s got presence day. So you have a promotion in February. So February is actually a good month appliances, you know, especially if it doesn’t snow like Minneapolis or say Boston, um, you know, in April you don’t have anything. So it went from like 4,450 down to almost 4,200 in a non-promotional period. So I, I that’s a win. Yeah. And it caused you to rethink, I mean, are the expenses that you normally have, do they serve you? Um, you know, there’s things that you can do. We used to have a, uh, we have a warehouse clearance twice a year. We made it virtually. So people shopped online for the things that we had virtually, and we sold a half, a million dollars of the stuff that was lying around. So really what you need to do is just optimize everything. You can, everything you do to plan and optimize every customer interaction, whether it’s online, whether it’s in store and you take nothing for granted. So we were lucky that we’re lucky, you know, part of it’s luck, part of it is, you know, foresight of, of, of trunking ahead.
Nathan Young, MLO (12:10):
Well, you said something that I think will be true for, I mean, permanently, I’m going to, you know, I’m going to tell my I’ll be like, Hey, clip that, that’s the clip. That’s the sentence is you said, optimize. Every part of the customer interaction you said, is this expense serving you? And to tie those two things together then is this expense serving the customer? Is the question that the two things you just said begs to me is this expense really serving the customer. And I don’t think that that’s something in a post COVID world. That’s not a question that goes away. That’s a solid strategic question. No matter what from it always has been probably, but definitively now,
Steve Sheinkopf (12:56):
Well, you know, what it goes down to is even if it’s a legitimate expense, we’ve always been trying to think five to 10 years ahead. And that’s good until something like this comes around when March 13th happens, kids, aren’t going to school. Everybody’s scared five to 10 years is now it’s now, now, right? So what you need to do is make sure that the expenses are absolutely essential. You can even put it on hold the ones that you need some time in the future, but you really have to, it’s almost like, you know, this is horrible thing to study in the eighties called variable cost accounting, which is really just paying for the stuff you need right now. And you know, the airline industry, when it go into Wars, you know, the price Wars back then used to do that in it’s, it’s a really bad thing in the longterm because somehow you got to pay for the, for the investments you need to make in claims, you are just paying for gas employee, uh, you know, staff and, you know, electricity, water, and all that other stuff. You won’t be able to buy that plane at 10. So, but for now something like this, and then the event with that much history behind it, that’s kind of the way you have to think. Only in the short term,
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Nathan Young, MLO (14:13):
What you just said. Sounds like a piece of advice that was concise, but hard one
Steve Sheinkopf (14:19):
Let’s put it this way. You know, I not, I’m not sure if I made a mistake today, but, uh, I’m pretty sure that I’ve made more than my share of mistakes. Unfortunately, big mistakes are high. You’ll learn because those are the ones, the ones that really hurt are the ones you don’t typically forget.
Nathan Young, MLO (14:40):
Oh man, that’s going to hurt for the rest of the, I’m going to be thinking about that one for awhile. I’ll tell my wife that the next time our kids do something like crazy. Like you said, you said exploding growth, no demand, I’m sorry. No demand. Uh, you exploding growth, you know, uh, tightening supply. You are finding yourself then with this greater demand for products and services, do you actually, are, are you able then to get the cashflow because of that, or is the actual availability down enough that you are still finding a constraint or are you guys, have you guys been able to find some growth in this?
Steve Sheinkopf (15:19):
We found some growth in it and it’s, it’s a different thing. First of all, when you talk about where we’re lucky in home services and what you do and the people you represent, because right now, if you’re planning a trip to Italy, Germany, Vietnam, whatever, it’s not happening. If you’re planning on vacations, probably even anywhere, it’s not happy. So people that people are doing is taking that money and putting it back. And it’s affected us in some ways, in some ways it has the typical client story will run with somewhere between 70 to 120. And that’s fine. And that’s certainly a good marketing because I have to go into fix them. It’s untenable. So what we’ve tried to do is try to be very important to a smaller amount of brands. So we’ll have more in stock. So let’s just take this moment in time where you know, inventory is, is hard to come by and everything.
