We once went to great lengths to help a glass company manager whose glass knowledge
was limited and whose plans were somewhat too ambitious for the capital he was able
to bring to the expansion of his company. We helped him with our contacts in the
glass trade and helped to put together a realistic development plan. All this time,
he kept stating that he was not going to make a single move without consulting us
first, and then he came out with the classic line “I’m with you”. The problem was
that he was also saying this to other potential suppliers and it eventually emerged
after speaking with these suppliers, that he remembered only what was said to him
by the last person he spoke to.
He suddenly faced an unexpected financial crisis, and instead of coming to us for
help, he went to the last person who had reassured him and made one of the biggest
mistakes of his life, which when he realised what he had done, made him ill for a
long period. When we discovered many months later the full facts, we tried to help
him recover from the mistakes he had made, but things had progressed too far for
this to be practical.
This character type may become a customer and in the absence of other influences,
may be loyal for many years. Once his attention is drawn elsewhere however, his
belief that the grass is greener on the other side, completely overtakes his common
sense and he can then switch loyalties quicker than rats leaving a sinking ship.
The glass company quoted at the start of this page soldiered on with their expansion
plans for a good while despite their production system design being considerably
flawed, relying instead on very good sales to maintain profitability. When eventually
the economic climate forced a large downturn in sales, their poorer markup proved
impossible to sustain the company which then went into liquidation.