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LIVE From IRE With Podium!

Podium Live from IRE
March 26, 2022 at 9:00 a.m.

Kevin Hunt talks about the importance of building a good reputation with your clients and how to use technology to get better reviews and ratings. 

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an interview with Kevin Hunt, the head of business development for Podium. You can read the interview below or watch the recorded livestream

Karen Edwards: Hello, and welcome back to the RoofersCoffeeShop soundstage. We are live at the International Roofing Expo 2022 in New Orleans. And I am here with my friend, Kevin from Podium. Welcome. 

Kevin Hunt: Thank you, Karen. Good to be here. 

Karen Edwards: Yeah, I am so excited to learn more about Podium for a number of reasons. One, I love technology and I love learning how technology can help contractors be more successful in their business. And I love marketing and communications, and I just learned Podium is a technology platform that helps contractors with all of that stuff. 

Kevin Hunt: We do, Karen. So Podium's been around for seven years now, and what we do in a nutshell is help make the world more manageable for small businesses. And for those in the roofing and construction business, you hit on it. We've got a set of capabilities in our mobile app that will help businesses get discovered more often online to be able to turn those folks that discover them into potential customers at a higher rate and jobs, and when all is said and done to get paid faster. So it's a full suite of capabilities that help the businesses to market better. We tell folks, you're going to win more leads, get more time back in your day and save money using Podium. 

Karen Edwards: Who doesn't want that? 

Kevin Hunt: Yeah, not a very original tagline perhaps, but that's our tagline and we'll stick to it anyway right now. 

Karen Edwards: Tell me the story behind how Podium came to be. 

Kevin Hunt: So we had our beginnings up in Canada. The founder of the company's dad owned a tire shop and he was looking to get more business and he asked his son who was an engineer to help him out and out of that came a capability and a company originally called Repdrive, as in drive reputation. 

Karen Edwards: Oh, okay. 

Kevin Hunt: So Eric Rea first helped his dad out up in Calgary, Calgary, Canada, and seven years later we've provided what used to be called Repdrive but now called Podium to over 100,000 small businesses is the US. 

Karen Edwards: Wow, that's a lot of small businesses. 

Kevin Hunt: Yeah. And when I talk small business, the greatest concentration of customers we have are contractor-based businesses. So about 20,000 of the businesses we work with do construction work, roofing work, HVAC, electrical plumbing, and they all come to us for a common set of needs. The first might be they're looking to get more new customers and quite simply, they're trying to find out how they can become a better rated and reviewed business because most have figured out that the better your reputation, the more likely it is you're going to get found by somebody and start a conversation. So that's what brings most people towards Podium because at the outset, we built a review generation, review management platform that was all tech-based. And at the time that was very new. So we're able to break out from the pack. And over time we've added more capabilities to be able to ensure we provide that local business with a way to improve the customer experience and employee experience all using a device most people are comfortable with. And that's a phone. 

Karen Edwards: Yeah, I was going to ask how easy is it? What's the learning curve? 

Kevin Hunt: Pretty short. You to don't grow from a company not being born seven years ago to one working with 100,000 local businesses in the software industry by not building something that's easy to use. And I think at the core, it's because it's an app. All you need is your mobile phone to use it. And that's 80% of the learning curve. It's just getting people comfortable with texting, which most of us are at some degree. 

Karen Edwards: Yes. 

Kevin Hunt: And that's really all generations. It's not just the young folks that like to text, but every demographic wants to text. And I think over the last two or three years, as we've all had challenges either running a business or wanting to do business with someone, of trying to maintain an appropriate distance that these communications tools and the ability to create a great experience for that person who is in their home and isn't ready to see you or isn't ready to come in and see you. And that's why we've excelled. It's if you're comfortable with texting, you're going to be very comfortable using our app. It's that's simple. 

Karen Edwards: How does it help contractors get paid faster? 

Kevin Hunt: So one of the capabilities Podium has and the platform is to be able to send a text message that to somebody that's we've just done business with and to allow them to click on a link and use their payment of choice. It could be Apple Pay, it could be a credit card, it could be Google Pay. It could even be we'll send you an ACH. We'll send you a check. So we make it easy to send out a payment request when maybe somebody's forgotten, or maybe the way you're doing business now is you'll send an email or you'll call and you'll want to take a payment over the phone. So over our secure platform, you can send a text message out to that person you've just done business with, that homeowner you've just put a roof on, and invite them to click on the payment link, use the credit card they want and the payment's handled. 

