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Last Update: Saturday December 16, 2017

Key Idea: Live Like Your Customers Live

Scott Mooney started his business to serve other horse owners.  This is Scott with his children on their family farm where they live and where Scott has his company headquarters.  More...

Key Question:

A: 

Many business owners are considered lifestyle owners. For example, a person who loves surfing may own a surf shop near the beach and combine selling surf boards with spending plenty of time surfing. This is living like your customers live. Scott started selling horse equipment because he had a horse in his backyard. He has lived the life of his customers and still does.

Q:  In addition to serving customers as he wants to be served, what does Scott do to guarantee that he is staying close to customers?

A: 
He visits customers in person. One of the downsides to a catalog business is your customers don't walk into a shop so that you can look them in the eye. With 450,000 customers around the country, Scott could become ensconced in his data and think he is staying in touch.

In this program you saw Scott visiting Don Bright and asking many questions. This is the way small companies discover what move to make next. By seeing customers where they live, business owners can spot opportunities for product and service development.

Q:  Why does Scott worry about the type of service he is providing his customers?

A: Scott lives like his customers so he knows how they feel. They love their horses but they don't have big budgets. Many are rural folks who place a strong value on human interactions. They may live in a town where everybody knows their name. These people cannot be shuffled off to a web site with email as the only connection between them and Country Supply. They cannot be placed in voicemail hell and asked by a robot operator to make their selection by pressing numbers on the telephone key pad.

You heard Roxanne Wojan say she loves that fact that when she calls to place an order she is able to speak with a person who actually has the item in their hand or has access to the item and can describe it to her fully. The problem with any photo of a product is that it doesn't allow the customer to feel it. Tack is leather and customers want to know how it feels. Roxanne is concerned about exact sizing and can ask the operator to measure an item. Scott has always, and will always, provide ways for customers to interact with real people representing Country Supply.

Think about it

What are your customer touch points? Do they match with what your customers wants from you? When did last you go to your customer's turf and what did you learn? What did you change as a result of your visit?

Clip from: Country Supply

Ottumwa, Iowa: Meet Scott Mooney, the founder of Country Supply.  Scott has over 450,000 customers throughout the USA and in several countries generating over $17 million in annual sales.  Since the taping of this episode of the show, Scott sold his company to a global business.  He got that unexpected knock on the door and an offer he simply could not refuse. 

Country Supply

Scott Mooney, founder

PO Box 369
Louisiana, Missouri 63353

Visit our web site: http://www.countrysupply.com

Toll Free: 800-637-6721

Business Classification:
Distribution

Year Founded: 1984

Live Like Your Customers Live

HATTIE: Describe your core customer.

SCOTT: They ride western in their back yard. You know, they have probably four horses on average, and they do it for their family hobby.

HATTIE: Great. Like you did when you were growing up.

SCOTT: Yes.

HATTIE: You had that horse in your back yard.

SCOTT: Yes, I built the company to focus on the customer that I would have been, I think, when I grew up.

HATTIE: I want to know why you weren't playing baseball with all the other kids when you were 14 years old.

SCOTT: Well, some kids sell lemonade out on the street. This isn't that far removed from that really. I just started selling horse equipment out of the barn.

HATTIE: So tell me about your high school experience.

SCOTT: About my high school experience.

HATTIE: Yes, like how did you run your business when you were supposed to be going to school? How'd that happen?

SCOTT: If I wasn't at high school, I was working. Probably the night of the prom, I was probably rebuilding shelf displays at the store, see. And I'd run a business during the day and go to high school at night. I graduated with my class just like all the rest of the kids that I went to high school with.

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