Solomon Bruce Consulting Blog

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Why Would You Not Give A Quote?

   One of our consultants had coffee with Steve Scasta of Profit Drivers Sales Consulting today.  As they were talking, our consultant said that he had been seeking some quotations for some promotional products-- and had waited 3 weeks for the quote.

    Steve's question was, "Why Would You Not Give a Quote?"

    Interesting Question--- "Why Would You Not Give a Quote?"

    Our money is good, the check will not bounce---- why does it take 3 weeks to get a quote?

    Any ideas on this question?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Here, You Need a New Glass Case

    One of our consultants was in Billings, Montana last week for the Energy Forum at the Metra Park.  His glass case was broken.  He stopped in at Marion Optical in Billings.  The Owner, Marsha Price visited with him.  He said, "I need a new glass case."  Ms. Price said, "Here, you do need a new glass case!  Take this one."
     Our consultant wanted to pay for it, however, Ms. Price said that to "Just take it," something good will happen.  Well, now, how about them apples?
      The customer wanted to pay, the business owner said No, "Just take it" and both individuals went away happy.  OK, here is the other part of the story.  Our consultant has used Marion Optical for many years.  The service, product offerings and pleasant staff are the best in the Upper Rocky Mountains!
       When someone comes into your business, do you periodically say, "Just take it?"  No, of course, you cannot say that every time someone comes in, you would be broke and out of business in no time.  However, doing it periodically is probably a good practice.  In fact, we do that here in the consulting business.  We periodically help someone with advice, using the "Just take it" philosophy of Ms. Price.  Does it work?  Well, we are not sure.  What we are sure of is that, just like this example, the client went away happy, the business owner was happy and something got accomplished.
        Next time when someone needs something, consider the "Just Take It" philosophy.  You cannot do it all the time, however, there are times when it is the right action to take.
       If you need new glasses, new glass frames and want to work with a real professional, go see Marion Opticians, located at 1212 Grand Avenue/#4 in Billings, Montana.  Ask for Marsha, the owner.  You will be as happy as our consultant was-- that is, very, very happy with the product and the service.  You will not be disappointed!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

We Knew What the Problem was Right Away!

     Yesterday, we addressed the challenge of receiving a product that was not correct.  Today, we went and picked up the product.  Here is what happened--

  A.  The Vice President of the firm called and told our consultant that the problem had been fixed.  Could they deliver the product?  No, we would come and pick it up.  If there was a problem, at least we would not have to go back and "find the right person to fix it."

  B.  The Vice President said that they recognized immediately what caused the problem and fixed it.  However, we should take the product, try it and if not satisfied 100%, bring it back and they will make a new product.  Was that OK?

    Well, sure, that was fine!  If the product was repaired and worked as advertised, we did not need a replacement product, we only ordered one, we did not need two.

   C.  Our staff goes and picks up the product.  The sales associate brings the product out, shows our staff member how the manufacturing defect was fixed and said, "This will work fine!"  We used the product and it appeared to be function as designed.

    D.  OK, do we need to pay for it now?  No was the answer, take it and use it.  Come back next week and then we'll figure out what we need to do-- use the one we manufactured, manufacture another one or do something else!

     Well, how could you go wrong with a deal like that?  We decided that we'll try the product and in all likelihood, return and pay the bill.  We suspect that we have a product that will work just fine!

     How would you handle this matter?  We are impressed with how the company handled this.  The Vice President of the firm stated several times that he wanted us completely satisfied!  We'll use the product and see how it works.  Follow the blog, we'll report on what happens next!

Monday, August 13, 2012

We Made a Mistake--We Will Fix It!

    Twice today, we received products that were not correct.  In one case, the function was fine, however the art work color was off, way off.  When we checked with the vendor, the words were, "Let me check and see."  A few minutes later, the vendor said that the colors were Blue and Grey.  True, however, the crux of the question was the hue.  We provided the hue colors.  Again, the vendor said, "We made a mistake-we will redo the work for free.  We made a mistake."  OK, fair enough-- the functionality of the piece was not in question, however, the color made all the difference in the world!

