Contractors, property owners, investors...
If you are a construction contractor, commercial or residential property owner and an investor, this writing should be of interest to you.
Much of the contractor "restoration sales training" promotion I've been seeing on line and elsewhere lately regarding contracting with property owners with insurance covered damage has stirred up memories of the arena sales and marketing hype fests from the 80's. During those programs, the sales gurus of the day would appear and do their best to pump up the room with their version of positive thinking and how to "close the sale" training zeitgeist. These days, additional focus is being put on the soulless and lifeless 24/7/365 "always on" and "grind" mindset. While it may pay handsomely in dollars, it ultimately costs much more than it pays in lost opportunities that really matter - like meaningful relationships with spouses, children and others. It's not that I have anything against working hard and positive thinking, I'm all for that but when the "positive" in the positive thinking lacks substance or is not truly positive (something that encourages positive behavior, attitudes, etc.) and is more akin to greed (excessive desire, as for wealth or power), I quickly lose interest - and so should you.
In 1987, the same year I started in the financial services business, the movie "Wall Street" starring Michael Douglas as "Gordon Gekko" came out. In the movie during a presentation to investors, Gekko famously said, "Greed is good!" Although I was a newbie to the industry back then, it didn't take long to recognize that the overall mindset of the industry was not dissimilar to Gekko's. Over the next several years it became clear to me whose financial interests the financial services industry leaders were usually putting first and in far too many cases, it wasn't the clients who were investing and continue to invest their hard earned dollars with them.
The standard protocol presented to new hires by financial firm sales managers was/is to send them out chasing their relatives, seniors and young couples down and "close" them on whatever commission sale can be made be it insurance, annuities, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc. Typically, and the industry relies on this, most newbies bring in a few new clients then wash out after a few months. The clients they brought in are then handed over to the fewer reps who've managed to establish themselves with whatever firm they work for. Finding that the sales manager at my first firm in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota fancied himself as the hard driving sales manager type similar to "Blake" from the 1992 movie "Glengarry Glen Ross", before walking away from that firm, I suggested to him that he might...call me as soon as my final check came in so I could come and pick it up.
What I recognized quickly was that much of the so called planning that the big firms did/do for their clients was/is often disjointed and meaningless overall but it did/does sell lots of financial product. "Pull the current Morningstar report and find the fattest front end loaded mutual funds with the best record of past performance - sell lots of them and you'll make a fortune" was often the prevalent guidance given. Along with that came the requisite "past performance is not an indicator of future performance" CYA advisor disclaimer. 401(k) employee retirement savings plans were growing at a rapid rate and the companies that sold them were loading them with mediocre mutual funds with those big front end load fees. About all the millions of employee participants knew was that their employer was typically matching their contributions and that kept them happy. What they didn't know was that someone - typically their advisors, the fund managers and the fund companies, was eating their lunch.
As a business owner/consultant in construction prior to, during and after (still) my concurrent twenty year stint in financial services, my interest was not in selling what were often garbage financial products to any of the above but rather in working with business owners and executives and providing them substantive financial solutions. Having been there/done that myself as a business owner/consultant, I could relate to their problems and concerns so that was where I focused most of my energies - albeit as an independent advisor rather than a employee of any particular financial services firm. And solve problems I did as clearly illustrated in the two examples near the bottom of the "About" page.
During that time period, variable annuity and variable life insurance products were gaining in popularity. Although I could have sold plenty of them to the many business owner/executive clients and potential clients who called me to ask about them - and made a pile of money in the process, my study of them made it easy for me to recommend against them. It was around that same time that then President Bill Clinton was immersed in defending himself against numerous and quite serious accusations, many of which were eventually proven to be true. Then Federal Judge Susan Webber Wright said this regarding Bill Clinton's deposition testimony about an affair he had had with a twenty-one year old intern - in the White House Oval Office. "Simply put, the president's deposition testimony regarding whether he had ever been alone with Ms. (Monica) Lewinsky was intentionally false". So, why do I bring that up?
