The BTN Vision

By Dominick Giambona

What is BTN?

Helping others,  that is how this whole thing got started. Laura, Paul McKelvey’s sister, would be asked, “Do you know a good window washer? A Rain gutter guy? A plumber?” She didn’t but she knew Paul did.

It got to the point they had a list of people they were calling upon. Then it hit them, “you know, we got something here, let’s figure out how to market this. ” They created their list put it on the internet and marketed it to various HOA’s
Back then, it was called the World Wide Web, it was nothing like it is now. Websites were pretty mundane, and everywhere you looked there was a list. List of jokes, list of saying’s, list of restaurants, celebrity lists, you name it.
Here is the interesting part, the internet changed and as it evolved so did Paul. It evolved to the Ganahl Contractor Directory, and eventually to Building Trades Network. He knew he would have to change or be left behind.
When he went to a BNI (Business Networking International) meeting. He looked around and said that format would work great if it were only trades people. So he took the basic business plan of BNI and tweaked it a little to accommodate contractors.
Why somebody hadn’t thought of it sooner is beyond me. But I am glad he did. We have all been going through some tough times, yet as I look back I can honestly say that BTN and all the friends I have made at BTN helped pull me through.
Helping others is what BTN is all about. We have been helping , Veterans First, Furnishing Hope, Canstruction and number of other organizations in our community. It is in our charter it is in our mindset, it is what makes BTN work.
We are here to lift each other, with the help of BTN, even Paul. He is always asking what’s next, he listens to our suggestions, he is looking for ways to improve, he is not satisfied with good enough if he knows it can be better.
That kind of leadership attracts more of the same. We are not looking for any contractors. We are looking for BTN contractors.

The BTN Vision
So what’s next?… The BTN Resource Center.

Why?…. Because a lot of us are small contractors, working out of our homes, because we can’t afford the overhead of an office. How many times have you had to meet a client at Starbuck’s or you always had to meet them at their home or their office, because you didn’t want them to hear the kids or the dog in the background.
Don’t laugh! You big contractors, I guaranty, you remember those days.
So what is a resource center?… It is your place of business.
Why do you need to pay for an office, utilities, insurance, internet, phone and all that overhead when you only need it for a 5, 6 or 10 days out of the month?  What do you do when business is dead in December and January but those bills keep coming in?
You go to BTN, that’s what you do. You pay for a conference room when you need a conference.  There will be computer terminals there, printers, staplers and punches. There will be a take-off room for you to go over plans.
If you have an extra truck parked in front of your house, there will be a limited Fleet parking.
If you have machinery or tools in your garage, there will be storage units for rent. Yes, for rent, not down the road or across town, but right at the place where you do business.
Your wife & kids will love you because now she can park in the garage and the kids can park in the driveway.
The BTN resource center is a place where big contractors and small contractors can meet with clients and other contractors and collaborate on projects. There will be Seminars for Marketing, Business Coaching to help your business grow.
Some of you need a showroom, or have a staff and need an office 50 weeks out of the year. But, I bet you wished that BTN was around when you started your business.   The BTN resource center may not be for everyone, it’s there for everyone.
Your place of business shouldn’t be the anchor that slows you down. What we have with BTN is a place with energy and opportunity for those with the BTN spirit.

Types of Referrals

Types of Referrals
by Dominick Giambona
There are many different kinds of referrals. They vary in quality according to how much of a rapport or relationship a person (that wants to refer you) has cultivated with your new prospect. Here are a few good examples.
A) The simplest referral: “I Know _______. They do great work. I know you will like them”. This is the most common type of referral. You know someone and you leave a name and number, and you are on your way. You can feel fairly certain that they have established a good level of credibility with the prospective client. You can leverage your credibility depending on the rapport between the new client and the party that referred you.
B) A stronger referral: A meeting is arranged. They have taken it one step further, taking the responsibility of working out the details of getting you and the prospective client together to discuss business. This is a strong referral. For example, they picked up the cell phone and called you directly and may have even handed the phone over to your new prospect.
C) “Slam Dunk”: The sale is closed before you even contact the prospective client. This is networking at its best. This is indicative of a strong relationship between not only the person referring you to your future prospect, but also a strong relationship between you and the person referring you. They have expressed confidence in your abilities and trust you with their own customer. The customer will pick-up on this. They feel secure. From the customer’s point of view, that means a lot.
Every week, like a broken record, I say “Networking is about building relationships”. This is another example of how those relationships can impact your business. The weekly meeting is just the tip of the iceberg. It is critical, and necessary that you attend. But we only have a 30 or 40 seconds for each of us to talk of our businesses.
Being a Guest Speaker now and then, the ‘Coffee Breaks” or luncheon meeting or scheduling a “Face to Face” or “One on One” gives you time to explain you and your business at length.
That is why BTN offers each and every one a chance to be a guest speaker. I implore you, grab your 10 minutes of fame and start building your sales force, pick a spot on the schedule to be a Guest speaker. Believe me when I say, “Each of us want to hear about more about you and your business.”
That is a great start; to really get rolling you can start scheduling “coffee’s” to really get your message across.
BTN is the enabler. Its goal is to lift your business, to show you a better way to network, a proper way to network. Your business deserves that. All of our businesses do
The best nurturers make the best networkers, who incidentally, make the most slam dunks. Who wouldn’t like to see more “slam dunks?”

