a good sales tip – you never know who you are talking to

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An old garden customer rang me this morning asking if I could do some work for her. It was just a bit of grass cutting and tidying, not something I could charge a lot for. in the gardening business, there is no such thing as a fixed price. We charge according to the difficulty of the job, how much we like the customer, their circumstances as we sum them up to be, the distance from home, the number of trips to the recycle. A sole trader has no one to rely on but himself or herself so bad decisions rebound on you much more severely than if you worked for a large corporation.

Because I like this lady I decided to do the job and then she rang me back and said, “oh by the way, do you travel as far as Keynsham”. Normally I wouldn’t but I will to someone I know. Her parents live there and evidently their garden is a mess which will require considerable work and for which I can charge the market rate. The point is that you never know what contacts a customer has. She may be an archetypal little old lady, but she may have a list of contacts as long as your arm and if you do well for her, she will recommend you to others or point you in their direction. It is always good to have a stock of cards and leaflets with you if you possibly can. It is very unprofessional to tell someone that you have “just given the last card out”.

So, after I’ve done the little job for her on Wednesday we shall all drive to her contact in Keynsham and see what we can do. Appearances are sometimes deceptive and the rule of thumb is that poorer people know other poorer people but sometimes that rule is gloriously broken.

This evening, we went to my favourite local pub, the Old Down Inn. this was originally a stop on the mail route from London to Exeter. Maxine, the owner, lends light and colour to this characterful establishment and when you go, you never know who you’re going to meet. This evening we met the co-editor of the Mendip Times and discussed many things such as photography, St Ives, the Mells Daffodil Festival happening next Monday and goodness knows what else besides.

Cheddar cider is a bit like Scrumpy. It is deceptively and fizzy and un alcoholic but it is somewhat less than drinking wine at 10%. Thank goodness my wife drives me home because although there are no police to be seen, the very time you’re over the limit will be the time when a police car appears from nowhere and bingo, your business collapses because you’re not allowed to drive your car for a year.

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