Success Stories

Relationship Marketing Weekly: Construction Contractor

Today’s show I have the pleasure to feature Heba Malki of the Domilya Group, a Canadian based renovation & construction company. Hear her amazing story on how she secured a seven-figure construction project as the highest bidder.

Heba will also explain how her company has more than tripled their business over the past three years by showing appreciation to each prospect and client with a relationship marketing program.

Kody Bateman: Hey everybody. This is Kody Bateman. Welcome to our weekly Relationship Marketing show. I’m really excited for our show this week. We have a very special guest on with us today.

If you’re jumping on, we got people coming in from all over the world here. Just say hi to us, so we can say hi back to you. But we are going to get started right away here. We got an action-packed show here. I’m really excited for this one.

Well, I’m excited for all of them. But I will tell you, this guest today, she’s a true professional. Coming from the construction industry, she and her husband own their own construction company. They do commercial and residential construction. Please welcome to the show from Milton, Ontario, Canada, Heba Malki. How are you, Heba?

Heba Malki: I’m good. How are you?

Kody: It’s great to have you on the show today. We’re so excited. I had the opportunity to have several conversations with you over the last couple of years, not only about the effects that this relationship system has had in your personal life but also in your business life and you are a true professional. It has been fun to listen to you because you’re a businesswoman. I mean you get down to brass tacks. You know what your numbers are. You’re very professional, very successful, you and your husband. So this is going to be a great show. I’m very, very excited.

Heba: Thank you.

Kody: And like anybody, like anybody that starts out, you didn’t always have great success. You had your struggling years too. Can you just tell us a little bit about how you and your husband started this business? By the way, the name of the company is the Domilya Group and there’s a reason for that. Why do you call it the Domilya Group?

Heba: It’s derived from both my kids’ names. Adam’s nickname is Doma and Amilya and they came up with the name and went home and Googled it and came out to be in Latin a beautiful space. So –

Kody: So what a great story behind the name itself. I mean that’s really cool.

Heba: Thank you.

Kody: So tell us just real briefly the struggling years, when you got started, how – how hard is it to start a business like this?

Heba: Oh my god. Starting a business – and it’s funny. It just feels like it was yesterday and you reflect on the things that you did right and the things that you did wrong. But I remember starting with my husband and it was really hard and I was working fulltime when he started his business.

It was a lot of work because after work, you would come deal with the kids and sit down and book his appointments, schedule him, still do all the administrative, behind-the-scenes work when it was just the two of us and one other guy that used to help us in the company. It was a lot of blood, sweat and tears and the jobs were – we weren’t making as much money as we would have liked to at the beginning.

Kody: Right.

Heba: To be honest with you. It was very hard. But you have to build the reputation and then you grow from that, right?

Kody: Absolutely. So how long have you been in business now?

Heba: My husband and I have been doing this for just over 14 years.

Kody: OK. So you’re 14 years into it, very, very successful now. What I would like to do is focus on the last three years of your business because over the course of the last three years, you have implemented a very powerful relationship marketing strategy.

I want to share these numbers upfront and have you comment on them a little bit before we get into the kind of things that you do because you incorporated a relationship marketing plan. You’ve been faithful at it over three years and the result is – and when you started, you had a successful business going. But since you started this relationship marketing system over three years, you’ve increased your business by 320 percent. Is that correct?

Heba: Yes, sir.

Kody: Now that’s tripling your business, right? Is that right? Isn’t that like tripling, 300 – isn’t that tripling your business?

Kody: It’s tripling our business. Yeah.

Heba: So that’s pretty exciting. I mean I think anybody listening in, how did Heba and her husband triple their construction business over the past three years, utilizing some of these things? The first thing I would like to do Heba, you have a great story about how you bid on a job. You bid on a job and you were the highest bidder, but you won the bid.

Kody: Yeah.

Heba: Can you share with us that story and how – why and how did you win the bid? Highest bidder but you won the bid. How did that work?

