I’m a big fan of the late, great, Jim Rohn.
He was a successful speaker and business leader who was always taught the value of learning new skills to expand your income. You can still find his speeches on YouTube, classic stuff!
One of his famous quotes was “Don’t ask for less challenges, ask for more skills.”
When I started Balloon Distractions back in 2003 I had no idea whether it would work in Tampa, let alone other cities across the United States. I was 29 years old with 5 years of sales experience, so pitching new clients was no big deal. After selling a bunch of restaurants I knew that we needed a team, so I went to the campus of USF and started to recruit on a daily basis.
In the past 13 years I made a ton of mistakes, I had no template to follow, no mentor.
Building Balloon Distractions was a continuous process of trial and error, mostly error, especially in the first 5 years!
We built solid training systems, designed an online scheduler, and basically figured out the most efficient and profitable way to send balloon artists into restaurants across multiple time zones a couple hundred times per week.
In doing this we identified three basic skills that our Regional Leaders would have to learn in order to build a region:
#1. You have to be able to personally fill a booking.
This means that the Regional Leader has to learn the very basics, enough so that they can go out and train a crew. This skill is also vital because the RL is the “fill-in” person if an artist calls out sick or staffing in the region is light.
#2. You have to be able to pitch and land new clients.
Again, this is very straight forward. We talk to the General Manager, we offer them a free tryout night, they either say yes or no. We have a Sales manual and a Sales DVD that I designed with our Orlando Regional Leader that steps through this entire process.
I’ve sold many different things, from cars to solar power to insurance to leadership education… selling restaurants on Balloon Distractions is the simplest sale I’ve ever done, hands down. If you walk into 10 restaurants you’ll land 6 tryouts and close 3 new restaurants. One afternoon in Atlanta I landed 14 tryouts in just 4 hours. If you can speak English and smile you can sell restaurants on our idea.
#3. You have to build a team.
This is the hardest skill to master, and this is where I failed many times until I began to read books like How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. If you learn nothing else from my humble blog please become a student of HOW to deal with people.
There are a ton of books in this genre: Personality Plus by Florence Littauer, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, The Magic of Thinking Big by Davis Schwartz and especially Leading a Leadership Revolution by Orrin Woodward.
If you only read the 5 books recommended in this post you’ll have a huge advantage over your competition, no matter what you do for a living.
Here in Tampa I’ve trained multiple artists and developed many of my best artists into trainers. This is the key to a large and long term team. Many of our Regional Leaders only train artists, but once your schedule gets to 15 or more weekly bookings you need some trainers to help you out. We have a recruitment strategy that works every time, in every market (which I’m not going to reveal here).
Our appearance on national TV gave us some added credibility, which helps us in the recruitment process. Shark Tank gave us nationwide publicity at almost zero cost, its the gift that keeps giving, even 2 years later.
The biggest challenge to building a team is understanding leadership, influence, people skills, and how to inspire and motivate your team. You have to build a culture in which your new artists WANT to become trainers. As the Regional Leader for our Tampa team I’ve developed 5 dedicated trainers in the last 9 months. Having multiple trainers allows me the time and flexibility to run a big region without having to worry about filling bookings that often. I personally fill 3-4 bookings per month, mostly to stay in touch with our clients.
In addition to training specific to Balloon Distractions we also give our Regional Leaders training in people skills, leadership and motivation. This extra step has produced great results in our growth and profitability.
We recommend that all our Regional Leaders become readers and daily students of success. 10 minutes today, reading the right books… it can’t hurt ya.
I’m sure that Balloon Distractions has imitators out there who look at what we’ve done and think it will be easy to duplicate.
If this was EASY there would be 100 companies out there sending people into 100 restaurants each week… but this is not the case.
I feel that the trial and error part of this business is the biggest barrier to entry, and we’ve already conquered that part. After 13 years in business across the entire country we’ve seen all kinds of crazy stuff, and handled it accordingly!
Bust what about YOU?
You can start a region with BD at no cost, other than ordering some balloons for yourself.
This is NOT a franchise, we don’t have ridiculous fees, or rent, or even license fees.
You just need $60 to $80 worth of balloons, which you can order from any supplier in your region (we will show you how).
We have the online SYSTEMS and knowledge that will help you build a region to anywhere from $200 per week to $1,000 per week in extra income. In return we are asking for an ongoing booking fee per gig, the rest of the revenue flows back to you, your trainers and your artists. We handle the billing, the scheduling, all the basic back-office operations.
YOU control the pricing, size and profitability of your region.
If you have a full-time job and you want to make an extra $500 per month on the side we would like to talk to you.
If you want to LEAVE your job and need to earn $1,000 per WEEK we would like to talk to you….
Fill out our online form here:
We are opening new regions in markets from Oregon to Texas to Iowa to Georgia!
Fill out our form and I’ll call you in the next few days,
Benjamin T. Alexander