Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Brand Candy from Bobby


Once upon a time, a little boy, just a shade over his first double-digit birthday, was wrapping up his candy purchase at the local five and dime.

Bobby turned to the store owner and posed a question:

“Mr. Wilson may I please use your phone?”

Mr. Wilson smiled at the little boy, who was a frequent customer, and handed over the rotary phone.

The little boy quickly dialed a number and had the following conversation:

“Mrs. Murphy you don’t know me but I pass your house each day on my way to school. I mow many lawns in the neighborhood and was wondering if I could mow yours as well?”

Mrs. Murphy politely replied:

“Oh thank you anyway but we are quite happy with the service we are getting now”.

Somewhat disappointed, Bobby quickly recovered and came back with a compelling offer:

“That’s fine Mrs. Murphy but what if I were to beat whatever price you are paying by $5.00 per week?”

“I’m sorry but we aren’t looking for a lower price”.

“Well, I suppose I could throw in a once a month trim of the hedges and weeding your garden on top of the $5.00 discount”?


Mrs. Murphy concluded the conversation by simply thanking Bobby for his kind offer and wished him a good day.

The candy store owner, Mr. Wilson, overheard the entire exchange and said, “Nice try kid. I’m proud of ya for giving it your best shot”.

Bobby smiled and said, “Oh I’m not finished yet. Watch this”!

He immediately called back and said:

“Mrs Murphy, I’m so sorry for being a pest but what if I were to offer you the $5.00 discount, the weeding of the garden, the trimming of the hedges and I wash your car for you every other week?”

“I’m afraid the answer is still no young man. Not if you were to give me the world and charge me next to nothing! I’m quite happy and I have no intention of switching”


Bobby smiled and with a softened voice, simply said:

“Now that’s what I like to hear. You don’t have to worry about me calling again.”

Mr. Wilson was amazed at what he was watching. He simply could not beleive the grace, poise and maturity Bobby displayed while handling rejection:

“Young man; I really admire your spirit! That woman must have told you No at least 3 times and yet you kept calling. You hung in there and refused to give up. Keep up that attitude and you could be the next Sam Walton”.

Bobby's smile grew brighter and wider as he replied:

“Oh I already am a success. I know because that was my customer and I was simply calling to see how I was doing”!


Can your personal or business brand stand the test of savagely persistent, low balling, price-cutting competitors?

Would you describe your current relationships with customers as more like a long-term romance or a pattern of one-time, wham-bam transactions?

From Apple to Zappos, the best personal and business brands in the world such as WestJet, Harley-Davidson, KISS, Mike Holmes and Martell Home Builders are fanatical about cultivating those types of relationships. The type of relationships that could elevate your brand to cult-like status, making it impervious to bargain-hunting, tire-kicking, penny pinchers that populate any segment of customers in any category.

What about you?

Do you consider customer service as a department or an attitude? Are there lessons from Bobby you can leverage to elevate your brand?

Do you dare pick up the phone to find out?


"The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary"
SAM WALTON


P.S. ... Pierre Martell is like a latter day Bobby with what he is doing in the new home construction industry. Pierre and his team have completed 154 homes over a 4-year period; on time and on budget. Plus, the stuff they do on the back end with their real time customer updates is the envy of their industry.



Would you like Gair to re-energize, re-focus or re-inspire your organization or event? Details on his keynotes and speaking programs can be discovered at http://www.gairmaxwell.com/ His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is also waiting patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

Get to know Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

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