Be Like Levi: The Most Important Marketing Tool I Have Learned From My Dog

Be Like Levi: The Most Important Marketing Tool I Have Learned From My Dog
Aaron O'Hanlon
Aaron O'Hanlon June 11, 2013

There are times in your day where you deal with clients that try to make your day miserable. They do things like:

  • Asking if they can use their 10% off coupon after a project is completed
  • Changing colors on a room in the middle of a painting project
  • Offering to help out because he just saw the same job done on HGTV
  • Etc.

This can be frustrating, and year after year dealing with it can take a toll on a small home improvement company. The reality of running a business over the years is that you lack or hold back your enthusiasm. The constant problems of running a small business, plus the occasional problematic client, can "beat down" a home improvement contractor. This is where you need to prevail.

That is When I Look at Levi

Levi is a four year old Bernese mountain dog that is bigger than all of my children into our home. Over the past few years I learned to appreciate one particular aspect of Levi: a trait seen in almost every dog I have met, his enthusiasm.

For example, at 5am every morning, my alarm goes off. If I do not spring out of bed, I begin getting licked and see a 150lb dog jump on bed in pure excitement. Why?

  • To see the same yard he sees everyday?
  • The amazing kibble meal that is fed to him each and every day?
  • My wonderful morning breath?

Levi shows an enthusiasm that cannot be matched. Something that as his owner I thrive to achieve.

"Without enthusiasm, you cannot work up to your fullest ability and potential; you're just going through the motions. And just going through the motions won't bring you to the level of competitive greatness" – John Wooden (10 time NCAA champion coach of the UCLA Bruins men's basketball team)

Enthusiasm is the one thing that you need to have as a business owner. It is a trait that needs to be displayed, not only to your potential customers and clients, but also to your employees, regardless if it is a clogged drain or a complete room addition. The homeowners are excited to see you, so it is important to equal or exceed that enthusiasm.

As a small business owner, if you are not enthusiastic every day, then you should not bother showing up. That may sound silly, but if you are not providing the right dedication or support to your employees, clients, and to your own business, it will show up in the bottom line.

If you're not feeling your enthusiasm or passion on a particular day, start from the outside and work your way in. Put a big smile on your face every time you meet with a client. While, on occasion, people can be suspicious of people who we think smile "too much," we are generally drawn to people who are smiling.

Five Quick Things to Get Your Enthusiasm Back in Track

  • Maintain a Positive Outlook – Regardless of the project, always be positive and listen to what the client wants. They are excited about it, so should you.
  • Be Grateful - You own your own business. You are your own boss. You are no longer working for "the man". Be happy about it. When someone is feeling grateful, they are more likely to be excited and passionate about what they are doing.
  • Look Towards the Future – There are slow times in a contractor business and those times can be tough. The best way to not fret about this is to be enthusiastic about the projects you are working on. You cannot control the market, so there is no reason to worry about it.
  • Without Your Employees, You Have No Business – Your employees thrive off of your own enthusiasm. If you are unhappy, pissed off or just having a bad day, they are aware and it effects them too. Always keep your employees up to date on everything and share your enthusiasm with what the future may bring.
  • Get Out of the Rut – If you have been in business for a long time, the job and the company can be routine. Develop a new specialty or service to offer, take on a new responsibility, or do something else to reinvigorate your enthusiasm for your work.

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