Let me take a moment of your precious time to explain "my" philosophy and my Companies Philosopy.... which are the one and the same.
It's my soapbox, so I don't expect everyone to "get it", and I don't expect every one that sees this article to finish reading it
..... but you should.
I turned 72 in Oct of 2011. It seems I've been selling all of my life (since about 1960).
"Back in the Day" I sold magazines Door to Door.
"Back in the Day" I sold Life, Health and Cancer Insurance door to door - Even in the "rurals"
"Back in the Day" I was a "chase man" for a finance company's "bad accounts".
Some of the areas I was required to go to were "not the best", so I also carried a Pistola in the glove compartment.
"Back in the Day" I rarely had a car that started every time and didn't use more oil than gas per mile
When things got better.....
"Back in the Day" I worked 10 years as a salesman for a regional Distributor of electronic parts and Consumer Electronics.
"Back in the Day" I worked 15 years as a salesman for the largest national "Distributor of industrial supplies and MRO equipment".
"Back in the Day" When I was "on the road", I put on a suit, got into my car (Most mornings at 6am )
and made 10-20 sales stops a day, five days a week.
These (last) two companies did not always have the best and lowest price. Some times we never had the lowest price, and often we didn't even have the most "Popular" product lines. On several major brands we distributed, we also had to compete head on with the same manufacturers that we bought from... who sold direct to the "big boys". ... I quickly found out a few things that produced business and what set some competitors apart from the rest.
In order to "survive", I quickly learned that "Price" was not always the only criteria that convinced a customer to do business with a company. Yes, Price mattered, but most times it was "service" and proving that My Company was willing to go the extra mile to earn the business. My "personal agenda" was to show people that I was not afraid to work. I was up before sunup and got home most evenings at sundown. For years I faced the sun going and coming. (went East in the morning and returned home to the West in the evening"). I made sure every customer knew how hard I worked by observing it. I wanted to show them that because I was a direct representative of the company - then logically my company must also be willing to work just as hard to give customer satisfaction as "I" did. Consequentially, many of my biggest sales were started when a customer called "me". I never lacked for business, and while not always the salesman on "top", I was always in the top 10%. I don't think I had "sales talent", I just knew how to work hard and prove my worth to the people that "made" me a living. To me the Golden Rule was the "old" Golden Rule.
For that, the vast majority of people I sold to, bought from us because we were able to serve them in a way the "competition" either couldn't or was not willing to do (for their price). We impressed them by giving personalized attention, helped them when they needed help, and proved to them that we were worth the difference between what they paid to us and what they could pay "someone else". We were not just a faceless phone number.
A good example is: I once called on a local TV/Stereo/Appliance chain that had 7 locations. I got the buyer to let us put a one foot box of drawers full of replacement phonograph needles in one of their stores, and then I would go each week, and take an inventory, write my order of what was sold and then go present it (each week) to the buyer. What was actually happening was the buyer was agreeing to see me every week, and I didn't even need an "appointment". I did this for over 2 years. Eventually I did it for all 7 stores, adding them one at a time. Eventually, they became my largest account, bought Car Stereos/TV's and TV antenna's and phonograph needles. I won a trip to Monaco France from the antenna sales one year. The antenna company gave books of S&H Green Stamps (remember?) for sales of their antennas. I don't know too many people that have taken a trip to Monaco on S&H Green Stamps <ggg> ..... all because of phonograph needles and an relentless passion to give service where it was not expected.
All these years on the road, working from someone else, I kept telling myself, If "I" ever had my own business, I would carry forward these same concepts. I would give to my customers the things that the competition was not providing or unwilling to provide. I wouldn't have to "talk down" my competitors.... I wouldn't even have to mention them.... all I would have to do was "do my own thing" better that anyone else. Let my competitors talk about "me", as I know what I'm worth, and they are only tarnishing "their worth" by making such comments. I've always said, you can tell a person's most secret sins by listening to how they complain about someone elses (sins). So I keep my mouth shut and let the other people reveal their true personal motives.
