Success Stories

Relationship Marketing Weekly: Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling

Today’s show features Allen Throndson of Lighthouse Enterprises in Park City, UT. Allen has specialized in remodeling kitchens and bathrooms since 2006. From day one, he understood how important it was to incorporate a smart relationship marketing strategy to show appreciation to his customers and referral partners. Based on this strategy, and being a member of a professional networking group, he’s enjoying a 100% referral based business. Allen explains his straightforward, cost-effective, relationship marketing plan, and it will surprise you how simple it is.

Kody Bateman: Hey everybody. This is Kody Bateman. Welcome to a brand new version of Relationship Marketing Weekly show. We’re very excited for this show today. We have a very special guest right here from my home state of Utah out of the Heber City, Utah, Allen Throndson. Allen, welcome to the show today.

Allen Throndson: Thank you.

Kody: So Allen – and again. If you guys are coming in, we have people that are tuning in from all over the world to listen to this. Just say hello to us as you’re tuning in, people here from the US, people from Canada, Australia. A couple from Singapore coming in. Just appreciate everybody that’s tuning in at this time and Allen, we’re very interested in learning from you today.

Allen owns a company called Lighthouse Enterprises. He does custom kitchen and bathroom remodeling and this is an interesting business. I mean I know that here in Utah – and you’re actually in Heber and we were talking before the show started that you do a lot of your business in the Heber Valley and also in Park City. Is that correct?

Allen: Right, that’s correct.

Kody: So those of you who are not familiar, Park City is kind of an affluent part of the state. It’s where all the big ski resorts are at. A lot of the big celebrities come in to Park City during the holidays and things of that nature. It’s kind of like the Aspen of Utah, if you will.

So tell us a little bit about your clientele. You do remodel jobs. Just describe to us what your customers are like. Are they high end? Are they affluent customers? What kind of customers do you usually service?

Allen: We really run the spectrum from high-end to just normal, everyday simple home type remodels. So there’s not a specific target that we aim for. We are available to anyone that wants to improve their kitchen and bathrooms.

Kody: Now you’ve been in business for 13 years. When you first started this back in 2006, how did you get the word out that – you know, about your business? What were the first kind of things you did to get the word out?

Allen: It was fairly limited. It was more just generic advertising, advertising in some magazines in the area and then just kind of cold calling with general contractors and builders and that type of thing.

Kody: So you started probably – I’m kind of guessing 2004-2005 era and like you said, you just started getting the word out in the ways that you did. We call that traditional advertising or marketing and different things, some word of mouth. 2006, you joined our Relationship Marketing System here at SendOutCards, started using our Relationship Marketing System.

Tell us a little bit. When you first started using this system that sends out tangible touches like greeting cards and gifts, sends out to people, what kind of cards did you send out, when you very first started?

Allen: What I did with my very – when I started at the very beginning was when I would complete a job, I would send out a thank-you card and ask for their business in the future, any family or friends that they might have and then along with the card, I would send out brownies. When I first started with SendOutCards and the person that brought me on sent me some brownies and they were fantastic, they were awesome. So I was pretty impressed with them.

So from that point on, when I started with SendOutCards, that’s what I would send was a thank-you note and it’s amazing because just about every customer, I know when they get the brownies because – then their thank-you card because they will send me a text or give me a call and tell me how good the brownies are or sometimes I will have the wife get them and hide them from the husband or vice versa, not wanting to share them.

So it has been very effective. They will mention – I mean I will talk to people years later. They will call me and ask me if I’m still in the business and so forth. Either they have a job or they have a friend or family member that has a job and oftentimes they will mention the thank-you card and brownies.

Kody: In fact you have a specific story about that. You sent a card about eight years ago, completed a granite top project for somebody and this is a pretty cool story here. Could you share that with us?

Allen: Yeah. It’s really not uncommon for me to get a call from somebody that I’ve done a job for two years, three years, four years ago. The record was the eight years. Eight years later, I get a call from them and they bought another house and wanted to do some remodeling on it. So it was just – basically the relationship that we had, it wasn’t necessarily in this particular case one that we had touched base every year or constantly. It was just – that was the last time that we had talked when I completed the job and they were impressed with the thank-you card and the brownies that I sent to them.

Kody: So let me ask you. When you send a thank-you card – I like to take this as an example. When you send that thank-you card to them – in this case, like usual, you send the brownies as well. You sent that like eight years ago. I don’t know the answer to this. I’m just curious. In the card, do you have a place where you put your name and phone number? Do you like put a phone number or anything in there where they could easily reach you back?

Allen: Yeah. In the thank-you card, what I do is it’s a “Thank you for your business” card and I will do a two-part card where on the – when they open it up on the top, it has my company logo and then I will have the – in the bottom of the part, we will have – I will address them by name and thank them for their business and ask if they would see fit to recommend a family friend, anyone to me. I would certainly appreciate it.

Then I put my name, my email address and my phone number at the bottom of the page.

Kody: Excellent. The reason I bring that up is because I want – those of you who are listening in here today, I want you to think of all the times you’ve gotten service done like on your home, whatever. I mean you hired someone to remodel your home or you had someone come put kitchen cabinets in 10, 15 years ago. How often are you able to even recollect who that person was? Because I know in my case, things I’ve had done years ago, I don’t – I might like vaguely remember who they were. But I certainly don’t know how to get a hold of them.

