S04E08 – Robot window cleaners and the apocalypse


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It’s hard to keep up with all the change underway in our industry.  Automation and robotic technology are about to upend everything we thought we knew.  To prove my point consider Michael Morozov and his company Aurum Window Washing.  Michael is experimenting with drone technology.  His plan is to use drones to clean the windows on high-rise buildings.  It’s a bold plan and one that is likely to save money and save lives.

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INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/timbyrnealmostlive

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/timbyrnealmost

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Why insurance companies are like the mob | Season 4 Episode 7


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I know what you’re thinking.  Today’s title makes it sound like I’m going to be talking smack about the insurance industry.  Well, let me assure you.  I am.  Well, not exactly. 

You see when I was talking with Michael Morozov recently.  Michael owns Aurum Window Washing .  We started talking about using insurance companies in creative ways.  He revealed he insures all his bad debt with a French insurance giant.  He let’s them worry about any clients that have flaked on their invoices.  Its such a better use of his time.  Instead of chasing people around to pay their bills he lets one of the biggest insurance companies in the world take care of it.  And when people hear that a huge multinational owns their debt – they’re going to be much more likely to pay.

I love making the system work for my business!  I think you’ll get a lot out of this episode!

Tim loses his mind while giving sales advice | Season 4 Episode 4


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It’s time for a little Timology!  Today I’m talking about preparing for the worst.  Every salesperson has heard the same things.  “Your price is too high” or  “I can’t understand your quote.”  There’s a laundry list of excuses that you have to contend with.  Instead of dreading those moments you need to come prepared!  I’ve developed some perfect comebacks to each and every one of those annoying excuses!

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INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/timbyrnealmostlive

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/timbyrnealmost 

FACEBOOK: http://www.Facebook.com/TimByrneAlmostLive

S03E30 – How to do all your business from your dock


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If your software doesn’t make my life easier than I don’t want it.  There are a ton of technology solutions out there.  But more often than not they are a HUGE pain in the ass!  Especially if you have multiple systems that don’t work with one another.  My goal is to do all my work from my phone.  On my dock preferably.  If your software doesn’t have a smartphone app I don’t want anything to do with it.

I talked with a lot of people with fancy new tech solutions at the REMI Show.  Very few impressed me.  That’s why I liked Jill Kegler so much.  Jill works with DoubleA Solutions.  They have a bunch of products under their umbrella – including sales software, phone auto-dialer and a VoIP software.   All of them are intended to make you work work less while producing more.

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/timbyrnealmostlive

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/timbyrnealmost 

FACEBOOK: http://www.Facebook.com/TimByrneAlmosLive

S03E28 – “Why the f*ck would I want a smart bathroom?”


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If there was one common theme at this year’s REMI Show it was technology.  Tech vendors have every imaginable solution for building managers.  Some make sense.  Others…not so much.

One of the more interesting attempts is a joint effort by paper giant Kimberly-Clark and Gojo, the inventors of Purell.  They want to create a smart bathroom.  Yes, you heard me right.

The idea is to add internet connected sensors to things like paper and soap dispensers.  No more waiting for complaints from irritated clients to fix the shitter.  Not a bad idea.  But I was skeptical.  The guys from KC and Gojo tried to make the case for why the initial investment is worth it.

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INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/timbyrnealmostlive

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/timbyrnealmost 

FACEBOOK: http://www.Facebook.com/TimByrneAlmosLive

S03E20 – How to create a business that lasts


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One question I get asked all the time is: “How did you do it?” How was I able to create a business that has lasted for so long? My guest this week has some answers. Ted Mastrucci founded American Project & Repair in Detroit 20 years ago. Together we talk about all the mistakes we made building companies made to last.

INSTAGRAM: @TimByrneAlmostLive
TWITTER: @TimByrneAlmost
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S02E01 – We finally get paid!


