Recently, I went to a birthday party with friends. We ran into an acquaintance who is the lead salesman for a local import car dealership – a guy we’ve known for years. My buddy, Brian, asked him about pricing on the new full-size pickup this particular company has on the market. He got an icy reception: The salesman held up his hand and said, “Look man, it’s Saturday night. You can talk to me about trucks on Monday morning if you want to, but I’m not working right now.”
As you might imagine, my friend is buying another new Chevrolet this week instead of that import brand. And why not? He’s had good experiences with the brand, and has a long-standing relationship with our local Chevy dealer – two factors the import salesman did nothing to undermine, even when Brian handed him the opportunity on a golden platter.
Like it or not, customer service is a 24/7 proposition. I can’t speak to that salesman’s feelings toward his job, but most landscapers I’ve talked with love their profession and will talk about their designs and the jobs they’ve done or the flowers they’d recommend with the slightest prompting.
In this Internet age, the line between work and leisure has blurred like never before. Your customers spend a great deal of time, both on and off the clock, thinking about and researching things that are important to them. Landscaping designs and services are among the things they’re interested in. It’s only natural that these people are going to have questions when they run into an expert in a field they’re interested in, be it at a birthday party or a supermarket. Instead of viewing queries as an intrusion, look upon them instead as an opportunity to gain a new customer.
No matter how much we love what we do, we all need a break now and then. But new customers are the lifeblood of any business. If someone thinks enough of your reputation to ask for unsolicited advice about their landscaping needs, view that as a compliment and graciously spare them a few minutes of your time. The rewards you’ll gain in both your business and reputation will easily outweigh any inconvenience you experience.