Mower Man — How Much Is A Good Relationship Worth?
Bob was a mower man; he had worked for himself for many years and new his trade well. Bob worked hard, often six days a week and more often than not under a baking sun. He made it his business to keep up with the latest advancements. By doing so, he no longer needed to push around a hand mower and edger, these days he rode his mower and whipper snipped the edges. He liked what he did for a living and pretty much kept to himself.
At the end of the day he was usually dog tired. Far too exhausted to joyfully attend to invoices and getting them out so he could get paid. Rather than go broke, clever Bob employed an accountant and book keeper to look after this for him. In fact she was real good and made his life a whole lot easier. She got him to put some new systems in place. Part of his systems now, was to snap a photo with his smart phone of receipts when he purchased things and email them back to her. So he now had really good records. She also provided an app so he could fill out the invoice when he completed job. He emailed this back to her on his smart phone when he finished each job. This is then promptly, printed and despatched without him ever setting pen to paper.
Now, he was not only good at mowing, this mower man was also organised and efficient: Do a good job, maintain perfect records, send the bill and get paid. Things were working well and he now could sit down at night and relax.
Bill was a new kid on the block and he was looking for work. He knew Bob charged $40.00, so he called up and down the streets and offered to do the same job Bob did, but he would only charge $35.00.
Now lots of people had been happy enough with the work Bob did. But after all, a mower man is a mower man and $5.00 cheaper is $5.00 cheaper! What the heck they thought – I’ll give the new guy a go.
To get his customers back, Bob was now going to have to at least match $35.00. Perhaps, he may even have to go down to $30.00. As we well know, word spreads and once he did it for one – he’d have to do it for all. The cream and the joy was fast disappearing from his business. Unfortunately, Bob was going to have to work harder, or make much less money in his business.
Regrettably, good as Bob was, most of his customers didn’t know his name and as happy as they were with his work, their only contact with him was his invoice in the mail after he completed mowing their lawn. They had no real connection with Bob and sadly, lots of his customers valued keeping $5.00 in their own pocket, rather than his and gave the job to Bill.
So Bill was getting new customers at Bob’s expense. They call this competition.
How Much Is A Good Relationship Worth?
Now suppose Bob had introduced one more system and used SendOutCards to stay in touch with his customers. This would have gone a long way to establishing a relationship well beyond just being the mower man. He could contact his customers several times a year in a personal and meaningful way. He could send a personal greeting card for their birthdays and at Christmas. Bob could even send one specially created from his smart phone featuring their yard at a time it was looking at its best. Maybe one on national lawn care day, or whatever other occasion he thought appropriate. Bob would now be so much more than just the guy who mowed their lawn. As their mower man and friend, most will consider their relationship is worth more than the five spot they could keep in their pocket.
Best of all for Bob, as he is into efficiency and not into using up his evenings writing out cards, the SendOutCards system does most of the work for him. Even better, it helps him create an unequal position with his competition. Bill’s going to have to work a whole lot harder to get Bob’s customers out from under him. Much more than by offering a $5.00 discount.