Kody: Well, it was a partnership with four doctors and a medical – they were buying an old building and changing it into a therapy medical building and we basically got the appointment to go do the quote, met with the four doctors independently and walked through the ideas, listened to them and I remember that day when my husband came home and he was like, “I want this job.” That’s all he said to me. I’m like, “OK.”

For me, I just do the regular thing. He doesn’t necessarily deal with all the marketing and everything on the backend. So as always, beautiful “Nice to meet you!” card went out to all the doctors. We appreciate the opportunity. Within a few days, we sent off the quote and again, we sent another card. Just to say, “Hello. We’re here. We just wanted to thank you again for the opportunity.”

Kody: OK. So I want to – so before the bid went through, so you went – you met with him and right after, you sent them a card and you sent them a gift too, right? Then you send –

Heba: Yes, I always send brownies.

Kody: OK.

Heba: Because a great way – me and my – the strategy is a way to a man’s heart is through the stomach.

Kody: That’s right.

Heba: So the way to a job is through their stomach.

Kody: No question about it. So you sent an immediate thank-you card with a box of brownies. Then you sent them the bid. It was a high bid. But right after that, you sent them another card. Tell us about the second card.

Heba: The second card was again – it was an appreciation card of having the opportunity to quote. But it was also like a little nudge to get an answer from them, to see, because we’ve also followed up in between with emails and I know the cards take about three days, three to five days max. So I like to give a couple of nudges in between emails to say, “Hey, what’s going on?” and with that card, I sent out a big wooden box that was filled with delicious goodies again.

Kody: Wow. So what happened?

Heba: They gave us a call. I want to say about three or four days after. They got back. I know they got it because they called and said – they actually texted and said, “Thank you so much. That was a kind gesture and you didn’t have to do that.”

Four days after that, we basically got a call and said, “Can we have Rachid come into the office? We want to talk to him,” and I knew that we got the job. I wasn’t expecting that we would be the highest bidders. But we also were told at the time when we went out and seen them again that we were the only contractors that one, responded with a quote right away; two, were able to send out something of – it was – they were blown over the moon with it and they said, “You won the job even though you were the highest bidder. But because you took care of just sending us a quote, we know that you will take care of us and make sure that our job is done right.” So it was that care that they saw at the beginning that made us win the job and know that we would take care of them.

Kody: OK. Now I want to make sure that our listeners are hearing this because this is such a powerful message. I get bids all the time. I own a company and I get bids all the time on doing work. The most important thing in hiring anybody is having the confidence that they’re going to take care of you, that they’re going to do all of the extra things that need to be done to get a job done the right way.

Basically what you’re saying is it wasn’t – I mean I’m sure it would help that there were good-tasting brownies and all that. But it wasn’t that. It was the fact that you took the effort to do those things. You sent a bid quickly. You sent not one but two cards with gifts attached to them, which showed them that you are somebody that number one, cares about their customer; number two is willing to go the extra mile and they – as a buyer, I would do the same thing. I would think to myself, “Wow, if they are focused on this kind of detail, that’s the kind of person I want to hire.” That’s essentially what happened.

Heba: Absolutely. In either Canada or the United States, contractors don’t always have the best reputation.

Kody: Right.

Heba: So how does myself as a contractor, a renovator or a builder build that reputation with someone? It’s to show them that from the beginning, there’s customer care. There is a touch point that – you know, the emails, the phone calls and the text messages that go back and forth, asking questions, answering their questions is great. But when I send them a cool card and it has my branding with all my information right there, we live a busy life. It just impacts them. They’re just like, “I haven’t gotten a card in years.”

Kody: Yeah. It’s amazing. You mentioned too that you stay in contact with people. You use email. You use social media and you use tangible touches like greeting cards and gifts. So it’s not just the cards that you send but you do multiple ways of staying in touch.

But the difference is, is that other – your competition is probably sending emails and that’s all they’re doing and people don’t realize about 11 percent of emails even get opened, let alone read. So it’s interesting that just the power of doing all of those – utilizing all of the ways of reaching out to somebody.

