What we learned from the Clay Lady…

As you might know I have a baby daughter, Olivia. She’s now 4 1/2 months old and last weekend my wife Christina and I went to have Olivia’s feet and hand prints set in clay, which will be fired in a kiln and made into a plate. I’m sure you know the type of thing I mean.

This was our 2nd attempt to make it to the “Clay Lady”.

The first time we went to see her, we called up the shop and got a voice recording that this was the *old number* and they’d changed address. We took down the new address, noted the store hours and drove 25 minutes to their new shop…

But hang on a second… when we got there the *new address* looked remarkably like a private house.


So I asked Christina, “Are you sure the address is correct?”

Christina jumped out of the car and rang the door bell.

The cleaning lady answered, as best she could in broken English.

After a few minutes Christina established that it was in fact the correct address, just that Clay Lady wasn’t *at work* despite their phone message saying otherwise.

IMPORTANT POINT: First impressions are everything. I thought we were going to a business, not a house.

Secondly, it was completely unprofessional for her not to be there as her phone message said she would be. Maybe something came up, I don’t know, so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Thirdly, never have your cleaning crew be your first point of contact with your prospective customers (or in our case as martial arts instructors, our students!).

We drove back home a little frustrated… and later that day Christina called again to speak with the mysterious Clay Lady.

This time Clay Lady answered the phone and told her that they’d just moved their business to their house and now we would have to make an appointment to see her. Ok, so that’s what we did.

So Christina made the appointment and we were all set to see her last Saturday at noon. On Friday Clay Lady called and told us she was sorry but would have to reschedule because she wanted to go see her father on Saturday, and did Sunday work?

We told her that our weekend was already all booked up (which it was) , and that we would just call her some other time that suited both of us.

She then frantically tried to reschedule again… “What about first thing Saturday morning? It should only take about 20 minutes.”

“Sorry we have a class from 9-10am, we can’t do it then. The earliest we could get there is about 10:30am given that we live 25 minutes away…”

“What about 8:30am?”, Clay Lady asked.

Now I don’t know about you but this was a perfect case of “I’m not listening to you”.

IMPORTANT POINT: Listen to your prospects and customers! They’re the ones who keep you in business!

So I said, “C’mon Clay Lady, do the math… If we arrived at 8:30 am, and the appointment is going to take 20 minutes, that would give us only 10 minutes to get back for our 9:00am class. Unless you’ve got a time machine or some kind of space/time portal we can use, it’s not going to work now, IS IT?”

Actually that’s what I thought, not what I said.

“Sorry that’s not going to work,” we told her.

“Well I suppose we could do it at 10:30am then.”, she said dejectedly.

“Great, we’ll see you then.”

IMPORTANT POINT: Never treat your prospective students the way Clay Lady treated us, where it seemed that it was a hassle to bother her and give her business!

Stay tuned… part 2 of this story is coming next week…

– Jason

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