I got up this morning with a feeling of dread in my stomach, combined with a flood of thoughts of what I needed to do today, “I’m all jitters and nerves. My boss says I have to make 20 new prospecting calls by end of day, and I don’t want to do it.” I froze, and decided to do something else for a little bit to get up my courage. Maybe I’d write a proposal, research the potential client, re-organize my desk, answer pressing or non-pressing internal emails, go get a cup of coffee, or maybe text my friend. All to avoid the inevitable…talk to a stranger.
“My favorite word in the English vocabulary is ‘No,’ ” my wildly successful, jewelry salesman father once told me when talking about his customers. Curiously I said, “Why no? I would think that would be your least favorite word.” Confidently, he responded in his deep, Brooklyn accent, “It’s simple, Lissa. It’s my challenge to uncover what’s missing, and educate them, so they get what they need. They don’t know what they don’t know.” He was a smart man, but the words that resonated in my head were, ‟It’s simple”. Just educate your customer on the value of your product or service, and you’ll be on the way to a sale. Unfortunately, to others, “no” engenders a pit in your stomach that stings and discourages. It means they have been personally rejected.
How many times have you called a hotel looking for a room, and heard the guest agent on the other end either give you a price for the room and nothing more, or quickly add the features in a perfunctory, flat tone, “We have a pool, microwave in the room, free internet, free continental breakfast, and a workout room.” Questions immediately arise in my head, “Really? Doesn’t almost every hotel in the area offer those amenities? What makes your hotel special? What am I really getting for my money?”
Four months ago my wallet was stolen in Houston, TX. One would think this was a horrific experience, to be a woman alone in a big city without her identity, no money, credit cards, or the treasured post-it notes made by my nieces, and it was. But, that’s not what pushed me over the edge and made me absolutely livid. It was a lack of empathy and good customer service after-the-fact that suddenly threw me into a tailspin.