I USED to sell to the hardware trade and had a very good customer in the west called ‘Padge’ who was quite a character.
He was known to hit the old bottle on occasion and disappear to the races for a few days out of the blue. However, he knew a fair bit about business, and was great man to give a rep an order.
I arrived outside his shop one day and he was standing at the shop window having a smoke and looking very glum indeed.
When asked how things were, he intimated that things were not great. ‘See that fella in there behind the counter?’ he said. ‘Do you know what his nickname is?’. Trying not to look, I said I didn’t. ‘His name is No-Na.’ Why was that?
‘Because whenever anyone comes into the shop and asks him do we have such-and-such, he just says ‘No, Na, we don’t have that here at all.’ This explained why things were so bad.
I know this isn’t an MBA theory or anything, but do you have a ‘No-Na’ in your organisation? I went to two hardware shops in Cork last week and in one, no-one could find what I wanted, and no-one knew when, or if, they would have it. In the other, it was all positive and ‘No problem,’ and, ‘Yes, we have it of course, sir,’ and, ‘If not, we can have it by lunch hour tomorrow.’
It is so baffling why anyone would run a business and not be that way to every customer that comes in the door. People want their problems solved. There’s money to be made making peoples’ lives better. But you see it all the time. The ‘No-Nas’.
So what do you do about it? Change it to ‘Yes, yeah’! Could anything be simpler?