A question I get quite often is "Why do I need EZBZ? Can't I just use Google?" Most people do not realize that they spend nearly a week out of every year looking for businesses to provide the products and services that they need. That's right, you can spend 3 hours looking to fill a single need, and if you find you have a need every week, then you're looking at 156 hours a year. A week is 168 hours.
What would it mean to you to have an extra week of free time every year?
OK, so how does it work? Let’s consider a few different industries that you might be searching in, because EZBZ is a highly versatile platform. You can find almost anything on EZBZ, but we’re going to talk specifically about home improvement and finding a car.
Although we are focusing on these two areas, EZBZ can be a powerful tool to help you save time finding any number of things from business services like printing, web design, and professionals to personal services like massage therapy, magicians, and movers.
When we first talk to people about EZBZ, they often think about home improvement services because there are a few other web sites that are dedicated those specific searches.
If you are looking for a general contractor without EZBZ, you have three options. You could use Google or some other general search tool like Yellow Pages; you could use a home improvement services site; or you could ask your friends.
Google is a great service. You can find any information that you want there. Airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? Answer in seconds. Why is the sky blue? It can answer that with ease.
But what if you need a contractor? You can ask Google, and it will give you an answer. It looks like this:
Business name. category, phone number, what town their office is in. All good stuff, but you don’t have a contractor. You have a list of contractors who you can now begin to call. Your three hours begins now. You start calling, maybe you get someone who can help you. More likely, you get someone who can take a message and have the foreman or sales manager or whoever get back to you. Or, maybe you just get an answering machine. Alternatively, you can visit their web site and fill out the contact forms. I’m sure that you’ve seen the forms I’m talking about. If you have ever tried to get quotes for a major project like this, you probably still see these forms in your dreams.
When I was looking for the screen shot for this blog, it actually took my 5 minutes just to find a contact form that I could use. You fill out the contact form with your information, sharing your name, contact information, maybe address, and the nature of the job. You pass the test at the bottom to prove that you are a human and not a robot, and you hit send.
Your data zooms off at the speed of light to their server, and instantly, faster than the blink of an eye, one very important thing happens. Your email address is immediately added to their customer newsletter list. You will now start to receive emails and newsletters from this business. You may or may not receive a quote, but you will definitely get their emails.
Fill out 10 contact forms? Now you are on 10 email lists.
And after all this, you haven’t gotten a quote yet. You’ve spent time on the phone, spent time on web sites, and spent time unsubscribing from newsletters, but still have not found what you are looking for.
Home Improvement Sites
But there’s an alternative. There are web sites that are built just for your need. They can help, right? Absolutely! They can help to make sure that your phone number, email address, and home address get to a dozen or so firms with large enough marketing budgets to pay them for your contact information. Most of these services follow a pay to play model. The business pays for leads or for a subscription service. Most are paying between $25 and $75 per lead. This means that the service is selling your contact information to these companies for an average of $60, and they will sell it to as many companies as they can. That’s their business model.
Of course, if a business pays $60 for your phone number, they’re going to call you. All 10 of the businesses that buy your number will definitely want to call you, and they will want to keep calling because they spent a lot of money to get your number.
Are you getting calls from the best companies for your job? Maybe. Remember that the selection process is that you are connected with the businesses willing to pay the price of admission to get your number. That’s the qualification. Most of these services do have some kind of vetting process, but that generally means that they have checked to make sure the business has proper insurance and licensing and that their credit card clears the charges for their subscription.
Remember, now, that the businesses paid about $60 to get your number and email. Think you’re going on their email list? You bet you are. Think they’ll hold onto that phone number to give you a call next year and the year after to see if you might need anything else? It’s quite possible.
You could ask your friends. The average person knows 250 people, and a few of them probably know a business that you are looking for. Thanks to Facebook and social media, it’s easier than ever. You can post to Facebook what you are looking for and you will probably get some responses.
But, where do those responses come from.
Your friend from high school that you haven’t seen in 7 years refers a contractor, who just so happens to be owned by her brother-in-law.
Your co-worker’s cousin suggests a business owned by a guy that she met at a party last year. She hasn’t actually worked with them, but she thinks she has a friend who did and is pretty sure he was happy with them.
Your former neighbor who moved away last year suggests a place that was good. Or he thinks it was good. It might have been the other one who was good? Who can remember.
