– How the little guys can win the business away from the mega stores.

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Ever notice how things come in threes, such as accidents, deaths, or other forms of misfortune. This recently happened to me unexpectedly when my laundry dryer died, along with my outside weed trimmer, and leaf blower. I guess I should have anticipated them breaking down as they were all getting old, but for some reason they all decided to stop working on the same day. Kaput! This, of course, forced me to purchase replacements, something I didn’t relish as I seem to have developed a knack for selecting the wrong product. In the past, I would go to a super hardware store (I won’t mention any names here, but you know who I mean) where I had plenty to chose from at bargain prices, but nobody to talk to about the product. If by chance you were able to tackle a sales clerk, they of course knew nothing about the products. This approach resulted in me purchasing a long line of lousy products that didn’t last long, particularly weed trimmers.

This time though I decided to do something different and visit smaller retailers. I bought the dryer at “Famous Tates” and the trimmer and blower at a local Ace Hardware store. I am pleased to report both trips turned into enjoyable experiences. First, even though “Famous Tates” isn’t a mega store, they are still a major appliance retailer in our area with a good reputation. My wife and I walked into their showroom on a Thursday night and twenty minutes later walked out with our receipt in hand. First, we knew what we wanted to get, but more importantly, we had a good salesman who knew his product inside and out, explained our options, and in the process, made us feel comfortable with our purchasing decision.

The Ace Hardware experience was similar in that I had a salesman who knew his products, how they worked, their warranty, etc. He even fueled the machines and tested them for me before I purchased them. Needless to say, I was pleased. The products were good, but it was a little old-fashioned salesmanship that swayed me. Whereas the “bottom-basement prices” of the mega stores were enticing, the products at Ace were sold by people who understood customer service. I may have paid a little more for the products, but it was worth it.

The salesmen at both Famous Tates and Ace were not hucksters trying to make a quick buck, nor were they “crazy” about making outrageous deals. No, they were very much in control of their faculties and knew what they were doing. Frankly, I appreciated their professionalism. Then again, I have always admired someone who knows what they are doing, regardless of their profession. The two retailers may have sold their products that day, but more importantly they earned the respect of a dedicated customer, one who will return.

Now I wonder what will be the next three things to die on me. Probably the washing machine, chain saw and hedge trimmer. Don’t forget, everything comes in threes.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific); and WWBA-AM (News Talk Florida 820). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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