Laura Viskovich: Hello and welcome to the Professional Business Connections. I am Laura Viskovich and I’m so excited to introduce you today to Carl Wilson.
Now, Carl has grown an amazing business called Extermiman, and we’re going to talk to Carl today about how he has grown his amazing business through different mediums. Hello, Carl, welcome to the show.
Carl Wilson: Thanks, Laura, I appreciate. Thanks for having me.
Laura Viskovich: Any time. Now, Carl, we’re going to talk to you about your business growth. But firstly, I’d like you to have a bit of chatter about your background, how you got to be Extermiman.
Carl Wilson: Yeah, sure, you bet. Years ago – I’m 45. Years ago, in my early 20’s, I actually got into IT information systems and technology. And then in the early 2000’s after the Nasdaq stock exchange crashed, I was forced to look at some options. And I went into business with family in 2002 and Extermiman is a pest control model like management business. So I went into pest control in 2002 with a family member. And then we were in business together from ’02 to ’06, in ’06, we split, and I’ve been doing my own thing since then.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. So walk us through typically how do you get customers through the door the first time?
Carl Wilson: So there’re five areas that I focus on. I do online search, I do – we get lead generation from customer referrals if we do a good job, and then professional networking organizations, BNI being the primary one that I’m involved with, and then I work with competitors and then I do some social media stuff. So those are the five areas that we look for new lead customer acquisition.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. So I’m going to hone in on BNI today.
Carl Wilson: Sure.
Laura Viskovich: And so how do you use BNI to get, I’m guessing, referrals into your business?
Carl Wilson: I do, yes. So I’ve been a member of BNI for about 3.5 years. I knew about the organization actually for well over ten years before I joined. And I had a friend invite me one day just said that I’d check it out. And in business, I tend to experiment with something, give it a try, if it works, I keep doing it, if it doesn’t work, move on to something else. And after the first year, I did. I realized a nice return in my investment, and so it was worth it and I decided to keep going with it.
The first year that I was involved, I was – I wouldn’t say I was a very engaged member. I just kind of went and showed up. But after about nine months into it, I realized I needed to get a lot more deeply involved with it.
And so since that time, so it’s been a good three years or so, it’s been a very enjoyable experience. I made a lot of great friends, I received a lot of new customers, do business from it, and I made some wonderful vendor relationships too. The thing I like about it is that everybody that comes into the organization is vetted on some level. So there is legitimacy to the people, the professionals that come into the organization.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. So you said it was about nine months into BNI that something changed for you. Now, what was it exactly? Was there additional training that you were able to get access to? What was it that changed your journey?
Carl Wilson: Yeah. Kind of the turning point for me was encouraged to attend what’s called member success programs. A jargon, people call it MSP. But member success program, I’ve been this for the first 60 days, and what it is it’s a training course that helps you to learn how navigate, be united and successful on it. I didn’t attend that until nine months into it. My chapter kept saying, “You need to go to this. You need to go to this.”
So I finally did. And then we had a course that was offered on site at our chapter meeting, and the happen to taught by Kameron Thorne. And as he was teaching it, just kind of a light bulb went on. I was getting business from it. But I realized in order to be a good member, an involved member, there were more things that I needed to do. So that was the turning point for me.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. So do you feel that maybe it was more about giving to your group than maybe previously? Like what exactly was it that?
Carl Wilson: So as I came to learn overtime, BNI has a number of what they called core values. The primary one that they’re known for is giver’s gain. It’s this philosophy that if I give to you, if I help you, then the principle of reciprocity kicks in and that you’re inclined to help me get to what I’m looking for.
And so I began to realize, hey, I need to get more involved and try to help other members of my chapter by giving to them referrals primarily and help them get to what they’re looking for.
And so as I did that, as I tried to take more of an interest in what they were trying to do and to help them, then I find that those referrals tend to start to increase because people want to help you back.
Laura Viskovich: So basically, what I’m hearing is it’s all about building relationships and giving to your chapter. Now, what’s the percentage like of referrals that you get from the group?
Carl Wilson: So the five areas I mentioned, the customer lead acquisition and BNI probably accounts for about 10% to 15% of new business like referrals that come in, people that were able to at least engage and providing an estimate to them. So it’s worthwhile. It’s a decent amount.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. So the time you put in is definitely worthwhile?
Carl Wilson: Yes.
Laura Viskovich: Amazing. So anyone out there who’s looking at BNI at maybe wanting to visit a chapter, what would you say to them? What did visitors bring to your chapter, basically?