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Things are about to change in the building trades. The Ontario government has decided to radically overhaul the Construction Lien Act. The first set of changes came into effect July 1st. Tim decided he needed a crash course and asked lawyer Olga Morozova to join him for a chat. Olga has worked for all levels of the construction business and knows what’s about to change.

One of the biggest changes is that, for the first time, the government mandates time frames for payment. Owners must pay within 28 days of receiving an invoice. Olga says the old days of contractors blaming the owner for lack of payment are over. Getting paid your holdback is another big issue in the trades. Because you can lien the holdback Olga is telling all her owner clients to pay that money within 60 days.

Tim wants to know why screwing over subcontractors has become so common. Tim thinks the big contractors and owners have systems in place to stop or slow payment. He once had someone inside an accounting department tell him that it was policy to reject 10% of all invoices. A lot of subcontractors are barely hanging on because giant firms aren’t paying their invoices on time. Olga says she sees this all too often. She says your first call should be to your lawyer.

Tim has only placed about three liens in 30 years of work. He’s one of the lucky ones. For a lot of companies liens are a common part of the business. The changes to the law allow subcontractors more time to “preserve” and “perfect” the lien. Olga explains those definitions to Tim and reveals why they are so important.

The changes to the act are long overdue. The last time the law was updated was over 35 years ago. Making it easier for subs to actually get paid on time will be a huge boon to the industry. Only time will tell if the law will really make those changes.

Timology 3 – Tim’s Podcast About Podcasts


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“Why are you doing this?”  Tim gets asked that all the time.  Other business owners were totally mystified when Tim first launched the podcast.  They couldn’t understand why he would risk “offending” potential clients.  Today, Tim tried to explain.  The construction business is trapped in the past and the old methods of marketing are not working anymore.  Spending $10,000 for a booth at PRSM doesn’t make a lot of sense anymore.  If cold calling and RFPs are your only method of finding new business you’re hopelessly stuck in the past.

Podcasting offers something different.  A way to become friendly with potential client on their time.  They can listen to the show whenever is convenient for them.  So why invite other people to chat on the show?  Tim believes that a rising tide lifts all boats.  He wants to prove that this kind of marketing can work for all kinds of businesses.

In this episode Tim details the process of recording, editing and posting every podcast episode.  The cost is much less than traditional advertising methods and the potential rewards are much higher.  He urges his friends and colleagues to get out of their comfort zones and join him on an episode.  Every guest gets total control over the episode and can even scrap the episode if they don’t like it.  If the industry is ever going to join the 21st century it’s going to start with better digital marketing and podcasting is a big part of that revolution.

Timology 2 – Why selling is like dating


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In the first episode in this series Tim outlined the mathematical formula every great salesman needs to follow.  Marketing + relationships + accounting = a sale. Today he reveals the secret to building relationships. It’s a lot like dating.  Would you walk up to someone in the bar and say “Hi! I’m really good looking and I’m great in bed.”? It wouldn’t work. It’s the same in sales.  You need to form actual relationships with actual people before you can expect to sell anything.

Building a relationship starts by getting people to remember your name.  Then it’s learning the other person’s name and using it at least three times in a conversation.  You’re trying to build intimacy and that can’t happen if you don’t know the other person’s name. Tim uses all sorts of tricks to get people on the phone.  That isn’t easy these days. Try and avoid voicemail at all costs. But if you have to leave a message make sure your name and number are at the front  of the message.  Do anything you can think of to get a callback.  Tim will record happy birthday on a voicemail whether it’s the person’s birthday or not.

Long before you ever seal a deal you need to know your client.  It’s the same as dating. Most people don’t hop into bed on the first date.  And if they do it tends to be a little weird. You have to build an actual relationship before you get lucky!  At minimum you’re going to need at least four interactions with your client (lunch, phone calls, a meeting on-site) before you sign any contracts.  

Episode 16 – The King Ron Rau


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TIm is coming to you one last time from the Gaylord Hotel in beautiful downtown Nashville.  The Gaylord is the site of this years PRSM conference but Tim just can’t get over that name.  

“I can’t even handle that name.” Tim says at the start of this week’s episode.

