Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Trip to See the Dentist

Rarely does a trip to the dentist instill a sense of anticipation, but a group of leading business entrepreneurs from West Berkshire headed north to Birmingham yesterday, to hear a dentist speak.

Okay, this was not just any dentist, this was Dr. Paddi Lund (pictured above with gold plated coffee machine he has in his surgery), the modestly well known business guru who only works part time, only accept patients by referral and charges more than anybody else.

It was rather like a Newbury Business Group field trip with Mark Arrowsmith from Snappy Snaps driving my wife and I, together with Robin Winnett from the Win-IT Consultancy and his newly appointed Operations Director Paul Flight.

It was six (largely unrelenting) hours of Paddi imparting his experience and in turn expertise, but there were some real gems liberally sprinkled through his account of how to do business.

I feel genuinely invested enough not to want to divulge too much of his wisdom, however one of the most interesting things I took away, which like so many was really quite obvious if you stopped and thought about it, was this:

Customers do not judge your expertise on areas they do not understand, but pay attention to the areas they do.

Like I say, kinda obvious, but how true? It neatly comes back to the 'Critical Non-Essentials' that Paddi cherishes - those little things customers take for granted, but taken away have a detrimental impact. It is the supporting cast of good manners, time keeping and so on that may have nothing to do with your core offering, but are essential for people to want it.

There were some clumsy errors for someone who preaches the value of the 'Critical Non-Essentials', We were given workbooks (incidentally, they'd only printed enough for pre-event tickets sales, so those who turned up on the day went without) that did not match the order of the slides he talked about, indeed he kept apologising for them being out of date, but they were labelled 2005. Ample time to update them! Sloppy!

But then this was not your ultra-polished sales pitch. To be honest Paddi honestly does not seem particularly bothered about selling his philosophy as much as he does sharing it. He simply did not push the table of books and other material at the back of the room, nor is his material available anywhere else other than a website in Australia. No Amazon and not even eBay, at least not in recent weeks.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about today though was lunch. Not that Robin bought it, but that it only cost £5.40 for fish and chips for five of us, from a little chippy a few streets away from the Aston Villa ground!

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