How NOT selling to your Customers CAN make MAGIC happen!
It was mid summer, late Saturday afternoon and very, very hot. We had been busy working on the garden all day and finally it was nearing the end. As I started putting the tools away I checked the barbecue and miracle upon miracle – no gas! Apparently the gas gremlins had come during the night and consumed all our propane. They do get around don’t they! So into the car and off I go in search of gas.
Now from where we live it could be a good 45 minutes to drive to an outlet, refill and return – time I did not want to waste driving around on a hot Saturday afternoon. Also, propane outlets tend to come and go, and can be a little flexible regarding their hours of operation. Would the closest one still be open?
I suddenly remembered that there was a barbecue store somewhere in the neighborhood. Perhaps it just might sell propane or know the closest location that did? I took a detour and there it was, just five minutes from home but now on the other side of the street. I crossed my fingers, grabbed the tank and went inside. It was quite a large store carrying not only barbecues, but lawn furniture, gas fireplaces and other lawn and pool accessories,
A man emerged from the back, engrossed in some paperwork. I asked him if they sold propane? He replied they used to, about four years ago at their old location; but answered in a tone that was almost reprimanding because I was not be aware of their store’s history!
He was about to disappear back into the office when I asked him, since he sold and serviced barbecues, if he knew of the nearest location to refill my tank? He abruptly replied NO and then did indeed disappear.
Now because of my background in helping others to look at life, learning and business in a different way, I tend to look at life in a different way. I also know from my magical training that there are countless opportunities in everything we do, and especially in what we DON’T DO! It’s called looking beyond the answer to create a real solution, or better yet, a real opportunity.
Obviously this store did not sell propane gas and had no desire to sell gas. Perhaps it is not profitable? It doesn’t matter. The sale of gas is not the issue.
The point is that THEY missed out on A VITAL OPPORTUNITY to
1) solve my problem for me, and in doing so
2) create an extremely inexpensive, but powerful business opportunity to become much more than just another commodity, and
3) get me hooked on coming back to them again and again and again!
Consider this scenario. I come in the store and ask if they sell gas. They reply, “no, and I am very sorry we do not. A lot of people come in here looking for gas. We were able to help out at our old location, but city ordinances just won’t allow us to do so here.”
He then continues, “So what we have done is put together a page of information that might be able to help you out. On this side it lists all the locations in the area of propane stations along with their hours of operation. On the other side it has helpful tips on starting up you barbecue after the winter, regular service tips and some safety reminders.”
“IT IS FREE! And before you leave please fill out this coupon for our draw. The winner receives a free barbecue cleaning and if you fill in your address we will mail you this updated, refill station list, next year when it is ready!”
“From here this is the closest station, would you like to use our phone to make sure they are still open? You don’t want a wasted trip and some changes could have been made since our list was printed.”
What do you think my impression of THIS STORE is? Did they just make magic happen? What was the total investment of their time and money? Is this something ANY employee could follow through on? What could the return be?
The list is very useful and I will definitely keep it. I also have a barbecue and barbecues do wear out. Who will I call for service, advice or a NEW barbecue? Also they now have a contact list of real prospects for future business and I have a new friend. Who would you prefer to do business with – just another store or your friend?
The list goes out to everyone who comes into the store! It could even be published in the local paper at the start of the season! Consider the investment and potential return.
Now how can this apply to you and me? Well in our situation, regardless of how much specific advertising we do, we still get calls for Kids Birthday Parties. We just don’t do them; it is a specialized area we don’t service. In fact at one time I was even thinking of changing our company name to EVERYTHING BUT BIRTHDAY PARTIES!
But consider this, every person that calls is willing to spend money for entertainment and has disposable income to do this. They might also work someplace, or be married to or know someone who works someplace, and that place could use our services.
What if I put together a one page of referrals of birthday party and related contacts on one side, and a little blurb about what to look for in purchasing entertainment on the other side. It coincidentally contains OUR contact information, and mini information bite on OUR SPECIALIZED entertainment and edutainment niche on the bottom.
The information sheet is provided to anyone who calls in looking to book a birthday party. It helps another, sets you up as the expert and most importantly someone who cares, because you really do. You took the time to write and put something together that would add value to another person’s life.
Will it generate future business or referrals? Yes is has – many times.
What can you do in your business, service or life that could add this kind of benefit to another? A little thought in helping others acquire “what you don’t offer” can help create a special magical bond. Give it some thought! Create your own magic!
Remember Real Magic can happen only when people believe in themselves and are passionate about making a difference in their own life and the lives of others! Have focus! Be passionate about what you do! Create your own real magic!!!