Tim’s co-host this week is Paint Chips otherwise known as Anthony Vinzi from Promain.  Paint Chips was awarded one of Tim’s famous nicknames after being interviewed on TBAL.  Anthony was so boring it was like eating paint chips thus earning his latest moniker.

Today Tim has invited Ron Rau to join him on the podcast.  Ron is an old friend and together he and Tim have been through a lot together.  Career changes and divorces are just two examples. Though Ron is quick to point out that he hasn’t been divorced yet.  Tim asks Ron how long he’s been married.

“37 years.” Ron says.

“Ugh.” Tim tastefully replies.

Tim invited Ron on the show to talk about something most of us will experience in our career.  Losing a job. Ron worked at the same company for nearly 20 years. They were in the middle of restructuring and Ron had been charged with laying-off many of his staff.  That was difficult. Then he was called into his bosses office and told he was being let go to.

Tim knows that Ron lived and breathed his job.  Getting the axe was incredibly difficult. Ron’s former company asked him to work for a few weeks more.  But then he found himself with no place to go. He was used to speed. Going fast all the time turned into very, very slow.  That took some getting used to.

Tim shifts the conversation to ethics in the retail business.  When Tim was doing work for Ron’s former company he says he worked harder than for any other client.  The reason for that was simple. It wasn’t for the money. It was because they were friends. The norm in the industry now is that vendors don’t have personal relationships with retailers.  Some retailers forbid contact at all. Companies have put in those rigid rules to prevent anyone being “on the take.” That has made the entire much more impersonal.

“I’m not sure if retailers know what they’re buying half the time!” He says.    

It’s become so extreme that showing up at a job site with a box of doughnuts is totally verboten.  Tim thinks it’s just about basic manners and politeness. Tim’s Mom taught him to show up at a friend’s house with a gift.  It’s basic human decency.

Episode 15 – Cold as Ice with Boston Rob


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Tim continues his adventures a the PRSM conference in Nashville this week.  This time he’s invited an old friend Boston Rob to join him. Oddly Rob is not from Boston originally but the nickname has stuck over the 15 years Tim has known him.  His real name is Rob Atkocaitis.

“I have a cream for that.” Tim says.

Rob has had a bunch of jobs over the last 15 years but he now works with Ocean Air AC.  They manufacture portable air conditioners and heaters.  The business has changes a lot over the last decade. In the past manufacturers would sell through a stocking distributor but now the middle man has been cut out.  Most manufacturers in the HVAC world sell direct to their customers now.

Ocean Air manufacturer makes everything in the United States making them the kind of business Donald Trump says he wants to defend.  Tariffs on foreign manufacturers would be a huge boon to their company. The HVAC market has been flooded with cheap products from Asia.  They won’t last as long as Ocean Air units but they cost less up front. That’s hard to compete with.

Rob says he is a big relationship sales guy.  He’s travelling at least three days a week to keep up his relationships with all his clients.  He’s been in the industry for so long he knows his stuff back and forth. Meeting new clients can be brutally hard and he says it keeps getting harder.  It used to be much more relationship based. Nowadays it’s all about cutting costs as much as possible. Unlike most manufacturers Ocean Air actually follows up with clients after their units are installed.  

“What’s the most embarrassing things you’ve ever done in front of a client?” Tim asks.

Rob recounts a story from early in his career.  Still in his mid 20’s went on a long day of golding with a client.  Needless to say the “golf game” was just code for a long day of drinking.  After the game he was invited back to his client’s place for a nightcap. Being a young cub he was still unaware of the dehydrating effects of alcohol.  Within minutes of arriving at the house Rob passed out. A team of paramedics arrived to cart him off to the hospital. The doctor took a battery of tests and asked how much he had to drink.  Despite being 15 or 16 beers deep he didn’t even register as legally drunk. His client was so impressed he stayed with Rob for years.