My sense, back then, based on what I was hearing from some in business as well as in general when the issue was discussed, was that many had concluded that if the President of the United States can, if not lie directly, obfuscate with great intent and pretty much get away with it, it must also be ok for others who might be so inclined to be less than honest in their own business dealings. Heck, one of Warren Buffet's favorite industries, the property & casualty insurance industry, has been operating under that premise (and eating our lunches) since the mid-18th century. Speaking of the "Oracle's" investments, the real answer to why Obama won't approve the Keystone pipeline? It would take away millions of dollars worth of business from Buffet's railways. Point of interest: Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline saying that such a project would undercut America’s climate change "leadership". Presently however, he's reportedly been busy promoting and helping arrange financing for a pipeline in Kenya that, when completed, will run directly through critical habitat in the Great Rift Valley. Go figure.
20/20 Foresight and Bursting Bubbles
In 1999, Mark Cuban of "Shark Tank" fame sold his company Broadcast.com to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in stock. Wisely, rather than leave the proceeds from that sale in Yahoo stock, he diversified those assets into other business ventures in order to avoid exposure to a potential market crash - foresight, in his case, being 20/20. What is key to point out here is that he did not have to sell his company to Yahoo - Yahoo wanted to buy the company because of what Yahoo leadership saw as tremendous Return on Investment (ROI) potential. Cuban admits that luck had much to do with the sale which answers the question if sales ability or closing skills had anything to do with it. The answer? Not so much.
Same thing with an ex-business associate of mine from Utah, Mark Comer who had, in the nineties, along with several partners, created the first online shopping mall then known as I-Mall. As is the case with Cuban, a very bright guy who worked extremely hard to develop a highly successful business model and product to support it, Mark Comer and his partners had done much the same. In 1999, excite@home offered Mark and his partners $425,000,000 in excite@home stock for the company and Mark and his partners gladly accepted. As in the case with Yahoo needing to sell Cuban on letting them buy his company, excite@home needed to sell Mark Comer and his partners on letting them buy I-Mall.
It was not long after the Dot Com bubble had burst when, after a finishing our dinner at the Sundance Mountain Resort in Sundance, Utah one night, Mark, me, and several others retreated to the bar for beers and small talk. I remember how Mark talked, while smiling ever so slightly, about how he had, just as Cuban had, sold off his excite@home shares just before the Dot Com crash. I also remember him talking about initially going on an extended spending spree before realizing that the cars and other expensive purchases he had been making with his new found wealth were, while fun and exciting for a time, not really doing much to improve his overall quality of life. Both Mark's were market "disruptors/innovators" which is defined as forward thinking individuals who identify market inefficiencies then create new products and/or methods to improve or entirely change or replace a business or service model. Think Apple (Jobs, Wozniak, Wayne) - Microsoft (Gates, Allen) - Amazon (Bezos) - PayPal (Thiel, Levchin, Musk) - Facebook (Zuckerberg), and, to a lesser degree, Play It Again Sports (Jim Van Buskirk), and so on - you get the picture.
Right out of 2000, we all survived Y2K but not the bursting of the Dot Com bubble. As a result of the crash which resulted in a $5+ Trillion dollar market loss, builders weren’t building, remodelers weren’t remodeling, investors weren’t investing – people who did have any money left were sitting on it hoping for a market turn around. That being the case, like everyone else’s business, mine had pretty much slowed to a snail’s pace. But, in early 2002 the Twin Cities area was hit by another severe wind and hail storm that caused millions of dollars in damage to thousands of properties which meant that, bad economy or not, insured property owners had no choice but to get the repairs done. And, insurance paid repair work being what it is – recession proof, “pre-paid” work for repairs that had to be made (i.e., no selling or closing involved), I put my contractor consultant hat (since 1971) on and took full advantage of the opportunity and started writing up a ton of insurance paid repair business. Many of those repair contracts were for work that other contractors had failed to get paid and had given up on.
P&C insurance companies were fighting so hard against fully paying their customers claims that I had to take aggressive action which entailed confronting insurance company CEO's directly. To make matters worse, the repair estimation software companies, the so-called "industry standard" being the worst offender, were (and continue to do so to this day) pricing insurance claim repair work consistently far below real, true and accurate (RTA) market rates. The long running consensus is that they continue the practice in order to keep the orders of their estimating software products from P&C insurance companies coming. But, any ten year old could figure that one out. The end result was and continues to be that unknowing commercial and residential property owners who were convinced through their insurance company's radio and TV ad's that they could trust their insurance company's to be there for them when needed and properly pay their insurance claims, too often end up being underpaid by hundreds of millions of dollars each and every year.
