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Draft Choices

The night before the NFL draft Mary Kay and I were channel-surfing and saw that “Draft Day,” starring Kevin Costner, was on. I’ve seen this movie over a dozen times but MK had never seen it. What was key about this movie was that it was on the night before the real NFL draft was held.

I thought about the movie, the real draft and what we all go through trying to hire techs. My first thought was about all the challenges we have vs. what NFL teams have – but realized we are all in the same situation (just with a lot less money involved!).

Being a high draft pick doesn’t mean you are going to be an NFL star. The two that come to my mind are Ryan Leaf and Art Schlichter. Leaf is labeled as the biggest bust in NFL draft history – drafted #2 immediately after Peyton Manning in 1998. Schlichter drafted #4, just ahead of #5 Jim McMahon and #10 Marcus Allen in 1982.

Leaf played a few seasons and threw for 14 touchdowns. Wait – he also threw for 36 interceptions. Total yards – 3,666 – just a few behind Manning who threw for 71,940 yards. Leaf had drug issues—serious ones that landed him in jail. There is an ESPN E-60 story that shares his story.

Schlichter didn’t perform nearly as well as Leaf. He only threw for 1,006 yards, three of which were for touchdowns. He had 3 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He, too, ended up in jail – not for drug issues but for serious gambling issues, and eventually drug issues, that started when he was at THE Ohio State University.

How did the guys he beat out do? McMahon lead the ’85 Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl victory. Marcus Allen? 123 touchdowns and 12,243 total yards rushing.

Doesn’t this remind you of the challenges we face when hiring someone? Consider the fact that NFL teams spend months of research before picking someone from the draft. And they should!  Last year’s #1 pick made $30,427,374 while the #12 pick only made $13,868,013. Eleven positions and nearly $17 million more money.

Regardless of all the research the NFL teams do, the experts often get it wrong. Here are some names you will be familiar with, regardless of your age, and where they were drafted:

  • Joe Theismann – pick #99;
  • Bart Starr – pick #199 (you knew I’d get a Packer in here, didn’t you?);
  • Roger Staubach – pick #129;
  • Tom Brady – pick #199; and
  • Bo Jackson – pick #183.

Makes me feel better – doesn’t it you?

We interview someone, look at their resume, spend hours interviewing them and end up hiring them. I’ve found I often hired poorly. I learned, however, not to take it personally. Sometimes we find great employees and sometimes we find turkeys. Often I’m surprised, but always motivated, by the fact that the next great employee is just around the corner. We just need to find that technician.

The good news – we aren’t going to make a $30 million error. We’ll leave that for those NFL guys.

Sitting on the Fence

Over the years the gate leading into our back yard has deteriorated and needs some serious repairs.

Not knowing anyone who is in the fence business I went to the Google-machine and started looking for fence companies by my house. I looked at each one’s reviews. One company I found had all five-star reviews. I went to the company’s website and here is what I found:

XYZ Fence is a new locally owned fence company that serves the Central Texas area. Our company may be new, but our employees and contractors have over 25 years of experience installing fences. We design and install cedar wood privacy, etc.

As I read this I was excited that I had found a new company that installs cedar fences and MK and I could help them with their start. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? I convinced myself they would do an excellent job and provide a fair value. I called them only to learn they were out of the office, but I could leave a message. I gave them my direct office number and my cell phone.

That was Tuesday. No call back.

Okay . . . okay. Have patience, Mark – after all this is a new company. I was sure they would call back on Wednesday. Crickets.

The same on Thursday. The company I was excited about giving business to was now the last company on the planet I would ever recommend.

It made me think about our industry. What does our website say that we do? What do the people who answer our phone promise? What about our techs – if they are going to be late do they call or text?  If not, why?

My best friend retired not long ago and is now in project mode. Everything he needed to get done around the house he is now starting. What shocks him is the poor service he gets from virtually everyone he deals with.

I wanted to see just how bad service is in America, so I went back to the Google-machine:

  • An American Express survey revealed 78 percent of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made the purchase because of a poor service experience.
  • Another source revealed that a typical business hears from 4 percent of its dissatisfied customers. Ninety-one percent of those customers will never come back.
  • The White House Office of Consumers Affairs tells us that loyal customers are worth up to ten times as much as their first purchase.
  • This Consumer Affairs division also tell us that it is six to seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer that it is to keep a current one. And for every customer who bothers to complain, 26 others remain silent.
  • Another source reveals that 80 percent of companies say they deliver “superior” customer service. Eight percent of their customers think these same companies do.

Interesting statistics. I’ll probably do a Google review on XYZ after I get my fence fixed by someone else. I wouldn’t want anyone else to choose them. Leaders look at their companies, their people and their promises through the eyes of a consumer – not from their PR.

Note:  The fence company called me Friday at 4:50 p.m. No sale.