Power Wash Dude

My friend Cheryl had friends coming to town for a visit, and they were going to stay overnight. “I took a look around my house,” she said. “This place is a mess!” 

She was exaggerating—her place is never a mess. But I totally got it. When “company is coming,” as people used to say, all of a sudden you look around with fresh eyes. You see the trouble spots you’ve blissfully ignored.

In Cheryl’s case, the problem was moss. Thanks to our damp northwest climate (we don’t tan; we rust!) the green slimy stuff covered her driveway and the path to her front door. She wanted it gone. She looked online for home maintenance companies that did power washing. She picked two and called for estimates. 

The first company she contacted was “Power Wash Dudes.” (That’s not the real company name. I don’t want to throw the real business under the bus.)

The owner and main Power Wash Dude said he could come out the next morning to take a look. They agreed on a time.

Cheryl called me the next day, after he left. It hadn’t gone well. 

“Geez. Power Wash Dude showed up with a three-ring binder. He sat at my dining room table for a HALF HOUR and went through his entire presentation. He told me everything—right down to “The 3 Ps of Power Washing.” 

“Ick,” I said. “What are the 3 Ps of Power Washing?” 

“I have no idea. I was so bored; all I could think about was when he was going to leave.”

Power Wash Dude clearly believed in his service. He gave Cheryl a plethora of details to prove he’d do an outstanding job. But he didn’t stand a chance of selling her. He couldn’t have convinced her because he didn’t listen. The bottom line? Your customer doesn’t care about you; they care about what you can do for them. 

Don’t get me wrong—it’s important to be enthusiastic about your product, service, or solution. As salespeople, we’re selling something we believe in. We know how awesome it is. Hey, we’ve drunk the Kool-Aid! But to persuade someone, we need to make it about them. We need to put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and find out what we can to uncover their problem or aspiration. Hone in on what is important to THEM. And then show how your product or solution will get them exactly what they want.

Bottom line: DON’T bore potential customers with a bunch of details they don’t care about. Because if you do, you might make the same mistake Power Wash Dude made, and lose the sale.