Saturday, July 22, 2006

Does Anyone Want My Business?

This should have been simple. I had a 12 hour round-trip drive coming up and I thought I should get an oil change first. The car was over due and I felt it was really important to get it done before I left. So Friday morning I drove over to the local Jiffy Lube figuring they could do it quickly (You know, in a jiffy!). Maybe not. As a drove up, I saw that each of the three bays was completely empty and the four guys inside were just leaning against their tool boxes.

I parked in front of the middle bay and walked up the guy who looked most like a manager and asked if he could change my oil. He said he had to check to see if they had a filter for my car, first. With that, two of the guys went below and started digging through the supplies. A few minutes later, the verdict was in: no filter in stock. The manager said that sometimes they have one for my car, but not today. Sorry!

With that, I drove away.

My next stop was Goodyear. This time every bay was filled and everyone was running around like a chicken with its head cut off (Dont write me if you work for the chicken lobby). I went into the lobby and asked the counter person if they could do a quick oil change. He checked his computer and said, Let me make sure I have a filter for your car. Two minutes later, he came out and said, Mr. Waterhouse, my computer showed that I had your filter but I dont see one in the supply room. Ive just sent one of my guys out to get one and hell be right back. Is that ok with you?

Ok? Of course its ok. I would certainly rather wait 10 extra minutes than spend the rest of my morning running all over town. (Note that he said that the guy had already left before he asked for my permission. Great move!)

Here is the odd thing. The Jiffy Lube is locally owned by an entrepreneur who has his hard earned cash invested in the business and only makes money when they get a car in the bay. The Goodyear store is company owned and run by a manager whose bonus goes up about five cents when he does an extra oil change. Shouldnt the Jiffy Lube people be the ones chasing all over town for my filter?

Do you or your sales people look more like Jiffy Lube or Goodyear? How do you know? Make a few candid calls to your customers and ask them to rate your service on a scale of 1 to 5. One being, we never follow through and five being we are always proactive about solutions.

Strive for five. It will make you more money than a dozen new customers.

You might also be interested in my article, "How to leave a voice mail that gets results". To get a free copy, simply email

Happy Selling,