Friday, June 25, 2010

Give Me the Worst Pair of Shears You've got.

I had a student say to me one time, "I go into every shop I can find and say give me the worst pair of shears you have and I'll make them cut." He then asked, "What do you think about that?"

I said, "Well...I think that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life." (With a smile on my face of course)

He laughed and asked why. So I asked, "What happens if they give you a shear like the one in this picture?" (Click on the picture for a better look)

He went on to tell me that he did in fact get a shear almost exactly like this one once. An upholsterer went outside to the dumpster and pulled an old carbon steel shear out of the bottom he had noticed the day before. So I asked, "Were you able to make it cut?"

My student said yes, but he worked on the shear for over an hour and then didn't charge anything for it. Now he did get the account, so that's good, but at what cost? I told him there was a better way if he was interested. He said he was. So I said, "Wouldn't it have been better to walk in and say give me the best pair of shears you have and I"ll make them cut better?"

I'm not pushing arrogance or cockiness here, I'm pushing toward the realm of confidence; although you do need to be careful because there's a fine line between the two. If all you can get to prove you can sharpen from a potential to customer is junk, then take the junk and make it better. But if you REALLY want to make an impression, shoot for getting what's good and then make it awesome.

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