Ten Commandments of Good Business Practice

The Ten Comandments of Good Business Practice
By Pete Mosiondz, Jr.

One day, the gods of philately descended upon the Morton Building at 116 Nassau Street in the heart of the “Stamp Center” in New York City. Quickly navigating to the tenth floor, they had little diffi culty in locating the office with the number “1005”
painted on the glass door window.

A gentleman was alone in this comfortable office. At hand was the task of describing and pricing some stamps in a collection just obtained. A glance at his watch informed him that it would soon be time to open the door for business.

A loud voice startled the proprietor.

“Pat, we are here to present you with these tablets upon which are written the Ten Commandments of Good Business Practice to which every stamp dealer must give his assent. Because of your philatelic writings that educate the unwary and your proven track record of fair and honest dealings, we could think of no one better suited to proclaim this message to the other professional philatelists.”

The young dealer had to pinch himself several times to make certain that he had not been dreaming.

As he took the two heavy pieces of stone in his hands, he began to wonder why he had not taken that big safe with the name “Bogert, Durbin & Co.” painted on the door. At least he would have had a suitable storage place for these heavy objects.

Gazing at the tablets, this is what he saw.

I. The customer is the most important aspect of any business.

How often do we remember this golden rule? How many orders would we be able to fi ll daily without the necessity of having customers? The same answer to that question would apply to the number of bank deposits we would make!

II. The customer is not dependent on us—we’re dependent on the customer.

The air of professionalism that we convey and the service that we provide are equally important. The realization that, “Hey, I need this customer” will clinch the matter. A customer can always tell when they are appreciated. And, it doesn’t hurt to tell them once in a while.

III. The customer is not an interruption of our work—the customer is the purpose for our work.

We do not know if everyone who steps up to our booth is going to be a big spending customer. What we do know is that everyone visiting us is a potential customer. Another point to remember is never judge a customer by appearance or what we might perceive to be their spending capabilities.

We should not feel “put out” if someone interrupts us from that seemingly most important project in the world. There is time for completion later and we are fairly certain that the world will not end as a result of this brief postponement.

IV. Customers are doing us a favor when they call upon us—we are not doing them a favor when we serve them.

It makes little difference if it is by mail, e-mail, phone, fax, and store or show booth. Greet the stamp collector with a genuine and warm enthusiasm. Extend this right through the completion of the sale. If the desired item doesn’t happen to be in your stock, be energetic in your attempts to locate an example and report back to the collector as soon as possible. Be appreciative of any purchase made or question asked, and show it!

V. The customer is a part of our business—not an outsider.

How difficult is it to show concern for your customers and to become acquainted with the various things that are important in their lives, not just stamp collecting? Big business calls this a “humanistic approach” and, believe me, customers really appreciate this treatment.

VI. The customer is not someone with whom to argue or match wits. Simply stated, the customer is always right, even when they are wrong! If you are certain that you are 100% correct, take a sensitive and non-abrasive road to fi nding a workable solution. There are subliminal ways of getting the customer to realize later that maybe they were mistaken. And, many times the customer will show an appreciation for the lesson learned in the form of future purchases.

VII. The customer brings us their wants—it’s our job to fi ll those wants.

Are we guaranteed a sale every time we respond to a want list? Of course not. But there will be enough satisfactory transactions to make this task a pleasurable part of our business. I have found that my policy of recommending another dealer, ala “Macy’s sending customers to Gimbel’s” is one that is looked upon very favorably. A good customer, and friend, will not desert you if you are satisfying their needs.

VIII. The customer deserves the most courteous and attentive treatment we can offer.

Please read this commandment over again a couple of times.

Even when you are extremely busy and everyone at your booth is flipping through your stock books, a warm smile coupled with a friendly nod and a greeting such as, “Please have a seat. I’ll be happy to attend to your needs shortly’ works wonders.

IX. The customer is not a cold statistic the customer is a human being with feelings and emotions just like you.

Let’s put ourselves in the customer’s shoes for a good long moment. Do we enjoy a surly reply when a question is posed? Do we want to hear, “Here’s the stock book? See if you can fi nd the stamp”?

In short, treat everyone the exact same way that you would prefer to be treated.
X. The customer is the lifeblood of our business.

Without like, we must deal with the alternative. And, we must do our part in helping to attract new life. Without it, we once again face the unhappy alternative.

Author's note: I had the great pleasure of knowing Pat Herst for the final 30 years of his life. I had the equally great pleasure of conting him as my mentor and close friend. I make no apologies for attempting to pattern my stamp dealings afte this grat man. Nor do I ever hide the fact that I try to emulate him in my writings. He was surely one of a kind and, in my opinion, no one is capable of filling his shoes. Somehow I think he may be smiling down at us from that grat stamp club in the sky as he reads the opening part of this piece.