Contact Rob

http://www.oceanaire-inc.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-atkocaitis-8671a7156/

1-866-GET-AIRE

Episode 14 – The second coming of Big Chris


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It’s been a strange week in Nashville.  The PRSM conference is a lonely place for a Canadian boy like Tim Byrne.  Shunned by his American counterparts he’s been left to wander, listlessly through the dizzying array of display booths.  The PRSM crowd are a grim lot. Ashen-faced they stagger through the crowded hall with frozen smiles smashed across their dull faces. Tim starts to fear for his very soul.  Luckily, redemption is at hand. For there is one man that strides across this ocean of despair like the savior himself.

“Is that Fat Jesus?”  He asks.

Indeed it is.  Or rather it’s Christopher Blount.  President of Filtrex Services.  Chris is an old friend of Tim’s and agreed to appear on this edition of TBAL.  He earned his nickname because of his large stature and even larger beard. Being a generous soul he’s forgiven Tim for coining that hateful moniker.

Like any divine being Chris has been gifted with the power of prophecy.

“I can predict who what companies are going to make it and which ones won’t.” He says.

Everyone knows and likes Chris at PRSM but that sometimes doesn’t translate into sales.  

“Is it because your afraid to sell yourself?” Tim asks?

“Sometimes.” Chris answers.

At his first PRSM conference years ago Chris went all out.  He brought in Harley’s for prospective clients to ride. He hosted parties.  He shook every hand. And he didn’t get one piece of business. That was a big lesson for him.  He has since learned to let his technology speak for itself.

Unsurprisingly, Tim digresses from this important conversation about business.

“You’re one of the sweetest men I’ve ever met,” he says. “But you’re scary as shit from a distance.”

Chris is big and tough looking.  But it took a long time to try and portray himself in a more friendly way.  Stopping drinking was a big part of that. But so was not caring so much about what other people thought of him.

The conversation eventually drifts into politics.  Tennessee is deep Trump country and Chris is an avowed Republican.  He’s taken a lot of shit from his Democratic friends for voting for Trump but he now regrets it, admitting that he is a total embarrassment.  

The episode wraps up with a discussion about the horrors of Ron Jeremy the importance of choosing the right lane.

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Episode 13 – Canada, what to do? Tim, Kat and Anthony in Nashville


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Tim is in Nashville this week. He’s there attending the PRSM conference. (That’s the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association for the uninitiated.) The conference promised “The largest Multi-Site Retail & Restaurant FM Conference with best-in-class education sessions and networking events plus more than 300+ qualified exhibitors all under one roof!” But after the first full day Tim can’t figure out why he is there at all.

To get to the bottom of this he’s convened a secret late night taping of the podcast with his trusty sidekicks Kat Byrne and Anthony Vinzi. The conversation begins with a diagnosis of all that’s wrong with PRSM. For starters Tim and company feel being Canadian has put them at an extreme disadvantage. The conference is almost entirely geared to the American attendees.

“We’re like the orphaned child waiting for the scraps.” Tim says.

The other issue is that there are way more vendors than retailers. The rare retailer that does show up is quickly swarmed by twenty vendors. Kat thinks there is a much different atmosphere at IFMA events. They have a strict no selling policy and the events are much more geared to meeting new people in the industry.

“At PRSM it’s more like vultures.” She says.

Tim thinks the biggest issue is that the PRSM event is only once a year. It’s hard to build a community when you only see each other every twelve months. Tim shares the story of the early days of BOMA twenty years ago. They focused on suppliers and get them to collaborate on issues they shared in common. They also met twice a month religiously. There was only a few dozen members in those early days but that has since grown to thousands.

As the episode wraps up Kat is struggling to justify the $5000 annual fee to be a part of PRSM not to mention the $10 thousand expense of traveling to Nashville. Tim thinks that retailers should be given free memberships and the vendors should have to pay a little more.

“PRSM is dying.” Tim says.

Tim thinks they should take a step back. Meet every month. Get a drink somewhere and start slow.

“Get together the people you should. Make it regular so everyone is friend and it will evolve on it’s own.”