On Halloween I got to dress up as everyones idol…Ed! It was really neat to walk around holding a beer and be loved adored and respected by all for a day; however my phone rang and I was jolted back to reality. Hah!

Yesterday and today we have the retail channel planning meetings. It’s great to have everyone on the team brainstorming ways to get better and planning for our future. Truly, you won’t find a more knowledgeable, passionate group of people committed to helping customers succeed with the water feature category anywhere! One of our new accounts we discussed in our meeting that’s doing extremely well is a long standing traditional Distributor that has never carried our line before. I expressed my pleasure with the account and mentioned that in all my years of business I had never met or even spoken with the owner of this company. The salesperson who closed this account than corrected me. They said “actually this account said they did meet you in Atlanta, 15 years ago at the Industry trade show Pondapaloza” (anyone remember that show?! Boy have times a changed!) What he told me next was classic and inspired today’s blog.

“They said they met you and nothing personal but they don’t like you”

bwahahahahahaha!!!!!!

“Nothing personal” Oh to only be Ed!

This year another salesman was trying to turn another Distributor who carried competitive products onto carrying Aquascape only to be met with this gem “we would never buy from you. Any son that would do what your boss did to his father doesn’t deserve our business”

Egads! You can’t make this stuff up! People are complex, emotional machines I’ve given up trying to make happy. Don’t get me wrong, I love happy people. I realized a long time ago though people will view you through the filter they choose to view the world through, often regardless of anything you do.

And to  think I sell water gardening equipment and can still generate these kinds of visceral emotions!

Speaking of emotions have you seen the new Steve Jobs movie? If ever there was a polarizing figure in all of business, it might be Steve Jobs. The movie, of course, took lots of creative freedom in telling the story the producer wanted to portray (Remember even Reality TV is scripted. Hah!) But unlike its predecessor starring Aston Kurtcher, Steve Wozniak, Apples’ co founder said this move “nailed Steve Jobs personality” It wasn’t a flattering portrayal by any means in the traditional sense. But Steve Jobs, by everyone’s account was anything but traditional!!!

Nobody who built the largest of anything goes about doing things in the traditional fashion. They think differently and that makes them different. Most entrepreneurs don’t follow a traditional path either. It’s probably why you guys are building ponds today and most of you still hate sitting at a desk doing office work.

I’m frustrated and disappointed that everyone doesn’t see what you guys see, and that’s who Aquascape truly is and what we could mean to them and their busines. But I’m motivated nonetheless to keep trying.

Koi freaks might want to burn me at the stake for suggesting using rock and gravel in ponds. Please.

Technical geeks might want to claim you need bottom drains, filter grids and external pumps to properly build a pond. Sure you do.

And many others will mispercieve how we sell our products into the market and where the true potential of this category truly is. And potential gets wasted.

I can’t convince a landscaper who has been burned doing ponds done wrong or a retailer who lost their pond champion and is stuck with inventory about the upside potential water features have for their business until they are ready to hear it. Most aren’t.

Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to shoot the messenger than listen to what he’s trying to say.

In the world of business, it can’t be Halloween every day.

I think I need a beer! Hah!

Carpe Diem