Steve Sheinkopf (16:19):
We typically have fewer skews, stock Depot. So we’re not as effective. We also through luck or probably luck, or because we’re a professional optimist, didn’t cancel purchase orders in February, March and April, like most did. So we weren’t affected until until now, but really what it comes down to is when you come to Yale, you’re, you’re expecting, say for dishwashers, very choices. You might have six to eight choices now, but there’s 68 good shorts right now. That’s acceptable more than acceptable to have something that somewhat people like. If, you know, if you come in working for a boss now not to pick on box or kitchen and you ended up, you want to blush, you end up with kitchen. It’s not a terrible thing. And you’re in the consumer’s mind, Santos gift say vice versa, KitchenAid dishwasher, Boston meal. Or if you have things that people want and maybe another brand. So I always tell customers to be, you know, free feature, Royal, not rambling, cause it was a brand. And I say, I want this kitchen. You’re going to be disappointed if your feature or if your feature loyal, you’ll have more choice, obviously. So we’ve been effective, just not as much as somebody that’s, that’s trying to order 70 from 70 different to 120 different brands. It’s not tenable right now.
Nathan Young, MLO (17:45):
I’m always trying to take something away from any, you know, I ask a question and then you answer and I’m like, okay, is there a way that I can take sort of a nugget from what you just said? I’m like, cause I’m always, I’m always aware that both for myself, as a person who is in business and trying to lead a business, but as a small one, that you have a certain amount of scale that we haven’t achieved yet.
Right? And I’m going, there’s somebody listening to this, that’s running their appliance store. And I mentioned to this when I was, uh, before we started recording that my parents owned an appliance store. So I grew up in, you know, little tiny 3000 person town. We own this appliance store, 5,000 square feet. And I’m going, we had Frigidaire and G E and a Maytag, you know, and we thought three options was a great day.
Nathan Young, MLO (18:37):
And so on some level I’m listening to the advice and I’m going, how can I make this actionable for somebody who hasn’t reached your scale yet? Because you’re speaking from a position frankly, of just leadership at this point, I’m listening to you and I’m thinking something you just said that I can really take away towards getting to where you are is again, have the best choices. And I’m almost recognizing a little bit of a through line. It seems like in that everything you’re saying is tying back to how do you serve your customer the best?
Steve Sheinkopf (19:10):
And you can’t be everything to everybody. You can’t chase other people, right? Who’s your core customer and high best to appeal. And you know, we’re lucky we try to go from medium to super premium, but we’re not for everybody. And that’s okay, especially, okay, when you’re doing advertising, I’m going give you to like, you know, for people listening to and Google ads for super premium, you say filter at the top 10, 20% and you really laser focus to the people you’re trying to communicate to. And that’s what it is. It’s like picking where you want to be Frigidaire, June and, and Maytag, maybe good for a specific set of an, a specific area. Personally, if I was your, your, your parents’ advisor would say, let’s, let’s pick some aspirational stuff. One or two aspirational brands, let’s pick a couple of medium brands and, and roll with that. Right.
Nathan Young, MLO (20:01):
I think that’s excellent advice. I’ll make sure to tell them right. I’ll call my mom tomorrow. Steve said,
Steve Sheinkopf (20:09):
Listen, man, this is going to be one of them. Big mistakes. Again, I don’t want to be around. You don’t
want to, you don’t want to be around for those stuff.
Nathan Young, MLO (20:17):
Right? Right. Well, I’ll make sure to say Steve said not. I said it wasn’t right, right. Steve said to do this thing, I’m just passing it along. Don’t blame me. Would you say a growth is a constant goal for the company or would you say it changes depending on other factors? Like, so what goals would you say remain constant and what don’t. And I, and I’m asking that for two reasons, one as a leader, you know, how are you planning those things, but also to operationally and tactically on the marketing side, I’m going, you know, how are you managing how your goals change and what that means? What are your employees doing to adjust to that? So what step, what goals stay true is, is growth. Always a goal.
