Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lessons from Billy the Exterminator

I admit it—I love “Billy the Exterminator” on A&E.

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, Billy and his family run a company called Vexcon in Louisiana, taking out wasps, yellow jackets, maggoty dead things, gators, snakes, and other wildlife that ends up where homeowners don’t want it.

Lesson one--do something others don't want to do.

He has a gelled-up mullet, slitty shades, a crumpled black cowboy hat and goth duds festooned with the skull-and-crossbones and spiky wristbands. He has established a brand, lesson two.

But he also has a friendly smile, always introduces himself, is interesting, over-the-top enthusiastic, and generally demonstrates positive qualities for a business owner or job hunter.

See where I am going with this?

Our favorite expressions of his are “Oh, MAN!” and “It’s a nightmare.” Tag lines.

He hates heights—but goes up in the eaves to flail at pigeons or up in a cherry picker to zap a wasp nest. “It’s a nightmare!” he exclaims cheerfully. Going the extra mile.

He doesn’t like to kill things and would rather relocate them to pristine wilderness areas he knows about (but he does not like wasps, which he considers to be just plain mean). He's humane.

He is very scientific—every varmint, he informs us, carries botulism and dysentery, and maybe rabies—he has a list. He does his research.

Most of all, Billy has game. That’s what you need in your job hunt or business. Stick your hand out. Shake. The beleaguered homeowners always respond to his friendliness, and heaven knows where his hand has been.

That's customer devotion.

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