Monthly Archives: October 2009

How to lose our business in one easy, stupid, step…

We’ve been in this house for just over 11 years now. During that time, we’ve used the kitchen as a production / farmhouse kitchen: We’ve processed thousands of pounds of fruit and thousands of jars of jams / jellies / honey / liqueurs. Lots of pots’n’pans banging around, getting dropped… feet tromping through the place – sometimes 20 feet at a time gathered to “get the job done”.

And over the past 11 years the kitchen has become, let’s be nice about it, well worn. Yeah, that’s it – it’s well worn – and it needs refreshing. Yeah, that’s it – it needs refreshing. So for the past, oh, four years, we’ve made several false-starts at refreshing it… while the linoleum floor under our feet began wearing away. (Thank goodness!) Recently we decided we wanted to get the darn thing refreshed and move on with our lives so we began contacting kitchen remodelers to meet with us, hear our ideas about what we’d like, give us their feedback and a quote and let us make a decision and take action.

Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Yeah, it did to us, too… until this past Friday night when we had our very first meeting scheduled.

Joanne had contacted a local remodeling company who had, in turn, set an appt and reconfirmed the time / our availability before the big day arrived. Groovy, we’re moving forward. The appt was set for Friday night between 5 and 5:30.

5 came, no remodeler (no big shake ’cause that’s just the starting time).
5:15 came, no remodeler (and no call to say, “I’m on my way”).
5:30 came and went with, you guessed it, no remodeler and no call.
5:45? yep, cricket sounds. So we decided to eat dinner.
6:00 dinner on the table.
6:08 remodeler representative called (and we let it go to vm)
6:15ish+ remodeler guy shows up, says he’s sorry he’s late but was at a customer’s in Monte Sereno. I guess phones don’t work on Friday night in Monte Sereno.

Last night (Monday)
5:42 the phone rings and it’s the remodeling company (a bright’n’shiny phone-type) asking to set another appt since we were eating dinner when their representative showed up.

I asked the nice young lady if the representative who visited us on Friday was the company founder / president; she said, “No, he is a designer”.

I said, “Ok, could you ask the company founder / president to call me before we set an appt, please?”

“Do you mind if I ask why?” the nice young lady said.

“Have your founder speak to the designer and he’ll know why.”


In today’s economic climate it just seems like a given that everybody in the company would be focused on creating business so, if nothing else, they all get to eat and hopefully, keep their jobs. But, sadly, I guess that’s not the case.

As a sales management professional, I look at this as a wasted revenue opportunity for the remodeling company. If the first contact we have with one of the key people who will be responsible for the successful remodeling of our home is a negative one, what must we think the chance is for the likelihood of a successful and timely project?

Nada. Zip. Zilch.

I can’t begin to estimate what the refreshing of our kitchen is going to cost, but let’s say the designer does this same thing just once a week – that’s 4 lost projects a month. Multiply that time the number of designers (let’s use just 2) and now we’re talking 8 projects a month. Let’s take a look at that on an annual basis: Whoa, now we’re looking @96 projects that never get to the “What would you like to do w/your kitchen?” phase.

Let’s say your average close rate is 25%… as a founder, you’ve lost 24 paid jobs in one year alone.

Multiply that by, say, 3 years and you’re looking at 72 paid jobs that never got bid.

I’m going to low-ball this number, but let’s say each job was worth $15k (an almost unheard of low figure for our area… but I’m both cheap and conservative) – that’s >$1M USD in business you’ve lost because your team was invited but didn’t bother to show up on time. They simply defaulted. (I’ve heard – and said – many times in my sales career: A big factor in being successful is just showing up because they other guy often doesn’t. Whether they don’t “show up” in skills or actually don’t show up, it’s a true statement. Must Be Present To Win. (Something I wrote in my first book, Sales Is Not Rocket Science. No shameless plug here, just statement of fact.)

Having worked with many founders of (very successful) high tech companies, I’ve witnessed up close the stress and strains they go through to achieve their dreams… and I can’t help but feel sadness for this founder if the business they’re trying to sustain (dare I say, “Build”) is being eroded by completely avoidable scenarios such as this.

Such a shame, all ’round.

Beek’s log: Oct 26th – Ray gets a second story…

As I mentioned the other day, today I installed the harvested medium frames that I took from Freddie last month. I pre-assembled the super, suited up and quickly installed it w/out using any smoke… no sense disorienting any of them more than necessary.

I do have to say, though, that the frames were literally dripping with honey… (and Al, in case you’re reading this) I ran my finger through the honey pooled on the lower part of each frame and – boy howdy – was it good 😉 If I recall correctly, there’s a bit of honey pooled on the bottom of the cooler so, yep, I’m going in there tomorrow to scoop it out and put it in my coffee / honey jar. (The cooler is spotless inside as it gets washed ‘n’ dried before each harvest use “just in case”.

