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Don’t Do this In Your Business! December 23, 2008

Posted by David Dirks in Local Brand Development.
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David DirksMy furnace needs to be looked at because it’s not operating well.  So I do what I usually find helpful and call a friend who told me a while ago that they found a great furnace guy.   He is local, very good technically, reasonable, and “very nice”.  So far so good.  I called and was told that he may or may not be taking on new clients.  A couple hours later I get a call from his office saying, “he’s too busy and can’t help you”.   That’s it?  Ok, I know it’s winter and he’s bound to be busy…probably a one-person furnace repair show.  However, he and his business missed an opportunity.

What was his opportunity?  For starters, he didn’t even try to take on a new account.  He could have very easily asked me if I could wait a few days.  But even if he is booked solid from now until 2020, he missed an opportunity to build some local goodwill and improved his ‘local brand’ appeal.  Gee, I’m OK if you can’t do it, but how about giving me a name or two of someone else I could call?  Wow!  He would have improved his average with me by 150% if he’d just had made a referral to another furnace repair place.

I understand that if you’re in a small business, it’s often hard to see the forest of opportunities when you can only see through the trees.

Here are some lessons learned from todays episode:

  • Try to save the sale and make it work if you can.
  • Don’t leave your potential customer without options.  Make an effort to steer them to another solution, even if it means giving business away to a competitor.  They’ll remember you for it and probably be very thankful.
  • Think bigger.  If this guy is so booked that he can afford to turn down business, then he might want to think about expanding his business.  Maybe hiring someone to pick up the business he can’t cover?  Think. Think. Think.

Of course, I did ask if they could recommend anyone else.  “Nope”.  Great.  Not only do you NOT want my business, you don’t want anyone else to have it either.  Like the American General during the WWII Battle of the Bulge said in his reply to the German General who asked for his surrender: NUTS.

I feel better now.

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