Cement Mixer Artistry

By Ron Rosenberg

Cement mixer truck at work

There are many ways to distinguish yourself from the competition, and, in the process, make yourself the only logical choice for whatever product or service your prospects are looking for.

One of the most powerful of these involves the concept of the "unique process" - something about what you do and, more importantly, about how you do it - that makes you stand out from the crowd.

Find a way to do this, and the selection process becomes a whole lot easier and leans heavily in your favor. Let's look at a few examples of how to identify and incorporate a unique process into your marketing.

Let's Pour Some Concrete...

One summer, I had the opportunity to help my brother-in-law add a concrete landing to some rental properties he manages. The concrete is delivered in a large cement-mixer truck that keeps the cement moving so it doesn't harden in the truck.

Once the concrete is poured, though, you have to spread and smooth it out quickly before it "sets."

Most cement mixers I've seen have a chute on the back of the truck that is positioned by the operator who then pulls on a chain that releases the concrete from the mixer. Then, he repositions the chute, and repeats the process, moving or extending the chute as needed to cover the full area.

This time, though, the process was a bit different...

Control It from the Cab

Instead of the chute being located in the back and "manually" operated, it was in the front and is actually operated by the driver from inside the cab.

The two of us stood ready to spread the concrete as it fell from the truck, but he said that wouldn't be necessary; he would put it right where it needed to be.

Then I watched as he positioned the end of the chute at the far end of the area to be worked on, and slowly backed up the truck, as he moved the chute from side to side - making it seem as if the whole mechanism was an extension of his body.

This kind of mastery conveyed a level of expertise that inspires confidence and a strong feeling that the job will be done right.

Go Climb a Tree!

Of course, mastery isn't limited to pouring cement. There have been several times over the last 25 years when we've had trees that needed to be removed. Sometimes it was because they were dying and could have caused damage to our house if they fell during a storm. Other times, trees had to be removed because of landscape work we were doing in the backyard.

In all of these cases, I can assure you, I didn't try to drop these trees myself. In fact, I once asked a good friend (who has a degree in forestry management) if I could borrow his 24" 60cc professional chainsaw to take down some small trees. He said, "No. But I will come over to your house and cut down whatever you need removed."

Which, in hindsight, was probably a very smart answer, since I grew up in the Bronx, and there was a good chance that I might have hurt myself if I tried to use the chainsaw. Remember, if it's not a core competency, eliminate, automate, or outsource. Operating a chainsaw is the farthest thing from a "core competency" for me, so I effectively outsourced it to my friend on that particular day.

On other occasions, when we needed larger trees removed, we hired a tree-care professional who showed up with tree-climbing spikes, safety lines, and, yes, a large chainsaw. He climbed up the tree like a monkey, pointed at the ground to indicate to his partner where the first piece was going to drop, and then, with a few quick and precise cuts with his chainsaw, sent a very large section of the tree down...where it landed on the exact spot he had indicated.

He repeated this process several times until he was back on the ground, where he cut the final piece off at the base of the tree trunk.

Work like this requires a high level of expertise and experience, and is best left to professionals

What's Your Unique Process?

You may not have particular skills in pouring concrete or cutting down trees, but there's almost certainly something unique about what you do or how you do it that can give you a competitive edge - something that can make you stand out from your competition.

Find this unique characteristic, and you'll start becoming the natural choice when people are looking for your product or service.