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The Florist and the Painter

By Patrick L. Williams

Every anniversary, I send a huge bouquet of daffodils to my wife’s office. They remind her of the daffodils that greeted us at the English cottage we stayed at during our honeymoon.

Recently, I strolled into the same shop I go to every year to send the same bouquet to the same address. I won’t reveal the name of the establishment, and that already tells you where this story is headed.

The woman behind the counter was on the phone and it was clear that she would not abandon the call, which sounded like it was with a supplier. After I stood at the counter a minute or so, she put her hand on the mouthpiece and yelled to the back for someone to come to the front to help. After a minute with no response, she yelled again.

Finally, another woman came to the counter and asked what I needed. I told her and she said, “Well, that won’t happen today.” I asked why and was told they didn’t have any daffodils.

“How about some tulips instead?” the woman asked. I said it must be daffodils and she replied that they couldn’t help me.

And that was that. No ideas, no suggestions, no effort. Just a willingness to let business walk out the door. I even left my business card and asked them to call me if they could find a solution, but they never called. My bet is they didn’t even try to find daffodils…which wouldn’t have been hard because the region I live in has an annual daffodil festival.

If that florist tracked their customer’s buying habits, they would know I was coming in to get these. Heck, if they were really smart, they could have called me a week in advance to remind me. They could have made an easy sale by asking for my credit card right then and handled the purchase over the phone.

Instead, they never thought to suggest a sale, couldn’t be bothered to make a sale, and, apparently, are not worried about losing a customer.

If you are a florist, start keeping track of your customer’s purchasing habits for birthdays, anniversaries, and other annual dates and, with a little effort, you can really make it easy for them to buy from you. (Come to think of it, shouldn’t you do the same thing even if you sell something other than flowers?)

And now, as Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.”

I shared this episode in a my daily Sales Tip email and a subscriber, Otis Hunter, of Hunter Painting, personally delivered what must have been six dozen daffodils in a vase to my wife’s office. She was overwhelmed. I was too, and it is a memory that will last the rest of our lives.

Now, let’s recap: Otis Hunter, a painter, not a florist, hears about a need that he can handle even though it’s not his line of work and takes steps to make it happen. On top of that, he is just one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet, and I know he did this kind act without any expectation or conditions.

Memorable? Oh yes! More than that, with a simple gesture, he endeared himself to my wife and, more importantly, me.

So, who do YOU think I will call for any painting needs? You guessed right if you guessed Otis Hunter.

It really is simple: do something nice for your customer or prospect (or, better yet, for their family) and they’ll like you. And if they like you, they might even call you first when it’s time for them to buy whatever it is you sell.

Patrick L. Williams is an author, professional speaker, and marketing consultant with over two decades experience delivering results that ROCK for businesses of all sizes.  Contact Patrick via his website at http://www.YouRockCommunications.com or by phone at 253-318-7503.

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