Do your clients know who you are?

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?

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9 thoughts on “Do your clients know who you are?

  1. Kevin Meehan

    Yes, and I’ve told plenty of them over the years that making me sit in their waiting room 45 minutes after our scheduled appointment is rude and the result of poor planning and lack of management. Patients are the customer just like any other business.

  2. Faith Warfield

    I really enjoyed reading this article. It is the truth. Nothing is more of a turn off than dealing with vendors that just dont give a flip or are arrogant. I feel that relationships, customer service, and just plain caring go a long way! 🙂

  3. Faith Warfield

    Oh, and yep, I care if my doctor is a jerk. I’d look for another doctor if that was the case. Like Kevin mentioned, we are the customer! I wouldnt be that way to my customers, and I would expect the same from my doctor…esp someone who is suppose to help take care of my health.

  4. buelldog

    I agree with L. Brown on this one. I want to know the background on why Guillermo’s daughter wrote the letter. Why did she think it was necessary to explain to you who Guillermo was?

  5. Curt Doherty

    Great article Lloyd,

    I can really connect with this one, last week I asked my lawn guy to help me with landscaping for a day. He was a little confused because his clients don’t jump in and help. He even made a comment to his wife the night before and she was shocked because it’s so out of the norm for a client to work side by side with a lawn guy. So for 12 hours we talked and labored next to each other planting trees, enjoying the nice weather and conversation. His name is Jason, has a wife, two year old daughter and very close to his family and friends. After a few hours I realized he takes great pride in his work and gets frustrated with clients because he’s always chasing them for his monthly checks and most don’t really care if it’s a amazing looking yard. I’m glad to call Jason my friend and not my lawn guy. He’s an honest hard working guy raising a young family which he loves very much. In the end we both worked well together and even though our cultures are somewhat different. We’re friends and have a common interest in making my landscaping look amazing. It’s something we both take good pride in and I know I can count on my friend Jason.

  6. Donna

    I am assuming that Guillermo’s daughter wrote to you in case you or your friends had additional work which would allow him to expand and help his brother get set up in a landscaping business. I think that was a very nice gesture on her part and shows how close his family is to each other. One of my jobs is as a buyer (also accounting), and I make it a point to know who is working for our company and I try to give the local ‘little guys’ my business whenever possible. They often give me a better price and they take pride in their work since they are local.

    As far as my doctor is concerned, I rarely wait for more than 5 to 10 min. with an appointment. There are 6 Internists in that practice and I do see others waiting longer than I, but they are seeing other doctors in the same practice. I am grateful that as my primary doctor, he is on schedule, rarely cancels me, and I always feel like I have his undivided attention and not rushed. Otherwise, I would look for another doctor. One thing that helps is to schedule your appointment for first thing in the morning or right after lunch. There are some 100,000 people in our city, but I know I have a great doctor.

  7. Robert Arthur

    Unfortunately, I have seen a few doctors the past few years, but I don’t go back to the jerks. I appreciate it if the receptionist at least tells me they are running late. But if a patient is late, they should lose their turn.


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