I must say I’ve been doing the deck thing for a long time now. If it wasn’t something I was born to do (it is), then I would have given it up long ago. But even in challenging times, I (practically) dance out of bed in the morning. I hope everyone has the chance to feel the same about the vocation they choose.
That aside though…times are making it difficult right now. When I first opened Tailor Decks 15 years ago, I was handling virtually every aspect…including sales. Back then, I remember building during the day and introducing our services during the evenings or weekends. I did the accounting and payroll on Thursday nights. (I’ve worn so many hats my hair has started to wear thin!) The sales hat has never been a favorite of mine.
I don’t think I’ve ever regarded myself as much of a "salesman". I think most of the work we’ve gotten has been due to the fact that we’ve had great customers who have passed the word. If I said that I have great "technique", I think I’d be flattering myself. But there are a couple things that I’ve maintained and communicate with prospects even today that I think are valuable. Those things include a pretty large knowledge base about decks…along with enthusiasm. Someone told me once that sales is just the transference of enthusiasm…and I believe that. Fortunately, enthusiasm about decks for me isn't contrived…it's pretty automatic.
Some things have definitely changed over the years. Technology through emailing and websites (along with the really newfangled stuff like Twitter) has helped us communicate better. But with the increase in competition, more products, an economic contraction, and legal considerations, it’s really more challenging to put up a deck than ever. If you let it get to you it will. I just keep thinking about the transfer of enthusiasm…and that gets me through any storm.