Slippers - service and selling
Slippers – Service and Selling by Mark Blumsky with Neil Miller, published by Hodder Moa $24.99
Based on ‘What the plumber taught the mayor about business’, this simple story highlights practical ways to succeed in business.
Written by ex MP, Mayor of Wellington and businessman, Mark Blumsky, Slippers had its beginnings in a series of speeches he gave on the secrets of business success, following a positive experience with a plumber.
As well as being timely and professional, the plumber also had a point of difference, bringing slippers to wear on the job.
Using this example, Blumsky looks at how to find the point of difference that distinguishes your business from others, operating in the same area of work.
Blumsky describes Slippers as a friendly book, not an autobiography, but a collection of stories and experiences connected by the slippers theme.
Cartoon pictures are incorporated along with conversations between a hotel clerk and guest, Mark and his staff, but most importantly, Peter the plumber and Mark.
After his experience with Peter, Mark, who is the book’s storyteller, deduces there are three important concepts in business – vision, point of difference and attitude.
Mark, who left Hannah’s Footwear Company to start his own shoe store, Mischief Shoes, explains how he introduced these three concepts to his new business.
A ‘ten out of ten’ check list gives ten actions or techniques to be used in every interaction with a potential customer to create a relationship with the customer, focused on customer service, rather than directly related to selling (shoes in this case).
Under the heading ‘Are you being served?’, there’s a list of horror stories we can all identify with, illustrating where customer service is lacking. For example: - “The two staff in the shop were too busy discussing their weekend. Admittedly there was a hell of a lot to discuss, most of it x-rated. I started to feel nauseous, as well as ignored, so I left”.
One way of checking out your business is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. As mayor, Blumskey said he’d “spend a day dishing out parking tickets or answering the phones”, to understand the business of running a city.
While the challenge for businesses is “to find their own slippers and to enjoy the process of implementing them”, you are reminded, it is important to remember your edge will not last indefinitely. If you want to remain number one, you have to continue to innovate.
Blumsky’s suggestions will help you do that.
Appeared NZ Business July'09
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