… was a hit for The Crystals in 1963 but this is not a post about music.
It’s simply the phrase (and song) which springs to mind every time I drive past a house on a street corner near my home.
The neighbour who lives in that house is called Ron.
And here’s why I’m talking about him today for you.
Now Ron is probably in his eighties but he’s still active and has a sprightlier mind than those I know in their 50s and 60s (and younger, by the way!).
If I pass his house on foot (as I sometimes do) I always check to see if he’s at the window and give hime a wave. If he’s out in his front garden (which is usually immaculately groomed, incidentally) I stop to have a chat.
That chat is never a couple of minutes. Ron always has plenty to say.
And he won’t just relate things in an idle, couple-of-sentences-will-do kind of way.
No, he’ll turn a run of the mill news item into a story.
Ron was in his garden. I was walking by. I stopped. We started talking.
Ron pointed to his garage door and explained he’d been having trouble opening it. The door on one side had dropped a little and the two sides had become wedged together. Ron had got fed up of trying to prise open the doors with a steel bar. It was his garage after all. No point having a lock on it if you couldn’t just turn the key and swing the doors open.
Instead of saying “I got it fixed. It works fine now”…
Ron told me the whole story.
It’s worth reading because there are TWO important lessons from it.
Ron’s neighbours had had work done to their garage. He asked them the name of the workman. The workman didn’t do garages, it turns out. But his friend and colleague did.
That colleague came around. Ron described in detail how their conversation went. I said this, he said this, he asked me this, I told him that, and so on. The guy looked at the garage doors.
Ron said he might need new doors – they were 40 odd years old anyway. The “garage” man said no new doors were needed. “I know what to do” he said. And then asked Ron if there was anything else that needed doing.
Could do with a drainpipe replacing. “I can sort that”, said the guy.
Could do with the overflow being sorted. “I can sort that, too” said the man.
The garage door problem was fixed. A new drainpipe was fitted. The overflow was sorted.
The “garage” man provided a fully itemised bill. He’d told Ron what was needed at each stage of the process and so the final bill wasn’t a shock.
The guy, it turns out, had NO qualifications in carpentry, joinery, building or plumbing.
Yet he had done a supreme job.
Turns out the guy had a management degree but as a child had followed his dad around and learnt how to do this kind of stuff by watching and doing.
I did say there were TWO great lessons from this tale.
As I’m writing I now realise there are more than that.
Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Storytelling is a powerful means of communication (people will listen to a great storyteller for hours). How can you bring stories into your marketing and your copywriting?
2. You DON’T need qualifications and bits of paper to be REALLY good at what you do. Sometimes life experience and practice is worth a lot more. Just be good at what you do – or get good fast!
3. The “garage” guy got work through a referral. Are you making good use of past and present clients and customers to attract new ones?
4. If you do a great job you are more likely to get referrals and REPEAT business (continuity income)
5. Sometimes you may not know where to find someone to do a job – use your network to help you out.
6. When was the last time you spoke to your neighbour or took time to make an elderly person felt cared for or listened to?
And I’m sure you could dig out number 7 yourself.
Lessons for you and your business are all around – if you look closely enough.