     The second piece was a piece of cloth for a trade show display.  As we unrolled it and placed it on the table, the table runner "gathered" at the bottom.  Our consultant asked if that was natural-- was told No, however, if ironed, it will come out.  OK, let's try ironing it.  Well, you guessed it-- that was NOT the problem.  The owner of the store came and said that they would have to redo the piece, however could not have it ready for the time when we needed it.  However, if we were willing, they would try and "modify" the piece they had made for us.  Well, we were now in a square corner-- we had no choice.  The owner was sincerely sorry for the error.  Interestingly, for those of you who sew, the "tension" on the hem seam was too tight, causing the piece to "gather" at the bottom.  How do they fix it?  Well, they only put in one hem instead of two and use less tension.  UMM, you learn something every day.

      In each case, both vendors recognized that they made an error and wanted to make it right.  In our case, we wanted the final product and were willing to pay for it.  In both cases, the world is not going to end-- we will get along with what we have.  What is exciting is that there was no hassle or extra discussion.  An error was made-- the vendor wanted to do it right and that was that!!

       If you have an error-- is there a long discussion or do you say, "No problem, we will fix it?"  Red OXX manufacturing has a NO BULL Lifetime product warranty.  NO BULL-- if the product breaks, they fix it-- no questions asked.  That was what happened here-- "No problem, we will fix it."

       How do you handle errors that are made?  Is it the NO BULL policy, like Red OXX or some other long line of discussion?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Call if You Are Late!

      One of the key points of a professional is to respect the meeting time of a client, colleague or other professional.  If you are going to be late for a meeting, just a minute, give a call, text or email and tell whomever you are meeting with that you are going to be late.  It could be the train blocks the roadway, a fire truck makes you pull over or any host of other challenges.  It makes no difference what the delay is, you are delayed and your client, customer, colleague is waiting, wondering where you are-- all the time thinking "Where are you--why am I waiting?"

      Some folks think that keeping an individual waiting is a sign of "power" or "dominance" over the other individual.  Another way to think about it is that of disrespect and lack of consideration for your colleague.

      There are a whole multitude of reasons why one is late-- it really makes no difference what the reason is-- what is important is that you are respectful of your colleague/client or other professional and the time that he/she has given to your meeting.  After all, you also thought it important to meet or you would not have scheduled the meeting, right?

       If you are going to be late, irrespective of the reason, notify your meeting partner that you will be late and will arrive as soon as possible.  In that way, your meeting partner knows and understands the delay, and is less likely to be frustrated when the meeting begins.  This should also allow your meeting to be more productive and profitable.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Are Warehouse Stores Always A Good Deal?

    Many business owners shop at big warehouse stores for products.  These stores, set up for small business, large families and corporate functions work-- if you use the product frequently!  If you buy a whole pack of pens, use 5 or 6 and then when you need some more, the ink is dried up and the pen is no good, you have wasted money, time and storage space buying a jumbo size package.
     Warehouse stores work best when you buy products in quantity and use those same products in quantity.  Let's take the pen example-- it makes great sense to buy a big pack of pens if yours "walk off" frequently.  You may have a business where people need to sign credit card slips, bills/invoices/customer orders.  If that is the case and the pen "walks off", then probably a warehouse store purchase is in order.  However, if you are a small jewelry store and only have 3 employees, each has his/her own pen, then buying the big pack of pens is probably not a wise expenditure.
      Having your money expended in inventory which is not returning your investment is not good business sense.
      Taking the pen example again.  If your pens find a home other than your counter, you may wish to consider some promotional marketing pieces with your name, address, website and phone number on the pen.  In that way, your pen becomes a walking billboard for your business!
       The warehouse store purchase is good if you use the product frequently, are able to turn it over rapidly, sell it rapidly and don't need to store it.  If that is NOT the case, you are probably money ahead to buy fewer product, albeit at a higher nominal cost, but overall, probably a cheaper functional cost for each item.