There is a piece of advice I gave hundreds of times in years past to in-store bankers, which I find myself sharing more and more with all bankers today: People learn who you really are by the way you behave once they have turned you down.
This advice originally arose from trying to encourage bankers to be resilient without falling into the dreaded “Don’t accept ‘No’ for an answer” mindset that so many sales gurus seemed to preach.
I would joke, “I’m thinking the best way to show someone you are a good listener might be, oh… by listening.”
Now, that doesn’t mean we simply write them off.
“No” today doesn’t mean “No” forever, depending on how we behave going forward.
Importantly, I point out that most people’s natural first reaction to being asked to make a change is “No thanks, I’m good.”
You might objectively offer a product, service, and/or deal that is superior to what they currently have.
You may provide something that perfectly suits their needs.
They might have been complaining about an issue that you can resolve just minutes before interacting with you.
Heck, they might have even initiated the conversation about what you offer!
However, the reluctance to change is strong, and variations of 'I’m good' or 'Let me think about it' are most folks’ go-to responses.
With that in mind, we shouldn’t feel that we have failed, or “turn up the pressure” when we get some form of initial rejection.
Sure, a customer or prospect might have quickly and thoroughly analyzed the information and made an informed, permanent decision.
More likely, however, they are being...oh, what's the word...human.
That said, remaining upbeat and friendly after a rejection instantly shows that person your true character.
Does that mean people instantly change their minds upon realizing that you really are a good and helpful person, regardless of whether they accept your offer?
No, it doesn’t. But we don’t sell impulse items and shouldn’t expect impulse decisions.
The impression you leave a person with immediately after some form of rejection, and the way you interact with them the next times you see them, shapes their perception of you.
The difference between making a quick sale and earning lasting business lies in how we treat people over time.
Strive to behave in a way that earns future business today.
I found myself delivering quite a few commentaries out loud last week... well, to myself.
Engaging in joking commentary about the pain I was experiencing and how ridiculous I looked shuffling through airports and hotels seemed to lessen the pain.
Think Tim Conway’s “Oldest Man” character on the Carol Burnett Show. (Google that one, kids.)
They say laughter has real health benefits. It’s known to be good for blood pressure and even the immune system.
Whether it helped with what I believe to be a torn meniscus remains to be seen, but it certainly helped me maintain a better attitude than I otherwise might have had during my travels.
On a side note, shout out to the folks who designed Denver’s airport. I’m not sure how it’s possible to make everything a half-mile walk from everything else. But you guys sure nailed it!
I had a couple of recurring thoughts during my several-day 'limpapalooza.'
The first was a reminder of the impact one area can have on whether other areas function properly.
My injured left knee led to problems with my right knee, feet, ankles, and hips.
These problems didn’t appear immediately, but it didn’t take long for one bad knee to “spread.”
In business, it's common to misdiagnose the reasons behind areas not performing up to expectations.
Indeed, it’s possible that various areas might have their own, entirely separate issues.
However, it's equally common for the origin of many of these problems to stem from elsewhere.
Problematic issues in numerous areas are unlikely to be resolved until the true source (or individuals) causing the problems is identified and addressed.
The other recurring thought running through my mind was the importance and benefit of showing empathy towards people who may not be projecting the friendliest aura in the world today.
I caught myself having to put in extra effort not to be short or snarky with some of the folks I interacted with.
When you're physically uncomfortable, it’s difficult to be cheerful.
The same is true for people dealing with any number of personal concerns that aren't immediately apparent.
How many of the “difficult people” we encounter each day may have valid reasons for being less-than-pleasant at the moment?
Give them a pass next time. It won’t hurt.