Silicon Valley State of Mind, a blog by John Weathington, "The Science of Success"
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Silicon Valley State of Mind

Tips, thoughts, and advice based on the consulting work of John Weathington, "The Science of Success."

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Posted by on in General Comments

I just slammed the door in someone’s face. The same door that’s a few inches from the sign pictured here.

I’m not normally that rude to people, but in this case enough is enough. About three times a week, a different person comes to the door asking if I want solar panels on my house. The first time they came, I politely listened to what they had to say, agreed it’s an interesting thought, and said I’d investigate it on my own time. The second time they came, I cut them off before they got started, and told them somebody just came by two days ago. The third time they came by, I cut them off and said, “tell whoever is sending you people here, to stop.” The story I was told is that they’re all coming from different companies, and every person I encounter has no relationship to the next. It’s like a beacon went off somewhere, signaling all solar companies that I would like someone to visit my house and talk to me about installing solar—I don’t.

Well, this message isn’t being received. I’ve been dealing with this for weeks now. Tonight, this is how the exchange went. Shortly after I sat down to eat dinner:

(Knock, Knock)

Me: What?

Irritant: Hi, I’m Mr. Jackass from Jackass Solar?

Me: No soliciting, man.


You have to be perceptive of your customers’ needs. There is a sign right outside my door that says, “No Soliciting.” This means—no soliciting! I don’t do this to be mean or rude, but I’m doing both me and the door-to-door salespeople a favor. I can assure you, I’m not going to buy something from someone that comes to my door—I just won’t do it. If I decide to get solar, I’ll do the research myself on the Internet, then I’ll talk to some people I know that have had solar installed, and I’ll get a referral. This is why I have the sign outside; I’m saving us both the time.

How often do you keep badgering your customers with what you feel they need? Kodak was very late in the adoption of digital photography because they were too focused on what they thought was right. After breathing their own exhaust for too long, they finally filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. Their future is very questionable at this point.

Value is in eye of the beholder. Your passion about an idea doesn’t mean anything until you’ve convinced your clients to be passionate about it. Maybe solar is a good thing for me, and I’m sure whoever just left my door is passionate about the benefits of solar, but if you think I’m just going to open my door and sign a contract with you to install solar panels on my house—you just don’t know me very well.

And that’s the whole point of this story.

Tagged in: customers ideas value
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