I’m Rocky Simmons, from Vision Homes in Morgantown, West Virginia, in the United States. We opened up in 1995, so, we’re excited that March will be the 25th anniversary of our company.
My partner and I complement each other because we both have totally different skill sets. His expertise is in construction systems, building a great home, handling the crews, the materials, the safety. I’m more of the finance, marketing and sales end.
From day one we saw it as a nice opportunity of complementing personalities and skills. We’re able to be open; we stay in our own lane but slide over and help each other when we need to.
In those 25 years, we’ve really stayed pretty true to our niche, which is homes in the range of 1,200 to 3,000 square feet. Since we first opened our company, we wanted to allow folks to make sure they were picking what went into their home. It’s their home, no matter what, regardless of the size.
We wanted them to feel like they had input into the design as well as the finishes and everything about the home. There’s a lot of people that build a home. We spend a lot of time with these folks from the beginning of the sales process through the sales process and the build process, so it is a long-term relationship and we take a lot of pride in our process and systems.
Our business has been consistent; we are very blessed. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining; we’ve been doing up to $5.2 million a year. But I get bored and I get very motivated so I’ve wanted to grow the company. We’ve been looking for a way to go over five million and stay there consistently.
I’m an old school marketing guy, so I was relying on face to face meetings and phone calls. I’ve had to adjust to the new wave and somehow, fortunately, APB found me.
I actually received emails from APB for almost sixteen months. I’d made a mini purchase from APB; I purchased the Eight Step Sales Process and then every week I looked forward to my emails coming from APB.
After buying that and watching more videos, we wanted more help, and eventually, I asked for more help.
We had great systems; well, we thought they were great systems. They are from the construction end, from the agreement signing to the handover.
I am guilty of thinking I know more than I know sometimes, and so our written sales process system and our systems on the front end needed improvement and more consistency. So, when I saw that APB had a mentoring program, I needed improved systems in all phases from marketing to handover, including construction, marketing, and the sales process.
We also needed repeatable systems and templates.
A lot of the things that my coach and I work on are things that I knew, but I didn’t know how to implement those systems and put them into place.
One of the final reasons I chose the APB Builders Mentoring Program was accountability. I needed that to keep me on track and help me lead and grow my company.
We’ve been with APB since July 5th and it’s been an exciting five months. Number one without a doubt is working with my coach directly and the accountability that he puts on me.
I’ll share a story that could help others: I’m guilty and my coach and his incredible coaching skills picked up on it very quickly.
When we were doing our first action plan, my coach asked me to list a few things that we wanted to accomplish the next quarter. My list was incredibly long.
He shortened the list from ten things to three and made me aware of some things that happen in our own office that I also implement now.
By the end of the quarter, I would probably have finished six to seven of those. Without my coach, I might have finished just the three to four that needed to be done and not felt good about anything.
But my coach suggested that we pick the three main things that needed doing. We got those done and now we do that every month – three main things.
I want to go, go, go, go! But my coach keeps me so focused. Number one is accountability.
The second biggest thing that the Mentoring Program has helped me with is picking where we’re going to go, and then how we’re going to get there. I’m an Excel freak and I thought I had great spreadsheets, and humbly, I do have some nice spreadsheets. I knew where the cash was going. I knew what was coming in, going out. But number two, is without a doubt, the spreadsheets and the KPIs.
The targets tab and the checkpoints to make sure we’re on par for that every month when we talk is fantastic.
The third is, for me, the result that we’ve seen here at Vision Homes in such a short period of time is due to the actions that I’m taking and leading by actions and leadership is spreading to our staff.
My morale is high, and instead of having my staff fighting with us over new ideas and new things, they are buying in because they see me implementing these things.
And again, it goes back to just setting the important rocks that you need to get done. Get them done and go to the next one.
APB, frankly, helped me break the elephant down to manageable pieces. What we need to do, when we need to do them, and then we go to the next part. Without a doubt what’s helped us the most is the accountability, of course, and the coaching, but after that, it comes down to the action plans and me implementing.
And the portal is great – it has tools and spreadsheets and the templates that are there for me to then implement. There’s a lot of these things for a 25-year-old company to implement.
We’ve known these things, we’ve talked about these for years and years, but for the first time we’re doing something about it – we’re implementing them.
I’m very blessed to have staff that have been with us a long time. My employee with the shortest tenure, crew and employee wise, has been here 12 plus years.
We’ve laughed in meetings as we’ve talked about things for years and years, but since July 5th those things are getting done now, so that’s the largest impact that we’re getting them done.
And the results are just… it’s exciting. We want to work less and produce more. We want to build for the right clients.
And APB is helping us from the beginning, with messaging. We have so much more to do, but we can already see the results.
My staff fought me a little bit in the beginning.
As I said, we do up to $5 million a year – everybody makes a living. But I don’t want to just make a living. I want to grow the company and I want to make a very good living. And I want them to make a good living and enjoy their jobs so each week the resistance and the fighting go away a little bit. And now the staff are buying in. We just did an action plan meeting internally that was from last week. And they’re all on board and managing clients.
Expectations will be implemented with our next agreement in December and fully implemented in the first quarter of 2020.
So, without a doubt, APB has us looking at where we’re going. We know now where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. And we’ll be very close to where we need to be by the second quarter of 2020.
I recommend the APB Builders Mentoring Program to other builders, 100% absolutely.
And a lot of builders may think, as some of my staff did, “Oh, are other builders in my market doing this?? I wish they were all doing it.”.
The thing I like most about APB is that they are in this industry – custom home building or renovations. This is their industry. They are not a cafeteria, they specialise in home building.
What I’ve liked from the beginning is their professionalism and I love the passion that’s in everybody I’ve been in contact with at APB.
Everybody in their company really wants to help you succeed.
And if we all pick what we want to be, make our plans with our coach, and do it, there’s enough business. I’m not looking for the entire market. I just want to be the best in my market – get my market share.
Again, build for those people who are right for us and we’re a match for them. The customer deserves to be able to build with somebody who matches with them. Just this week, we did something we’ve never done before: we told a customer that we were not a good match for them – because we weren’t.
And before July 5th we did not know that, but now we do. The client thanked us and they’re going to someone else that’s a better suit. They’ll be happy, we’ll be happy.
I wish more builders in my market were working with APB so that they knew their pricing for profit formulas and so they knew what they needed to do.
But mostly what APB does is gives the building industry the respect that we deserve.
The value that we receive for the investment, we’ll get in return is just, it’s worth every penny, ten times over.
It’s so helpful and it’s all because everybody at APB wants success stories. It’s really nice to work with success-minded people who want you to grow.
“One of the biggest factors for us has been confidence in our company and what we do, and being able to go out and get leads and being confident in our process. I know from the top down, if the business owner is confident, everybody else in the company is going to be confident."
“At the moment, we’re working on tailoring our marketing and advertising to our direct clientele. We’ve already started getting more inquiries and the best part is that we are now learning how to handle those inquiries.“
"Without a doubt, APB gives you a template for success."