One of those insurance companies whose parent was based in Zurich, Switzerland, was particularly troublesome. Because of their never ending attempts to underpay or flat out deny any payment for legitimate damage, I contacted their parent office in Zurich at 3:00 AM CST / 9:00 AM CET and made it clear to them that their claims practices needed to change and improve. Within a week, their Minnesota executive was appearing on every claim where I was involved - and the claims were getting properly paid. On another claim that was insured by the "good hands" people, the original claims adjuster had turned in a report of no damage and the self titled "insurance claims specialist" contractor who had "closed" the sale (convinced the homeowner to sign his repair contingency contract with the promise of a "free" roof) failed to get the insurance company to pay the claim. On a week later re-inspection with me advocating on behalf of the homeowner, the insurance adjuster, although quite angry and embarrassed, had to agree to fully pay the $16,000 claim.
The next year, a major storm came through Columbus, OH so I went out there to stake my claim, so to speak. Because of the reluctance of the P&C insurance companies to properly pay their claims there - again, as usual, as I had done in the past, I decided to take an aggressive stance with each of them. When not chasing down then Ohio insurance commissioner Ann Benjamin who was hiding from me and two local TV investigative reporters, I was urging Columbus Dispatch business writer Phil Porter to publish an article that would make the public aware of what the P&C ins companies were up to. After proving to Porter that everything I said was true, he did write and publish the article which resulted in my claims all being paid quicker than ever and at full RTA pricing. On the job pictured in the article to the right, a top level claims executive from the "on your side" insurance company actually appeared in and walked the roof in his suit and tie to, as he put it to an associate of mine, make sure that everything on my estimate was accounted for and properly paid so that he would never have to hear about me from his CEO again. After finishing up my business in Ohio, I returned to Minnesota with the intent of running both my insurance/investment and contracting businesses but only doing insurance claim repair work.
Several years later, although there was little awareness by the general public that the housing market was in deep trouble, there were plenty of signs showing real estate, mortgage banking and insurance/investment industry insiders that the housing bubble was likely destined to implode with a vengeance within two to three years. I remember talking to the instructor at my state required 2005 insurance continuing education program and a real estate developer from Nevada, about the state of the economy at that time. We all agreed over our lunch break that it was indeed highly probable that the housing market and the economy in general could quickly come crashing down in the very near future.
A few days after that lunch meeting at my CE seminar, I posted on my insurance/investment business website and contractor consultant website irrefutable proof that numerous financial products companies (insurance/investments) and P&C insurance companies (property & casualty insurance) were, as usual, failing their customers. I also opined that the "authorities", particularly many State commerce and insurance commissioners and with an emphasis on Minnesota's own, were the people most responsible for the damage caused as a result of putting the interests of the companies (that might hire them in the future) far ahead of the tax paying, voting consumers they were supposed to be looking out for. They didn't much care for the fact that I had exposed the truth about their failures but there was really no denying that all I had written was true.
In the late 70's, with Jimmy Carter as President, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was created as a way to help less advantaged people qualify for home loans. Over the years, the CRA enjoyed the full bi-partisan support of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2 and Obama. In the early 2000's, with housing values beginning to rapidly increase, lax CRA rules made it easier than ever for just about anyone to qualify for a mortgage. Knowing that, statistically, a certain number of those millions of mortgages would default at some point in time, the mortgage companies, the banks and other interested parties felt the risk was acceptable. They were also comforted by the belief that if things ever got too out of hand, the government would likely bail them out.
Investment bankers and hedge funds then got involved in buying those mortgages from the banks, slicing them up into "mortgage backed securities" insured by Credit Default Swaps then offering them as investments. All was well and good until too many people who should never have been given mortgages in the first place began to default and it all came crashing down beginning in Q4 of 2007. The resulting estimated $5+ trillion dollar market losses (again) ate all of our lunches as well as breakfasts and dinners and ruined the lives of many thousands of people in the process.
Fox(es) Guarding the Henhouse...
