Customers; are an immutable part of doing a boat show as a vendor. They are your livelihood, your joy, and your bane. They include:
- The customer who comes by year after year but never buys;
- Those who continually delve for more answers and force you to become more knowledgable;
- The customers who challenge your knowledge and then stay to teach you something new and exciting- awakening you to new opportunity;
- And the ones who are looking for precisely what you have, pay cash and bring their friends back to see your booth.
Those last ones make your day, but not necessarily the show or your career. You need to pay attention to what the other customers say, or you’ll never learn what your booth is missing. Comments from customers that start with: “what I’d really like-” are your cue to listen and take notes.
Some vendors seem to have killer products and happily sell them year after year. Others are on a quest for product development, and our customers offer free product development information. Being a nautical woodcarver is a very niche trade, and I don’t think there is a typical customer.
I’ve had to juggle all the time for cash flow and profits. But It has kept my mind flexible and taught me to keep an eye out for the new and exciting – the hunt for a killer product.
6 Replies to “The Killer Product”
I miss serving customers they taught me a lot. The customer is always right. when they are wrong they are especially right. The ability to serve each customer no matter their needs, emotions or foibles is a great skill to have. Good post, Lou.
Mason, you are absolutely correct. And if I remember correctly in your craft any number of famous dishes were made at the request, or to honor, specific customers.
Oh sure, the best restaurants will listen to their customers requests and make it happen to please them. SO, the chef has to be ready to adapt dishes for allergies, dietary requirements or to suit taste at any given moment. You get weird requests at times too.
I remember on lady ordering a chopped salad but wanting all the ingredients separate as she didn’t like them mixed!
It’s good to know that it’s ok to ask; some vendors take offence on any comments.
I came up in the Marine Trades as a craftsman. When you get beyond the 16-foot runabout customization is where the money is, and being that nautical carving is a luxury item in a luxury trade you learn to listen; even if you know that they are wrong.
Listening is the hardest thing most people ever do.
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