“You don’t mind if I watch what you’re doing, do you?” The customer had asked me as I was on my hands and knees beginning to loosen the bolts to a sewer ejector lid.
“No, not at all,” I replied.
Of course, as many of you guys and girls reading this, I assume we are all in the same boat and all hate when a customer is looking over your shoulder. Right!? What I really wanted to tell him was, NO, leave me alone! But I didn’t. Besides, I figured he wouldn’t last very long and would flee once the top lid was removed, and he got a good whiff of that wonderful ejector pit.
“So how many years have you been working in the trade?” he asked.
These were a few of a thousand questions that were thrown my way. The moment of truth couldn’t have arrived quicker. The tank lid was removed and the smell entered the tight space where I was working.
This should do the trick, I thought to myself.
“Oh my God! That smells horrible!”
“Yeah, you don’t want to be breathing that in.”
Well, thinking I could have scared him off with the smell didn’t work as he stood there behind my back constantly gagging, reminding me how awful of a smell it was and trying to understand how someone would want to be a plumber. The next hour and a half was filled with whys, hows and I would nevers. It was one of the more frustrating jobs I had worked on between dealing with the customer and not to mention the curveballs I had faced from every which angle.
The job was completed and the best part was that he actually cut a check without complaining about the price. I hopped into the truck and drove a short way down the road and decided to pull over to call my next customer.
Just as I picked up the phone to make the call, something caught my eye across the street.
“Wow, what a beautiful coyote,” I told myself as I took a deeper look.
He looked very healthy, had a nice coat and seemed well fed. Much larger than any coyote I’m used to seeing several times out on the golf course.
Cars began to drive right past the coyote, and the animal didn’t seemed to be phased one bit.
I knew I had to get this coyote on film. I quickly activated the camera mode on my phone and began taking some footage of the beautiful animal.
It then wandered through the property in which it appeared and circled back to the road where it started. Then right behind my truck a woman was bringing her trash to the road and this now got the coyote’s full attention.
It crouched down in what appeared to be a stalking position as he crossed the street. The coyote was now behind my truck and I lost my visual on him.
I cautiously got out and proceeded to the back of the truck to see where he went. There he was, stalking the woman back up to her house. I quickly whistled and yelled to get the coyote’s attention. He stopped, turned and shot me a look that I’ll never forget.
If he could talk, he would have said, “Really? What are you going to do? Bug off.”
At this point, the woman was back in the house safely, and the coyote ran through the neighbor’s backyard back into the woods.
Larger than usual
I quickly began notifying everyone that walked down the high traffic road. There were people with pets and even a school bus dropping off kids. I jumped back into the truck, and I posted the video to Facebook, notifying all the locals to be on the lookout for the large coyote.
A few days had passed since I posted the video on Facebook, and I had the occasional Like, Comment and Share from the locals. But I really thought this video would have been shared and liked a lot more.
The weekend came and went quickly as it always does. Before I knew it Monday morning was back, and I was on my hands and knees cleaning out a boiler when my phone received an alert.
The local police department had shared the video of the coyote: “This video was taken on Friday afternoon and we’ve confirmed that it’s not a coyote but a coywolf.”
“A coywolf?” I thought. “What the heck is that?”
Apparently there really is such a thing. Part-coyote, part-wolf and part-dog.
A half hour went by after the police shared the link, and all of a sudden my phone was exploding with Likes, Shares and Comments! Before I knew it, I had CBS News, Fox News, The New York Time and NBC News calling me, wanting to do an interview with me about my encounter with this coywolf.
The next month was completely overwhelming as I had a news camera in my face almost every week. I did, however, make sure that I had my uniform on with that logo front and center and a nice shot of the plumbing truck in the background. Before I knew it, people would stop me in the supermarket or out on the street and recognize that I was the “coywolf” guy.
It just goes to show you that we just never know when something will stick. I never thought in a million years that the footage I posted would have received the attention that it did and even score a few extra clients because of it.
We plumbing contractors are always looking for that clever advertisement to help bring us more customers. I can’t tell you how many times I’d think a deal was great that I shared with the public and the results got me literally nothing.
However, it doesn’t stop me from being creative when it comes to getting more leads. Let’s face it, not every coupon or deal of the month is going to be successful, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop offering them or being unique when it comes to advertising.
All it takes is one clever ad, post or coupon that will interest your customers to Share, Like and pick up that phone to schedule an appointment. Take any opportunity you can get to turn whatever it may be – in my case, a coywolf – and leverage that to your advantage in your business.
If you’re interested in seeing the footage of the coywolf, email me or take a look at this: bit.ly/2JUSbat.