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In Sales The Customer Is King And Don't Ever Forget It

By Jim Meisenheimer

Bernadette and I eat out several times a week. It's about cooking - we both take turns but sometimes it's just easier to go out. Three weeks ago, on a Saturday night, we met friends at an Italian Restaurant in Sarasota. Some other friends recommended the place and they raved about the food.

The restaurant was small, no more than 15 tables, and located in strip mall. While the food was good, the noise was deafening. It wasn't from the kitchen, it wasn't the acoustics, it was Alberto the Mandolin player. Turns out the owner is a relative. He was a strolling and serenading Mandolin player. All conversations ceased when he was nearby. Since it was a small restaurant - he was nearby a lot.

Just before the server brought the check the owner came to our table and asked about our dinner. We said the dinner was terrific but the music made it all but impossible to have a conversation. She told us that Alberto was a cousin and a fixture at the restaurant on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

He may be a fixture - but we won't be going back. I wonder how many other customers feel the same way. I also wonder if she has ever done the math on the lifetime value of a customer - probably not.

The customer is king.

Last week I was getting my haircut at a place called Yellow Strawberry. Desmond, who is the owner, cut my hair for the second time. He did a good job the first time so I went back. He also has a delightful English accent. We traded restaurant stories and he told me this one...

A friend in San Francisco went to dinner with a group that totaled eight people. After they were seated, they waited more than 20 minutes for anyone to come to their table. It was down hill from that point on. Service was slow - extremely slow. According to Desmond's friend half the meals had to be sent back to the kitchen for a variety of reasons.

This is a long story made short. When the bill came Desmond's friend asked to speak to the owner. They reviewed everything with the owner and asked for a break on the bill considering what they had been through. To make matters worse, because it was a group of eight, the restaurant automatically added a 18% gratuity.

The owner conceded there were some problems and yet wouldn't cut them any slack on the tab. As the group was leaving, the owner gave Desmond's friend a $200 gift certificate for dinner at the restaurant. The group had no plans of ever going back. Desmond's friend, spotted a homeless person as they walked backed to their cars. He gave the person the certificate and suggested he take some of his buddies out to eat at the restaurant around the corner.

The customer is king.

One more dining experience and this was a good one. Three times a year I meet with 8 of my speaking friends at the DoubleTree Hotel near Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Attached to the hotel is Gibson's Restaurant - a fine place if ever I've been to one.

We make it an evening and it's usually impossible for us to leave without spending $100 per person. Bill Lee, a member of our group, was celebrating his birthday. We arranged for our waiter and other servers, to bring a small cake, and to sing their version of Happy Birthday to Bill.

Later, when the check came, it amounted to the usual $100 per person. Our server looked at us and said, "I took care of the Birthday Cake for you." It was a small thing that had a big impact - it actually made me smile.

The customer is King.

A friend of mine is also a professional speaker. He sells lots of books and CD's. About three weeks ago a sales rep ordered one of his books. Two weeks later he called and said he never received the book. My friend said he would take care of it. He sent him another copy of the book plus an additional CD and gave him a 100% credit for his inconvenience.

He remembered the customer is King. He also remembered what the lifetime value of a good customer is.

How are you at taking care of the "Little things" for your customers?

I guess it's all about the little things. Probably, it's also the reason why so many of you wanted to get your hands on my new CD, "75 Little Things You Can Do To Grow Your Business And Boost Your Income."

Let's go out and sell something... wiped out my entire inventory of my new CD titled "75 Little Things You Can Do To Grow Your Business And Boost Your Income." FYI in case you've been procrastinating, my second shipment arrived today.

Here's the link.

About The Author
Jim Meisenheimer

Use this link to sign-up for Jim's F-R-E-E No-Brainer Selling Tips Newsletter and to get your copy of his Special Report titled, "The 12 Dumbest Things Salespeople Do."

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