So it's very convenient for the business using Podium. It's fast. We know that from roofers that use Podium, they'll reduce their average day sales outstanding by a factor of 20% to 30% just because I've now made it easier for people to pay me. So it literally is send a text message. If that person's got a checking account or a credit card, they can pay you at very competitive rates to some of the more commonly used platforms. And the other benefit is our payment processing system and payment system is tied into our messaging system. So if I was to send you a text message to pay me, Karen, right after you send the payment in and make the payment, I could set Podium up to then send you a link to post a review about the experience you had and it's automatic. So very easy, very quick, and very cost effective for... What we found is for a roofer that's doing... For every $500,000 in business that you're doing, we can probably put $15,000 to $20,000 of profit into your business using our payments platform. 

Karen Edwards: Wow. 

Kevin Hunt: Real profit. 

Karen Edwards: That's impressive. Yeah. I was going to ask about the reviews. So I'm glad you brought that up because make it easy. If you make it easy for people, they will do it. 

Kevin Hunt: Yes. Yes. And that's the key because what we know is when people get a bad experience, statistics say that somebody who's unhappy is 10 times more likely to share their displeasure. So to get a good roof view, you've got to make it very easy because the silent majority of people that all businesses work with are probably very happy. But you want to make it easy. All of us have gotten requests for that one-minute survey, that 20 questions, and we have an obligation, I think, as consumers to share feedback, but what we did early on was, and we worked very closely with Google on this, who's an investor in the company to make posting a review for the person that gets the request literally three clicks and it takes five seconds. So we've made it easy. And that's key. The easier you make it, if you've done a great job, you're going to be that much more likely to get a review from somebody. 

Karen Edwards: Absolutely. And reviews are so key because everybody looking for a service or a contractor or anything of that, you're going online and using Google. So if the company's out there and doesn't have a lot of reviews or not very good ones, I'm not going to use them. 

Kevin Hunt: Right. And I'm sure you've shared studies with your followers that nine out of 10 people before they decide to engage in a business go online. 

Karen Edwards: Yeah. 

Kevin Hunt: I think almost an equal number of those folks when they go online are looking to find out what do people have to say about that business? Right? So the first step to being discovered is to make sure you get found online. And when you do get found online, make sure that you've got some followers, namely people that have posted great ratings or great reviews about your business and to have those associated with your Google listing or to have those recommendations on your Facebook page as an example because that will significantly improve the odds that you're going to get found. 

Karen Edwards: So if I'm a contractor and I want to check it out, do I just go to my App Store and download it that simple? 

Kevin Hunt: You would actually just go to podium.com on your phone and you'll learn a bit about what Podium does. And if you start to look at solutions, you might stumble upon one of our testimonials to learn about what Valentine Roofing is doing in Seattle or... Oh gosh, I'm trying to think of another contractor's profile. But on our website, we outline how the platform works and some different like use cases like how do we help business get discovered more? How do we help a business to win more leads? And there's also pricing on there as well. So once you become a Podium user, you can download the app and you're off to the races and you can start using it. But at podium.com, you'll see all the information you need to know about what Podium does and what it costs. 

Karen Edwards: So if somebody who is watching this video now is coming to the show tomorrow, where would they find you? What booth? 

Kevin Hunt: We're in booth 1657. 1657. 

Karen Edwards: 1657. And you probably have the ability to demonstrate? 

Kevin Hunt: Absolutely. We've got a team that is there to answer questions, talk about the kind of work that we're doing for thousands of roofers across the country and actually tens of thousands of contractor-based businesses in the US. 

Karen Edwards: Excellent. So if you are at the show, swing by. See our friends at Podium, learn a little bit about how it can help your business. And if you're not at the show and you can't stop by the booth, you can also visit their directory on rooferscoffeeshop.com. That'll take you right to their website and get you the information that... I'm really glad that you able to stop by and join us today. Thank you. 

Kevin Hunt: You got it Karen. 

Karen Edwards: Yeah. And we'll be back with the next live video in just a little bit. So subscribe to our YouTube channel, ring the bell so you don't miss a thing. Bye. 

Kevin Hunt: Bye bye. 

Learn more about Podium in their RoofersCoffeeShop® Directory or visit www.podium.com.

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