One of our magazine’s most important objectives is to be a resource that pest management professionals can use to learn from, and teach, one another. We’re thankful to PCT’s readers for sharing not only their successes but their failures. It can be argued that lessons learned from failures are of greater significance than those learned from successes. As Henry Ford once said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
A couple of PCT’s readers recently shared examples of mistakes they made, and how learning from these blunders improved them and their businesses.
I recently interviewed Kevin Hudson, director of sales and retention, Advanced Services, Augusta, Ga. Hudson, author of a book on pest control sales titled “Just Ask: A Practical Sales Guide for Pest Control Professionals,” shared some of his sales secrets; he also didn’t hold back when I asked him to recount a sales mistake he made. Hudson recalled an attic pest control insulation job he sold when he was a new sales professional. While his product knowledge and sales pitch were spot on (good enough to make a sale) his quote was off.
"I went out, took measurements, made the sale and everyone was happy,” Hudson said. “Our crew went out the next day and I got a call from them saying my measurements were off. I thought I had inspected everything, but I missed two side attics. Basically, I cost the company $800.” Fortunately, Hudson’s manager was understanding and chalked up the incident as a learning experience. “I learned, no doubt, to inspect the house very thoroughly and to learn as much about the house as you can before you finalize a deal,” he said.
The other recent example was from Keith Robinson of ABC Home and Commercial Services (DFW), who gave a presentation on selling bed bug control services at last month’s PCT Bed Bug Virtual Conference. Like many pest control companies, ABC underwent a steep learning curve during the early 2000s bed bug resurgence. Robinson reviewed how ABC has been developing and refining its bed bug protocols — and many of these decisions were made after having learned from mistakes. For example, ABC used to give its bed bug customers extensive prep sheets. “We had customers saying they had to take a day or two off of work just to get their homes ready,” Robinson recalled. Learning from this mistake, ABC transitioned to the “no prep” model, which customers understandably prefer, Robinson said.
I’m sure it’s not easy for our readers to relive past negative experiences, especially in a public forum, so we truly appreciate those PCOs who are willing to put aside their egos and share stories so that fellow operators avoid such missteps.
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Of course, the flip side to pest control companies sharing bad news is them sharing good news. We like to report on good news too. Last month, for example, we shared John Cooksey’s Good Samaritan deed in an online article. Cooksey, COO of McCall Service, saw an opportunity to help a member of his community he saw hitchhiking on May 8.
As Cooksey suspected, the man, Jesse Williams, had mental and physical disabilities (the result of a 2007 accident in which he suffered a traumatic brain injury). Williams works as a Lyft driver and he was hitchhiking after a customer stole his car.
On May 20, the pair reunited when Cooksey gave Williams a 2010 Chevrolet Impala with no strings attached. “I’m blessed. It’s a blessing, you know. I don’t care how old this car is or what kind of shape it’s in. I can go from A to B, no questions asked. This is a huge blessing,” Williams told News4Jax. “Out of the goodness of his heart, he gives me a ride, then gives me a car. It’s pretty awesome.”
Cooksey’s good deed is a great example of the many acts of kindness we know our readers perform daily. If your company has other similar stories, let our staff know.
The author can be reached at email@example.com.