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Last Update: Tuesday December 12, 2017

Key Idea: Turn Customers into Friends

Leonor Ferrer enjoys her customers and many of them are her close friends.   More...

Key Question:

A: 

Take time to get to know your customers so that they become your friends.  Learn about their family, do events to bring customers together, invite their children to some special function or just take your customer out for meals.

Search for more on the topic of customer service or click on the question for other answers.

Think about it

Are your customers your friends?  Do you enjoy spending time with your customers?  What customers would you like to get to know better?

Clip from: Ferrer Brokers

Otay Mesa, California and Tijuana, Mexico: Leonor Ferrer is the first Hispanic customs broker in the greater San Diego area and she is leading the way. She is president of the San Diego Chapter of National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America. You can sure that she and all of the leading thinkers among the import/export business are eager to help you begin to go global.

Leonor learned the ins-and-outs of this business working for somebody else. When her boss said that he was not interested in handling small businesses, people who only had small shipments to export or import, she struggled with herself, "Should I break away and start my own business to service these small accounts."

And, of course, she did. Ferrer Brokers has nine employees and a building across from the commercial border crossing. She is in Otay Mesa, just south of San Diego, California. Her offices are less than 100 feet from the Tijuana border. As all the 18-wheel truckers cross the border, they have to turn right or they would end up in her parking lot!

Ferrer Brokers

Leonor Ferrer, Founder

9840 Via De La Armistad
Otay, CA 92154
6196616755

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

Office: 6196616755

Business Classification:
Import-Export

Year Founded:

Turn Customers into Friends

HATTIE: Hi. I'm Hattie Bryant and welcome back. If you want to start a business or grow the one you already have, stay right here. For those of you who have been watching us every week since 1994, you know we're going to take you inside of the business where you can learn from the owner. This is basically a class, but not like the classes you took in school with teachers and textbooks and tests. The next 30 minutes is a Master Class, and it's more than a class; it's an experience. Grab paper and pencil and take notes, set some goals on what you're going to learn from our master small business owner, Leonor Ferrer.

 (Voiceover) This is Otay Mesa, California, which is on the border between California and Mexico at Tijuana. Along this ribbon, two cultures, long so very different, are joined by people, products and services.

LEONOR FERRER (Ferrer Brokers): When you're dealing with Mexico, this is the best place. We're right on the border, and we can deal with Mexico directly.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) This is just one of the 400 US ports of entry. A port is simply a legal place to export or import goods. Ports don't have to be harbors; they can be border crossings like this one, or even inland airports.

In just a year over $11 billion worth of goods came across this border (Otay Mesa) from Mexico into California -- the total US imports are over $1 trillion and exports just over $700 billion. Over 1.5 million trucks use this port of entry, and Leonor Ferrer is just across the street in her own building. She is a customs broker and her company helps hundreds of businesses move products in and out of the US. With nine employees in the US and five in Mexico, she generates annual fees totalling over $1 million. Leonor has established herself by delivering personal service to her customers.
 
 
OK, so tell me what you're importing.

Unidentified Man #1: Pots, clay pots.

HATTIE: OK. Do you make them? So where do you get them?

Trucker: The pots come from Guadalajara.

LEONOR: ... then that's is in the formal entry, and then in formal entry, you can do it on your own. You don't need a broker. But because he's bringing other items today other than pots and he doesn't know the classification for them...

Trucker: Right.

LEONOR: ...customs rejected it and asked that a broker do the paperwork.

HATTIE: (turning to the trucker) OK. So she's coming to the rescue.

LEONOR: So that's what we're gonna be doing, OK?

HATTIE: Good. And that's another reason why it's good for you to be right here.

LEONOR: Right. That's one of the advantages. Because we do get a lot we get a lot of new customers that way.

HATTIE: Great. So your location's perfect.

LEONOR: Perfect.

You have to like your business very much and you also have to know that you have to do something unique, something different, something that another person is not doing. In my case, it's service. It's an attitude of, my customers become my friends, you know? I know about their families. I know about their children. I know about their problems. They become friends because I am a small broker and this is a service agency.

HATTIE: Do you think that is advice to other small service companies, no matter what kind of business they're in, that they have to like people?

LEONOR: I think so. I don't see how another--how a service company can survive if they don't like people, you know? Mm, you know, and even an accountant, who would only be dealing with the paperwork and all that, would have to like his clients.

 

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