Last month I was on the hunt for a new landscaper. I went to our neighborhood Facebook group and made an ISO (in search of) post. Immediately after posting I received four recommendations. Three of the recommendations were for larger landscape companies and one was for a small landscaping shop whose owner lived just a few blocks away.
I reached out to all four companies. The larger three were able to bid the cost of our weekly lawn maintenance using Google Earth so I didn’t have to take time to meet with them in person for a bid. The man who owned the small landscaping shop in the neighborhood required a face-to-face meeting in order to bid.
After receiving bids from all four companies I decided on the small landscaping shop even though their bid was about 10% higher than the larger companies because I like supporting the small guy.
Our new service started and I was happy with their work. Then came time to pay. I was informed I needed to write and mail a paper check each week.
Two problems arose:
- I have no clue where my checkbook is. I cannot remember the last time I wrote a personal paper check.
- I do not stock envelopes or stamps in my home because we pay everything via automatic draft online.
I spoke with the owner and asked about monthly billing instead of weekly billing and about leaving the check in an envelope clipped to the mailbox each time they came to mow instead of mailing it. He informed me that he couldn’t make those accommodations. Knowing myself and knowing I couldn’t manage the task of doing this every single week, I paid him for the services rendered and switched to one of the larger landscaping companies who had an automatic draft option for payment.
This situation made me wonder what we ask prospects and customers to do that we wouldn’t want to do in our own buying experience.
- Do you make prospects or customers fill out lengthy forms in order to get basic information or worse yet to speak to someone in your company?
- Do you require people send an email, letter, or pick up the phone in order to connect with someone and have their questions answered?
- Are you flexible and able to adapt to the changing needs of your prospects and customers?
The moral of this story is to put yourself in the shoes of your prospects and customers. Really make every action you take tailored to them. Communicate how and when they want to and always be listening and learning so that you can make small changes as needed to continuously improve all interactions.