Paying it Forward

I am a member of a 5000-strong group of people who do what I do. A few of us had quite an on-line chat the other day about ethics and good business practices, and the necessity of turning away customers on occasion. From that grew the discussion about sending potential customers to another dealer or retailer, and the value of giving away information without any expectation of monetary returns.

The majority of those who engaged in the conversation said it was OK to give away information IF there was the possibility of a job down the line. A few of us stood our ground and said, “No, give away your knowledge whenever you can; the good will come back to you.” Back in “the day” we called it Karma.

A few weeks ago I had a call from a gal who had recently moved into a south facing apartment. The plastic mini-blinds supplied by the landlord were not providing nearly enough coverage for her. We chatted and narrowed down her needs, and it became clear that this job had an almost non-existent budget. I know a bit about what the big box stores carry — I’ve done some research. So I shared that information and she realized that what she could buy at the big box store was within her budget and would exactly meet her needs.  She was very, very appreciative and I felt good.

I went to Alberta last weekend and the muffler in my car blew. Two dealers had a look and said it was shot and I’d need a new one, but I couldn’t get it done because of the long weekend and no stock availability.  Back in Salmon Arm, I called around and was quoted about $400.00 for the new one — just the parts.  Then I called the only guy in the book who has “Muffler” in his name. Two minutes up on the hoist he tells me,”No, you don’t need a whole new unit, you just need a new section of pipe.” And boy did he save me a whack of money.

We talked about giving away information, and doing what is right for the customer. His business was very busy that day, and every one of his employees was smiling. Says a lot about the boss, and his integrity, and his ethics.  And I’ll be singing his praises to anyone who’ll listen.

Written by