Posts

3 Tips on How HGTV’s Timber King’s Conquered the World

In Part 1 of this two part series, I interviewed Bryan Reid Senior, founder of Pioneer Log Homes and learned how passion, people and relationships built this world class business.  In this post, we will learn about Joel Roorda, one of the brilliant craftsmen of Timber Kings and the 3 proven tips on how HGTV’s Timber King’s conquered the world. HGTV Timber Kings Conquered the World

If there is one thing I learned from interviewing Bryan and Joel, its that these guys love what they do.  It all starts with passion.   If that is the only thing that readers take away from these two blog posts, I think that is a great.  However, we can learn some very important things from them to be truly customer-centric.  These guys just aren’t just Timber Kings, they are royalty when it comes to understanding the customer.  So, let’s jump into what I learned from Joel.

1. Listening is An Art Form

There are tons of business books and even courses that tell us that we need to be good listeners to be successful.  Listening is work.  Regardless of what people say, listening is a lot of work.  You need to focus on the individual or individuals, tune everything else out and pay attention.  Listening to Joel, I have a new respect for doing it the right way.  In fact, it is listening with your eyes, as well as your ears.  Here’s what Joel had to say about getting to know his clients:

“I always spend time before each project to learn about the client. It is my personal mission to try to satisfy each client with the style of log home that he or she is dreaming of.  Not only do I ask a lot of questions and really listen to what they are saying about everything, but I pay attention to things like what type of vehicle he or she has drives, what types of clothes they wear, etc.  These details outline the type of person they are and the type of life they live.  These are important details to match the house we build for them, to the dream they have for their house.  Like Bryan said, we aren’t just building houses, we are building dreams.”

After hearing Joel’s approach to getting to know his clients, I can certainly see why the homes he builds are so spectacular and special.  Each home is a piece of art, and as unique as the owner.  No wonder their clients come back over and over again.

2.  Building Relationships is an Extreme Sport

Again, there are tons of blog posts, books and gurus that tell us that we need to build relationships in order to be personally and professionally successful.  What these resources don’t convey however, is that building relationships is more of an extreme sport or a lifestyle.  Here’s how Joel approaches it.

“All my clients have my personal contact info, know me well and can contact me at any time. In fact, most have come to my home, spent time with my family and walked through my home.  They experience my dream of my log home and how I achieved it through hard work.”

The other thing that really impressed me about Joel is that over and above this being a lifestyle for him, you know it is authentic based on how his clients treat him.

“We work in countries all over the world and on every job I have the homeowners giving us gifts and cooking us meals.  On a recent job in Moscow, our billionaire client prepared a traditional meal for me and my crew, and then he gave me a very expensive bottle of Scotch. I truly feel blessed to meet these incredible people and to get to know them and their families.  I feel blessed that we remain great friends and I always have a place to stay, regardless of where I am in the world.”

3.  Achieving Implicit Trust Can’t Be Faked

It struck me when speaking to Joel that he and all of his colleagues are not only expert craftsman, but really, there is a lot more to what they do.  While we didn’t speak of trust specifically, Joel and all of the Timber Kings are experts at achieving implicit trust.

“I love the challenge of the big unconventional and complicated projects that are logistical nightmares. I have built homes all over the world from mountain tops to islands, secluded lots to fly in type resorts.  I truly love my job and it is actually a lifestyle.  I work a lot of long days and last year did a stint of sixty-two days straight.  I don’t need to work this much but, it drives me, and it satisfies me.  It is a great accomplishment to build a complicated home from raw logs that you shape, mould and cut to create a client’s dream home. I do not think I could do anything else, except maybe be a fishing guide for myself and Bryan.”

When you dissect what is being done when building these homes with behemoth logs and complicated structures with weights that would scare us all, it really does come down to implicit trust.  Joel and all the Timber Kings are being trusted with the most precious commodity of all – human life.  They are building dream homes for people – families, young and old.  Maybe this is a little more at the forefront for me after experiencing the winter from hell and looking out at the still present mountains of snow that normally would be long gone by now.  Maybe the recent collapses of roofs on commercial buildings and homes that are no longer safe to live in, is this part of my psyche right now, but regardless, the fact that their customers keep coming back and welcome Joel and his colleagues into their homes and lives is completely indicative of implicit trust.  That can’t be faked!

I sincerely want to thank both Bryan and Joel for taking the time to answer all my questions – it was a true East-West Canada Connection – From New Brunswick to British Columbia.  I can’t wait for the next season of the show to see some more spectacular homes.

