Turning dough into bread, and vice-versa.

Turning dough into bread, and vice-versa.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

Turning dough into bread, and vice-versa.

I am in constant search of what separates one company from the other, if they sell the same product. Bread can be bought just about anyplace. Grocery store, convenience store, gas station, and at a bread store. The bread store might also have baked goods, cinnamon buns.

Many if not most, buy bread at the most convenient place — get groceries, buy bread at the same time. Makes American sense.

Basically a bread store is in the dough business. They bake dough and make dough. So what you have to do is make people make a destination purchase, and exchange convenience for quality and taste. Big task.

Then it’s a matter of taste. Or is it? Doesn’t freshness come into play? How about quality of ingredients? Shopping experience? Believe me there’s more to it than meets the mouth.

And there are always “secret ingredients” in any recipe — business success is no different. At Great Harvest Bread Company it’s people and leadership.

One of the most powerful ingredients in the success of Great Harvest Bread Company are the quality of the owners from store to boardroom.

The recent addition of chairman, and principle of the company, Nido Qubein, himself an Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient and successful entrepreneur, has taken this to an even higher level. Nido leads the corporate philosophy as a living example of “first class” in every respect of the words.

I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Mike Ferretti, CEO of The Great Harvest Bread Company. Great guy, happy guy, lives in a great city (Charlotte), and has a great attitude of person and of leadership.

“If the consumer thinks a bakery is a bakery, it’s because they’ve never been to one of our stores,” he smiled. “Our experience is different from the moment a customer walks in the door. Our goal is for them to purchase our product, eat it, love it, come back, and tell others.” Cool.

Baking dough and making dough. Two important ingredients if you’re in the bakery business. What’s in a loaf of bread? Well, when you go to the Great Harvest Bread Company, you find out it’s a lot more than flour and water. The Great Harvest Bread Company has found a recipe for success: Bakery, business, quality, consistency, retail experience, great people, family pride, and community = profit for everyone.

They create a festive atmosphere where people want to buy, and create a product that’s so good that people talk about it and buy again. It creates a ringing sound. A cash register ringing sound. Real cool.

In my interview with Mike Ferretti I asked him WHY his customers keep coming back. His responses were revealing and profound. See how they may adapt to your business.
1. Great Harvest people are good neighbors in a neighborhood business. People want to buy products from businesses that are committed to giving something back to the neighborhoods in which they live. We support neighborhoods by donating products to non-profit organizations. Our commitment to neighborhoods communicates our appreciation for customer support and lets people know that running a business is not just about out making a lot of dough! When we give to our communities, our customers support us, which allows us to give even more.
2. We bake phenomenal bread. We use the freshest, most natural ingredients we can find. We never use preservatives, chemicals or dough conditioners. Our flour has the highest protein content possible and comes from Montana wheat country. We use filtered water, and the purest, local honey available. We never skimp. Most people say, “This bread tastes so good it doesn’t even need butter.” In fact, our bread tastes so great you’ll think we kidnapped your grandma.
3. We take the time to make our products from scratch. It a world of technology it’s refreshing to find people who are so passionate about quality that they make things the old fashioned way. Each loaf is hand kneaded and hand designed – no two are alike. To us, baking is more than a science – it’s an art. We believe that fresh ground flour is as important to the taste of a loaf of bread, as fresh ground coffee beans are to a fantastic cup of coffee. When a customer buys a loaf of bread from us, they are proud to serve it.
4. We don’t give samples, we give amples! Customers love our huge, warm, FREE slices and they keep coming back for more. Where else do you get a free slice of bread BEFORE you buy a loaf?
5. Great Harvest hires great people and supports having fun at work. When you walk into one of our bakeries one of the first things you see is a team of people who love their jobs. They are not just working for a paycheck – although we think we pay them well. They are the kind of people who like to make others happy, love working to toe-tapping music, and enjoy the freedom of wearing casual clothes to work instead of a uniform. They enjoy a flexible work schedule and the perk of having all the free bread they and their families can consume. We’ve learned that happy employees give outrageous service and keep customers coming back for more.

Wow. That’s a winning recipe for the true taste of success.

To paraphrase a great book… Cast your bread upon the counter, and it will come back to you tenfold, is the spirit of The Great Harvest Bread Company and it is a spirit we could all use a loaf of.

Free GitBit… Want the recipe of how to create a buying mood in your business? BONUS A few of Great Harvest’s BEST cookie recipes. These are guaranteed to bake you into family history. Just go to www.Gitomer.com, register if you’re a first time user, and enter the words GREAT HARVEST in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to salesman@gitomer.com