Did You Find Everything You Wanted?

Within a four-mile radius of our house, there are 17 grocery stores. Of those, I frequent three. Not because I want to, and not because I like shopping, but because none of them carry everything I want. The three I go to most are Sprouts, Tom Thumb, and Trader Joe’s. All of them have the plusses and minuses, each has their idiosyncrasies, but there’s one thing all have in common: when I check out, the checker always asks, “did you find everything you wanted?” or some variation of that question.

When I was young, I don’t remember anyone asking me, “did you find everything you wanted?” I think they were more concerned with getting me the hell out of there before I broke anything. But at some point, some retail consultant must have figured out that to maximize the dollar purchases for each visit, you need to ask people, “did you find everything you wanted?” It’s a good way to increase sales, keep in touch with the customer, and take care of the customer. Every checker in every one of the 17 grocery stores in my area knows to ask every customer that question.

Have you ever had the experience in a long line at the grocery store where the person in front of you with a million groceries in her cart suddenly pauses and says to the checker, “oh, I forgot peanut butter. I’ll be right back.”? The 30 people in line behind her all roll their eyes as she meanders off to find the peanut butter and maybe pick up a few other items. You don’t want to be THAT person, right?

So I had this really interesting experience at Trader Joe’s. I’m in line, checking out, busy time, several people in line behind me, and the checker asks the question, “Did you find everything you wanted?” I said I did, and then, with a painful flash of memory, realized that I hadn’t. “Argh,” I slapped my forehead, “I forgot flour – my wife asked me to get flour.” I looked at the line behind me – I don’t want to be THAT person – “But, I can get it next time,” I told her.   

“It’s no problem,” the checker said, “we’ll get it fast.” She rang a little bell. Instantly a young man appeared. “John,” the checker said, “this gentleman needs flour.”

“What kind of flour, and what size,” John asked me. I told him, and he jogged off. (Not exaggerating here – he jogged!)

He returned with the flour even before the checker finished ringing up the rest of my groceries. No rolling of the eyes behind me, Trader Joe’s got at extra seven bucks, and I made my wife happy (priceless).

An Interesting Fact

One of the key performance indicators (KPI’s) of grocery stores is sales per square foot. Guess what, in that measure, Trader Joe’s is number one. In fact, they’re number 1 every year. Number two is so far behind that Trader Joe’s should win the number one place, the number two place, and the number three place.   

A Funny Story

Again, I’m at the grocery store. This time it’s Tom Thumb. I cannot find graham cracker crumbs. I’m going to make a Key Lime Pie for my mother-in-law, who loves my Key Lime Pie, and I need graham cracker crumbs for the crust. I can’t find them, and there’s no employee to ask. I give up, grab a box of graham crackers, gonna pound the crackers, and make my own damn crumbs. While I’m in the checkout line, it occurs to me: the checkout clerk is going to ask THE QUESTION, and I’ll find out where the graham cracker crumbs are. Furthermore, there is no one in line behind me, so I don’t have to worry about being THAT guy. Sure enough, the cashier asks, “Did you find everything you wanted?” I beam. “I did not,” I reply, “I couldn’t find graham cracker crumbs.” 

The clerk looks thoughtful and then says, “Yeah, I don’t know if we carry that.” I wait expectantly. I arch my eyebrows and cock my head, waiting for some kind of resolution. Waiting for the follow up that never happens. Nothing. Nada. Zero. He continues ringing up my groceries, reads me the total. I pay and leave…

The Interesting Fact Corollary

Tom Thumb does not lead the grocery industry in sales per square foot.

The Lessons 

There are so many lessons from this story. Here are two that I got:

  1. Incremental sales are important. There are many reasons why Trader Joe’s leads the industry in sales per square foot, but one of them is incremental sales. They make it easy for their customers to buy more. If you want incremental sales, then make it easy for your customers to buy more.
  2. Training and Processes. Training is important. Processes are important. Training to processes is REALLY important. Tom Thumb has training. The cashier knew to ask the question. He didn’t know what to do if the answer was “no” and probably had no supporting process if the customer answers “no”. Trader Joe’s has training. They have the processes. They train to those processes. If you answer the question “no”, the cashier knows to ring the bell. If stock runner hears the bell, he knows to drop everything and get to the customer, and get his product quickly, so the customer doesn’t feel awkward, and the people in line don’t roll their eyes. Result: increased sales, happy customers, and industry-leading KPI’s.
How About You?

