This was the title I gave to a video I made on 7 November, I started it by saying “Are you fed up with getting overcharged by tradespeople, because I know most people are”

Now I am the first to admit it when I make a mistake and do something wrong – I messed up with this video. I didn’t realise initially, I did it in a bit of a rush, the title and initial comment was designed as a hook to grab attention (which it most certainly did)

My aim was to get across the importance of clear communication. As Instagram only allows 60 seconds for a reel, I had to relay the information in that time

It was only after about a week, around the 4th negative comment by an angry tradesperson, that I rewatched the video and realised the tone I used, made it come across different to that which was intended

Once the trolling got going, it REALLY gained momentum. Turns out builders can be quite an aggressive defensive lot (please note this does not describe all the builders, just the ones that commented). After two weeks the video was really gaining attention and the abuse came with it. Essexstrainhunter on Instagram even described me as “Hitler”, sadly my response didn’t meet the community guidelines Instagram has in place – my point of “he started it” didn’t really stand up either 😉

Obviously, I could have just deleted the video and redone it. I realised that I had done a rubbish job of delivering a video on the importance of clear communication (indeed I am aware the irony in this is strong – haha). I found the reactions an extremely useful insight into behaviour though, so decided to let it run

It’s pretty clear that a controversial subject gets a lot more attention than something that’s genuinely helpful. On 2nd November I did a video on how to build confidence in under 60 seconds, it was well articulated, made some good points and would be genuinely helpful to a lot of people. At the time of writing this, that video has 1,690 views with 20 comments. The one which upset the builders is currently on 16,566 views and 178 comments – you can see why a lot of people post such controversial content

So, the thing that became immediately apparent from the feedback I got on the controversial video was the attitude of the builders who were commenting. 

  1. The majority “assumed” I was referring to if you have someone on a price job – I wasn’t, I was referring to day rate but failed to communicate that
  2. The general feeling was that of an EXTREMELY defensive position, feeling the need to justify themselves to a random stranger on Instagram, as if I was calling them out personally
  3. Very much a ”victim” mindset i.e. we are so hard done by (I call BS on this kind of talk, most in the building industry have been earning huge sums of money in recent years as there is less supply than demand)

Rather than pull any of them up on their crappy attitude, I did what I felt was right (once I realised I was in the wrong) and admitted my mistake. The majority never responded, a few came back and said, “no problem completely understand, fair play for owning it” – some we have even followed each other on Instagram

Then there was the odd exception to the rule (this is such a shame that it’s the minority). Instead of jumping all over my post “assuming” that I was calling them out as a charlatan or responding with something like “I would tell you to get f**ked and get somebody else” – flanagan155

Instead, a select few tradespeople came at it from a different perspective. They were still irritated by the post (it really did not come across very well – oops!) but instead of jumping straight on the defensive, they asked questions, things like are you referring to a day rate or price work? This then set a foundation for me to have a rational conversation with them, explaining that I had made a mistake and it all ended up very amicably

Most of these people “assumed” that I was some up himself property developer who’s sole mission was to squeeze the tradespeople as hard as possible on price – this is totally the opposite to how I work. If they had instead asked questions, they would have realised that I have worked on the tools as a tradesperson since 1999. Having been around since that time, I have gained a lot of experience at reading people VERY quickly

The key ingredient I look for when working with someone new is their attitude. Most of the people commenting had an absolutely terrible attitude, they were in a victim mindset, and it was like the world owed them a living. I can generally spot these attributes very quickly when looking to work with someone

On the contrary, the ones who, when faced with something they deemed as negative, asked questions around it, to get all the information before they gave their full response

Who would you want to work with?

Having worked as a tradesperson and as a client I feel I have a unique perspective. I understand it from both sides. In my course I teach people about the best ways to motivate people you work with, to over deliver and build mutual trust and respect – it’s a shame I didn’t get that across in the video but the insight that came out of it was super useful. I can use this information to ensure I’m now super mindful about how a message is perceived – il also make sure I fully review before posting

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As always, if you have any thoughts or questions on this or anything else property related I would love to hear from you?

Cheers George B


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