Tuesday, 19 February 2013

City folk, country folk and money manners

Selling roof trusses for a third of a century has taught me a lot about customer character.  In short, I'd rather sell to country folk than city folk and older is better than younger.

If I'm shipping to the Kootenays or northern Washington, the customer will try to get money in my hand before I ask.   If unloading is awkward, they'll use a tractor bucket to help or even get neighbours to help unload a flat deck by hand.  They appreciate the service and trust you to do a lot of the planning for them.

Jacks with dropped pre-painted
tails for the Osoyoos Cottages.
If I'm shipping to small towns, the customer will have a cheque for the driver or get one in the mail within a few weeks.  They expect you to get the trusses off-loaded on your own but don't mind them being set on the ground.  They specify some of the truss details and will probably be repeat customers.

If I ship to a city, the customer expects to be granted 30 to 60 days of credit.  If I don't put the trusses in tidy bundles on the roof for them, they are stunned.  If anything isn't just right, expect a chargeback. Every detail is specified in advance and the plans are difficult, somewhat self-important.  Don't expect a thank you except for exemplary service.  Don't expect customer loyalty.

And how do you know if the cheque will be good?
If they are retired people, it will be good.
The younger, the more I worry.
And despite having spent most of my life as a professed Christian,
the worst signal of all is a customer who just wants to talk about The Lord instead of trusses.
These customers expect to be given scads of grace.
Don't expect to be paid in full any time soon.

Am I overstating it?  Of course.
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