The Way You Make Me Feel… You Knock Me Offa My Feet!

Regatta on the Charles River, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. These kids can eat some sandwiches!

John Ryan, your humble author. Also owner of AlphaGraphics Providence, RI and Waltham, Massachusetts locations

John Ryan, your humble author and owner of AlphaGraphics Providence, RI and AlphaGraphics Waltham, Massachusetts locations

$2000-Worth of Sandwiches
As an active supporter of my children’s athletic teams, this weekend was the “mother of all weekends.” A group of parents were involved with feeding nearly 100 hungry athletes and their families at a regatta that ran from 7 am to 1 pm on Saturday. One of the mainstay items we serve are an assortment of sandwiches. When the parent/volunteer in charge of sandwiches reached out to a favorite local sandwich shop to make an order, the immediate response was filed with expressions like “you gotta,” and “no guarantees,” and “I’m not bringing someone in early.” On the reaction of this shop’s representative, the astute parent decided immediately to call another shop. This time, instead of being made to feel guilty for placing a $2000 order, she felt confident in placing her order for what would be everyone’s lunch. The warm reaction and comforting assurance she received were a great contrast to the first shop’s treatment.  Shop #2′s representative told her that not only would they have the large sandwich order ready, he would bring someone in early to make sandwiches fresh rather than making them the night before. As it turned out, the sandwiches were fantastic and the story of the decision to go with shop #2 was relayed to many attendees of our event (names included), giving even more word of mouth endorsement to the chosen shop and more bad press to shop #1!

Lunch after Regatta on the Charles River, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Lunch after Regatta on the Charles River, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Our Extraordinary Digital Color Operator in AlphaGraphics Providence. There is none better with color, and Chis has been here over 10 years! His motto: Bring it on!

I’m Happy When You’re Happy!
It was 4:45 on Friday afternoon when the phone rang at our AlphaGraphics business center–a call had come in to our Waltham location. A potential customer had located us doing a Google search and was in need of a large number of color flyers. He said he wanted to send the files in the next day (Saturday) and the job needed to arrive in New Jersey on Monday. A quick call to our digital operator (who loves O.T.) yielded a resounding “Bring it on!” We told the man that we would be happy to handle the project. We finished the job and took it to ship late Saturday afternoon. The client was ecstatic! He explained that he had spoken to four businesses and we were the only one that did not make him feel guilty. He also said one other business reluctantly agreed to get the job done, and they were slightly lower in price, but he said he decided to go with us because of how we made him feel. Rather than guilty, we made him feel comfortable. His feeling of comfort with us was what closed the deal. He was happy, we’re happy to have produced a last-minute $2500 job, and he now wants to talk with us about more work!

Sweet is as Sweet Does
Fruit for AlphaGraphicsOn Sunday at 1 pm I found myself in a situation that called for sending a thoughtful gift–a fruit arrangement seemed to be just the thing. I began looking for a business that would send something nice for me right away, and of course since it was Sunday I knew that arranging a delivery might be problematic. I first tried the most place closest to my delivery destination (1.2 miles away from our friend’s home according to our search on Google). We could tell immediately that the company was not happy to get our call. “The only way is if you get here before 2 pm and pick it up yourself,” the person said on the phone. We couldn’t get there so we tried another fruit arrangement company which was 14.7 miles away. “Absolutely we will make something really special for you,” the manager said,  “and I will deliver it myself.” I’m not sure what the margin is on fruit arrangements but it was a big order, and I have no doubt that their goal is to sell as many fruit arrangements as possible.

Feelings… Nothing More Than Feelings
There are many stories of sales lost and sales gained, but based on the weekend’s experiences, I now have a fantastic new sandwich shop, a new go-to for edible fruit arrangements and a new printing customer. The business lesson is that when people are trying to give you money for your services, don’t make them feel guilty! Embrace them, thank them and get it done. If you can’t do it, tell them honestly that you can’t but don’t make them feel like it’s their fault. It may be [strictly] business, but people still have feelings, and if you leave them feeling good, they won’t soon forget your helpfulness and good nature, and they’ll want to see you again.

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