Visitors Day – A Message to Those Visiting Us Today

Visitors Day – A Message to Those Visiting Us Today
By Dominick Giambona
First, I want to thank each and everyone the visitors for joining us today. I would especially like to thank all of our BTN members for doing such a fine job in making our visitor’s day a big success. If you look around the room you can get a little feel for what we do. We understand when we work together beautiful things can happen.
Everyone here has a preconceived notion of what networking is about. We all did. But when we came to BTN we saw something different, we saw something we liked, and we joined.
What makes BTN different than other business networks? In your typical network, two plus two equals four. At BTN, two plus two equals ten! Why no one thought of it before is beyond me. We are building trades and trade related services. We fit together. Each one of us is a piece of a puzzle, and we understand each other’s businesses.
I don’t know about you, but I have to make better use of my time. Meeting every Tuesday with hairdressers, car salesmen and caterers is not going to produce the synergy that a plumber or roofer, electrician or even construction lawyer could produce for my little business.
Many of us have worked on Projects or Remodels together. We have seen each other’s work. We know each other’s work ethic. We hold each other accountable.
I know that when I give a referral I will not have to worry about that customer. In fact it is nice sharing the texts and emails I get from my customers, praising the work of my fellow BTN Member, just as I did last week with Jay.
That is what we do. We are professional, we take pride in what we do, we do our best to satisfy the customer and we always keep an ear open for that chance to refer a fellow BTN member.
Beyond that, there are the friendships that develop. When you spend a weekend furnishing a home for a disabled veteran, or remodeling one of the facilities for the homeless, or helping the Orange County Food Bank, you learn a lot about the quality and character of that person next to you. It comes across in your voice and in your eyes when your customers ask you, “by the way I am looking for a good landscaper, or cabinet maker.”
These will always be our core values.
Talk about great things happening… what you see here all started with an address book. Paul’s sister had people asking her, “do you know a good window washer, do you know a good handyman, I need a gardener”. She would call, Paul he would check the rol-a-dex. (You remember those?) Soon it increased.
They figured that they had something there, and produced a contractor’s directory selling internet advertizing for the contractors. Back then internet consisted mainly of lists and directories. As the internet evolved so did the directory. Later they had an association with Ganahl Lumber and their website. It added brand name significance and value to the directory.
Then came a time when Paul went to a BNI meeting he looked at that business plan and said, “We can apply this model to just contractors. “ That was how BTN Evolved.
He had a vision of what he wanted to do. He set-out to do it. But he knew as BTN would grow that it would also have to adapt and evolve. He took in suggestions and added features. We (the members) pooled our marketing dollars and came up with the Key ring cards we had a booth in the home show.
Later, he got an office and conference room. Now he offers free seminars from a business coach on ‘how to grow your businesses’ and ‘make better use of your time’ and ‘social networking as it applies to businesses’ and more.
History is good, but that is not why you are here. You want to know where is BTN headed and how I can benefit. Fair enough.
Most of us are small businesses. We may work out of the house. Why? Because we can’t afford the overhead, but, do you really need an office for the 4 or five times a month you have to meet with a client.
BTN is opening a New Resource Center. It will be available around the end of the summer It is a way to level the playing field for the small business man.
BTN offers a conference room to meet with your clients and do your presentations. BTN encourages collaboration, there is a room for doing your take-offs, there will be Wi-Fi and workstations.
There will be a limited amount of parking in a locked yard for you to park the trucks that are in front of your home. There will be storage and racking for your equipment, so now your wife can park in the garage again. All of this will be available at a fraction of the cost of having your own office.
Building Trades Network certainly is a beautiful thing because we all work together.