If you’ve met me, you might recognise that I generally look around 5-10 years younger than my age, I smile a lot, if I’m out and about I’m likely to have a rucksack on my back, and I tend to wear practical clothes rather than fashionable.
However, I’m also involved various businesses that continue to grow around the UK, that are currently turning over hundreds of thousands of pounds a year (and so of course spend quite a lot of money with a lot of different suppliers from around the UK), so when I buy things, I tend to buy in bulk.
My recent experience:
Very recently however, whilst walking around my new local town, I happened to notice a small independent interior designers. Knowing that our new hotel is likely to be going through some significant internal renovations next year, I dropped in to have a look around, and discuss the potential of working together.
The lady in the store was already busy on the phone when I walked in.. so I didn’t rush her, but perused the small collection of fabrics and samples on display whilst waiting.
She didn’t seem like she’d be off the phone anytime soon, and hadn’t made any efforts to let me know she’d be right with me.
I then spotted a hardback interior design book on one of the chairs, so picked it up to get some further ideas to discuss. Flicking through the pages, I then spotted something tucked into the book, which looked very out of place, and quickly spotted it was a printed boarding pass for a flight that month. Trying to glance through to find out if this would be too late to get it to the owners (who must have left it by mistake), or whatever else I may be able to do to reunite it.
However, just then, the lady of the store (whilst still on the phone), snatched it out from my hands, told me not to touch it. She then quickly folded the paperwork back in half, and put it back in the book (by which time she’d also snatched this out of my hands). She then put the book back on the chair, and then walked back into the rear of the store to continue her discussion on the phone (who I could work out was a long term supplier).
Not surprisingly, I left the store.
Realising that a lot of people don’t always get to know what they might have missed, I felt it important to let her know. Therefore, with a smile in my step, and arms full of shopping I returned around 45 minutes later, sharing good news:
- I do own a small, local, luxury boutique hotel;
- We were looking to spend up to around £20,000 on some interior work (particularly on the design and finishing),
- And that unfortunately, due to the way I’d been treated by her a little earlier, there was absolutely no way I would now consider working with her or her company.
She was of course apologetic at this point, but it was too little : too late.
This incident is certainly not isolated.
A very succesful friend of mine had just been decorating her own new home, in a very expensive part of Guildford. Still partially covered in clothes caked in paint, she tried to register with a very local but expensive private dentists. The receptionist apparently wouldn’t even give her the time of day. But upon returning later that week, this time on her return from work (in a tailored suite), they couldn’t sign her up quickly enough.
Similarly, a good colleague who now runs fleet services for a well known luxury car company: shared with me a time one Saturday afternoon when a gentleman in casual jeans and a t-shirt turned up at the showroom and forecourt of the car firm, and was taking a good look around. The high pressure sales guys at the time didn’t take long to assume he was just going to waste their time, so they sent over the Saturday kid (John) who was trying to learn the trade whilst washing the cars. The gentleman had a few questions, that the kid tried to answer as best he could. The gentleman then asked how he could go about ordering 14 of these for his business.
Not surprisingly, the Saturday kid didn’t really know how to proceed, so went back to asked the main sales guys what to do next.. on hearing the news, they elbowed their way into trying to get the commission, but the gentleman in question stopped them, explained that they had all dismissed him whilst he was walking around and whilst trying to ask questions, and so John (the Saturday kid) was the only person who should get the commission from the significant sale.
Now being a hotel owner, I’m fortunate to meet many more incredible people from around the world who have come to stay with us.
Over the course of their stay, some of them are kind enough to share with me their background, and we do get all types of people. Some are nurses, midwifes, and teachers, others are mutli-millionaire business owners, now expanding, retiring, or just keeping busy. All of them look much the same, especially when they come down for breakfast in the hotel dressing gowns!
As the saying goes:
Apparently 40% of the decision to buy a book is based on its cover alone, but they do still say: “don’t judge a book by its cover”.
When it comes to people especially, basing your opinion on image alone, more than likely you’ll be completely wrong.