I just spent the last few days in beautiful Cancun, Mexico. Before you think how lucky I am (I am) let me tell you about my experience there. This trip was sponsored by Smith Turf & Irrigation, a long-standing Aquascape Distributor, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. This was a reward trip for the top contractors, including pond guys, which is why I was there. Did I also mention it was in Cancun? I was looking forward to getting to know these top dogs better, and see what I could learn from them. So after meeting someone new, and exchanging pleasantries, I would always ask “does your company install water features?” The two most frequent answers to that question in Mexico, and unfortunately pretty much everywhere I go, summarizes up the biggest problem, and opportunity in my world. People reply to me with either a “No I don’t.” or “I have in the past, but not really.” When I ask why, on average, I get the same two replies “There’s no demand for water features from our clients.” Or “You can’t make money installing water features.” It’s at these moments that I wish I was a drinker!
Here’s the cold, hard, truth I’ve come to accept as the reality, that every day I wake up I rack my brain on how to change. When a contractor tells me their customers don’t ask for water features I know they are telling me the truth. And when they say they have installed them, but failed to make money, I just shake my head. As a religious man I have faith. But man it gets old listening to this broken record when you know the truth. The truth is “Everybody wants a water feature; they just don’t know it yet!” And when you design, and sell custom art in people’s yards, but follow an assembly line mentality for the construction, you should make more money installing water features than any other form of landscaping. “Yada, yada, yada!” I’ve been preaching this message forever. Some ears will hear it, most won’t, but every day I try and find new ways to get that message out there. I’ve been called a marketing genius by others for this. But all I see is the masses who don’t know, yet, about the “Water Feature Lifestyle” and all the contractors, and retailers, who can’t see the forest for the trees.
Here’s what I do believe that helps me keep my sanity. The definition of hell is life without problems. And in the end, the ultimate success, or failure, of any business comes down to how they solve problems. For me, that’s getting others to see what I see. Everyone needs what it is we do, and if you do it right you will make more money than doing the things everyone else already does and has commoditized. And for “them” they have to understand that water features aren’t bought but sold. Consumers just don’t know what they don’t know. It’s “our” job to tell ‘em! This is a problem I thank God for the opportunity it creates. My brain is never bored! And a hundred of my teammates are employed, and in one way or another, are working, or supporting, my vision that “Everybody wants a water feature; they just don’t know it yet.”
Sitting at the beach, the pool, or a bar in Mexico is what I enjoy doing, as long as I’m talking to someone who despite my “best marketing efforts” hasn’t heard the truth…yet! In 2013 I’m doubling down on those efforts. Whether you’re a new customer, or old, I hope you appreciate where I’m coming from in my passion to get the message across. All I see is opportunity…but the only thing that matters is if you see it too?!