My wife had a call from a prospective client of Ron’s the other night. We were recommendation number 5. He said that he thought all of Ron’s referrals must have been on Ron’s payroll; that everybody raved about Ron.
Rave comments from our neighbor had persuaded us to hire Ron in the first place. Ron M~ is a contractor. He feels like our contractor. This last summer Ron advised us all the way from a pesky small patch of wood rot to a major renovation of a large chunk of our house. It felt like a large chunk when the wind blew through the hole in the walls. Ron counseled us so well that we blew a huge hole in our line of credit too. We were happy with all the blowing of holes, extremely happy. Our several month ordeal was not much of an ordeal at all and we now have a trusted construction adviser in our lives.
Ron instantly told us when encountered problems; he discussed options and estimated the costs for each; he volunteered his preferred ideas; he envisioned final appearances and was able to communicate his visions; he billed us weekly with a hand-written invoice, complete with time sheets and receipts for materials; he discussed each bill with us; and he passed on cost savings to us. Knowing he depended on current cash flow we paid him instantly. Ron and his small crew of two men became part of our family for almost three months. They knew where the spare key was; they came and went at will; they put down the toilet seats; they cleaned up every night before they left; they watched out for Maggie, who, as a sheep dog, needed to be an underfoot part of the crew (and she still barks happily when she hears their voices, working for our neighbor).
Ron is a good model for a geopractitioner consultant like me. He is the sort of adviser that I strive to be. He is likely a better business man than me, though, but he does not make the business part seem that hard. He rarely uses a computer and keeps the paperwork simple. He communicates good and bad news right away. He uses a wide network of high quality sole-practitioner sub-contractors, three of whom we met and would use again instantly. He has no business cards, no web-site and no business email address. Yet he has months of back-log. He exists solely on his relationships with existing clients and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Now is that not enviable? Minimum fuss in the market place. No need of for fancy advertising or marketing campaigns. If you are satisfied with a reasonable income and enough work for yourself, then work well; bill modestly and fairly; become a trusted adviser, depend on referrals and build teaming relationships with colleagues, and put the toilet seats down.