Steve Sheinkopf (21:01):
I define growth differently than most people do. I think growth is I there’s, there’s a couple of measurements that I’m always looking at. One is, um, NPS or net promoter score because here’s what happens, right? There’s here’s what appliance stores do. And listen to anybody. That’s survived as an
appliance store over the last 10 years, we have much better, but here’s where we get wrong is like we don’t budget or we don’t expense. And there’s no mechanism. So what happens is we grew up without the foundation of growth. So what happens is, or we, we, we, we add like 20 cookie cutter stores that have absolutely no imagination. So what really happens is as you grow, you get your top line revenue, but there’s no bottom line revenue. And you know, that’s not satisfying customers anymore. It’s almost like a gravitational pull to mediocrity. The way people grow is I am not prepared to grow in that.
Steve Sheinkopf (22:01):
And we didn’t grow until 2015, almost 90 years after we established the story because I never felt we were ready to. You need to have those mechanisms in place of customer satisfaction, which means to me sales, which means to me, um, install, delivery, and service. If you are missing one of those components, in my opinion, you cannot grow. You cannot. And again, for the customer standpoint, listening to this, I want them satisfied at the same time. If you’re going to grow, grow means bottom line growth. And if it’s a lot more work for the same, it’s not good for the customer. It’s not good for the, of the company either, because what happens is the same. People are doing more things. So a matter of time before one of those big cogs burns out and then the whole machine has got, so you can almost have to plan the architecture growth to customer satisfaction, then you grow up. Okay.
Nathan Young, MLO (22:56):
Okay. When you say plan the architect through customer satisfaction, are you specifically looking at, and maybe I’m getting too tactical, but just trying to, to narrow down to a sort of a little, like, do this, do this, would you say the first place you look is your HR department and then the second place you look is your budget. Or
Steve Sheinkopf (23:16):
I think HR is very important. I did, HR was one of my first jobs. You know, everyone talks about, you know, people being, I mean, it doesn’t matter, right? It’s like you go on TV or where you try harder, you know, you can do where we can help. And it’s almost like punch ones because they can help people are a huge asset and they have to be treated as such, meaning you have to train. So HR is important. Training is important. Incentivizing is important in the whole management side of that with metrics. So what is success, right? Because what it comes down to, if you failed, because I failed you, then I spit. Right. And a lot of people is like, you know, when I started in sales, my dad handed me a sales book. That was my train. And I had to figure it out and it sucked. Right. But you can’t do that at scale. Right. You can’t hire five, six, eight people and say, figure it out. Maybe one or two might you want more than one or two?
Nathan Young, MLO (24:19):
Yeah. That was a really tangible question. So in prepping for growth, you’re very focused on hiring your HR departments, a critical component of that and not, and thinking forward a little bit, like we’re going to need these people. You work across. A lot of you would have had, maybe this has shifted some, but you would have had floor salespeople. Admin ops service is a very important component for you and delivery. Obviously like service, maybe that includes delivery and install. And so I’m going, how do you approach hiring for the different roles? Do you, do you approach hiring differently depending on the role?
Steve Sheinkopf (24:56):
Well, it’s funny because up until about five years ago, the process was people would come in their resumes and me and the manners would do our best to try to interview and HR, HR would do a nice job waiting out. Now what we did is we brought the recruiting into the competence. We have someone whose job it is to recruit the vet. And she, uh, actually did it for us as an outside. And she was able to do it here. Part-time now she’s full time. So she has like, you know, the skills, the vetting skills and everything else. And of course all this stuff, I mean is imperfect as much as you try to make it perfect. People are this, isn’t an art as much science, but the way you do it is they have a strong HR recruiting. Of course, you know, there were things that you will never hire for.
