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The Last 2%

Austin Church

by Austin Church


May 16, 2013


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How well do you finish projects? 

Many of the moments worth creating for your clients come at the very end of a project. You throw in a surprise for free. You create a few extra designs to leave them smiling. You put in a couple of extra hours to make sure that the new website, marketing collateral, or logo gets that special coat of polish.

People remember the last 2%.

If I knew this, why didn't he?

Ask me what I think about the crew that put a roof on the house where we were living last year. They left roofing nails in the driveway. Shingles, tar paper, and wood were scattered all across the yard. A large piece of soffitt was lodged in the branches of a maple twenty feet above the ground.

Ask me, and I'll tell you they did a shoddy job. Has the roof leaked? No. Does the roof look good from the street? [Shrug.] Did my landlord get a good value for what he paid? I couldn't say.

But I can say what I thought when I found that nail a few inches away from one of the tires on my wife's car:

"Sloppy. Unprofessional. Lazy." (There may or may not have been some profanity mixed in.)

Home Depot and Ace Hardware sell big magnets on poles for the sole purpose of cleaning up nails and other metal debris that can puncture a tire or find a foot. If I knew this, why didn't the "professional" roofing contractor?

So what do people think after you finish a job?

"Sloppy, unprofessional, and lazy? If I knew this, why didn't he?" 

Or perhaps "responsive, talented, and fun"? Or "smart, detail-oriented, and thorough"? Or just plain "Wow! I can't believe you made us look so good."

98% of what you do might be terrific, but most people remember only what happened at the very end.

Pay very close attention to the last 2%.

Categories: Business, Complete Elephant | Tags: finish projects


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