Who in the country was in one of the best positions to be aware of what was likely to happen and quite probably, in my opinion, at least partially responsible for what did eventually happen when the housing market all came crashing down? That would be then Minnesota Governor, now Financial Services Roundtable CEO Tim Pawlenty's Commerce Commissioner Glenn Wilson, Jr. who he had appointed, on a recommendation from a "friend', in 2003. As evidenced by his resume which includes a term as President of Ginnie Mae in the mid-eighties, past Board of Governors member Mortgage Bankers Association and founding committee member of the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS), if anyone in the country would have had the inside scoop on the real estate and mortgage banking industry and likely knew that the housing market might crash, years before it actually did, it was ole' Glenn. MERS was the solution provided by him and his industry cronies that would, BTW, only benefit him and his industry cronies. MERS, having control over the assignment of millions of sliced and diced mortgage titles, could simply act as agent of record which would dramatically decrease the time it took to foreclose and resell the defaulted properties.
Having grown tired of the relentless and ever expanding over regulation of the financial services industry which has ultimately not really made all that much difference, I decided just before the housing crash, to close my insurance/investment business for good. Although I had always done great at retail remodeling sales over the years, I decided to focus all of my attention and my then thirty-five years of experience in successfully getting property & casualty insurance companies to properly pay their claims, on my contracting consulting business.
One day while sitting with a contractor who had been doing insurance covered repair work for years, I showed him how to substantially but properly increase the dollar amount of a customers storm damage claim to make the claim relative to the premiums the insured had paid. After seeing the results, he turned to me and said, "you should put together a training program to teach contractors what you know." I explained to him that, like 99% of contractors out there who do storm damage repairs, because of their lack of practical knowledge and experience and a reliance on sales/closing hype over substance, the insurance companies end up eating their and their property owner customers lunch the great majority of the time - many millions of dollars worth, in fact, every year. After teaching him how the process should work from a legal, financial/investment, insurance, ethical and overall basic business perspective, with his eye's wide opened he exclaimed, in so many words, his belief that putting my experience into a contractor training program would be a game changer that would turn the industry on its head.
In 2008, while helping one of my favorite customers, Rabbi Yosef, to get his hail damage claim paid and repaired, I found it necessary to directly confront the CEO of his insurance company about the company's stubborn reluctance to fully pay Yosef's substantial storm damage insurance claim. The CEO had said the following at a shareholder meeting around that time: “Our obligation is to earn a return for our shareholders”. Prior to the insurance company sending my customer the additional $20,000 they still owned him on his claim, I had written directly to him making it perfectly clear to him and his then president of the company's P&C division that their and the company's real and first obligation was to honor the company's promises to their policy holders. Another great customer, a prominent Minnesota attorney insured by another company who had offered him just $8,000 on his claim, called me after several other contractors had failed to achieve a proper settlement on his claim. My advocacy on the insured's behalf resulted in another $30,000 being paid to him thereby fully and properly settling the claim.
On still another, several contractors who presented themselves as "insurance claims specialists" had estimated the damage to a homeowner's golf course property at $500 and $600 respectively. Before moving forward on their estimates, the homeowner, a financial services executive who was insured by still another major P&C insurance company, having heard of my experience, called me and asked for my assessment of the damage. Final settlement to the insured homeowner after I got involved in the claim and contacted the insurance company CEO to enforce full payment - $42,500.
Several years later, I decided to leave the actual contracting of insurance repair work behind so I could focus my energies on writing and publishing my contractor training program - 3RS Profit MAX / The Playbook™ - Property Damage Insurance Claim Process Training for Contractors and Public Adjusters. Profit MAX simply refers to contractors earning the maximum legal and proper profit on each insurance covered repair job by making sure that each insured is paid the maximum legal and proper settlement on their claim - relative to the premiums paid. Around that same time, the P&C insurance industry, apparently feeling exposed, along with their lobbyists and political cronies, decided to run a full frontal attack on contractors in an attempt to limit and restrict their ability to assist their insured property owner customers in any meaningful way (help them achieve full claims payment) by prohibiting them from advocating on behalf of and negotiating the price of property owner insurance claims.
