This is a pic of the stoop where I had one of my most harrowing moments.
It was one of those things where I was nearly completely out of my skin.
I was so scared.
Here’s the story:
I screwed up. Like really badly. There were a bunch of factors that didn’t make anything easy. The normal stuff; drought, bad hiring, poor management… all leading to unpredictable staff.. Long story short; sh*t was hitting the fan. I had a LOT of work (good problems?) but lawns weren’t getting cut fast enough and we were far behind schedule. Phones, voicemails, and emails weren’t being answered. I was working my butt off in the field and things were starting to fall apart.
Enter this guy. He was pissed. (Rightfully.) He had unanswered questions about when we’d be there and had started to resorting to spamming our social media. His comments would bring tears to my eyes as I deleted them in bed after 15 hour days of mowing, trying to keep the company alive.
Was I handling this the best way? Not likely. Actually, let me put that down as a big no.
Plain and simple I was completely overwhelmed and thinking that as long as the fn’ lawns got cut, somehow we’d survive.
The Facebook comments didn’t stop.
His lawn was next on my crazy behind route.
Do I skip him or face the fire? Will he fight me? Who knows!
Here’s What I did:
I walked up to his door (the one in the picture).
Knocked, waited, and hoped to higher powers that he wouldn’t be home.
I spilled my guts and apologized.
I took full responsibility for each and every of his grievances.
I pulled it off without crying or getting punched. Small wins.
Here’s what he did, it wasn’t what I expected:
First, he was blown away that I, they guy he’d been HATING on, showed up, hat in hand and was apologizing – even after the hatred he had rained on me.
Second, despite me taking responsibility for hiring staff that wasn’t showing up, he interestingly refused to accept this and was happy to put the blame on them. (This, I’m not sure how I feel about. I’m not sure I accept it. I thought it was important to mention but I still feel that I was in the wrong.)
Third, he adamantly apologized for giving me a hard time and I sincerely believe he felt terrible.
Fourth, he reversed his online reviews and, instead, was generous with kind words about us. He also deleted all of his remaining comments.
Fifth: he INCREASED his services with us and became a very loyal client. Even after he moved to a town outside of our service area he begged us to come out to him.
It’s pretty crazy how far honesty and sincerity can take you.
I’ve always considered myself to be an honorable person. I think this has been a huge part of my success.
Sure I push the limits and sometimes get knocked on my ass. Anyone can do this but I try to be different by taking responsibility, saying sorry, and always being an open book.
Do something that scares you every day. Say sorry more often. Take responsibility, and everything will work out fine.