My Boss Told Me Off

by Dr. Ginger Bratzel
 [My Boss Told Me Off]

One of the few jobs I’ve had in my life was working at a hardware store. I tell you this story about my days of employment because it demonstrates pretty well the difference between marketing and conversion.


So, for a short period of time between dental school graduation and taking over the practice, I worked at this local hardware store to pass the time and bring in some income. (It was more like beer money level compensation, but I digress.)

Most people don’t understand graduating from dental school doesn’t mean I could go out and start seeing patients right away. Even though I had a brand new diploma, the letters “D-R” in front of my name, and owned a practice already, I had a few more steps before I could glove up and greet my first paying patient.

Nobody at the hardware store believed me at first that I was really a dentist. And I don’t blame them. It seems a little farfetched, but it was the truth. They would call me ‘Doc’, more as a joke than a term of achievement.

Immediately on my first day at the hardware store, they put me on the cash register right at the front of the store. They reasoned that if there was even a little truth to my doctor story, I should be able to count. Which made me way more qualified than anyone else working there for the position.

In the first few minutes of starting, they showed me how to scan and total order, then turn me loose on my own. In only 5 minutes, the manager had determined I had all the training I needed. Since I was at the front of the store, I also had to run the phone switchboard, too, which he neglected to cover at all.

So I had been working there for minutes, and the phone rang. I saw the little red light blinking and the manager yelled across the store, “Answer the phone.” By a process of elimination, I figured out to push the red blinking light and pick up the handset.

And as I raised the earpiece to my head, I realized I didn’t even know the name of the store!

I did a frantic visual scan around for something with the name of the store. And there on the wall was a name spelled out in a font that looked like tree branches as I opened my mouth.


“Hello, Smith Hardware. How can I help you?”

The guy at the other end of the phone goes nuts and starts screaming at me.


I told him my name.


“Honestly, sir, five minutes.”


Well, the caller on the other end was the owner of the company. Rightly so,  was furious that I didn’t answer the phone the way he wanted it answered.

While they had determined they needed to hire someone,  no one took the time to train me on how to answer the phone.  Come to find out, no such training existed.

They had been winging it all this time.

After all their marketing investments to drive traffic to the store, there were no procedures in place for the customer experience.

They hired me and just turned me loose. 🤦‍♀️


In business, there are two conversion steps. The first is getting them to give you a call, click your website, come to your location, or reach out to you to make that connection.


That’s the purpose of your marketing.  But marketing isn’t responsible for turning them into a client or patient, it’s just to get them to take that first step.

The 2nd conversion happens through your systems, scripting, traffic flow, your team, etc. That’s what turns a prospect into a paying client.

By skipping that 2nd step, it’s the type of mistake businesses make that no amount of marketing is going to fix.

Work smart. 😉