Out with the old, in with the new?

Each of us has witnessed a child receiving a new toy. The surprise, joy and look of anticipation in their eyes is amazing. But, the toy is quickly left behind as the excitement builds for the next undiscovered toy. The new one is soon in-hand without another thought.

New versus old

Many of us could easily recall having a childhood friend who was, for the most part, our shadow; where you would see one you could find the other: inseparable, together to the end!

As high school rolled around the copious amounts of time from earlier years that seemed endless were fast disappearing. With hitting classes, making sports and meeting new people being the leading factor of its consumption, little time was left for “together to the end.” Wanting to participate in as much as possible meant that decisions had to be made. Personal desire dictated who or what took priority; the result of an oversight or blunder was negligible at that stage. Through all of this and without knowledge, a metamorphosis has begun, a juggling act begins, and you are in the early stages of multi-tasking.

Have you ever attended a function where you did not know all of the people present? Observed as folks mingled and talked? If so, could you study the room and decipher which couples have been together for a length of time and those that are still “young” in their connection to each other? It really doesn’t take long before spotting the couple of many years as their actions exhibit “going through the motions.” Nothing too exciting here; no longer a “wow” factor (old toy). A newer couple stands out, almost appearing happier, possibly because everything is still young (new toy); the unknown is keeping it alive and fresh with no real end in sight.

The new toy in town

Route sales, when you think about it, could very easily be compared to the scenarios above. Servicing the same customers for years certainly helps form connections. This does not preclude the chances of these interactions becoming mundane. Now accustomed to the weekly occurrence, it has developed into part of the shop’s culture. The novelty can wear off over time. This does not reduce the relevance - just the allure.

Now add into the mix a new customer in a valued shop. After a short conversation, it has become clear that many tools are needed. Like a child receiving a new toy, a renewed sense of purpose is born and there’s a little extra spring in your step.

Over the following weeks the tech has many needs. Tending to the new tool purchases consumes time - this must be pulled from somewhere. Being extremely proficient at this point is the only way all of the tasks of the day can be accomplished. Now, more than ever, treating a veteran customer like an old toy will surely leave the perception that his needs are of little concern compared to the new tech on the block.

Finding the balance

Our self acclaimed “busy” lives could easily have us walking a fine line from which the treasure we seek will not be gained, either side we fall. It is when on this line that the significance of family, friends and customers could possibly be reduced, or at least appear that way. And in this business, it’s crucial that the little things are not overlooked, because doing so may allow them to grow and transform into something very big.

Relationship: this is an interesting word that has a few different meanings. Even if you know its meaning, I urge you to pull out the dictionary (OK, just Google it) and read the definition. Then, read it again slowly. Each of us has relationships with family, friends and customers; our understanding of the meaning and application in each situation will directly affect failure and success.

Commitment, attention and follow-up are required for the health of the relationship to remain viable. Eliminate any one of those elements and be prepared for the impending doom.

New oftentimes is nothing more than different - that too will change with time; being mindful of what you currently have will always keep new in check and help balance existing relationships.

Joe Poulin is a district manager based in Gray, Maine, for Mac Tools. Send any comments or feedback you have for Joe by e-mail to dpoulin2@maine.rr.com.