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.
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.
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