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Published:May 6th, 2008 16:35 EST
A Hot Tip for Business Success

A Hot Tip for Business Success

By Terry Sumerlin (Mentor/Columnist)

One morning, I attended the graveside service of a longtime customer of J.B.'s Barber Shop. While driving to the cemetery, I passed a certain restaurant and was reminded of an incident that happened there some years ago. Knowing the customer had a keen wit and sense of humor, I think he would have enjoyed this story. Maybe you will, too.

At the time the incident in the restaurant occurred, I was in direct sales. That particular day, I had a presentation a short distance from the establishment and decided to stop there for a cup of coffee, and go over my sales presentation.

When the waitress brought my coffee, I said to her, "Don't you think it's a bit warm in here?"

With a bit of a twang, she responded, "It sure is. We ain't got no air conditioning."

"How long has it been out?" I asked. Since it was the middle of the summer, I figured she would tell me it had been out a day or so.

You can imagine my surprise when she responded, "Ain't worked all summer."

"All summer?" I repeated. "That must have cost you some business."

The server's response is one I'll never forget: "Well, it has, but the owner feels like what he's lost in business he's made up in savings on the air conditioner."

Wow! You can't argue with that kind of logic. With that bit of penny-wise-pound-foolish philosophy, you wonder why the owner didn't run his business out of a tent and really cut back on overhead.

You also wonder what kind of mission statement goes with that approach. It seems it would have to be the kind that decorates the wall better than it guides the heart.

BARBER-OSOPHY: If the customer doesn't come first, don't be surprised when he doesn't come at all.


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