Steve Sheinkopf (25:44):
I mean that you will never tolerate obviously, but it’s it’s as much as our science. So, you know, recruiting managers will interview, we’ll do the background checks and all the rest of it. Then we’ll give the office sheet. Then they go to train. And then once training, you know, training is people systems skills training, right? Cause they got to know the system, they got to know the skills and they got to be, you know, trained as, as people. And then there’s gotta to be checks along the way. Okay. Is this person doing the job, maybe how do they learn and all the rest of it? So it’s a, it’s a real process. The, the good news, and this is not really good news for our industry, is that a lot of the traditional places that people would go like hospitality, hotels had been murdered. So hospitality I’ve always had back when I was hiring the best lot hiring waiters and people from the restaurant industry, because they’re fast, they’re quick moving. They used to complaints and now you’ve got a whole, you’ve got thousands. We had, we have six sales jobs opening, I think over a thousand resumes. Wow. The last time. Yeah. So they’re out there for, for all of us listening to podcasts. There’s some great people now. And, and you’re not going to get another opportunity like this for a long time. So now’s a good time to get to hiring good people.
Nathan Young, MLO (27:10):
That’s a fascinating, I mean, how many people would think of go to the service and hospitality industry to hire your sales role, your customer service roles, because they are the most on your feet thinking P you know, they’re, they’re constantly dealing with the worst crap, right? Like customers are incredibly demanding. It’s almost never that person’s fault. It’s almost always someone in the backrooms fault that they’re dealing with in as a mid point, like they have to solve things on the fly. Usually they’re dealing with multiple customers at once. You and I both know how demanding customers can be in the service, you know, like not just in the home service industry, but in like the bar or, you know, like, and so that’s fascinating. I would never have thought of that. That’s amazing. Okay. I have some people that I need to go to.
Steve Sheinkopf (28:00):
Yeah. It’s, it’s a, it’s, it’s a good piece of advice. And especially now,
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Nathan Young, MLO (28:03):
You guys have really like, obviously through our communication, you guys have adjusted your policies on being in store. You’ve shifted a lot of things digitally. You shifted a lot of communication digitally. One of the things you mentioned was a live chat, and I’m wondering, I’ve asked a lot of people, do you text customers? And I mentioned Alex, hallmark. He is all for, you know, tech. Absolutely. You should be texting customers. And he also is a huge component of live chat. And I’m wondering, would you say that that is something that you’ll play down in six months or seven months? If, if people get to start coming back into the store, that you’ll be pushing again for that, or that you’ll say, I think this is fantastic. This is
a great thing that serves the customer. I want to, I want to really keep going on this whole live chat and maybe texting. I don’t know if you do texting,
Steve Sheinkopf (28:55):
If it serves the customer, we’ll keep it. We do text, but we, you know, there’s a, there’s a fine line between informing and annoying. Like, if I’m going to tell you about the sale I had, we’re going to have, or whatever it is that we do, whatever promotional, then I’m not going to do this for text, because I think that’s. But if I, if, if you want me to tell you that your delivery is happening in 30 minutes, I’ll text you because that’s important enough information you requested it. I’ll text some of the, you know, we don’t do bots except at night when there’s nobody here, we prefer live chat, but bots are good for mundane stuff. Ours. His name is Jen. Jenny is going to tell you that the delivery guys will be there in 30 minutes. Yes, no. Some of the, we want to want to give people the power to, to, to, to, to customize the experience.
Steve Sheinkopf (29:45):
And through that, we give them a login to go to our, to go to the website, put in their, um, invoice number, attract a truck to the house. Uh, I mean, stuff like that. We don’t want them there. You know, originally when I started it was all day and it was four hours, then it was two hours. Now we don’t even want them there for 20 minutes. We want a male in the same minute that we arrived. Right? Yeah. Because people’s time or something. So I really think that w you know, I think live chat is, is, is awesome. Certainly better than, than a blot, but it’s gotta be someone’s on the website. And people have an attention span of like seven seconds. You gotta be there as far as automating some of the other stuff. I think, I think texting can be a benefit to a customer provided they opt-in on it. And want some of your updates.
