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Four Key Lessons the Water Man Learned From His 10 Years in
Tye Washington is a guy with a mammoth vision for the future. He’s the
entrepreneur who’s also known around San Antonio as The Water Man, and he’s only just started to tap into the potential of his water softeners and filtration business.
He recently met up with Jason Setzer, host of the Local Talent podcast, to talk entrepreneurship, business plans, creating a customer base, and what a successful business looks like from the inside out. Here are some of the highlights from that conversation:
Educate Your Customers, Don’t Sell to Them
For Tye, education is the key element that sets his business apart from the competition. When he arrives at a customer’s house on a call out, he doesn’t dive into the hardsell. Instead, he takes the time to listen to their needs, to explain the benefits of water treatment technology, and to answer their questions. Once the customer fully understands the product, they’re in a better position to commit to buying and they make a decision from the options that Tye lays out to them.
Tye can relate to his customers and lead them on this journey because he went through it himself. He moved to Texas from Michigan with his family so he previously hadn’t needed a home water filtration system, but when he found out about it he got curious and started to do research. He also teamed up with a water treatment expert and says that to this day, he’s still learning.
Don’t Wait, Delegate
Tye went into business with a partner and that relationship has allowed the business to thrive. He explained to Jason that he and his partner are very clear about who’s responsible for what in the business, and they each play to their own strengths. Tye loves to network and meet people, whereas his partner prefers to manage the office and business equipment. Their mutual trust and expertise has been a strength and asset that’s helped the business to grow.
And their numbers speak for themselves: Since they teamed up, they’ve gone from a two-man band with a truck, a small car, and a storage facility, to a fully fledged business with five trucks, an office, and a store.
“Networking Is Huge”
Tye’s favorite sales tool? It’s not a fancy CRM, it’s networking. He attends
networking events in the San Antonio area to make connections with potential customers and also with other entrepreneurs. As he tells Jason, this is partly to develop his own business, which runs mainly on referrals, and also to look out for other new businesses that he can help. It’s important for him to know good, reliable tradesmen like electricians and plumbers that he can collaborate with, and these relationships often develop into long-term mutual referral partners.
As well as networking with other tradespeople, Tye has worked hard to establish himself in the San Antonio realtor network. He offers free consultations to realtors and that generosity and availability has helped his business and reputation to grow.
Fear of Failure Will Only Hold You Back
If you’re not taking action because you’re afraid of doing something wrong, you’ve already lost. Tye admits that he’s made plenty of mistakes in his 10 years in the water softener business, and that there will probably be more to come. However, he’s not discouraged. He follows the example of basketball star Michael Jordan and keeps shooting his shots at the hoop, staying humble and learning from his mistakes.
He and Jason point out that the successful image that we have of entrepreneurs, when they’re off on a tropical vacation or pulling into the parking lot in a brand new car, is just the tip of the iceberg, and there’s a hell of a lot of work that goes into making that image a reality. However, if you’re willing to put in the work, you can reap the rewards.
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