Honesty Is the Best Salesman
By Don G. Archer
Years ago I was an employee working in warehouse. I worked on incentive, which meant the more shoe orders I filled the more money I made. I was married and had two small children and always felt like I needed to be making more money, so I took on a second job cleaning offices in the evening.
One day, while hustling at my warehouse job, I met an older man named David. David did the same job I was doing; but he was great at it. No matter how hard I worked, he always seemed to fill more orders and make more money.
David and I soon became friends. I told him about my second job and my desire to do something better with my life. He told me about his plans for the future. He invested in mutual funds, and was using this job and his investments to start his own business. He suggested that if I really wanted to make more money and change my life, I should start my own business as well.
David's suggestion swirled around in my head for the next couple of weeks until I finally accepted the fact that to get ahead, I was going to have to take the plunge and start my own business. I chose to start an office cleaning business.
It felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. Even though there was a lot of work ahead, I was happy because I had a plan. What made it even more special was my wife was happy. She saw a new light in my eyes and was 100% behind me.
Over the next six months I worked even harder at both jobs. I scrimped and saved so that we could feel comfortable with me quitting both jobs and put all my attention into the new business.
I was excited about the prospect of owning my own business, and making a lot more money; but I was also scared to death. I was scared that if my plan didn't work, my wife would be disappointed and she might leave.
The first three months were horrible. I struggled every day looking for customers. After one especially uneventful day, I remember lying on my bed with a pain in my stomach. The bills were piling up and fear was taking hold. I only had a handful of customers to speak of, and it wasn't enough to feed my growing family.
Then one day my phone rang and the woman on the other end asked if I was the guy who put the flyer on her door. I'd had this complaint before and immediately apologized for the intrusion and told her that I wouldn't do it again. But it wasn't a complaint; she wanted me to stop by her office and give her a bid.
When I arrived she was cordial and we sat down to talk. She asked how I got started in the business. I didn't expect the question, but certainly didn't want to lose out on the work so I told her my story. When I was through she smiled and gave me a big hug. She liked my story so much she gave me the cleaning contract on the spot.
Up until that point I'd been billing my business as a huge corporation. Spending money and energy marketing it as a "BIG DEAL," because I read it was an effective method of gaining customers.
But it wasn't working. What worked was the truth.
Over the years I've been involved in a few businesses leading to the towing industry. One thing I've learned is that having a clear, concise message and an effective means of communicating that message have been the keys to success.
If you want to gain loyal customers, tell them about yourself and your journey, and let the cards fall where they may. If they like you—and many will—they'll go out of their way to find you when they are in need of your services.American Towman Field Editor-Midwest Don G. Archer is also a multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at TheTowAcademy.com. Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, Mo. E-mail him direct at email@example.com