The initial push for "No Negotiating" in Minnesota was started in 2010 by none other than Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Glenn Wilson, Jr. Soon after, legislation containing pretty much the exact same "No Negotiating" language began showing up, state by state, all over the country. The effect of the legislation is that insured property owners who had, in the past, relied on competent professional contractors to properly price their insurance claim repair work, now have to trust that their property & casualty insurance company will do the right thing - great for the p&c insurance companies and Warren Buffet but for the insured property owners who pay out billions of dollars every year on insurance premiums...not so much. What was revealed with very little effort was that the source of the template legislation language and the primary force behind the push was and remains, more than likely, a particular well known property & casualty insurance company whose attorneys' names keep showing up in various states as being connected to the legislation. As a way to expose what was happening and who was behind it, I formed Independent Construction Contractors of America (ICCOA) and built this site as a platform with which to share what I had learned and what had been revealed to me. My conversations with politico's, legal experts, consumer groups and lobbyists across the country regarding the subject revealed much.
The state by state legislator's behind the "No Negotiating" push knew they would never get away with attempting to pass legislation into law that would directly prohibit the estimated 86,000,000 tax paying, voting and insurance premium paying property owners nationwide from freely exercising their right to choose a contractor to advocate for them, represent their interests and negotiate on their behalf. But, by prohibiting contractors from doing so, the effect is the same - the rights of those property owners to freely choose, their (your) right to appoint their (your) contractor to represent their (your) interests and negotiate on their (your) behalf has been taken away from them (you) by the politicians who have passed such legislation and the Governor's who have so foolishly signed the bills into law.
Update on "No Negotiating" legislation - February 24, 2016 Lincoln, NE
Devouring his constituents lunch...This morning, I received an email from an executive with a construction company from Nebraska whose employees and contract representatives I had personally trained at their Nebraska home office several years ago. The email was in reference to ex-ALEC member Nebraska Senator and lawyer Burke Harr's attempt to put a further stranglehold on the rights of insured property owners. A quick Google search brought me to this: Senator Harr's LB 856 - Should be called "The Insurance Company Protection Act", against Nebraskans! A further search revealed the name of Douglas County Commissioner, lawyer, and paid legislative lobbyist for the Independent Insurance Agents of Nebraska, James P. Cavanaugh who, no doubt, is a driving force behind Harr's legislation. The net effect of Harr's bill becoming law would be that, as in other states where Governors who bought into the lie that such legislation is consumer protection have already signed "No Negotiating" bills into law, an estimated 546,000 Nebraska homeowners would have their rights taken from them as well. Good for Harr's and Burke's future career aspirations but not good at all for the tax paying, voting and insurance premium paying property owners.
A quick history of the property owner insurance claims process: Years ago, if an insured property owner suffered damage to their property they would call their insurance company and file a claim. An insurance adjuster would evaluate and estimate the damage repair cost then prepare a "loss report" or "scope of loss" report that listed the damage (far too often, omitting legitimate damage) and the insurance company's settlement offer which was (and still are) typically substantially below true market rates that a professional contractor would charge. The estimating software used by the insurance adjusters is always software that favors the insurance companies - for obvious reasons.
The property owner, having no idea if the settlement offer was fair, would call contractors and ask for their repair cost estimates. The property owner would then typically contract with the contractor who would do the work for whatever the insurance company offered which was usually (99% of the time), always far below what I call real, true and accurate (RTA) market rates. Thinking contractors eventually got wise to what the insurance companies were up to, i.e., drastically under paying their claims by many millions of dollars every year, as illustrated in the following example: A wind and hail storm moves through a city causing substantial damage to 5,000 properties. The average RTA settlement offer from professional contractors should be $20,000 per property but the insurance companies only offer $15,000 per. RTA settlement value on $20,000 x 5,000 damaged properties = $100,000,000. Insurance companies settlement value on those same properties = $75,000,000 which is $25,000,000 less then the RTA value that is relative to the insurance premiums the insured property owners have already "pre-paid". Paying the full $100,000,000 on those property owner claims may slightly decrease shareholder value (if a publicly held company) and the CEO's annual bonus, but it does not cause premiums to increase.
