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When this salesman, whom I will call Brad, arrived at a customer’s home, a couple greeted him. The husband then apologized that he wouldn’t be able to stay for the discussion about their home comfort needs, saying he had a briefcase full of work and a tight deadline to meet. Brad had expected and hoped to have them both present for the discussion, but seeing that was not to be, he focused his attention on the wife.
According to Brad, he had an excellent discussion with her. She was open and straightforward about their needs to get their spacious two-story home comfortable on both floors, and in every room. This was a high priority for them since their niece was going to be getting married in their home, and several family members would be staying with them. (Now, I think you’ll agree for most women, such a happy event and all those guests on their way, that will send her into overdrive and unfetter the purse strings. Right?)
As Brad explained it, after an hour into this productive discussion, the husband “waltzed” back in. And, at this point, the wife announced that her husband would be finishing up, since she absolutely must prepare for an important presentation for a major client the next morning.
Brad admitted that he was really steamed at this turn of events. He was angry and he felt their behavior was deliberately disrespectful to him and his time, since he would be required to repeat the entire hour-long process with the woman’s husband. And, that’s exactly what he told them and stormed out the door without listening to a single word of explanation from the homeowners. Brad said, “And, that was a very costly mistake for me.”
The next morning the homeowner phoned and wanted to express to the owner of the company what Brad had been unwilling to hear the evening before. He explained that he and his wife meant no disrespect for the time he had invested with them. All he had expected from Brad was a review of what the next steps were to get this project underway. He did not need or want him to repeat the same discussion he had with his wife, as he didn’t have the time or the need for that.
His wife’s “finish up” statement communicated to the husband that she wanted to proceed. What Brad interpreted as deliberate rudeness was instead a stressed out couple who were coping with high-stress jobs and houseguests on the way for a wedding in their home.
Brad reminded us of the famous Mark Twain quote which he now has in the front of his notebook: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
SMILE AND COUNT TO 10And, on that note, I highly recommend a timely and very helpful book, CrazyBusy - Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap! Strategies for Coping in a World Gone ADD by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. He says, “The modern phenomenon of brain overload is a national epidemic. Without intending for it to happen, we’ve plunged ourselves into a mad rush of activity, expecting our brains to keep track of more than they comfortably or effectively can.
“CrazyBusy is not just a by-product of high-speed, globalized modern life. It has become its defining feature - BlackBerries, cell phones, and e-mail 24/7; longer workdays, escalating demands, and higher expectations at home. It all adds up to a state of constant frenzy that is sapping us of creativity, humanity, mental wellbeing, and the ability to focus on what truly matters.”
Whew! Does this sound like your clients and potential clients - and you? Brad’s new approach, and one I strongly recommend, is to smile and count to 10.
Try it. It works.
You will be able to think more clearly and make better decisions. And, that will be healthy on all counts: mentally, physically, and financially. Then do what every potential client will value: be completely, pleasantly present. Engage with each homeowner - be it one at a time or at the same time. It’s very good for business.
Never forget this business building fact: Women do not gossip. They advertise!
Publication date: 05/14/2007