Article > Opinion

Boiling a Frog

By Mitch Schneider

Are you cooking up a recipe for disaster? Don’t let your customers get stuck in hot water.
Mitch Schneider

I haven’t seen anyone actually boil a frog, but I have the recipe.

You start out with a frog and a big pot of water. Place the frog in the water. Then, keep the frog occupied or otherwise distracted while you increase the temperature one degree at a time until the water is boiling hot and the frog is soup!

Deviating from this recipe will ultimately result in failure. You can’t just throw the frog into a pot of already boiling water; it won’t work. The frog will sense the heat and launch himself out of the pot just as fast and as far as his chubby little legs will send him.

However, following this recipe will almost certainly assure something far worse. You see, there is always a risk the frog will figure things out before the temperature gets too high and find a way out of the pot. The consequences are significant! First, you will never get that frog near a pot of water again. And, second, the chances are very high you are going to have a very cranky frog on your hands — a cranky frog likely to hold a grudge!

How do I know all this? I’ve been the frog…more than once. I’ve been in the water as the temperature started to climb and hopped out just before it was too late. And, I’ve missed that window of opportunity and been boiled a time or two. In fact, I just climbed out of a pot my uniform company put me in and I can promise you they will never see me in their kitchen again.
That’s why this recipe should be of special interest to all of you. There is a certain danger that accompanies ignoring — or worse yet — taking advantage of your most loyal and trusting frogs. Unfortunately, this is something we have all have been guilty of from time to time, myself included. Nevertheless, it is the kind of neglect that is certain to result in lost revenue and broken relationships.

We offer discounts and allowances of all kinds to seduce new clients, while ignoring the older, more enduring relationships that have served as the foundation of our success. We offer special pricing to “buy” new business, while slowly raising prices — boiling the frog, a degree at a time — to the very individuals who have made it possible for us to continue in business. And, in so doing, we all too often violate the “Law of Competitive & Reasonable Pricing,” a law that states that most individuals will not notice or complain if prices remain within the realm of what they believe to be Reasonable & Competitive. They will, however, abandon you without warning or remorse once your prices fall outside that threshold.

My uniform company just made that mistake by showing me how little my loyalty was worth and in so doing, created a price-shopper. My oil supplier is about to learn what I just learned: that I can purchase oil from a local jobber for less, eliminating problems with both storage and inventory.
The question, then, is simple: What are you cooking up in your kitchen: a recipe for success or a culinary disaster, something nourishing or something that will leave you hungry in a half hour? Speaking as a frog who just barely made it out of the hot pot in the nick of  time, I hope that whatever it is, it doesn’t include boiling water! 

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