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Ready to do business? Or are you hoping your customers will wait for you?

Ready to do business? Or are you hoping your customers will wait for you?

March 11, 2010

You won't believe what happened here in Baltimore

Whether you're a carpenter or owner of $50 million company, you must always be ready when your customer is ready to do business with you.

There's a story I like to tell about a carpenter and his hammer.

You see, the carpenter always had work. He never worried about his next job because he always had a steady stream of work. He never worked too hard, made time for his family so he could attend his children's school plays, concerts and games and he was home every evening for dinner.

Then one day, he got a call from a customer who been referred to him by one of his long-time clients.

The customer was frustrated because he had a creak in his floorboards. And his wife was planning a big dinner party in 2 weeks and she was worried that something was wrong with the floorboards and that the floor may collapse if they had guests over.

Several other carpenters had looked at it and couldn't find anything wrong.

By the time the carpenter arrived, he could tell that the husband and wife were worried and were wondering ' 'Is our floor safe? Will we have to cancel our dinner party? Is the whole floor going to need to be replaced? How much is all this going to cost?'

The carpenter knelt down to listen to the creaking sounds as the customer walked over the floorboards. He gently ran his fingers over the floor. He then reached for his hammer and swiftly pounded on the floorboards. The creak was gone!

It was fixed with one whack of his hammer. Just like that, the problem was solved.
When the carpenter handed them the couple the bill they said, 'This is too much money! It only took you 10 minutes to fix the problem.'

'You're wrong. It actually took me 30 years. Because only from my 30 years of experience did I know how to fix the problem.'

I like to tell the story because it illustrates how important it is to be ready when your customers are ready to do business with you.

So many times I hear from clients, '' but we're not ready!'

Not ready? That's one of the worst positions to be in. I want to tell them, 'Quit whining and get yourself ready!'

Despite 3 feet of snow, one discount furniture store in Baltimore had terrific sales. Why? Because they managed to get into the store and open the doors as customers continued to pour in and buy furniture. They were ready when their customers were ready to do business.

To be successful, you absolutely MUST be ready when your buyers are ready.

A friend of mine owns a discount furniture store in Baltimore and despite the biggest snowstorm in the city's history that blanketed the area with more than 3 feet of snow, his business did great.

Believe it or not, when must people were stuck in their homes he managed to free his car from the snow and open the store to get ready. Why? Because customers continued to pour in and buy furniture! It was unbelievable. The whole city was under a state of emergency and people were buying furniture!!

My point? He was ready when his customers were ready to do business.

As business leaders and entrepreneurs we need to plan for the future and make sure we're ready when our hungry fish are ready to take the bait.

What can you do to make sure you're ready? Remember, to be ready doesn't mean everything has to be perfect. Good enough is okay. You can always make it better. The important thing is to make sure you're ready when your customers are ready.

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,


Jon Goldman



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