Free honey – woo hoo!

Speaking of Ray (Davies, of The Kinks), here’s a link to THE Kinks website that Kinks fans follow. For years there have been an annual gathering (in London) of The Kastoff Kinks – former members of The Kinks, guys’n’gals who played as part of The Kinks changing lineup. Over the years they’ve gotten pretty much every former Kink to join in at one time or another. Well, this time – and the past few years off’n’on, I believe, Ray showed up and everyone had a grand time.

Here’s the link to some pics and a write up

As a 45 year fan of The Kinks, and Ray in particular, I’m pleased to see him spending time with some of his former band mates and local fans. In the critical world, Ray is regarded as one of the best lyricists of modern music… equal to Lennon and / or McCartney. But probably much more than either of those guys, he’s struggled with some real demons and only in the past 20 or so years has he really seemed to become comfortable with himself / his place in “history” (as it were).

Very cool, Ray, very cool. (And to Olga, too, for the pics and write up. Olga’s great, btw!)

He’ll never know…

Ahem. Sometimes ya just gotta let Sleeping Dogs lie.

The story behind this is after Joanne left for the office this morning, I heard Pepper-Do-You-Want-Her? clipping along through the house, then in to our bedroom suite. I was working on something and didn’t really pay attention to when she left the area to go back out front with Penny.

Turns out that’s because she didn’t leave the area to go back out with Penny: she climbed up on my side of the bed, apparently adjusted the Sleep Comfort bed to her needs and then conked out… she only opened her eyes when the camera flash popped up.

She stayed there for a few more hours then ambled off to sleep in the den w/Penny. (And then STEVE – oh, it’s S-T-E-V-E, Penny’s love interest – came over for lunch and they both joined us in the noon sun… I think Penny was drooling over Steve. sheesh.)

200 pomegranates in the bag are…

A lot of work to press 🙁

Joanne was off to the Pleasanton show yesterday and I was going to take a nice bike ride, catch up on some book-stuff, then head over to an NSX club pic-a-nic. Turns out I got the first two things right but took a decidedly 90 degree turn about 10:30ish.

After my ride I was re-fortifying Mollie’s two front yard feeders and darned if those 3 bags of pomegranates weren’t staring at me… kind of like the GEICO eyeballs / music commercials.

When I bent over to check them out, I could see that some of the already-split fruit had the beginnings of mold forming along the fruit skin. GREAT. Ellen grew ’em, we harvested them and now some are going to rot.


I blew off the NSX gig and spent the next 4.5 hrs (w/a little sandwich break tucked in) prepping and pressing fruit. In the end, I was able to cut away some of the yucky skin stuff and use the fruit so I ended up with ~3.5 gallons of juice. I need to harvest the remainder of Ellen’s stuff today / tomorrow and then harvest our fruit (the cobbler’s kids, eh? 😉 and by the time we’re done, we should have enough to make a pretty fair number of cases of jelly for holiday / ’10 distribution.

Thanks to Ellen for the fruit – Nice poms, Ellen!

Congrats to Joanne!

She was outta here before 6AM yesterday morning to participate in – and judge – the Pleasanton Wood Carver’s Show. Turns out that from among the hundreds of entries she took a couple of 2nd place ribbons. One ribbon was for her bark carving and the other was for Chez Pierre – a brightly colored snail on a brightly colored leaf. (I’ll take and post photos after she returns them from the show.)

Congratulations on the ribbons, luv!


btw, Anybody else beside me think it’s a little fishy that the Head Judge won a couple of ribbons for her entries? Yeah, me neither… I was just askin’.

Beek’s Log: October 24th

It was a nice’n’lazy fall afternoon yesterday so I headed out to the hives to see how the girls are doing.

Freddie’s cookin’ right along, the lower brood is buzzing with activity and lots of connective comb between it and the upper brood; the upper brood has brood in the center frames (good) with an appropriate amount of honey / pollen surrounding the brood. Outside of the center 4 frames, there’s not a lot of comb and honey stored.

Ray’s still under-performing, but seems active. I still have the harvested medium honey frames from Freddie in the ice chest, so I think I’ll go back out today and install those on top of Ray to give them a bit more easy-access food while they clean the frames for me 🙂 (Having said that, putting fresh honey frames on a hive may cause robbing by nearby bees but we’ll let them work that out on their own.) I’m not convinced Ray will survive the winter, but we’ll see how that goes.

Fuzzy’s a very active hive (still) with good brood stores in all stages and a bit of extra honey / pollen stashed in the non-brood frames. I suspect Fuzzy will winter just fine.