I started programming for Scanners "Back in the Day" when scanners only had 10 channels. (1989) The first such radio was a Yaesu FRG-9600. It required an ability to program in "some" computer language and then translate the meager one page of computer instructions given in the back of their owners manual. I had just bought a new "IBM", with a 10MB Hard Drive. I loaded up MS Basic for DOS, keyed it in, it worked, and Scancat was born. Our first Ad was in Popular Communications magazine. It cost $25.00 for a classified ad and we sold one copy for $24.95. So we basically "broke even". We reinvested the $25.00 again and again, and just "let er ride". As they say, "The rest is History".
"Back in the Day" there was no "trunking", and a Police system only had 3-4 frequencies total
"Back in the Day" few scanners had more than 100 channels - most only 20
"Back in the Day" it took about 30 minutes to manually program your scanner, and you didn't need the manual.
"Back in the Day" Cellular was forbidden, but receivable.
"Back in the Day" Many Radio Shack stores were locally owned, their employees were knowledgeable,
and they could program a scanner for you in about 10 minutes.
And here's a few more "Back in the Day" walks down memory lane for you old timers.
"Back in the Day" Gas was pumped by a "Service Attendant" who also checked your oil and water and washed your windshield
"Back in the Day" Gas stations were called Service Stations and changed oil, did minor repairs and had a full time mechanic.
"Back in the Day" You stepped up to get into a car, some weighed well over 2 tons, and still managed to get 20 MPG highway.
"Back in the Day" Pickup trucks were farm equipment, had "farm license plates" and stick shift only. Air Conditioning was not optional.
"Back in the Day" Japanese cars were called Rice Burners, not Luxury Cars. TV's were all hand wired and "Made in the USA".
"Back in the Day" Grocery stores "cut your meat to order" and didn't use red food coloring.
"Back in the Day" Milk came in glass bottles, the cream was on the top, and it was delivered daily to your front porch.
"Back in the Day" Drug Stores and Grocery stores Delivered
"Back in the Day" All the stores were located "down town".
"Back in the Day" Hamburgers were hand made and the buns didn't disintegrate when you grabbed them.
"Back in the Day" Most stores were locally owned - and usually staffed by a large number of family members
"Back in the Day" If you needed to find information on a subject, you had to have a Library card.
"Back in the Day" When you called a company, you got a real live person when the phone answered... Always
"Back in the Day" TV didn't show deep "cleavage" and actors never cussed.
"Back in the Day" You rarely kissed on a first date, let alone was successful at anything "else".
"Back in the Day" A woman never went to church in slacks, let alone shorts.
"Back in the Day" Ma Bell, US Steel and General Motors were known as Blue Chip Stocks.
"Back in the Day" You worked for a company all your life, and retired with a pension.
Going, Going Gone...... and most of us have helped them to "go"
"Remember when" WalMart was bragging about how all their products were "Made In America"
I will not knowingly buy a product "Made in China", if I have any choice of an American made product.
"Remember when" Self Service Gas pumps were in one lane, Full Service in another, This was the start of the demise of the "Service Station".
I will not check out using a store's automated bar code "kiosk". To me, it's an employee killer. I'll stand in line to save a job.
"Remember when" if you didn't have "cash" you saved up until you could buy what you wanted (with cash)
Almost all local retail stores had a "Christmas layaway plan". Only Gas Companies had Credit Cards.
Some things should never change from the way we did things "Back in the Day". The most important of them is called "service". Service is a qualitative thing. Hence it doesn't appear on a spread sheet or P&L statement. Most times it doesn't cost any more to give good service. Matter of fact it usually costs more in the long run to give poor service. We too often think the bottom line is what a stock holder sees on the balance sheet. We rarely understand that when we are willing to give up service for price that we become "bottom liners", and end up costing ourselves more down the road.
Maybe just Maybe that is why everything is so expensive and we get little or no service.
When is the last time you got very poor service and made a commitment to "never go back"?
Maybe just Maybe "we" are the ones responsible for all the undesirable content on television
When is the last time you wrote the advertiser of an offensive program, vowing to not buy from them as long as they "endorse" such misbehavior?
Maybe just Maybe you still have a choice to buy the same equivalent product "Made in the USA" and save an American's job.
When is the last time you actually checked the label so see the "country of origin"?
There is one proven way to cook a live frog. You drop him in a pan of ice cubes and water, and then slowly turn up the heat.
(Maybe) It has been simply a matter of our not noticing that the temperature of the water has changed from .... "Back in the Day"
.....Maybe, just maybe, there is still time to make a difference