Dust Bunnies (Issue 786)

In which we are reminded that haphazard execution of even small details in a sales process can hurt us.

Needing to drive to Wellfleet, on Cape Cod, to pick up an antique vanity (that’s a piece of old furniture, folks, not an aging once-great actor), we decided to make a little get-away of it. We booked a night at a bed and breakfast close to the Cape Cod National Seashore.

The bed and breakfast is small – four guest rooms on the second floor – and the host warm and energetically friendly. On arrival last night, our room felt quite spacious, welcoming and comfortable. Honey oak floor, two massive skylights, a comfortable queen-sized bed, a chest of drawers, and a small table. A few bits of funky, colorful art provided a bit of flair in the room.

This morning, the lemon poppy seed muffins and fresh fruit provided as a pre-breakfast snack are both wonderful – the muffins still warm, the apples cold. Perfect. 

As I look around the room in the morning light, I pause to examine a teal-colored glass vase, about 24 inches high, in a nearby corner. Our host has placed six evenly-matched, undulating tree branch segments, bark stripped, cut to the same length, stained dark in the vase. A lovely accent in a corner where oak floor meets white walls.

But, as my eyes drift from the tree branches to the vase to the floor, I see there’s dust behind the vase. Not your incidental garden variety coating of fine dust on the floor. Nope, a couple of bulky, muscular dusty bunnies that, in the right moonlight on a windy night, could scare the pants off any self-respecting field mouse.

Surprised and a bit put off, I look around more closely. Other details are amiss. The molding around the bedroom door is damaged, apparently from repeated blows, and there’s about 12 square inches of paint scuffed off near the floor. There’s a painted-over ding in the back of the door, and I can see the outline of what would have been some sort of lock that was removed.

On the other side of the room, the skylight shades are a little creaky and the wood stays in both shades are broken – each of them has one corner that droops.

“I wouldn’t come back here again or and I wouldn’t recommend this place to a friend,” I think.

“Why not?” you say. “Picky, picky!”

True, the imperfections I’m seeing here are small… and yet they are irritating and disappointing. They suggest jobs finished too quickly, things done a little on the cheap.

And, while there are examples of dust, damaged wood, and imperfect paint in my house, I am not offering overnight accommodations as a business and competing with providers for travelers’ trade.


THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Establish quality assurance procedures for sales activities and proposal development (e.g. have someone proof-read the documents!) supported by check lists. No matter how much you’d rather do something other than “go through the check list,” confirm each check list point with your team to make sure you’ve identified and eliminated every “dust bunny” before you present materials to clients.



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