Now Heba, you are the queen of what I would consider – you are the queen of multiple touches. Like we’re really big on the tangible touch, a physical greeting card and a gift that shows up in the mail. Somebody can feel it, touch it, smell it, read it. It’s obvious it’s in all of our shows. You’ve already mentioned it here. But you’re really big on not just one time but multiple touches.

In fact you have a rule. There’s a rule that you have. You try to make sure that with your prospects and customers, that you reach out to them tangibly a minimum of how many times?

Heba: Minimum four times a year.

Kody: So that’s a rule. So number one, there’s a rule. Once you’re on my radar, I’m going to make sure I hit you up at least four times a year with a tangible touch, right?

Heba: Yes.

Kody: So give us an example. What would be the – what are the four main tangible touches that you use?

Heba: My first is always a “Nice to meet you.”

Kody: OK.

Heba: Whether I’ve met you through networking or I’ve gone to your house to do a quote. My minimum is always – the first one is, “Nice to meet you,” and then I always like to send out the holiday cards and I love sending out the – maybe the “Thank you for the opportunity!” card or possibly it could be even the birthday cards. I just like – and I follow people on Facebook too. So they become friends and I always love finding out what’s going on, whether it’s a new grandbaby or a baby or whatever. So cards are in my blood.

Kody: OK. So again, I want to recap on that for people that are first-time users or looking to get involved with our relationship marketing system. Always a “Nice to meet you.” I think that’s a no-brainer. It seems like it’s a no-brainer. But only three percent of businesspeople do it. So go figure. I can’t figure it out, but whatever.

So “Nice to meet you!” is obvious. Hey, I’ve met you somewhere. You’re interested in our services maybe. Nice to meet you. Then you get an opportunity to bid on a job. Thank you. Again another touch goes out. Thank you for allowing me to bid on your job.

Heba: Yeah.

Kody: And then after you bid on the job, you send another, “Thanks for the opportunity to bid on your job. Let me know how things work out.” Well, something interesting that you do is regardless of whether you win the job or not, you still send another card. So if you win the job, it’s like thank you for the job and then you get started with the job. If you don’t get the job, what do you do?

Heba: I still say thank you for the opportunity.

Kody: Yeah, go ahead.

Heba: It really has helped. Like it’s one of those cards that out of 10 people, 4 of them will come back and say, “Hold on. Can we work out a deal or can you hold this pricing for me for six months? We will book you in at this time.”

Kody: OK. Now again, I want to make sure listeners are hearing this because – and you’ve had – multiple times you did not get the job. You send out that card that said, “Thank you for the opportunity,” and then ended up later on doing a job. It might not have been that one but later on, you ended up doing a job with the same person, right?

Heba: Yes.

Kody: I mean you got a ton of those stories.

Heba: Yes.

Kody: But here’s what I think is important that everybody hears. That’s not the first card they got from you. That’s probably about the fourth one because you’ve already sent them a, “Nice to meet you,” “Thanks for the opportunity to bid. I hope you received my bid well. Let me know how it goes.”

Heba: Yeah.

Kody: And then, “Thank you for the opportunity. I hope we can bid on a job in the future.” So you’ve hit them already three or four times. Probably a fourth time and that’s why they end up calling you and wanting to reconsider.

Now those who are listening, it’s the craziest thing to me because people who are listening are like, “Yeah, right. Yeah, it doesn’t really work like that.” But does it really work like that?

Heba: It really does. I’m going to be honest with you. At the beginning, I was really skeptical and I sat down and I really made a marketing plan and I said, “I’m going to stick to this for one year.” Within my third month, I was sold. There was a lot of times that my husband doesn’t believe that – I’ve already sent out three, four cards. We’ve emailed three, four times. We’ve talked a couple of times on the phone and then I will just send them that, “You know what? I really appreciate you. Thank you for the opportunity. Maybe next time we will do better.”