What’s your takeaway from the story? What did you learn? What will you do differently? I’d like to know. Email me and let me know… David.Heimer@ServiceNation.com


Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Don’t Get Busy

As a Shark Tank TV show fan, I just finished reading Robert Herjavec’s bestseller, The Will to Win. Throughout the book, Robert tells stories of his Shark Tank experiences, his love of family, his upbringing, and struggles as an immigrant to Canada when he was eight, and of course, business management – and his perspectives were fascinating. Primarily, the importance of thinking time. Rodney Koop, my business partner, and I are all too often saying to each other, “Schedule thinking time!” So, to read it in print by Robert…well, I guess it just made me feel a bit more validated. 

Last week, I vacationed with my family in Florida, off a beautiful key called Englewood. As a first-time visitor to Englewood, Florida, I felt as if I was in a foreign country, or on a tropical island; it was beautiful. My husband and I, with our three young children, had rented a house on the beach…and as luck would have it, we sat inside through most of our time due to a tropical storm.

On one such day, my husband, Josh, went to plug in his phone for charging…I was nursing our infant son in another room, but the scream was easily heard, and unbelievably scary. Josh had received such a shock from the outlet that his arm went numb for 10 minutes!

Now…let’s consider the facts:

  • Two weeks before, some electricians had replaced the breaker box in this home.
  • The home was valued at $1.8M.
  • The homeowners lived out of state and rented this home to families…

Naturally, we contacted the management company, who quickly scheduled for the electricians to return and check the outlet. When he arrived and tested the outlet, these are the words we heard: “Well, it’s testing fine; doesn’t seem to have anything wrong with it – maybe your finger was on the prong of your phone charger when you attempted to plug it in, so that’s why you received the shock? But regardless, this outlet is really old, not grounded, and should be replaced.”

Would you believe that after that, he packed his bags and left?!  

Being Busy Robs You from Being Profitable

Was he so busy that he couldn’t see golden opportunities sitting in front of him? It’s like my friend (in my dreams) Napoleon Hill always said, “You may be three feet from gold,” but in this case, the man was much closer than three feet; his hands were on the outlet! Upon further inspection, it seems that the house could truly use a re-wire, but this service professional had a busy day. Did he call the owners to schedule a re-wire? Did he even attempt to provide a quote? No. Josh wasn’t the only one that was shocked!

But hey, who am I to say this company needed this opportunity? Heck, they could have been slammed with work, and this one may have been at the bottom of their list. But as the daughter of a contractor, born and bred in the industry, I know that’s not the case. 

Let’s revisit those three facts from before. 

  • The breaker box in this home had just been replaced. This call was not a true ‘callback’ because it was a non-related issue, but it was a return visit to an existing customer who had already shown their willingness to spend money on repairs.
  • The home was valued at $1.8M. In a prime neighborhood, the kind of neighborhood that I like to do business in. Don’t you?
  • The homeowners lived out of state and rented the home to families. I’ll betcha’ the homeowners would be willing to pay top dollar on their top-dollar home to make sure their tenants aren’t getting zapped…or worse. After all, getting sued is more expensive than going to the highest bidder for a rewire job. Also, when you live out of state, having to deal with repairs continuously is inconvenient. Don’t you think they’d prefer to see some options to get it all taken care of at once and do an outstanding job so they don’t have to worry about it? Plus, those five-star reviews sure go along ways when booking a vacation home. “The house electrocuted me” isn’t exactly the most desirable review someone could write.

I know that when opportunity calls, we often miss it because we are ‘busy’ and we simply didn’t schedule enough thinking time. I’m guilty of this, too. I just emailed three of my team members to tell them that I am canceling all Monday meetings with them; I’m calling it “No Meeting Mondays.” I am taking the time to schedule a time to think; I am meeting with myself so I’m ready when opportunity knocks.

P.S. Anyone in the Florida area interested in a lead? Give me a call, and I’ll send the owners your way!


Written by Danielle Putnam, President of The New Flat Rate and Immediate Past President of Women in HVACR

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Only Go Forward

Here it is, May of 2020. We are still in the middle of Pandemicville. Covid-19 has turned the world up-side-down…turned lives upside-down, and it is not over yet. So, Only Go Forward. We will get through it! There is no other choice. It cannot be wished away, a head in the sand approach accomplishes nothing, and getting angry at all the inconveniences is a waste of human energy.

