We scheduled the tree dude to come out to look at - guess what – trees. That’s what tree dudes do. He arrived at the agreed upon 9 O’clock, but exactly 4 days past the one we originally scheduled. His excuse, and I quote: “I was busy.” Shockingly, I wasn’t shocked.
Please make note of the “expectation” level in your trade, and how to summarily trounce it. In tree dude’s case, “showing up” equates to a Nordstroms level of service.
And yes, in case you wondered, he was in a decade-old white GMC work truck, with the faded logo of the former company who had it. Transmission fluid leaked at a transfusion-like rate on our brick pavers. Whatever. It’ll save me on Round-Up for my between-brick weeds, but what if I actually didn’t want Trans-Medic flowing down my driveway?
He points at the 80 year-old pine tree leaning precariously over my house, which prompted the call. “That’s a big ‘un.” I had noticed that too. He rubs his stubbled chin, paces around the base of the tree, looks at its neighboring trees, then re-surveys the driveway. “How we gonna get that outa here?” he says to no one in particular. He paces back toward the truck, leans against it, looking upward and mutters, “I can’t take that down unless you get approval from the ARB.”
Oh my. The dreaded ARB.
In our historical/hysterical neighborhood, the ARB is supposed to be the “Architectural Review Board” but was renamed “Always Ranting Badly” since they are content to debate the finish on the screw heads of your fence until the original need for the fence has dissipated. Again, note the expectation. (What is your perceived reputation? True or not, perception is a customer’s reality.)
Be the customer on this job with me. Does this guy get the job? Well, the ARB didn’t lose the sale. Nor did Tree Dude’s “other” guesses cause it. It was because of the following sales killer that may happen in your business, daily, without your knowledge.
To help you out, our old neighborhood has lots of trees. And many are, as you would guess, huge and old. If a cloud gathers on the horizon, we lose power. Yet many thousands of squirrels (aka “rats with bushy tails”) think our neighborhood is Disney World without the Gift Shop.
So, in terms of ‘market’ for tree dude, we would be considered ripe so to speak, or fruitful to take the pun farther but completely accurate. To a plumber, it would be a long street on a hill filled with basements that tend to flood twice a year. To an electrician a nice area that had seen a few garage break-ins but no security lights. A golden opportunity.
Yet tree dude chose to create a miserable waste of time. He was 4 unapologetic days late. Knew our address. Knew the ARB had to be involved in our area, failed to let us know. So, the visit was a waste, and requires another visit after ARB. Seems a conscientious business person would know the “do or die” questions prior to making the trip.
He won’t be called back. This is not punishment or editorial fodder. It’s life. If we’ve wasted this much time and have yet to see the saw, it won’t be his saw we see when someone fells the tree. (Apologies to Dr. Seuss.)
“I’ll get you up a price” he says, unaware of my calm decision. Wanting to be respectful of more wasted time, I replied, “Well, why go to the trouble if the ARB says ‘no’?”
“Just in case you want me to do some other work for you or your neighbors.”
Wow. Late on round one. Wasted this appointment. Already bumping for an upsell and asking for a referral.
When I don’t call him back, I imagine he’ll blame it on the ARB. When jobs don’t come he’ll blame it on the economy. If he ever rides by and sees a blank spot where the tree used to be, he’ll say I shopped the job and went with a lower price. None will be correct.
I feel for him in a misguided kind of way. I want to help in a more misguided way. But if a tree falls on a consultant and no one is around to hear it, did it make an impact? Ponder.
This article, which we thought was PERFECT for Greenspiration Home, has been reprinted with permission from Adams Hudson and Hudson, Ink Corp. Hudson, Ink is a marketing firm that specializes in marketing consulting for – oddly enough—contractors! We hope they are listening.