Nathan Young, MLO (30:36):
So texting for marketing, don’t do it texting for service and keeping the customer informed about what’s
important to them.
Steve Sheinkopf (30:44):
Yeah. But again, I’m not so unsure to read it. If I’m, I don’t know if I’m like Ralph Lauren and you sign up for a texting arrangement and I would text you that we’re going to have a spring sale coming up, save 40% today. Only. Yeah. That has value to it because you opted in on, but really I’ve never developed opt in on texting. I opt in on email. So what we try to do is send you an email because it’s never that mad important. We don’t that much seasonality.
Nathan Young, MLO (31:15):
Let me ask. If you don’t mind, as we’re wrapping up a little bit, I need just for my own what I pay attention to a lot. I need to ask you some tactical marketing things, if you don’t mind and how so one question is, how much have you seen the investment into your website grow as basically a critical operations component of your business?
Steve Sheinkopf (31:37):
The website is something that we battle every day at what to do, whether it’s, I love our web provider. We knew it in Canada. I think the great guys, yeah, there was talk of us doing our own thing, doing their thing. There was no question that the path, the purchase is online. No question about it so much so that
we don’t spend really any money on it. You’ll never see us in a magazine and newspaper on a radio talk show nuns. We don’t do any of it, but we do spend money on website because that is the path to purchase. And that is an ongoing investment, probably a quarter million dollars a year, just on something like that, because it’s more than just a website. It’s got, you know, certainly the blog on it, all the social media, but learning centers, all the feeds that go into it. So there’s, there is a lot to it. That’s our, that’s one of our bigger expenses and will be our bigger expense going. People are starting to buy appliances online.
Nathan Young, MLO (32:31):
This is an expense that serves the customer. Exactly. You mentioned you have a website provider, that’s actually an outsource person. Do you have, so do you primarily outsource, let’s call it your digital marketing, although I’m not sure if that’s a fair statement. I think there’s a difference between having a website and doing digital marketing actively. Right? So let’s just say your website is that that’s all outsourced or is it, you have someone in house handling
Steve Sheinkopf (32:55):
Kind of a mixture of both. I mean, we call the shots, it’s got our look and feel to it. They’re the developers behind it. As far as social media blogging, you know, video and YouTube has come up here. That’s all in source. I don’t think when it comes to the critical components of business, you don’t outsource it to do all sources. You have to have strict control and guidelines with it. So those are two ways ago. You’re going to completely outsource your marketing or whatever it is. You do not have a handle on it. I think it’s a recipe for disaster and you never learned any,
Nathan Young, MLO (33:27):
I’m totally with you. I am an outsource provider and I’m going every single time we talk to, you know, like we’re always trying to be as transparent, as accountable as possible. We’re trying to. And so to hear you say that those things are critical. I’m like, okay, cool. Yeah, we’re doing the right thing.
Steve Sheinkopf (33:45):
That’s what you want is an outsource provider, right? You want to be able to work with people to be able to tell the story that need to be told you. Can’t just, you know, hi, I’m Nathan Young. I’m going to help you with your marketing and they’d score the book at you. And you’re like, what do you want me to do? What’s important. What is, what’s the story you want me to tell, because I’m not going to know what your story is better than you will. So you’re going to need at least one or two point people it’ll never work.
Nathan Young, MLO (34:11):
No, I’m totally with you. You have mentioned that you have the website and that you do a D you have a
pretty decent focus on content. Do you focus on any other kinds of marketing digital or otherwise?
Steve Sheinkopf (34:22):
We do. We do spend some money on ad words. Um, not a lot, but typically what we try to do, everything we do is, is how to we write our, certainly our blog. Um, we’ll do a lot of video. We do some like, you know, the one thing you do is, you know, I know a little bit of Google analytics. When you look at Google analytics, you know, the Facebook stuff, and we don’t put any money into it, LinkedIn and all that, it doesn’t really drive traffic. And again, one of the things, one of the takeaways is I used to be in
Pinterest. I haven’t done it in like six or seven years. There are certain businesses that I think would do well on Pinterest. Um, but I think if you’re talking a small business, you can’t be Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blog, video, pick the channels that, that you think you can be good at. And that serves the customers. And that’s what you do. And you don’t need seven, maybe two or three.
