We're not open. You have to leave the building and come back at 8!"
Thus declared "Earl," the government security rent-a-cop with a three-color patch on his arm that gave him a license to be a meanie-head. (Yes, I have kids at home.)
How Not To Make a First Impression
I was at the Riverside County Board of Equalization to get a reseller permit so the
Socialist Republic state of California can take more of my money on a regular basis, and this is how I'm treated.
Maybe Earl was having a bad day. (Do you have the luxury of "having a bad day" in your business with your customers?)
Maybe Earl thought "being nice isn't in my job description...I'm security." (Sales, marketing, customer service, attention-to-detail are all part of everyone's job description!)
Maybe my wife and I appeared threatening and he was just doing what had to be done. (I'm trying to help Earl here, okay?)
When you have a monopoly and can force people to "do business" with you, you can treat them any way you want. But do you have a monopoly?
No Bad Days
You and I don't have the luxury of having a "bad day," which is good news and bad news.
It's bad news because even when your
- internet goes down,
- printer runs out of ink,
- website gets hacked,
- flight is running late,
- customers file chargebacks,...
...you and I need to smile through the pain and frustration and serve the next client with vim and vigor and enthusiasm.
The good news is your competition probably won't do such a good job of grinning through the good times, let alone the bad times.
When those "grin and bear it" times come along, I'm reminded of the following scene from "Evan Almighty."
Now ask yourself this question: How do your people treat and greet your prospects and clients?
Your competitors hope you treat them like a government monopoly dictatorship. With mobile technology and Web 2.0 social media platforms the world will know if you do before the customer gets out of the parking lot.
You attract more flies with honey (not that customers are flies) and you can improve your profitability faster by reducing churn and having a process for up-selling your existing customers and securing referrals from them than by simply going for the hard close on everyone you meet.
To give you some ideas on how to provide a better buying experience for your customers and prospects, listen to these customer-service oriented interviews on The Sales Podcast:
- Barbara Khozam on Session 22 (right click and download her episode)
- Shep Hyken on Session 49 (right click and download his episode)
- and fellow USAFA alum, "Waldo" Waldman on in Session 31 (right click and download his episode)
Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.