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Delicious Mexican Food

What Eating Mexican Food Taught Me About Marketing My Services

While enjoying a delicious meal at a Mexican place with my wife I learned a valuable marketing lesson.

The food was damn good.  I’m talking about delicious nachos and the best molcajate I’ve ever tried.  Well, it was the only Molcajete I’ve ever had, but it blew my mind!  (See the picture)

Yet, the place was pretty much empty.  This concerned me because this place could shut down, which would mean no more Molcajete for me.

Not good.

This gave me the desire to help them out.  I figured that if I tried to give them marketing advice, they’d just smile, say thanks, and not take it.  So instead, I helped them in a way they couldn’t refuse.

I decided to do something I never do and gave them a great online review.  I downloaded the Yelp app to my iPhone, took a picture of my food, and left a 5 star review raving about my experience.

This is when I learned a valuable marketing lesson.  It was like a  huge lightbulb went on above my head.  In that moment, I realized the value of stepping into the customer’s shoes.

In the process of using Yelp, I immediately had several insights about how to more effectively market myself on the app.  I suddenly realized what factors helped customers make a decision on who to hire.

It’s not like I didn’t know what Yelp was or how it worked, but that was the first time I had actually used it as a customer, instead of a handyman trying to sell my services.

From this experience, I gained insight that I could only gain from actually being the customer.

Lesson Learned:  Don’t Just Guess, Put Yourself In Your Customers Shoes.

If you want to sell to somebody, you’ve got to understand what drives that person.  What’s important to them.  What’s going through their mind?  What will get their attention?  One of my mentors said that the best way to get people to pay attention to you is to enter the conversation that’s already going on in their head.

To do that, you could just sit there and try to imagine what’s going through their heads, which doesn’t work.  Or, you could ask them, which also doesn’t work very well.  (People’s ability to recall events is actually pretty terrible, even though most of us think our memories are near photographic.)

Instead, there is a better solution.  Actually step into their shoes…at least as much as you can.  One example, as in the story above, by using Yelp, I saw things from the customer’s perspective.  I gained insights that were impossible from simply reading a blog post, asking somebody, or even worse, just using my own logic.

Another example is with this website.  Why is this the #1 resource online for how to start a handyman business?  Because I started a handyman business WHILE I was sharing information on how to start a handyman business.

I don’t think you can get any further inside your customers shoes than that.

Think about it.  Any savvy business person could write content about how to start a handyman business.  But, they wouldn’t understand all of the frustrations handymen face.  They wouldn’t understand the little nuances of getting started.  They wouldn’t understand the mindset.  How could they, they’ve never done it before!

Is your situation any different as a service pro selling to a homeowner?  No, it’s not.

Here’s the deal.

If you want to grow your business and have struggled up to this point, consider that you don’t really understand your customer and it’s your job to fix that.

The best way to do that is to actually hire another home service provider on your own home.  Then, pay attention to how you feel and what’s going through your head during the process.

Do this and you WILL gain business changing insight (as well as some intel on your competition).  The value of this knowledge will be far greater than what you had to pay to hire that person.

Some things you just can’t fully understand from reading a book or a blog.

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  • Scott Kingsley June 10, 2015

    Hi Dan, I’ve just started a handyman business but I’m not getting enough business. I’ve distributed leaflets, used yell.com, my builder.com and some other things but I get very minimal response. I’ve also noticed that people think I’m too expensive. Could you please help look at my website and seewwhere I’m going wrong. I am cheaper than other handyman in my area. Could you please help. Thank you Dan.


    • Dan Perry June 12, 2015

      Hi Scott,

      Unfortunately, I don’t have time to do website reviews anymore. However, if you join the Handyman Web Academy, there is an active forum of other professional handymen that would be happy to give you some feedback on your site. Plus, you’ll probably learn what you are doing wrong in the actual course itself.

      Also, if you are actually getting leads and just aren’t closing them, it may not be your website. Are you dress professionally? Are you being highly professional on the phone and in person? Is your vehicle branded? These things make a huge difference because whether we like it or not, people tend to judge a book by it’s cover.


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