Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How I fell for my customer.

I knew better but I could not help it.. I fell for my first customer: Let me explain.

All the articles I have read have stated how important it is to meet quality prospects and develop relationships that will last. Since I have the desire to make my fencing company, Summit Fence Supply, the best in the fencing business, I follow the sound advice received and decided to get going on a contact list. By this I mean I decided to call each person on the list. Following the list from top to bottom I started making calls to set up appointments. Finally, I had my first appointment and needless to say I was excited. The night before I had my folders ready, did a Map quest to make sure I would not be late and to top it off, the customer even called me the morning of the appointment to make sure I was coming. This was going to be great!

As I arrived I could see him standing in the front yard talking to one of his employees. He was animated so I knew something was not right. He was reaming out this guy for being late. I paused and thought how fortunate I was for being early.

I opened the door of my wheelchair van and the lift went down. This is a good place to tell you I use a wheelchair and have for many years. I grabbed my folder and started down the ramp. At the exact time the word, “Hello!” left my lips I hit a rock at the bottom of my ramp and went flying out of my chair.

He stopped yelling for the moment and hurried over toward me. I said, “I wanted to make a lasting first impression.” By that time another guy came to my aid. All three of them picked me up and placed me back into my chair. I said, “It was a pleasure to drop in.” He said, “I always wanted people to fall for me” to which I said, “Yes but not another guy!” He laughed and so did I.

As I pulled away from that encounter, I knew that whenever fencing was mentioned to him he would remember the incident and my name.

I learned some great lesson in prospecting from this episode. There is nothing to fear in prospecting. Most people that own business are trying to put a little cash in their pocket the same as me. If I have a good product to offer by all means I am going to continue to make appointment, share the product and services and build relationships with each person I can.

Overcoming a fear of prospecting is replaced by repeated action. Start that list of potential customers. Then beginning at the top call each companies on the list until you have set up opportunities to serve. Then go out and meet them, present your worthy product and follow up with an email, letter or phone call. Finally, remember in the future, they may help you by placing that huge order in your lap.

Jon Mullender

Summit Fence Supply, LLC

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