Posted: March 11, 2014, 9:25 a.m. EDT
By Patrick Donston
If you're like me, you hear and read a lot of information about fishkeeping as well as gather information from customers, Internet forums, articles, blogs and the like. Most are helpful, although some can be quite misunderstood. I'm a firm believer in being cautious when receiving advice from nondocumented Internet sources. I'm not saying it isn't true; I'm just reading with an open mind, wondering if the information is advantageous to most, and not an isolated case. I do believe there are plenty of misconceptions rendered where the aquarist can be misled.
Another common hobbyist experience is what I refer to as "mind-block.” This is when we get set in our own ways, closing ourselves off to new ideas. Many of us are guilty of this (myself included) when we believe we have the proper protocol, not understanding success through other means. I have to constantly remind myself and the staff to remember this hobby is an art form integrated with science. When it comes to aquariums, "Success is in the eyes of the beholder."
Tiger Barbs. iStock/Thinkstock
We just had an incident the other day where one of my sales associates told a client she couldn't keep tiger barbs in with peaceful tetras. I was told she walked out frustrated because she was sold the tetras and barbs by us, they were doing well together and now he was contradicting our information. I asked my associate, "What kind of peaceful tetras were they?" He didn't know. I mentioned that before jumping on a statement, getting all of the information helps. What defines "peaceful” to her may be different to us.
What if she had tetras such as Serpae, lemon, or Buenos Aires? Would they work with tiger barbs?
I think it's important as industry operators to communicate our best intentions to our clients and future hobbyists. It is our duty to give the most pertinent information while clearing up misconceptions. It can be troubling when we fail to sell or convince our clients to try something because they believe the contrary.
In my next few blogs I'd like to talk about reefs, discus and natural systems, and offer a few thoughts generally believed by aquarists and suggest contrary points. I hope this will help you in training your sales team, improving on serviceable sales.
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