With that in mind, contractors started negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of their property owner customers. That, of course, resulted in insurance companies reluctantly paying their customers more realistic settlements on their claims - settlements that would cover the costs to hire a professional contractor to do the work and that were relative to the premiums the insured property owners had paid. At the same time, property & casualty insurance companies stepped up their use of "preferred contractors" who are otherwise known as preferred service providers (PSP's). If you clicked on the link, you'll know exactly why you'll want to think long and hard before hiring a PSP for your insurance claim repair work.
Even though insurance premiums are based on the RTA costs of having a professional (non PSP) contractor complete the repairs, the insurance companies did not like paying claims at true market rates that were/are relative to the premiums paid so they started to aggressively fight the trend beginning with a concerted effort in 2010 with the "No Negotiating" legislation push. The big P&C insurance companies hired lobbyists, lawyers and others who wined and dined state legislators in an effort to convince them to introduce their respective states "No Negotiating" bills. In Georgia, the five legislators who sponsored that states "No Negotiating" bill were all employed by the P&C insurance industry. The then newly appointed Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, ex-Senator Ralph Hudgens', has a record of being a great friend to the insurance industry. During a telephone conversation with Georgia Rep. Howard Maxwell regarding how his state's "No Negotiation" bill came about, he said that Hudgens' was the primary driver behind it.
The excuse the P&C insurance industry used for pushing the legislation? Contractors were causing insurance premiums to rise, which is pure nonsense. P&C insurance has been earning and is still earning record profits. Their real reason for not wanting to pay settlements that are relative to the premiums paid? Allstate CEO Tom Wilson was the guy who said, "Our obligation is to earn a return for our shareholders" - which obviously comes at the expense of the insured's who pay billions of dollars each year in insurance premiums yet are underpaid on their claims.
Most of the state by state legislation included language that said the only persons who could negotiate on behalf of insured property owners were licensed public adjusters who could charge, generally, a 10% to 15% fee for their services. Knowing that most property owners were/are not familiar with public adjusters or what they do suited the lobbyists just fine. That left millions of property owners whose chosen contractors could not negotiate on their behalf with no other recourse but to either trust that their insurance companies would deal fairly with them or hire and pay an attorney when that didn't (and rarely does) happen. I predicated several years ago that attempts would be made to eventually add public adjusters to the list of those prohibited from negotiating on behalf of insured property owners. It appears, after reading through Harr's L B 856 that my prediction has come true.
So, how much have things changed since the Dot Com bubble burst in 2000? Not so much, really. For investors, especially those who are at or near retirement, with the markets in their present schizophrenic state, far too many financial advisors who are more concerned with protecting their portfolios of business than their clients investment portfolios are advising their clients to stay the course just as they did in 2000 and 2007. Here's a perfect real world example of how that works: $500,000 retirement account value in year 2000 just before the Dot Com crash then decreased in value to $250,000 after the crash. By "staying the course", the client lost 50% of their account value ($250,000) but in order to just get back to where they were before the crash, their account needed to grow, not by the 50% they lost but rather, by 100% of what they lost. With additional deposits made to the account, an eventual market recovery, then a rapidly increasing and over inflated market which peaked in October of 2007 - just before the housing crash, the account was valued at $1,000,000. Account value approximately nine months later after following the advisors recommendation to "stay the course", $500,000. In other words, a loss of $500,000 - one hell of a literal lifetime worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
Had the advisor been actually paying attention to the market forces and the obvious fact that the market was again over inflated (like the current market) and had the potential to soon implode, he would have advised the client to sell off a majority of his investments, pay some capital gains tax and go into cash with some of that cash possibly invested in high quality bonds. That, however, would have gotten him into trouble with his bosses in NYC - the ones who do the real investing. Instead, even though his client lost half a million dollars, he got to keep his job and still get paid (as opposed to earn) his "advisory" fees and hidden product commissions. Several years later, he convinced the client to follow him to his new firm which the too trusting client did. The advisor then proceeded to, after making sure that the client had signed a "suitability" form which is essentially an advisor CYA form, transfer most of the client's investments into too restrictive, hidden fee paying and lower performing mutual funds. Several years after that, the client, having eventually uncovered what the advisor had been up to and what it had cost the client, transferred the entire fund balance to a self directed account.
