A man in his thirties burst into the small local smart phone repair shop where my friend and I and another female customer waited. He was dressed in a suit and his hat was reminiscent of the type my Dad would’ve worn. Like a fedora, I think you call it. But, his hat was much broader. It looked odd on someone his age.
He ignored the fact the business owner was involved in a repair at the moment. “I need a phone. Mine got stolen and I have a very important presentation today. Put one together for me out of broken parts. You must have parts in the back. I need it for today. One day only.”
Well, that caught the attention of us three women. Before the owner could answer him, he continued, “I’ll make it worthwhile for you. I’ll design a logo for your store. I need it now!”
The owner let him down gently. He couldn’t fulfill his request. It was 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. “Where exactly was this business presentation going to take place?” I wondered.
Not one to be put off easily, the man lowered his voice and said, “Okay, just for our ears only… (I swear my ears perked up), make it untraceable!!”
Next, the man asked to use the rest-room. He was directed to the rear of the small store. Following his quick pit stop, the man departed as quickly as he had entered the store. The owner shrugged his shoulders. He shook his head.
“Now, that was one odd character!”, he said to us. “That’s why I can’t sleep at night. I expect people like him to come back at night to ‘break in’. Anytime someone asks to use the washroom right away, I get suspicious.”
I told him I could see a woman needing to use the facilities in a hurry but a young man, well, not so much. The owner completed the other customer’s work and started to help us.
My friend’s phone screen was shattered. That’s what happens when a phone connects with a wall at high-speed. My friend was over the moon happy that her phone could be fixed. Even happier to hear it’d take just ten minutes.
The owner took several more calls on his blue tooth. Some people he could help. For others who wanted their computers fixed, he re-directed them elsewhere. The man remained cheery and upbeat throughout it all. I told him, “You’re like a miracle worker to most people. They can’t thank you enough. And, when you can’t work miracles for the other people, wow, they sure let you have it! I could watch you work and listen to your customers’ calls all day.” I laughed.
After immigrating to Canada about fifteen years ago, he’d found work at an electronics store. Right away, he was sent to Ottawa for training in sales. I noticed on his business card that he held an engineering degree in electronics.
“I was taught in Ottawa for three days. What I learned in those three days has helped me more than anything else. I brought that knowledge with me to my own business here.”
“Basically, you have about five minutes to make a sale. Most people know what they want when they step into a store to buy something. When I worked at the electronics store, the most popular item was a digital camera. I’d listen to the customer, learn he was using a camera mostly for vacation photos of the sea and beach, for example, where there’d be bright light. And, all the time, I would be thinking, okay, narrow it down to three cameras. The more the customer talked, the more you got a feel of how much he wanted to spend and the specifications he was hoping to find. Now, you’ve narrowed it down to two models of cameras.”
“By the time five minutes was up, you’ve made a connection—a bond—with the customer. You show him the cameras. And, point out the features he wanted. You mention that this would be excellent for when he’s on vacation at the beach. Make it personal. And, then you made the sale!”
“So, for me, here, well I don’t advertise except for a couple of ads on Kijiji. People come back. I don’t need to advertise. I think I may be the only smart phone clinic in town where work isn’t done in a back room. I do all of the work in front of you and talk to you while I do it. You know, people come in and tell me, ‘My phone’s dead. It won’t start up no matter what I do.’ Well, a new battery costs about $50. The repair man goes into their back workspace. Holds the home key down at the same time as the power button, and voila! The phone works. Yet, the customer is told they needed a new battery. Me, I show you how to re-boot it. No charge. That’s the way I am. I hide nothing and develop trust. They remember that for when they do need a repair.”
I thanked him for his sales advice, letting him know I had two daughters who worked sales. One worked at a lingerie store. The other daughter sold phones. Currently, she was interviewing for a furniture sales position. His advice would be helpful!
He spoke a bit about the different prices for screens for phones. iPhone screens were far cheaper to replace than for other types of phones. My friend and I laughed. We agreed she should stick to her iPhone. This wasn’t her first cracked screen, but it was the worst cracked one yet.
Before we left, the owner made a sale. I suggested my friend buy an OtterBox phone case to protect her new screen. A tough, durable case boasting a triple layer defense against impacts. Let’s see how long this new screen lasts!