Tools of the trade: chainsaw, dump truck and a website

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A couple Saturdays ago, a scene unfolded in front me that was nothing short of a contractor’s dream. And not only a contractor’s dream, but his marketer’s too. Maybe “dream” is too dramatic a word, but it was the exact kind of thing we believe happens, hope will happen, plan to make happen… and then we saw it happen. In the flesh. It was awesome.

Let me tell you about it.

My brother is a landscaper and he owns a dump truck. This made him my #1 phone call when it came time to take down some trees at my home. Now I believe in hiring professionals to do what they’re good at – especially contractors because I’m far from handy – but when you have someone in the family… well, favours are a wonderful thing. Anyway, amazingly, he actually had time to spare and could bring his truck with him.

We quickly got down to business and had the two sizable trees down in pretty good time. His truck was parked in front of my home on the street, a convenient place to load up debris. After cutting and hauling branches to it for a while, we took a break and stepped inside for a drink. While inside, a car pulled into my driveway. Neither of us recognized it and thought little of it. Occasionally people pull into our driveway to turn around and go the other way.

But instead, the door swung open and out stepped a woman. She looked around and began heading for the front door, a little shy, but clearly determined. Seeing this, I greeted her in my front yard, and she inquired about the owner of the company represented on the truck. I called my brother over and we soon learned that she lived in the area and was looking for a landscaper for a decent-sized project at her house. She asked him if he had a card and would he be interested in giving her some ideas and a price?

Wait, it gets better. I promise.

In and of itself, this is a feel-good story for contractors everywhere. Park your branded truck at the jobsite and it leads to other jobs. We all know that in our hearts, if not by the stats and stories we hear. That’s why most contractors put graphics on their trucks and job signs on the lawns of the homes they’re working on. If you’re not doing this, you should. No discussion. If you are, you can feel good that marketing like this DOES work.

I would’ve been happy enough with this story. Until it got even better when she said:

“I was driving by your house, because I sometimes go this way to cut through town. I saw the dump truck as I passed and after I got around the corner, I pulled over. I grabbed my phone and googled the name. I clicked on a link to your website and it matched the logo on the truck and looked good. I thought you could probably handle the project I had in mind, and so I turned around and came right back to talk to you. I’ve been meaning to hire someone, but haven’t really had time to look and didn’t have anyone in mind.”

Well what d’ya know? Just like that. Validation that the work I do each day helping contractors tell their story has value. Phew. Maybe this is more a dream come true for me. My brother is a believer in marketing, but to hear it from a client’s mouth, unsolicited, in front of my client, the contractor? It doesn’t get any better than that.

After he finished chatting with her and arranged a time to meet on another day, I made a crack to my brother about it being worth the drive and free labour that morning. He grinned and we got back to the chainsaws and piles of brush.

Do I need to draw out the moral to this story, or is it obvious? With scratches all up my arms and sap all over my legs, I told this story to my colleagues on Monday morning. They smiled knowingly, proud of the way our work helped this contractor land new business. It’s good, honest hard work these guys do and I got to be on the frontlines playing weekend warrior for a day. And in a way, my brother got to be on the frontlines of what we do too. Pretty cool.

But when it comes to cutting down tress… if my brother’s busy next time, I just might google these guys instead.

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