Canadian Rental Service

George’s Corner: June 2011

By George Olah   

Features Business Intelligence

Nothing sells like straightforward integrity.

Nothing sells like straightforward integrity.

I must confess, I had a different article in mind before I began to tap this one out. I changed topics because I was so impressed by a recent industry event that I found myself totally enthralled. I have attended many such events, some small, some big, some totally boring, some laugh-out-loud funny (for all the wrong reasons), some very educational, some not so educational, and some I produced and wished I hadn’t.

This event was thoroughly and refreshingly different. The event, held at a manufacturer’s plant, had no pretence about it. No signs of affected grandeur, no flashing LED lights, no fast-talking salespeople, no ball cap freebies — just genuine, straightforward, homespun pride. Real pride of product.

I began by programming the company’s event address into my trusty GPS. After patiently locating a mere six satellites to pinpoint the location, I mapped the route to within 30 metres of where I was supposed to be.


A big, exuberant and friendly dog that licked my hands and sniffed my pants vigorously greeted me in the driveway. I have had few such sincere welcomes. Next, I was welcomed by a smiling fellow wearing a crisply ironed, bright red shirt. The factory office was clean and professional looking, no wasted space to be sure. The manufacturer’s warehouse space was scrubbed clean, converted into a temporary cozy dining and presentation venue set for about 50 rental industry attendees. There wasn’t a water spot to be found on the meticulous place settings.

There were more smiling red shirts, shaking hands with every new visitor that crossed the company threshold. “Have you seen our factory?” “Are you familiar with our product line?” “Our equipment demo is in 10 minutes.”

Marvellous, I thought. The toughest challenge for any business is to get a potential customer across the threshold. Once he is planted in your territory, you have the opportunity to show and market your wares directly to the customer.

The company’s product was excellent. Questions were answered directly and honestly. The attention to detail was impeccable. No unnecessary embellishment of the product, just the facts. Questions about product pricing were given immediate attention, along with the offer of a discount for attending the venue (and, I suppose, for finding it). What a breath of fresh air. Not the usual, “Let me check with my general manager,” to determine what the special price should be.

His sales approach was perfect. He pointed out key product features. He didn’t exaggerate his product’s attributes. He kept his pitch simple, so people could understand what they were looking at. And he didn’t oversell. The marketing manager’s cogent presentation employed a similar sales method. Indeed, all the staff utilized this same and effective sales technique.
And, guess what? The company’s products are designed and made in Canada. How refreshing.

The owners proudly introduced both young and old members of their family who are all part of the business. It was clear they possess a very dedicated work ethic. The whole organization was there for all to see. This was a company ready to stand behind its product. Nothing was hidden.

A few days later, I got an e-mail concerning the equipment about which I had inquired. This was followed up by a personal phone call to ensure I received the necessary information. Now that is commitment to customer service. I am certainly going to consider adding this company’s product to my rental fleet.

George A. Olah has over 35 years of experience in training, marketing, and renting commercial appliances and equipment. He is presently the general manager of operations at ABCO Equipment & Supplies, a family-owned rental company located in Weston, Ont.

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