They always seem to come back. It’s not 100 percent. I don’t want to say that everyone does come back. But I would say a good at least 40 to 50 percent come back and say, “You know what, Heba, Rachid, I need you to hold off. I would like to lock in this price right now. But I won’t start for another –” Like they’re pre-booking. I’m booked February of 2019. So there’s a lot of people out there that would say that they’re not booked this far advance and it’s because we treat people right and we ask them, “What can we do better?” or we appreciate them for who they are and where they’re at and we really focus on service first.

So if service means touching them 1000 times with cards, gifts, emails, phone calls, then that’s what it means to us in Domilya Group.

Kody: Wow, that’s incredible. Now let me ask you. You said that 40 to 50 percent of the time, those who you don’t get the job with end up coming back and doing something else. So 40 to 50 percent of the time, those you missed with the first time end up doing business with you. Now there’s a whole another 50 percent out there.

Heba: Yeah.

Kody: Do you still stay in touch with that other 50 percent?

Heba: Absolutely.

Kody: Interesting.

Heba: They’re in my radar. We pay a lot of money for marketing whether it’s through SendOut, Google AdWords, SEO, whatever the case may be. I want to make sure – it’s almost like saying I bought a contact because they came through a funnel through my website.

So I want to use this contact and keep appreciating them. I have gotten people that they’ve not used us. They call us back and said, “You know, we went with someone else and we made the biggest mistake. Can you please help us out of our nightmare?” or “We didn’t like the guy that we used but here’s our neighbor and our neighbor’s neighbor and our cousins and our uncles and our aunts that want to do renos.”

So it’s not just – I look at it as a relationship that I’ve built with a human being that I want my brand to be as recognized anywhere in the world as possible or anywhere in Ontario as possible that they will come back to us over and over again and bring their friends.

Kody: So it really is not about the second word “marketing”. It’s about the first word “relationship”.

Heba: Yes, sir.

Kody: And you’re a master at it, Heba. You’re a master at creating relationships over time and the reason I ask that question, the 50 percent question the way I did, I would venture to say that over time, the remaining 50 percent will end up directly or indirectly bringing business to you. That is the power of relationship and you’re one of the best there is at it. Just incredible stuff that you do, Heba.

Our time is short now. I just want to – we want to go ahead and end the show. I always like to end the show this way. Any final words of wisdom or any cards that you would like to show us or anything as we close today? Go ahead.

Heba: I will do both. I will make the words really quick and I will show you quick cards and the value and the importance of it.

The word of wisdom would be for any business out there. If you are looking at massive growth, I would say you have to do a massive look at your service and how you treat your customers and be the person that stands out.

There are 10,000 insurance brokers and 10,000 contractors and 10,000 whether mortgage brokers or realtors. Be that person that stands above everybody else and be personable.

One of the series of cards that I have here is for instance every year – so this was my last year’s holiday – this way. This was my last year’s holiday card. It was a little card – just going to X out the name. So little card with us in it and some – you know, our word and our information, but our branding was what is our real estate because my idea is that no one will take your business card and physically put it on their mantel for their families to do it.

Pick some of the best holidays. The first long weekend of summer to make sure that your card sits on their mantel because people will pick it up and they will be nosy to see who this is and what they do.

So this was our last year and I got to let them know a little bit about my family. So there’s a family picture of us. So I’m making it personal for them to know that there’s people behind this company and we’re real people.

Kody: That’s great. Excellent. I will tell you, Heba, we sure appreciate it. I knew this would be a super action-packed, cool show because you’re on it and appreciate your stories. Really incredible, very inspirational for all of us out there.

So all of you, I hope you’ve taken some gold nuggets from today’s show. Those of you who are interested in how Heba does those cards and how, just get back with the person that shared this show with you today and I’m sure they will be able to show you how to get things set up. So thanks everybody. Take care. We will see you next week on another great edition. Take care now.

Heba: Thank you.

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