My wife is taking out some trash today when she was asked a question by a passerby.
This happens all the time because we live on a fairly busy street. The guy wanted to know who does our landscaping.
“My husband and I do it ourselves,” she replied.
He paused and thought for a second, possibly being a little intoxicated, too.
“Okay, well do you think I could talk to him in case he changes in mind?,” the man asked.
“No, that’s okay,” my wife to the man, and quickly came back inside.
The whole exchange lasted 30 seconds or so. She relayed this story to me, and three things immediately sprung to mind:
- He made a terrible assumption: I wrote about the folly of making assumptions in your sale, and this was a particularly bad one. Of course the guy assumed that I, not my wife, was the decision maker in the house. Rather than asking follow up questions, he immediately assumed that he needed to talk to me about our lawn care because I was the decision maker. First of all, it’s not true. Secondly, even if I were the decision maker, perhaps my wife would enjoy being a part of the decision.
- He didn’t know what he was selling: sure, he may have been selling lawn care, but what he’s really selling to people like my wife and I is time. I take tremendous pride in taking care of my landscaping, and my wife and I are both more invested when we do the work ourselves. But damn could we use some more time in the day! Perhaps we wanted our time back, but our neighbor just wants to escape manual labor, and their neighbor can’t seem to keep any of their plants alive and hate the perceived scorn of having the ugly house on the block. No matter what’s driving any of us to buy landscaping services, it’s not the services themselves. It’s something else entirely.
- He didn’t know his buyer: my disclaimer is still not to make assumptions, but you should also know your buyer. This guy obviously didn’t know his. Women drive 90%+ of household decisions, and landscaping falls into that bucket. The smart money for that guy hawking his services was to talk to my wife as long as possible. Instead, he had an outdated, obsolete, and misogynistic model for his buyer. The model was wrong on all fronts.
There’s no recovering from so many costly blunders in such a short time.