It’s All Three


When we buy or sell products or services….price is important. Yet, so is quality and service. Consumer Reports doesn’t provide the complete story. On-line reviews are OK….yet often are not objective.

We were not the high-end store in our family business. Our market was a mid-price range with a well-made product. The variable was the service we provided after the sale. Our reputation was the measure of that. When selling….we had to sell price and quality.

I want to know about and be assured of  service….

The bottom line:  It’s price and quality that are the main factors in the buy/sell process.

Sales Story

It’s not price alone.

We are undertaking some major home projects. Most of the work involves some type of home visit/free estimate. The interesting aspect is that we have encountered all different styles of selling.

We all sell in one way or another. Our family retail business was based on selling. The key element in selling is the person-to-person relationship….reading people. We always sold ourself and then the product.

The best folks that we have seen are:

  • Personable
  • Knowledgeable
  • Ask for the sale-but don’t push
  • Confident in their companies
  • Develop a rapport
  • Offer a fair price/value
  • Understand what we are looking for



Missing the Mark

The local Ace hardware moved to a new location about a year ago. The size doubled….so more products. It also is in a desireable shopping center with good visibility.

While the local stores prices may be a little higher than Lowes or Home Depot….it is very convenient and a local business. Yet in the move the store lost its character and doesn’t know the basics of retail….merchandising.

+ Character: the store replaced all its sales folks….who always encountered the customer and always asked what they could do….they were proactive in their sales techniques. The present group of associates are present….but seldom engage the customers. They are there and that’s about it.

+ Merchandising: a fundamental basic for a retail business. Show your products and show them well. It means floors shined. Shelves in order. No empty product categories. Prices clear and aligned with the products. Neat, orderly, ready to sell….just like the photo.

The local Ace misses the mark on both counts.

Do the owners of the local Ace franchise MBWA (Manage By Walking Around)?


FBO (Fixed Base Operation)

People that travel on the airlines see only one side of avaition. There is a completely different and other side that people rarely see. That’s the FBO operations that serve general aviation.

General aviation and corporate aviation are similar and also decidedly different. The corporate aviation that has been in the news has been the large corporate jets.

Most FBO’s are rather modest as depicted in the photo. While other FBO’s that cater to the corporate jet business are multimillion dollar operations.

Aviation International News in the April 2010 issue published it’s latest FBO survey.  When businesses are directed to a high-profile customer….it is all about service.

The sub heading for the AIN article was:

Top 10 FBOs credit customer service efforts for their success.

These FBO’s are large businesses with the corresponding investment so they have to do well.

The Real Lesson:

It doesn’t matter what profile a businesses/organizations customers are….success depends on superior customer service.


Little things make the difference.

I have had this pair of shoes for many years. There are from LLBean. They have been a great pair….resoled and reheeled many times. Last week they needed new heels. I took them to Oliver’s Shoe Repair.

I picked them up in a few days. Here’s how they were returned:

  • Shined
  • Edges reblacked
  • Laces laced
  • Enclosed in a clear plastic bag

Not only were my LLBean shoes nicely repaired….the added touches….the details….conveyed to me that the cobbler cared.

It’s all in the details!

Always Learning


I’m a reader. Often several books at the same time.

Three latest books:

  • The Little Big Things-Tom Peters
  • Lynchpin-Seth Godin
  • A book on organization startups by Ben Arment

I use to read a book and take copious notes….there is a file drawer with over 100 folders of book notes. I seldom discard a book….all are valuable. Some I still remember quite well.

So whats the lesson?

When I visit people who I follow on the Internet….as leaders they all read diligently. If we operate in this world environment….the only way to understand and move forward is to read and discover every new….better….and different idea.

Back to the books.