Recommendations from friends feel good because they have a personal connection, but you know how much attention you spend when you are on social media. You shoot off whatever is at the top of your mind, and you move on. And even when you do have the recommendations, you are not in touch with the business. You just have a link to their web site, or maybe a phone number. Now the process of calls and contact forms begins. You’re not busy for the next three hours, are you?
How is EZBZ different? The first step of the process is just as simple as a Google search. You just type what you need into the concierge box that you find at www.myezbz.com. You can even upload an image of what you are looking for if needed.
EZBZ then sends out your request, along with your town and first name, to all the businesses that serve your area that might be able to help you. No pay to play here. Every business in the area gets to see your request. That means that depending on your location and the nature of the request, it could be sent to over 500 businesses, giving you the best possible chance to find the right business for you.
If a company feels that they are a match for the job, they can reply by paying between $1 and $3. That’s not a typo. We only charge them one to three dollars to respond. This lets them respond through the EZBZ system. The business does not get your contact information until you decide to give it to them. No email lists. No endless phone calls. Just a message through the EZBZ messaging system, which you’ll be notified of by text or email or by app notification.
For simpler jobs, that first message can include a quote. For something more complex, like building an expansion on your house, they’ll probably have to come out and give an estimate, but either way, you are much further along in the process, and all you had to do was type what you need into the concierge box.
When you get responses, the response will show the company’s information as well as reviews aggregated from 9 web sites, plus reviews posted on EZBZ. Users can also vouch for businesses, a system which is linked to their Facebook account, so no anonymous vouching. Only real people, and very soon we will add the functionality to be able to show you businesses that your friends have vouched for, giving you that personal connection.
As you can see, it’s a lot easier to type a request once than to have to make dozens of phone calls.
I talked about what happens when your contact information gets into the hands of businesses around town in terms of home improvement, but controlling your information is much more important when car shopping.
I sold cars for a number of years when I was younger, and I learned two very important things. First, most people are not looking for a specific car like a 2012 Honda Civic LX with 22,000 miles. They are looking for a car under 4 years old, with less than 25,000 miles and more than 30 MPG for less than $12,000. Second, once a car dealership gets their hands on your email and phone number, they will reach out to you until they receive notarized confirmation of your death, and maybe they’ll still call a couple more times.
I don’t blame car dealerships for being tenacious. It’s a difficult and highly competitive business, and those leads cost money.
Most of the car search sites give you the ability to specify exactly what you are looking for, right down to colors and accessories. This lets the dealership know exactly what kind of car to tell you they just sold yesterday before they sell you the car that is in stock right now.
When you spec out that car, the site will ask you for your contact information. Phone, email, address, and all the rest. They will then take this contact information and the kind of vehicle you are looking for and sell it to every car dealership in town who is willing to pay for it. Usually between $20 and $40 per lead. The email goes onto the email list, and the phone number goes to the Business Development Center, or Internet sales guy.
They will get in touch, you will buy a car from someone.
A year later, your number is floating around at about a dozen dealerships. Maybe it’s a little slow on a quiet Tuesday in June at Larry Motors, and the sales manager wants to get some action going, so he prints out a list of old leads and distributes it to the sales people. Larry Motors didn’t have the car you were looking for last year, and they certainly don’t now, but that’s not going to stop them from calling and seeing if you might have a need now.
If you thought an elephant never forgot, you will learn that the elephant has nothing on the car dealership contact database.
How is EZBZ different? Just like the car web sites, it lets you specify the kind of car you want. Like the car sites, it sends your requests out to many dealerships.
Unlike the car web sites, it sends your request to every dealership in your area to find a match. Most importantly, unlike the car web sites, EZBZ does not give your contact information to anyone unless you want to. You may choose to give your number to one or two who seem promising, or you might just call them and not let them call you. They can respond to you through the EZBZ system, giving you links to inventory, specs of cars in stock and other information you are seeking, but they can only communicate through the EZBZ portal, not through your personal number and email, unless you want them to.
You are totally in control. The power is yours.
You still get to communicate with dealers who can help you, but on your terms, not theirs.
EZBZ makes your life easier. You certainly can find the businesses that you find through EZBZ with other services, but EZBZ makes it faster, easier, and more convenient.
Could you just Google it. Sure, if you don’t mind spending an extra week finding everything you are looking for. That’s what EZBZ does for you. It saves you time and an effort, leaving you energy for the things that are really important in your life like family, hobbies, and work.
EZBZ is a free service, so why would you go anywhere else?