Walk Around The House From Time to Time (Issue 907)

In which we are reminded to broaden our range of contacts within each of our clients, beyond the "side of the house" through which we enter.

Thursday night, about 11:30 PM. Returning home from an out-of-town business trip, I slid out of the taxi cab, grabbed my bag from the cab trunk, walked with some energy to the driveway side door of my house, and let myself in. My first priority was food – I love to eat when I return home from a trip. So I grabbed some grub and, then, remembered that my wife (out of town for a few days) had asked me to move her car off the street that evening so that it would not be ticketed and towed when the street-cleaning police came around on Friday morning.

So, I grabbed her car keys and headed out the front door of the house to the street. As I turned left to walk the few yards to her car. I heard a sharp, even, hissing sound to my left. I looked down the side of the house but saw little because of the darkness, and thought, “I wonder what that is.”

I turned my head a little and listened. It was a sound similar to the hissing of air under pressure emerging from an air hose. Or the hiss of white water pounding over rocks in a mountain stream. Or the sound of water coming out of a garden hose under high-pressure into some mulch.

 “Oh, my goodness,” I thought. “That IS the sound of water coming out of a garden hose, and it’s our water, and it’s our garden hose! YIKES!”

So I stepped from the sidewalk into the mulch covered, shrub-filled side yard and took a few steps toward the faucet so I could shut off the water. Five steps into the yard, half-way to the faucet, my feet sank up to my ankles in water. The side-yard was almost completely flooded – an oozy, mushy, mulchy, soggy swamp. So much for my shoes…

With a few more steps….through the water gushing and spraying from a long split in the hose…. I reached the side of the house and shut off the water.

“That was pretty lucky,” I thought as I squished back to the sidewalk. “Who thinks a garden hose could fail like that? If Pat hadn’t asked me to move her car when I got home, I never would have discovered the leak. It could’ve run like that all night or for days.” (I rarely go to that side of the house, never mind routinely inspect the garden hoses.)

When we are working with clients, often we enter and exit through a particular “side of the house” or person, our main contact, who interprets, screens, and prioritizes information about the company for us.

If we don’t go occasionally or routinely to the “other side of the house” – the warehouse, or the manufacturing floor, or the sales offices, or the back office, or other places relevant to the problems we help clients solve, we can miss breakdowns or emergent problems that our client contacts may not have recognized or heard or shared with us. It’s good to “walk around the house” from time to time.

Nick Miller is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. He assists banks and credit unions to generate more and more profitable relationships, faster, with business clients, their owners, and their employees through better sales strategies and execution. Additional articles on Clarity’s web site.

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