Old maps are no different. I find it interesting to look at early maps of Australian cities and towns. Seeing how much they've grown in size, how much has changed and what used to be where, for better or for worse. I find it especially fascinating when I see old world maps that were created before Australia had been fully chartered. Seeing the guesswork done by the cartographer. They presumed Australia was joined to Papua New Guinea and Tasmania to create a super-continent, which in itself is a crazy hypothetical. Imagine if that really WAS what Australia looked like? How different would our history be? How different would our nation look now? How much would my life differ from the one I've lead up to this point?
As a result, I love browsing in cartography stores whenever I can. I could spend half an hour in these stores, imagining what map or landscape drawing from centuries past I'd choose if money were no object.
So it was yesterday that I walked into a cartography store that I've visited before.
There were 3 staff in the shop, two guys and a girl, no other patrons besides yours truly.
I browsed for nearly 10 minutes, and not one of them spoke to me. They acted like I wasn't even there.
They were more content to chat amongst themselves than to even acknowledge my presence, let alone see if I'd like assistance.
It's true that I'm younger than their typical customer would be, and I wasn't like the typical history-buff who comes in to drop a grand on a 200 year old map between cognac and cigars with their old team mates from the Highschool rowing days but still...
How did they know I was just browsing?
How could they be sure I didn't have an interest in these old historical maps with $5k to spend and zero tolerance for lousy customer service?
It didn't matter. I left the store without any of them saying a word to me.
They might have just missed out on their biggest sale of the week- all three of them- but they'd never know about it. And why?
Because they didn't ask.
And now, even if I was looking to purchase an old map?
I'll never bother darkening their door again.
If I was the owner of that store and I found out, I would put the lot of them on blast.
But...what can we learn from this?
#1 Never disregard leads or patrons without first bothering to communicate with them- hasty assumptions can cost you BIG money if you aren't careful.
See, another thing I love to do is go into high-end car dealerships and look around. I like to see what they have on the showroom floor and admire these rare cars up close.
And you know what?
Aston Martins, Bentleys, Lamborghini's, Porsches, Ferraris, Rolls Royces, McLarens- no matter the cars for sale in the dealership and regardless of how I'm dressed, I've always had somebody approach me, just the same as if I were looking at used Hyundais in Moorooka or on Parramatta Rd.
I might not be over 50, dressed like Prince Charles and with a Rolex on my wrist, but these people don't just assume I'm a broke plebian who'd be lucky to afford an Uber ride.
As a result, I'd have no problem visiting any of these dealerships in future to discuss driving my dream car off their showroom floor- and seeing that their salesperson gets their commission.
Indeed, when that day comes, I intend to walk in wearing track pants and an old t-shirt. If they still treat me like I'm worthy of their attention, then they're worthy of my money!
2. Good customer service and ongoing customer relationships are priceless!
That cartography store will never see a cent from me, even when the day comes that I'm ready to hang an amazing historical framed map on my wall to admire.
The exclusive car dealerships I've looked in are all a decent chance at "sealing the deal" one day. Provided they pass the "track pants" test, then I'm happy to sit down with their sales team and talk money.
You've got leads who are yet to show you a single dollar- but just because they don't flash the cash or you don't see their name up in lights, don't assume they're not potentially in your top 20% of valuable customers.
The only way to find out is to engage with them and ask questions. At worst, you'll get a polite variation on "I'm just happy browsing".
At best? Their palm could be the one you grasp on your next million dollar handshake- figuratively and literally.
Good manners and customer service cost nothing- but they can bring you incredible returns!
So just remember:
Money talks, but it doesn't always shout- sometimes all it needs is for you to start the conversation!