Carl Wilson: I would say, what’s in it for a visitor if they’ve never really been involved in what we call professional networking, it’s different. You know, an outside sales rep, they go, they call on a business, what we all know is a cold call, and it’s just that, it’s cold. It’s like you don’t have any connection, you have no relationship, you really have nothing going on. I mean, maybe you’re lucky if you can draw some sort of connection between their business and yourself or someone in their business or whatever, so you’re grasping for straws to try to make some sort of connection.
With networking, what’s nice is that, overtime, is you get to know each other. Naturally, things come out than all of our lives where we need services of other people that are in the group. And as those pop-up, it’s really nice to say, “Hey, I know someone that does social media, I know someone that’s a plumber, I know someone who’s an electrician.” And then you trust these people. You learn about their reputation. And it’s easy to make the referrals.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. So in essence, I guess BNI is like looking at a whole room of your own personal marketing –
Carl Wilson: Yeah.
Laura Viskovich: – agents. Would that be correct in saying that?
Carl Wilson: Yeah, absolutely.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic.
Carl Wilson: Greatly.
Laura Viskovich: Great. So if anyone is out there looking at yourself and gone, oh my gosh, you know, these different forms of referrals sort of avenues would be amazing. What would your tip and trick would be to them? Maybe they’re thinking about joining BNI, what would your tips be?
Carl Wilson: Yeah. So what’s interesting about BNI, there’re so many people involved in the organization. I think there’re 40 or 50 chapters in what we call the northern part of Utah, the north region. And my recommendation would be to visit a few different chapters in someone’s geographic area. The personalities of the people and the chapter, they tend to be a little bit different, and so you find what clicks for you.
Laura Viskovich: Now, one little thing that I’m dying to know is do you have any kind of amazing referral stories, like someone has referred something to you and it’s just kind of exploring for you?
Carl Wilson: I’m trying to think. Yeah, I have one situation, the chapter I’m currently in is located in Bountiful, and what I call a dream referral. Sometimes in our industries, there’s a particular type of client, whether it’s a large client or particular networking industry is really good for us.
So one dream referral, if you will, for me are property management companies. I happen to come into the chapter that I’m in and there’s a residential property management company. And it took me a few months to get to know them. They are already using a few different vendors. However, because they belong to BNI, they’re encouraged to try to use people within the organization. And as it built a relationship with this sales rep for this property management company, I was able to pick them up as a new client.
And so we’ve, over the last year, serviced a number of properties for them. So I was able to pick up a golden referral for myself.
Laura Viskovich: I see, fantastic.
Carl Wilson: With nothing more than just attending the chapter, building relationships. And, I mean, we strive to be a company with a strong reputation for service and taking care of clients. That’s what I really try to focus on in my business, is a strong reputation that’s responsive, we get results. And so I think that if you’re a committed professional and your peers see that, they’re going to be inclined to refer people to you.
Laura Viskovich: So, Carl, you’re a part of BNI Utah now. So which chapter are you in?
Carl Wilson: Yeah. There are two chapters of Bountiful. I’m in one of the Bountiful chapters. The name of the chapter is Above the Line Chapter. And, yeah, it’s a fantastic chapter. I love the people in my group.
Laura Viskovich: Great. So how do you educate on people in your group exactly what you do?
Carl Wilson: Yeah. The sweet thing about BNI is, every week, we get to give what’s called a commercial. That may vary 30, 45, 60 seconds depending on the size of the chapter. So we get to give a brief commercial on what we do, how to educate the members of our chapter to help sell for us.
So I’m not really trying to sell to them, like, “Hey, I do pest control, you know, buy from me or whatever.” What I’m really trying to do is empower them how to refer me to their network and their friends.
So what I’ll basically say something like, “Hey, I’m Carl Wilson with Extermiman Pest Control. I do spider, insect and rodent control. If you go to your friends, your families, your customers, acquaintances and you go to their homes or their place of business and you see spider webs or you see bugs, these kinds of things, and just say, “Hey, I know a guy. Can he give you a call or would you like his number?”
So I try to just make it really simple that if they see a problem, then they call those friends or acquaintances, “I know a guy. Would you like to – can he call you?”
Laura Viskovich: Wonderful. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. I’ve had a little bit of fun. I’m not going to lie.
Carl Wilson: Yeah, for sure.
Laura Viskovich: Yeah. So that’s Carl Wilson, everyone, from Extermiman, and I’m Laura Viskovich from Professional Business Connections.