On Saturday, I was finishing up my second party of the day at about 7PM. Suddenly, my phone rang. Normally, I wouldn’t pick it up during a party, but the number was local to where I lived and I worried it was someone calling on behalf of my husband (maybe one of kids swallowed a battery again. Yes, this actually happened once.)
Hi, Grace. You don’t know me but I found you on Google. It’s my mother’s birthday party. We have a houseful of people and our Pure Romance consultant didn’t show up. Is there any way you could come?
I checked the time. Could she wait an hour and half for me to wrap up and drive the hour to her location? She said they would. I finished up and rushed down there. There were eight guests waiting. We all had a lot of fun and I left with $650 in sales and some very grateful new customers. It was good night.
Here’s what I want to say about that experience and what I want you take away from this blog even if you never take away anything else:
Small Businesses live or die by their reputation
I have no idea what happened with the consultant who was supposed to do the party. The hostess reported that she tried to contact the consultant repeatedly and didn’t get any response until the day of the party saying that she just couldn’t come. I personally still can’t get over this. Booking parties is challenging. Having a party well attended can also be a feat. Why you would turn down an opportunity with both when you are trying to build a business is beyond me. Even if something had truly come up, she should have been the one to scramble and find a replacement, not the hostess. This is really poor business behavior.
When you run a small business – direct sales, online, little brick n mortar Mom & Pop – your reputation is your most precious piece of marketing. As I’ve said before, we’re not Walmart. We cannot use quantity of sales to make up for quality of service. If we do not treat our customers well, do what we promise and stand behind our products, people will stop supporting us. Moreover, they will relate their poor experiences to others until your street cred is so destroyed that you can’t do business at all. I’ve seen this happen to more than one small business before and this consultant’s business may easily be the next to go.
The following will likely happen:
- The ladies at that party will surely tell other women which could easily lead people to be reluctant to book with her in the future or even cancel parties they already have booked.
- Fellow consultants are now going to be reluctant to support and recommend this consultant themselves since proved to be undependable.
- If the hostess makes a complaint to our corporate office, she will wind up with a mark on her record there as well.
Honestly, though I don’t think any of this will matter because she’s already made her choice. My guess is that this was a hobby and a thing she thought she’d like to do, but when it became inconvenient she didn’t want to have to deal with it. The reputation if her business is not something even on her radar.
Let’s be clear:
If the reputation of your business doesn’t matter to you, you shouldn’t be in business.
A business is built on trust. You have to treat your customers well and follow through. If you don’t do this, not only do you ruin your own reputation, you can royally screw up the plans of the customers who put their trust in you. My hostess said that the birthday girl was pretty devastated when the party she was looking forward to looked like it wasn’t going to happen. Don’t do that to people.
I’m glad I was able to save the day, but I’d also like to see everyone do right by their customers and businesses reputations. It’s what we live and die by .