Think of something funny….laugh a little bit…laugh a whole lot. Only Go Forward. I was at a local grocery store. I witnessed a guy take off two belts, lash three grocery carts together, and pull through the store. All were heaping full. One was toilet paper and sanitizer. It was organized very nicely into a giant pyramid. King Tut would have been proud. I laughed a bunch. You have got to be kidding! I bet this guy’s garage is packed full of this stuff. Really? It is not the end of the world. The “flu bug” hits somewhere every year. So, We Only Go Forward.

We Only Go Forward; Four powerful words that can change lives.

“Never Look Back….Never Give Up…Remain Positive” are eight powerful words that can change lives. That frankly, have changed lives. To date, these eight words have changed life for the better for over 65 lives and families.

Those eight words are the operating mantra of Joe Groh as he started the www.Josephgrohfoundation.org with a laser focus on helping the contracting trades. This is the only foundation of record that is dedicated to contractors. Joe Groh is living with quadriplegia. Joe had a bicycle accident on Father’s Day 2008, suffered major spinal cord trauma at C4, and now lives in a wheelchair or bed. He has no movement of limbs from the neck down.

And yet this incredible man, with the support of a very amazing and incredible family, accomplishes more on Monday morning than some folks with full use of limbs accomplish all week. You see, this man lives for his foundation, he lives to assist those in the professional and essential service contracting field that must face head-on, life-altering illnesses or accidents. And sometimes those accidents or illnesses have happened to family members, which may make it even more difficult. The foundation supports family members of anyone in the contracting trades as well.

At the time of his accident, Joe, having been thrown over the handlebars of his bicycle, laid on the ground and realized something terrible had happened to his body. He realized at that moment that his life would never be the same. And shortly after knowing help was on the way and a short pause to feel sorry for himself, Joe, this amazing man, formulated his creed – “Never Look Back, Never Give Up, Remain Positive.”

Service Roundtable and Service Nation Alliance have chosen the Joseph Groh Foundation as their official charity to support. And Service Roundtable and Alliance members for over a decade have stepped up, making positive financial results a reality for this foundation. Each person and company that contribute plays a significant role in contracting families in need of assistance; families and people who look just like us.

Your donations allow the foundation to Only Go Forward and serve those with the greatest need within our family of contractors.

An example of our contractor family generosity happened in San Diego at the International RoundTable Conference. Ken Goodrich, the owner of the Goettl family of companies, has long been a supporter of the Joseph Groh Foundation. He made an impassioned plea to help a young man and his family needing a wheelchair accessible converted van. The response was overwhelming; the contributions added up. And then, Ken graciously matched the funds raised. Dollar for Dollar. WOW, talk about Only Go Forward. Talk about unconditional support.

Another example is Dave Squires with On-Line Access, a Roundtable Reward partner, who agreed to refresh and maintain the Joseph Groh Foundation website at no charge to the foundation. And then we have Scott Boxer, who many of you may know from your Lennox and Service Expert experience, makes a more than generous donation to the foundation. Scott’s generosity provides a foundation for us to continue helping people for some time in the future.  

In the difficult times we are all now experiencing, every act of kindness, every act of generosity, every smile, and every dollar makes a difference. Remember the importance of those instances when working with your employees, your customers, your family, your community, and your industry.

Yes, we are seeing many difficult situations now. But the contracting industry is dedicated to Only Go Forward. And the joesephgrogfoundation.org continues its journey to Only Go Forward and assist those contractor families in need due to an unforeseen accident or illness.  

No family should have to deal with the level of hardship a life-altering accident or illness causes. Medical cost is a major reason for personal financial disruption and bankruptcies. The Foundation recommends everyone should have Short Term-Long Term Disability insurance as a very inexpensive protection for the unforeseen. Businesses should make it a standard benefits package addition.

Make yourself a promise. Only Go Forward. The majority of companies we talk to are having their best months and best quarters ever for revenue. So if that is you, donate the www.josephgrohfoundation.org. You are successfully navigating difficult waters, so help the Joseph Groh Foundation help members of our family navigate much more difficult, extremely difficult, unimaginably difficult waters.

Written by John and Vicki LaPlant

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!