The Case Study
When you meet Dru you automatically think he must be a Hollywood guy – actor, writer, stunt double – basically something really cool and unique. He has this charismatic smile and a signature handlebar mustache that instantly draws you in.
It doesn’t hurt that he loves meeting new people and just has this vibe that makes you feel like you’ve been friends for years even though you just met him. So when he tells you that people call him “The Window Dude” and that he runs a window cleaning company in Woodland Hills, CA you sort of think he’s pulling your leg. But sit down with Dru for 20 minutes so he can tell you his story and give you his 30-second pitch, and you understand exactly where he is coming from and why his career has taken off so well in an industry like window cleaning – in a nutshell, it’s because Dru’s business is about him. He’s the brand. And it works like magic. Here is the story of The Window Dude, in Dru Morgan’s own words:
The Window Dude:
When I started out in the business of window washing, I had just finished a career as a stockbroker during the tech boom. Business was great but hours were long. I loved the excitement but as I looked at my new family growing I knew there had to be more and I started looking for something new and sustainable. What I found was a message on Facebook from a friend of a friend who basically told me, ‘Hey, I’m watching you on social and I can see that you are great at sales and marketing and just connecting with people on Facebook. Come spend the day with me in Paso Robles so I can show you my business – you should do what I do.’ My first thought? Is this Amway? I mean, I don’t want to come to a party and see what you’ve got to offer. Well, I took a closer look and a big chance and visited the guy, to learn about his window washing business. I realized it was very different from what I was used to, but I’m not afraid to hustle and I knew people would always need their windows washed – no tech boom crash – so I could count on something steady for my family and the lifestyle I wanted.
The First Job:
I first started out by just walking the neighborhood of Calabasas and knocking on doors. I bought a bucket and a squeegee and I spent hours talking to people without even a business card to hand over. Most just looked at me with a confused expression and asked me if I was serious. My response? Yes – I have 3 kids and I’m serious. Then I went to work. Once I knew I could do the first house on my own I was able to hire someone to help me out, and that’s how The Window Dude began.
I went from sporting a stockbroker suit everyday to wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I have a handlebar mustache and drive a motorcycle and I wash windows for a living. I’m the window dude – and that’s what people get when they deal with me. They get me. When they call my corporate number I answer the phone. They know the guy behind the business – and they trust that.
The Secret Sauce:
It’s all about having a personality behind the company structure. Every Monday I make 30 calls to check up on clients we serviced the week before. If anyone tells me that there were streaks or we missed a window I make time to go out that day and fix the problem, free of charge. I’m amazed how many customers are surprised at this approach every time. Making it right goes a long way in customer loyalty.
I respect the customer’s wishes about follow-up calls and marketing efforts. I personally ask them first about their experience and then I ask them when they would like me to follow up. If they tell me it was a one-time thing, or their landlord only offered to pay for it once, or whatever, I respect that. I treat them like I would treat anyone in a personal relationship, and that seems to make a big difference.
Trying new marketing tactics has worked well for me. Just last week I tried a text messaging campaign I hadn’t before. We sent out 1,000 text messages and got 100 positive responses and only 3 negative. You know what I did with the “Who is this?” or “Why are you texting me?” responses? I called them right away to explain who I was and where it came from – I don’t want them to think I’m a machine. Those 3 turned into friendly conversations and repeat business. That personal touch really worked for me.
Getting engaged on social has worked really well. I have grown a strong friend base on Facebook and Twitter and I personally engage with them frequently through conversation and fun interactions. For example, I started using the hashtag #viewfromtheoffice and posted pictures of the view from houses as I washed their windows. People enjoy seeing the simple work we do in an interesting way, and they respond with similar social posts, furthering the conversation.
I got the advice once that powerful businessmen are not on social media, but their wives/significant others are all on Instagram. So I spend time there spreading the social word about my work – and it’s working. The key is being a real person behind the social media efforts – everyone can tell if an automated service is answering them or putting information out. When people are on Facebook they want to interact with other people, not businesses. Same with Twitter. So do away with the automation and just start building relationships on social.
The Take Away:
Dru started The Window Dude 4 years ago and in the first year had about 400 clients, all from walking door to door and referrals. From there he grew his customer base to what it is today at 1,500 and focuses his efforts on taking great care of his current customers. The loyalty factor is something that gets lost in automated marketing today – because it’s not personal. But the great thing about Dru is that he understands the benefits of technology in reaching more customers more efficiently and that it his key to future growth. It just needs to be personalized. After all, he is the brand. And it’s working like magic.