Sunday, July 4, 2010

You may have heard the joke about the repairman called out to get the factory machinery running again. He arrived quickly – looked around at all the workers sitting back waiting for something to happen – didn’t see one machine running – went to the control box and opened it up. He then put his screwdriver inside and turned something. Then he pulled the lever and everything started up and ran impeccably. When he presented his bill, the owner complained about paying $100 just to turn the screw. “OK,” the repairman said, tearing up the bill and writing a new one: $1 for turning the screw, $99 for knowing which one to turn.

This introduction can instruct us: “To be successful we must know which screw to turn.”

When we first started ABC Ice we got many calls asking for dry ice. One of our competitors told us it was a pain in the neck to sell and hardly worth handling. Another competitor even used part of his Yellow Page ad telling everyone, “We don’t carry dry ice!” He told us that even that didn’t stop the annoying phone calls. When I called the suppliers, they all said I was too far south from Los Angeles to get scheduled deliveries. At least one offered it for double the price my competitor was selling his for. I couldn’t make any money that way. Finally I decided to drive thirty miles north into another city where I wasn’t selling ice and buy dry ice from a distributor that was willing to give me a slight discount off his retail price anytime I needed it. At least this way I could wait until I nearly ran out by selling it or watching it sublimate away unsold – before getting more. Many times my wife, Ellen would call me to ask how soon I would get back to the plant – a customer may be willing to wait.

That solved one of the key points of selling dry ice. Getting the quantity needed when it is needed – “just in time.”

This alone didn’t make us successful or even profitable in the dry ice business. It simply allowed us to be able to offer a product for an obvious need as indicated by the many telephone calls.
I believe the key to successful sales is a two way street involving our customers and us. First we must learn to listen to our customers’ needs and requirements. Do they really need dry ice when wet water ice will do? Are they purchasing the dry ice at the right time? Are they buying enough or too much? Will they handle the dry ice so it won’t “burn” them? An unhappy customer costs more than we imagine. Therefore we must be able to talk to our customers and explain to them the proper use, handling, and storage of dry ice so their desires will be met successfully. The most important thing to control while talking to our customers is our attitude. We must not become impatient or exasperated just because we have heard this question one thousand times already.

When we develop a positive supportive and caring attitude, our customers will feel free to ask even the easiest questions that may make the difference in their experience using dry ice. These customers will pass on that close comfortable feeling to others and allow our business to grow. Sometimes we only have a few moments to give the right impression so we must always make the most of the first impression – even a simple smile to start things off – and build a lasting relationship that will reward us with repeat business and success.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you, that’s very interesting information. I need to share with my friends.

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