Guillermo is from Mexico, or maybe it’s El Salvador or the Dominican Republic. Do we care? He pushes a lawn mower, directs a trimmer, and handles a weed-whacker. He’s the guy who comes to my house with a pickup truck, a couple guys and a few bags of Miracle-Gro.
Guillermo’s 20-year-old daughter wrote a letter that put a name to the man who had for 10 years been “that guy who mows our lawn” and sends us a bill.
His daughter told us in the letter that Guillermo took his first real vacation, five days in Orlando, just last year, and wants to do it again this year. He has three daughters. The eldest, Maria, who is in her second year at community college, wrote the letter. His other girls are younger and in school and hope to go to college. His wife cleans hotel rooms. Guillermo saved up to buy his truck and if he acquires a few more regular clients he will buy another and help his brother start a landscaping business.
I’m writing this piece not just because Guillermo is good at what he does, but because he now has a name and a face to me and I’m more likely to ask him to bid on bigger projects for me because I finally feel like I know him. But even more important, he taught me something I had forgotten in the rush to hit my numbers goals.
“People like to buy from people.”
You may think your banker just looks at figures when he does your line of credit. I doubt it. You think the purchasing folks only care about prices down to the decimal point. Perhaps, but how do you get on the ‘A’ list to bid a project?
The handwritten thank you note, the box of candy for the receptionist, the email of congrats to your client because his son won the league wrestling title at 128 pounds – the personal stuff is still crucial.
But the surprise is that other people care about you. Through the years so many people have queried me about my heart surgery or my wife’s Taekwondo awards. People want to connect, they want to feel, they want a peek into your life – but it has to be real. People smell a fake like an onion in a bag of potatoes.
I gave Guillermo extra money at Christmas for the first time this year. He had done good work, but he always had. But now he had a face. He had kids. He had a story.
He was a person – not just a lawn mower.
Question: Do you care if your doctor is a jerk?