Bernie Madoff caused incredible financial damage to many people and is now paying the price. Likely, the reason he ended up in prison for defrauding investors out of a measly $50 billion while the Wall Street wolfs who caused the $5+ TRILLION dollar market crash did not is that Madoff hurt some of the same financial industry connected people who eventually hurt the rest of us. Nothing at all conspiratorial here, just the reality that financial services, be they banking, investments, insurance and anything associated, are, like laws and lawmaking, foundationally quite reasonable and simple yet, for the benefit of those who control the services and reap the highest profits, made needlessly complex and hard for the average person to understand.
On sales, marketing and closing the "deal"
Years ago, one of my retail remodeling customers who ran a sales force for a large company said to me as he handed over his substantial down payment check, "if I could teach my sales force to sell as good as you, I'd be a millionaire." I can sell and close and teach how to sell and close as well as any of the current crop of hot shot sales training promoters out there today - but I don't need to. And contractors who focus on insurance claim repair work don't need to know how to close - in the traditional sense. The reality that seems to escape so many in the property damage insurance repair business is that gaining substantive market share really has nothing to do with salesmanship and closing techniques but rather, has everything to do with being able to prove credibility and competence. Just as important is the ability to successfully rebut the phony excuses insurance adjusters typically spout off as legitimate reasons for denying or underpaying their customers insurance claims.
Again, property owners with insurance covered damage that must be repaired don't need to be sold and they don't need to be closed - period. What they need is to be educated. If the contractor or contractor representative for whatever company lacks knowledge of the intricacies of successful insurance repair contracting which include all that is written about here (99% do lack the knowledge I teach), they are failing themselves and their customers. They are also leaving many millions of dollars owed to their property owner customers on the insurance company tables. If manufacturers and suppliers who earn hundred's of millions of dollars in profits each year from the sales of their building products to those same contractors are not promoting the one program available in the country that will provide them with the necessary education to help them advance to the top of their profession and best serve their customers - 3RS Profit MAX / The Playbook™, they are failing their contractor customers. They are also leaving millions of dollars in additional earnings on the table. For every contractor who becomes 3RS Profit MAX / The Playbook™ trained, the bare minimum first year net profit earned by the suppliers who promote the program would be approximately $6,000 per. Additional first year minimum projected supplier net profit on 25,000 newly trained 3RS Profit MAX / The Playbook™ contractors amounts to $150,000,000 - additional!
With a wide range of long standing insurance, investment, legal and business experience and a proven track record of getting the best results for my clients and customers over the years, building product manufacturers, building product suppliers and their contractor customers can find no better source for in depth knowledge on how to innovate, how to improve their business model and how to increase their market share. My associations with numerous legal experts over the years including several Supreme Court Justices and my own personal successes in prosecuting cases Pro Se against several corrupt business organizations and authorities has given me an entirely different and powerful perspective from which to teach what I teach to contractors. My in depth insurance and investment experience qualifies me to teach the intricacies of the insurance and investment industry model and how contractors and their suppliers can, by learning from my unique perspective, dramatically improve the quality of service to their customers - as well as their bottom lines. As it is often said, homes are most peoples biggest investment and contractors need to understand what that means to those homeowners - from an insurance and investment perspective.
From V I S I O N to W I S D O M
We’ve all heard about the importance of having vision. So, what is vision and why does it so often fail? Is vision, someone’s idea or hope of how something should be done, is that the key to achieving meaningful success, or is it something else? Many people over time, many of them business and political “leaders”, were great visionaries…at least in their own minds, and we all know where that’s gotten us! Well then, if it is not vision that is needed in order for us to reach higher levels of success and real accomplishment, what is the “something else?” What is the word hidden within the word V I S I O N that, once revealed and attained, will make all the difference in your outcomes? That word is…W I S D O M, which is - utilizing knowledge with experience, common sense and insight.
Millions of people from across the country and beyond have plenty of knowledge backed up by impressive lettered degrees. What they often lack however, is real world experience and the common sense and insight that often gets washed out of their young minds by their college professors who, typically, also lack any real world experience of their own. But, believing their knowledge as evidenced by their degrees to be superior to the actual… experience, common sense and insight of those they would attempt to rule over, such as contractors (and the general public), many of them become lobbyist’s, legislators, task force members – all in all, legacy seeking busy body do-gooder bureaucrats who think they know better than the rest of us, people who likely could never accomplish much of anything on their own in the private sector. Plenty of VISION but very little, if any, WISDOM…which explains a lot about the state of affairs in this country today.
