So I recently received a phone call at the Joe Cornell Entertainment offices from a young dad inquiring about booking a party for his son’s bar mitzvah. He had many of the usual questions, “…are you available on…What are your rates….Do you charge extra if we request a specific entertainer?”
The first 2 questions above are common, the 3rd is always our indicator that the client has already spoken with our competitor up the road.
The conversation was flowing, and I felt I had achieved an excellent rapport with this dad, a sure fire booking if ever I had had one. So, when he sprung the next question on me, I could have been forgiven for really opening up and “putting my personal feelings out there.”
“What would you say is the biggest difference between Joe Cornell and its competitor?” he casually inquired.
I took a thoughtful pause before replying “Nothing.”
He was taken aback.
“We both fully engage our audiences, providing interactive entertainment. The one small difference,” I continued, “is that at a Joe Cornell party, you’ll never hear our entertainers yelling our company name on the microphone. We’re high energy, but we know we’re there to keep the focus on the guest of honor, not on ourselves.”
I then put it in perspective for him. “Neither one of us can be all things to all potential clients. You need to find the right fit for you and your family. There is no wrong decision.”
We laughed some more, discussed his family’s mitzvah party wishes, and chatted about his son’s wild personality. As the conversation began to wind down, I suggested that I would like to email him additional information, in writing, about his event, and that I was placing his event on our schedule to hold his spot.
Here’s where it gets juicy!
“…I don’t check my email very often, and my assistant is not very good with the internet. Why don’t you mail your information to my home.” he stammered.
“Sure thing,” I said. “What’s your address?”
We hung up the phone and I had a moment to reflect. Something seemed a bit “off”.
Young dad, no email. Great conversation, no rush for follow up information. Dad inquiring, not mom (not trying to be sexist here, simply playing to the percentages).
I typed his address into Anywho.com to reveal the full name of the person residing at the home (not a match for the man I had the pleasure of speaking). I extracted the residents name and entered it into Facebook. The person’s Facebook page revealed that they were in a relationship with an individual who, as it turns out, is on the management level of the entertainment company I was being baited to bad mouth.
Super sleuth? Hardly. Confident business owner? You bet.
My advice to the other guys: Don’t worry about what your competition may be saying. The only thing that really matters is what the customer is saying.
In business and in life, we can’t be all things to all people. Do what you do, and do it with the confidence that the right customer will find you.