Submitted by Don Doman
While setting the tables on our deck for an evening dinner party I could hear the familiar tinkle of ice cream truck driving around the neighborhood. It was a beautiful afternoon in the comfortable seventies. My mind wandered to the film Mr 3000, staring Bernie Mac as a major league baseball star who comes back to the majors. An arrogant player past his prime Bernie Mac’s character, Stan Ross is accepted only after he adopts the attitude of an ice cream man. This attitude is something we can all do to help us in life and in business.
The little truck pulls onto your street with bells ringing, a song is playing, and people come running with smiles on their faces. This is as true today as it has been for more than a century. People love to see the ice cream man (man, woman, or person). Don’t you wish the same thing happened every time someone knows you’re nearby selling your product or service?
Do people come running when you’re in town or on their block? Do they merely put up with you and avoid you when they can? Sure, you say, selling ice cold popsicles and ice cream on a hot day is one thing, but selling your multi-faceted widget week after week is another. I agree timing is everything, but still . . . if you could bottle the customer service and outlook of the ice cream salesman, you might do better at selling yourself and your own products.
Here is what the Ice Cream Man has to offer:
- They see someone come running and they stop what they are doing just for that customer.
- They are as happy to see their customers as the customers are to see them.
- They give each customer their full attention.
- They recognize old customers and call them by name.
- They make suggestions, even when the customer already knows what they want to order.
- They deliver the product right then and there.
- They know their product line and easily recommend something that will do the job as well if they don’t have exactly what the customer is looking for.
- They don’t run down the competition or even mention them.
- They use good taste to measure success.
- They cater to enthusiastic people enthusiastically.
Bonus – If there is an immediate problem, they can offer a solution right then.
As always, it’s a combination of product and salesmanship that matter to people. Think about the Ice Cream Man and how he uses attitude and customer service. For the ice cream salesman, it’s a two-way street. If you want your customers to come running, you should be just as eager to run towards them.