Want to learn even more?  Sign up for our newsletter at TaylorMade Solutions (insert “newsletter” into inquiry box)

How To Be Customer-Centric Like the HGTV’s Timber Kings

We all talk about customer service and being customer-centric, but few of us really live up to that standard quite like Pioneer Log Homes, also known as HGTV’s Timber Kings.  If you have ever watched the show, you know what I am talking about.  These guys are not only absolutely amazing craftsman and engineers, they are some of the best at being customer-centric.  So, want to learn how to be really customer-centric like HGTV’s Timber Kings?  Here’s what I learned from an interview with the founder, Bryan Reid Senior:HGTV Timber Kings of Customer Centricity

1. Passion is Innate

This is not lip service.  You learn very quickly that Bryan, does what he loves.   When asked how he got into the business, it is obvious that it is something that “just happened.”    When it just feels right, I guess you know it.

“My step dad was a trapper and I worked with him a lot.  At the end of the day, with temperatures dropping to -40 to –50 degrees in the winter, we would get to the old trapper log cabin and light a fire and half hour later, we had no more worries. There was just something about being in a log cabin.  After I finished high school, I built my own log home with help of First Nations man, Samson Jack. It wasn’t long before others wanted me to build them a log home.  It also didn’t take a long time for me to realize that I loved doing it and there was a need to fill.”

When I see someone with passion, it really helps me realize what a difference it makes.  I couldn’t help thinking about the times in my career when I was truly passionate.  Like Bryan, it was something that just felt right!  It didn’t feel like work.

2.  People First

I asked Bryan about his incredibly skilled craftspeople and what it is like to work with so many gifted people.

“Where would we be without people?  Whether it is working with my team or working with clients, our business is about building dreams. My guys are my equal at very the least, and even my boss at times, and never critiqued for over delivering.  They are praised and rewarded equal to me. In the recession of 2008, I cut my wage to zero and kept my guys on. They mean so much to me!”

When it comes to his customers, Bryan has some pretty simple but powerful advice.  In fact, it is  so simple, that we probably tend to forget the basics, but Bryan doesn’t and it is refreshingly honest.

“Many companies spend their entire budget on advertising, etc. and don’t take care of the customer right through to the end of the process.  It was our goal to always over deliver and we wanted to.  Going that extra mile and giving the customer more than they expected, sets us apart.  And really, when you think of it….what a novel idea?…Give the customer value for their dollar and in return they recommend you to their friends.   In fact, many of our customers are our friends.  This is a very, very basic human behaviour.  Treat people well and they treat you well.  Some of our original customers from more than 35 years ago still call us and visit with us. For us, this is priceless.”  HGTV's Timber Kings of Customer-Centric

3.  Relationships Are Forever

If passion is innate and people are first, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that for the Timber Kings (Pioneer Log Homes) team to be truly customer-centric, the relationship with the customer doesn’t end when the sale is complete.

I asked Bryan if there was a specific customer story that stood out for him over the years and here’s what he had to say:

“There are many great stories for me, but one that often comes to mind is one couple who were buffalo ranchers in the US.  Over 22 years, we built three different homes for them.  They are a wonderful couple whom we have become very close to.  They are now in their 80s now and have decided to downsize, and they want us to build them a smaller log home!   Now that’s a story.”

 4.  Use Your Brain

I asked Bryan what advice he would give to people just starting out.  Here’s what he had to say:

Bring your brain to work every day. If strength was everything, horses would rule the world. Watch what successful people do and try to translate that to your business. Same rules different industry. I learned a lot from how Las Vegas did things. They made the whole world aware of them – quite a feat when they are not the biggest.  Finally, take care of the customer and they will take care of you.”

And, of course I had to ask if being Canadian made a difference when it comes to dealing with customers.

“As Canadians we are the luckiest people on earth. Being born in North America is like winning the lottery. We are intelligent, well educated and are entitled to work hard and get ahead if we are wise and treat people right, respect our resources, and plan ahead for the next generation. We can do well and leave the world a better place. Expect the best, plan for the worst.”

It was a real pleasure getting to know Bryan through this interview.  In Part 2 and final piece of this series, we will learn more about Pioneer Log Homes through Joel Roorda, one of the master craftsman that build those stunning homes.

Want to learn even more?  Sign up for our newsletter at TaylorMade Solutions (insert “newsletter” into inquiry box)