There seems to be an unlimited number of “opportunities” to self-improve or “invest’ in self-help programs in these “difficult times” where so many people have “extra time”! So many in fact, that you hardly know where to begin!
And you might even start feeling guilty that you are not investing in goal-setting strategic webinars, or “how-to sell in remote environments”. And if you are not spending 30% more time exercising than you did previously, (with a new exercise program you can purchase online for only $99.99) you surely are doomed to some sort of distended disaster.
How do you focus? What do you decide to do? Nothing? Everything? If you choose nothing, you will be guilt-ridden for at least the next 25 years and if you choose everything, you will only finish more confused than you started!
Something in between?
But I have an opinion (which you probably expected).
That, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going." And do what they know works. They go back to the fundamentals. They have a “tried and true” list of 3-5 things that they know will always work, regardless of the circumstance, and they stick with that-and only that.
Realizing that it isn’t the time to stop and do nothing-and not the time to try radical new ideas.
Which is what the point of this email is today.
Because there are 2 stories I want to bring up today that are examples of fundamental business principles that transcend time or difficulties.
“You call me back!”
Early on in business, we started calling on JD dealers in the nearby towns. We developed quite a relationship with one particular sales rep, he was sales manager of the JD dealer in Broken Bow, NE. He would often turn up on a Friday afternoon and we would chat business, or family or whatever as he was waiting to get loaded.
One day he came in and I asked him – “Why Dawson?”. Broken Bow at the time had 3 very good farm tire dealers, and I was curious why he kept coming to us, because we were never cheaper, and often didn’t have the product he needed in stock.
He just smiled and said “Eric-it is simple. You NEVER FAIL TO CALL ME BACK. It doesn’t matter if I need a $20,000 set of combine duals or a tire for my lawn mower-I always know you will call me back. I never have to follow you up.” He also said that he knew that we were often not cheaper, and he often had to wait for us to get product in. But he never had to wait for a price or a follow-up call. And that the other “big 3” in Broken Bow didn’t have this simple business fundamental figured out.
So I would like to reiterate-in sales, in customer experience, in dealing with “internal customers” or in life. NEVER FAIL TO CALL THEM BACK! Not an email, not a text, not a message on Linked in or Facebook. If someone has reached out to you for anything-CALL THEM BACK. And I might add-AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!
“You make it right!”
Probably a “tired story” but we used to change oil for customers. A large farmer had a 2008 Cadillac Northstar STS. We changed oil and serviced it, and him and his wife took off for vacation in Missouri.
He came in when he got home. It seems the clip that held the cover on the air filter had come loose. The fan caught it and it ruined the radiator. He wound up getting the car towed and getting a new radiator.
When he came in I was helping another customer. He waited for a bit, and when I was done told me the story. I listened for a bit. Then interrupted and said-"How much was the bill?" He said$2400 (and change). I said "get me the invoice and I will credit your account". He looked surprised. Then said-Thank you and turned around to leave. He got to his pickup-then came back and said something I will never forget.
"Eric-you know this might not have been your fault. That it could just have vibrated loose. But you said you would take care of it. This is why I will never do business anywhere else. And tell everyone I can about Dawson. I want you to know that your customer service is rare. Because you truly understand- HOW TO MAKE IT RIGHT!"
And I wanted to pass these two "fundamental" business practices on. That if we CALL PEOPLE BACK AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and we MAKE IT RIGHT both when we screw up and when we could find a "way out"- our customers will always look after us!
Just to reiterate. There are basic, fundamental things that ALWAYS work, and ALWAYS are the right thing to do. So just an encouragement today to stick to the fundamental things that we know will win the game. Both when we are "way ahead' and when we are "way behind".
-Eric MacPherson, CEO of Dawson Tire & Wheel