I’m sure most people can relate with this. In this case, the point I’m trying to make here is in this case, you had sent a card in the card – well, and you sent the brownies. Brownies are always magic. But that was the added value that you offered that – even though you didn’t send cards for eight years, you were still top of mind for those people eight years later.

I mean the power of that to me is just incredible. I don’t know how you can have a more powerful system that will last eight years. You send a card and brownies and the top of mind lasts eight years. Chances are they probably saved the card somewhere, was able to get your phone number and call you back.

So I mean that’s just – it’s just a great story. Now you’ve mentioned too that since starting in this – yeah, there’s a couple of other things you do. You send cards and gifts. You send cards, thank-you cards. You send birthday and anniversary cards. Do you send – when you send the birthday and anniversary cards, greeting cards, do you send gifts along with those too or just the card?

Allen: Just the card on birthdays and anniversaries.

Kody: So the thank-you card receives a box of brownies and then you hand them with a birthday card and an anniversary card and you’ve been doing that for quite some time. You know, several years. When you first started in 2004, 2005-ish, you were probably at about 10 percent referral rate. It’s what you told me before the show started. You started using the SendOutCards relationship marketing system in 2006 and very quickly jumped to about 65 percent referrals.

So 10 percent to 65 percent in a couple of years just by sending thank-you cards, birthday cards and anniversary cards. I mean those are phenomenal results. So do you do any other kind of advertising or what other types of things do you do to promote your business?

Allen: I’ve actually gotten to the point now where I do very little advertising. Between the cards and the referral business that I get from the cards and the networking group that I’m involved in, basically – I mean about 90 to 95 percent of my business now is referral business.

One other way that I use the cards is when someone refers someone else, I will send them a thank-you card along with a $25 gift card, Visa gift card.

Kody: Excellent, excellent. Simple system, very easy for you to send those out. So you mentioned that you’re part of a networking group. Can you tell us a little bit about the networking group you’re involved with and what that has done for you?

Allen: It’s Business Network International and we meet once a week and I’m in the Park City chapter and we’ve got a very active group there that I get a – well, last year, as a result of being in the BNI group, I doubled my business.

Kody: Wow! That’s phenomenal. So you’ve got a double hit. You’ve got the relationship marketing system that you use and recently in the last couple of years, joined BNI, which added a lot more referrals. In fact you mentioned before the show that you jumped from 60 percent referral up to about 95 percent after you joined BNI.

Allen: Right.

Kody: For those of you who don’t know, we’re actually a strong fan – we’re actually – we have an alliance arrangement with BNI. SendOutCards has an alliance with BNI, Business Network International, because we really kind of have the same philosophies. We believe as a company that you want to give to people for the sake of giving. So we teach people like yourself to send the thank-you card with brownies just because you want to say thank you. You want to thank them for the business that they gave and then create relationship and we call that “Give to give.”

Then BNI has its philosophy called “Givers gain.” Could you tell us a little bit? What is “Givers gain”? Because I know that when you join the network, one of the first things they teach you is the “Givers gain” philosophy. What does that mean?

Allen: Right. Well, the concept is that if you’re just – if you’re focused on yourself, if you’re being selfish, good things just don’t necessarily come back to you. If your focus is on other people and taking care of other people and increasing their business, then that is exactly what comes back to you. Whereas you build trust and so forth within your chapter, you know, they begin to become your sales force. So we’ve got 50 members in our chapter. So it’s not just me out there promoting business. I’ve got 49 other individuals out there promoting my business.

Kody: So the goal at BNI is that you show up with the intention of giving referrals to those other chapter members and they do the same for you. That’s what I love about BNI. I mean that’s the coolest thing about BNI to me. That’s true networking versus going and trying to pass out business cards to gain business. The best way to create rapport with somebody is say, “Hey, I know somebody that may need your service.”

I mean that’s the best way to gain rapport with anybody. So well, I will tell you. We really, Allen, appreciate the time you’ve spent with us today. It’s very simple. What I love about this interview is you have spelled out for our listeners something that’s very, very, very simple.

You do two things. Now, you do two things. You send out cards and gifts and you are an active participant in your BNI chapter and between those two things, 95 percent referral with a highly, highly successful business. I don’t know how it gets any easier than that.

So Allen, any final words of wisdom from you before we sign off today?

Allen: I don’t know that there are words of wisdom other than I’m a very big proponent of the KISS principle, to keep it simple and this is about – as you mentioned, it’s about as simple as you can get. Showing gratitude toward your customers, taking care of your customers. Those are the keys to growing your business.

Kody: Excellent. Allen Throndson from Heber City, Utah, owner of Lighthouse Enterprises. If you’re in this local area, please search him out. If you need a remodel job done, he is your guy. So appreciate the time that you have spent with us today and thank you everybody. If you want to learn how Allen sends these cards and gifts out so simply and easily, get back with the person that shared the show with you today. They could probably help you out.

So appreciate it and we will see you next week on another version of the RM Weekly show. Take care everybody.


To secure your best year yet, you may consider using a service like SendOutCards. In just minutes, you can create a custom card, add a personal message and picture, and do it all right from your mobile device!  You can even include one of their many gift selections like their amazing brownies, their new premium line of chocolates, you can even include a Starbucks card!

If you would like to learn more about how to incorporate a Relationship Marketing Strategy in your business, feel free to call or text me at {LEAD_OWNER_PHONE|}I will answer all your questions and help you build relationships, increase referrals, and make an amazing impression on all your clients, friends and family!

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