Meet Brendan and Adam, chefs and proprietors of a new restaurant called 34bia in Redfern in Sydney.
Before this venture, Brendan and Adam owned a smaller café near my home which had a chequered history of success and failure before Brendan and Adam bought it.
The café was part of a block of serviced apartments so its clientele were apartment guests and residents.
When the first café opened, it enjoyed some success, but two owners after that failed to make a go of it. Then a chap named Brett came along and business boomed.
Then Brett sold to an owner who failed, followed by another who failed. The café closed for more than a year. Then another person opened, failing within six months.
And then came Brendan and Adam. The café thrived for two years. We locals often couldn’t get a seat.
What was the ‘secret ingredient’ that made the difference between the proprietors who failed, and the proprietors who succeeded – Brett first, and then later Brendan and Adam?
Good food? Some of the failed proprietors had good food too, yet a good product didn’t save them from oblivion. The ingredients the failures lacked was, in my opinion…
There is a saying, “All things being equal, people will do business with people they like and trust. All things being not so equal, people will still do business with people they like and trust.”
A good product alone will not suffice. People buy you before they buy your product or service. Just ask Jeb Blount, who wrote a book by that title. (Read People Buy You – it’s a great book).
Yes, you do need a good product or service, but if clients don’t warm to your personality, if they see you as a salesperson and not a human being like themselves, they will not do business with you. Of course, they won’t tell you that they don’t like you. They will invent some other reason such as your fee being too high.
Brendan and Adam made you feel welcome when you entered their establishment. They chatted without cutting into your conversation with your guests. Owners who failed hung around, ‘lurking’, without reading the play and moving away when they could see that you wanted to talk with those at your table.
It was the little things that made the difference between those who failed and those who succeeded in this café.
And so too in business and life. Hiding behind the ‘salesperson mask’ never gives clients the opportunity to know the real you, to get to like you, and to feel confident that you can help them.
Personality does matter. Let yours shine!
PS I wish Brendan and Adam all the best in their new venture. The food is great and the hosts are fun. Pay them a visit and tell them I sent you.