Nathan Young, MLO (35:16):
Well, and, and on some level, you’re saying, if you divide your own attention up to each one of those things, you’re not going to be able to put out content that’s useful across all that, like focus on one where you can do something useful.
Steve Sheinkopf (35:29): Exactly. No question
Nathan Young, MLO (35:31):
Expense that serves your customer is going to be like the right expenses that serve the customers, the
tagline of this episode, like
Steve Sheinkopf (35:39):
Everything, you know, everything that serves the customers, you know, it’s, it’s, you know, there’s no win, lose mentality more. I can’t like drive outta here in a rules voice as everybody else is like taking the team home. And it’s, it’s gotta be bare. Uh, you gotta be fair to the people that you work with. You gotta be fair to your customers. And as long as everybody gets something, I, I don’t see, I don’t see anybody, a small business losing even to a large business like a home Depot.
Nathan Young, MLO (36:06):
I don’t think that I could ask for any more excellent advice, uh, than what you’ve provided so far. Well, Steve, having you on, uh, having this conversation has been incredibly, uh, I’m going to, I’m going to go there. I’m going to say enlightening. And if somebody else wants to, to take in, you mentioned a blog and, and some other content, uh, that’s all very much like DIY or something really helpful, obviously, where can people find that? Yep.
Steve Sheinkopf (36:33):
Had mostly appliance stores in the United States subscribe to our blog. Um, you know, it’s right off our website. You know, we, we don’t really promote ourselves. We teach people how to buy appliances. And if you’ve got salespeople that are, don’t know how to no, they probably, by downloading guys will learn how to sell it. Um, which I suspect is a core part of our authority audience. Again, you know, I I’m, uh, I’ve never been much for self promotion. It’s pretty honest. Um, and, and that’s really what we do. We’ve gone on YouTube recently. Um, um, we have some videos and that’s, that’s really about it. You’re not going to find, you know, we don’t have a PR department. I just don’t believe in that sort of thing, but those are the two places.
Nathan Young, MLO (37:14):
Awesome. And if you don’t mind, can you give me the actual domain of the website and the channel of the YouTube? So like, so anybody can look up
Steve Sheinkopf (37:22):
What’s blog dot Yale appliance.com and the YouTube channel. Since we deal with clients, I think X funny,
I should know that.
Nathan Young, MLO (37:34):
Well, you, I mean, you’ve been pretty, pretty consistent on like the, I don’t think that much about promoting ourselves, you know, we want to constantly make content useful for other people. And so the idea that you would sort of forget what the channel name is actually really holds to what you’re saying
Steve Sheinkopf (37:51):
The best way to promote yourself as a, by executing, whatever it is you say you’re going to do. And
when you don’t apologize for not doing it and fix it in the heart, nobody’s perfect. Right?
Nathan Young, MLO (38:02):
I don’t think I can end on something better. Once again, this has been Steve Sheinkopf from Yale appliance and Steve has been such a pleasure getting to talk to you today. Really nice talking to you. Excellent. This is Nathan Young for home service leaders, podcast, and more leads online, signing off. Thanks so much, everybody. This has been another episode of the home service leaders podcast, and I hope that this inspires you to take the next step and growing your business. If taking an honest look at your marketing and getting a no strings attached plan, sounds like right next step for you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or just text (219) 315-6476 and say, HSL thanks for listening. Go kick some.
CEO Yale Appliance and Lighting
Yale Appliance + Lighting is a family-owned business in operation since 1923. Now with three 15,000+ sq. ft. showrooms featuring the best products and an unmatched product selection. Yale strives to offer superior customer experience from beginning to end.