How do your employees represent you and your company?

You could have spent tens of thousands of dollars this year on a new truck, trailer, vehicles signs and equipment all to impress your customer base and the pool of potential customers in your area, but one small misstep by an employee can make your efforts worthless. How your employees represent you and your lawn care company is one of the most important issues you need to stay on top of. This topic was discussed on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, spotlighting how good or bad behavior can and will effect your bottom line.

A lawn care business owner wrote “I visited a friend today who runs a business that makes about $200k a year. He was interviewing a new employee when I got there. The man he was interviewing was well qualified with a lot of experience (15 years+). He told me to get him an iced tea and whatever I wanted while he finished up with the interview. When I came back, he was telling the man that he would not hire him. He said, ‘In the few minutes you have been talking, you couldn’t get a single sentence out without a 4 letter word in it.’ The man then told him, ‘But I wouldn’t use that kind of language in front of a customer.’ In response the business owner said ‘I hire a person for about 40 hours a week, but have him represent me and my business 24/7. If one of my customers’s saw you off of a job site and heard you speak, it would reflect badly on me.’ He then sent the man away!

It got me thinking just how much public scrutiny exists and how important presentation actually was to a businessman. It is not how a customer views you; it is how your organization is viewed. How the ‘company’ is viewed is much more important than the product or service provided. We talked about this concept for about 2 hours. It made me go back to my office and re-evaluate how my employees represented me and my business.”

Another business owner shared “How very true. People tend to look at one aspect and think they are doing great but neglect the other aspects. For example, you can have a nice website, talk a good talk when the customer calls, but when the initial contact is made, if you are poorly dressed, poorly prepared, or your equipment appears as if it could break down on their property, the customer may not be impressed. The sad thing is, they may not accept your bid for one of these reasons yet never tell you why. So you go off thinking, maybe it’s my price or maybe it’s something else that has nothing to do with it and you never see why your ship is sinking.

Most people find vulgar language repugnant. If when you speak to them you are interupting them, cursing, running down other customers, running down your competitors, etc. it makes you look questionable. But if you show up and don’t interupt them when they are speaking, don’t swear, are polite, knowledgable but not overbearing, and when asked about your competitors you either refuse to comment or just say something like ‘we will do our best to make sure things are done correctly,’ your customer is going to think far better of you.

Don’t forget to drive carefully! Don’t weave in and out of traffic. Don’t cut others off. Don’t race around neighborhoods. This is a sure way to create a negative public image.

If you think of your business as a politcal campaign and you’ll do fine. What I mean by this is try your hardest to win people over. Make new friends and be sincere. It is indeed important to keep the whole picture in mind.”

A third lawn care business owner said ” Image means a lot. Before I got my business started, I sold trucks for a living. I wasn’t allowed to have any facial hair at all, no matter how neatly it was kept, it was off limits. When I heard this, I questioned why? What I was told is a lesson that I still utilize today. Studies have shown that there is a certain percent of the general public that when looking at a photos of people & rating whether or not they looked trustworhy, bearded men rated much lower. Psychologist believe covering up your face with a beard makes people subliminally think you have something to hide. I didn’t personally buy into this theory at first but I have since noticed that for me, in the several different fields I’ve been in, my sales close ratio dropped off dramatically when I wasn’t completely clean shaven. In the past I would usually wear a thin beard around my jaw line & I shave it off every now & then for a change. After 3 or 4 times, I noticed a trend of my sales droping off when I grew back my facial hair.

So what I learned was, some take offense to a beard, but no one takes offense to being clean shaven. When you are in sales, which we all are as business owners, you can’t give a customer ANY reason to NOT buy from you. Make yourself likable and approachable and you will sell more.”

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