Don't Desert the Dessert!

‘Is your business getting as much business from your clients as possible?

Once a year, as a longstanding custom, entrenched securely as family lore, I wander off course from my usual commuter route to drop by ‘Hinckley’s Farmers Market’. Hinckley’s offers home baked pies, cookies and desserts which are by far the best in the county. Hinckley’s does not require a GPS locator since the savoury smells waft the countryside as you near. As per tradition, I zig-zag through single lane county roads the day prior to Thanksgiving to fulfill my end of the family dinner agreement – Hinckley’s ‘family sized’ Apple Crumble pie.

It isn’t just the ‘plate licking’ flavour that draws me in. It is the sheer volume as well. Despite the rapid growth of our immediate and extended families a single Hinckley’s pie has sufficiently topped off the tank for almost a decade. That is until a couple years ago. My world turned upside down. I had left work an hour early to make sure that I crept through the rickety old screen door to the dessert ‘mecca’ before closing. Like a proud father on his daughter’s wedding day I walked the familiar path to the corner of Hinckley’s where the famous Apple Crumble pie stood. But when I arrived at the altar the groom was nowhere to be found. At least not the groom that I knew and expected. Hinckley’s family sized Apple Crumble pie was anything but family size. Surely there must be more available...somewhere? I inquired with the young girl who patrolled the cash register. She simply stated that the warm spring weather had created abnormal growing conditions and that a large portion of the apples on Hinkley’s farm had been lost. So, in order to satisfy customer demand they had reduced the portion sizes. Needless to say the news was gut-wrenching.  I was distraught. I was not able to think rationally.

My dilemma was obvious and time was of the essence. There were just minutes left before the doors to Hinckley’s closed for the night and I needed to make an executive decision.

They say that ‘hindsight is 20/20’. I concur. The dessert still drew the same raves it had in the past but the smaller portions created havoc. Uncle Herman attempted to swindle extra crumble from his own nieces and nephews by placing Christmas gifts as collateral. Two cousins nearly went to blows over the few crumbs left behind on the crinkled aluminum pie plate. Even my own grandmother chimed in about the ‘inadequacy’ of tonight’s final course. Chaos reigned. What should have equated to a lengthy period of loosened belts and general after dinner lethargy was compromised and I was the defendant.

Not wanting to endure the same tribunal or the ensuing punishment I chose to review my options for the following year. I called for an internal corporate meeting to hash out a bonafide plan.

When I returned to Hinckley’s, almost exactly a year to the day later, I entered with nary a hint of trepidation. I had already prepared for the worst. I had made adaptations and welcomed the change. After the previous year’s debacle I had orchestrated a full proof plan. Hinckley’s Apple Crumble was the core effort of my plan. However, I was now backing it up with a plethora of options – pumpkin cheesecake, ice cream, and even a chocolate cake. An abundance of goodies that would appeal to my entire family unit from junior to senior. At the conclusion of our meal, my efforts were duly noted based on the limited supply of leftovers on the dessert table and the frequent accolades from my bloodline.

What can be learned from this? Whether you are dealing with a ‘feasting family’ or a ‘tenured client’ there is always room for growth within the confines of your relationship. Sometimes what has appeased the masses in the past needs some ‘added sugar’ to fill the bellies of the present. With that in mind we ask ‘Is your business getting as much business from your clients as possible?