How a guy let ten dollar bills just fly on by!
I was driving to a couple of school shows last Friday. The school was in the middle of the desert and I’d been driving for about an hour and half.
I had to go to the bathroom and I thought it’d be wise to stop before I got to the school. That way I wouldn’t have to run in and say “Hi, I’m John and I gotta pee!”.
An Oasis in the Middle of the Desert
So, on the side of the road was something called a trading post. It was the only thing within about 40 miles. Basically, it looked like two shops next to each other. One had Indian rugs and such, and the other was more like a liquor store: Beer, sandwiches, water, sodas etc… They were obviously owned by the same person.
So, I walked up to the front and asked the trading post guy who looked like the manager/owner “Do you have a bathroom?” He fumbled for an answer for a second and then said “Are you a customer?”
Now he didn’t know if I was a customer or not. He didn’t know whether or not I had a hundred dollar bill burning a hole in my pocket to spend on his rugs, water and beer. All he knew is that he didn’t want anybody using his bathroom that wasn’t spending money FIRST.
So, of course he said, “No. This is not a public bathroom!” with a bit of a bad attitude.
I crossed my legs, grumbled a bit, got back in my car and went to the school and said “Hi, I’m John Abrams, can I use your bathroom before I get started?”
Well, I used the restroom, set up the shows, shows went great, I packed up and was ready to take the long drive home.
The Big Lesson:
Here’s something trading post man didn’t plan on. After my shows, I was starving! And I was thirsty. I had run out of water bottles (which I always keep in my car).
The trading post was literally two minutes from the school. I drove by and thought, I’m friggin’ hungry and thirsty. And there’s a trading post up ahead.
Oh, wait a minute. I’m not a customer! I can’t stop there and buy their food or water or anything. So I drove about 40 miles to the next pit stop and fed and watered.
I only spent about ten bucks. But that’s ten bucks that the trading post guy DIDN’T GET OUT ME.
There are thousands of cars driving by that stretch of road every day. How many people has trading post man pissed off (pardon the pun)? How many ten dollar bills has he let just pass on by?
Grabbing all those ten spots out of thin air sounds like an easy job to me.
How ’bout a sign that says “Driving long? Free bathroom break with every cup o’ coffee.” or “Thirsty? Make a pit stop and quench your thirst”
Heck, he’s the only market within miles. People will stop!
But nope. He’s satisfied with a bad attitude and terrible customer service and a dying business. There’s a reason that the only stop for miles on a busy highway was COMPLETELY EMPTY!
Now it’s time to take a look at your own business.
Are you bending over backwards to give your customers the best service possible? Are you offering something extra for free, or of amazing value? Or are you holding out, or giving an attitude, or doing things that don’t necessarily promote your business in the perfect light?
What else can you do to make sure when people visit your trading post, they’ll come back again and again?