Many of those self professed “visionaries” often see themselves as quite noble in their quests and their accomplishments. But what is really noble? Is it conjuring up more laws, rules and regulations that, instead of helping, often only serve to hurt your business? Who is more noble, those busy body do-gooder bureaucrats behind the laws, rules and regulations or the contractor who, with his/her hands and mind, builds something strong and lasting out of wood or other materials? The Greek translation of the word carpenter is tekton, which is more aptly translated into a word describing a contractor. So, who is the most famous carpenter the world has ever known? (no, it’s not Norm Abram) That would be Jesus, of course, and, just as all of us are forced to in the present, Jesus, the carpenter, the contractor, had to deal with the heavy burdens that the busy body do-gooder bureaucrats of his time, the Scribes and Pharisees, placed on men’s shoulders. Although they thought of themselves as noble, it was Jesus – whose life’s work was all about “restorations”, who was truly noble. Think about it, God didn’t send a bureaucrat or a lobbyist or a politician….or an insurance adjuster to save mankind, he sent a contractor! We’ll, we all know what ultimately happened to Jesus the noble contractor… but those busy body do-gooder bureaucrats...?
"When you innovate, you've got to be prepared for everyone telling you you're nuts." Larry Ellison, Billionaire CEO - Oracle
Buying into the "vision" of 24/7/365 sales/closing/grind hype as being substantive instead of learning the "wisdom" of how to powerfully level the playing field through 3RS Profit MAX / The Playbook™ may help sign up more repair work. While doing so however, the bureaucrats, lobbyists, politicians and the P&C insurance industry overall, as illustrated above, continue to tighten the noose around your business neck and your future by placing further restrictions on it. In other words, they are indeed, eating your lunch in a big way and they will continue to do so...as long as you let them and until you learn how to defeat them. 3RS Profit MAX / The Playbook™ will teach you how to do that!
Comparing the current manufacturer/supplier/contractor business model to the game changing and innovative new business model that is 3RS Profit MAX / The Playbook™ is like comparing Gordon Gekko's old 1980's style "brick" cell phone to today's most advanced smart phones. Want to become a real game changer? Drop the "brick" and make your mark as a 3RS Profit MAX / The Playbook™ trained retail and restoration contractor. There's a reason some of the top USA contractors have already done so.
At this point in time, several of the manufacturers and suppliers who've reviewed my program have expressed an interest in offering the program to their thousands of contractor customers. As they've begun to comprehend how the program will vastly improve their efficiencies, their business model and their overall bottom line, they are starting to see the great advantage of - the WISDOM of, promoting the program through their corporate and branch offices. The manufacturer and/or supplier that has the wisdom to step up to the plate and reward their contractor customers for their loyalty (billions of dollars worth) by promoting 3RS Profit MAX / The Playbook™ to their contractor customers which are, in reality, their true sales force, will be in a position to rise to the top of their industry and remain there for many years to come. To learn more about the only and most in depth, innovative and comprehensive contractor training program of its kind in the country and beyond and to learn how to order your own copy, click on the logo below.
Manufacturers and Suppliers: To view the projected ROI numbers resulting from your involvement in promoting the program, feel free to contact me through the Contact page of the website linked above. Manufacturer and Supplier branch managers within the seven county metro area of the Twin Cities of Minnesota can schedule a free one hour introductory 3RS Profit MAX / The Playbook™ seminar for their contractor customers at their branch offices by contacting me through the same Contact page of the website linked above.
To all existing 3RSystems, LLC trained contractors: The 3RSystems, LLC Property Owners Storm Damage Recovery Guide is now only available to existing 3RSystems, LLC trained contractors and contractors who order the program. The material previously listed will be sent with each new order. If you are an existing 3RSystems, LLC trained contractor and would like a copy of the print version, please email me and make your request. There will be no charge.
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Disclaimer - Other than offering my experienced opinions as a matter of reference, I do not give accounting, tax, insurance, investment or legal advice. If you need accounting, tax, insurance, investment or legal advice, I recommend that you consult with a licensed accounting, tax, insurance, investment or legal professional.