Have you ever stopped to notice the different levels of services you receive while on vacation? Airport, shuttle, rental car, hotel, and restaurant service.
While staying in Boston for a recent family visit, we noticed our hotel room’s shower wasn’t draining properly. After our second day of island and sandbar hopping on a boat, we found ourselves showering in six inches of salt-laden water. It didn’t exactly feel refreshing.
After calling hotel maintenance for the second time in two days, Scott, the maintenance guy, was at my door before I could even hang up the phone.
Over the years, I’ve grown a little cynical about service. Service people are not always friendly for obvious reasons. Admitting a mistake or carelessness isn’t easy for anyone, especially when we have to confront it head-on. Scott couldn’t hide behind an email or voicemail.
I expected brief interaction with Scott, but to my surprise, he immediately explained that he simply forgot the maintenance request. I had a shower with half of Boston harbor in it, and he forgot. But, I was fine with it. Why? Because Scott was human and honest. He didn’t waste his time (or mine) with a crafty explanation that didn’t solve the problem. He took responsibility for the mistake and had the problem fixed in five minutes. I later found out that Scott had his hands full the day before with a major air conditioning breakdown that was affecting several floors. He never mentioned this to me during our conversation.
What’s the point? People tend to do what feels easy. In this case, Scott did the right thing, and it made all the difference. He could have rationalized with us and explained his major challenge that led to his mistake (air-conditioning unit tanked) the day our original service call came in, but he chose not to.
He put himself out there with vulnerability, admitting that he simply forgot. This was endearing. His honesty created credibility and loyalty from me as a customer. I was able to empathize with him. We’re all human and we have all been there before, and we’ll all be there again—that is, if you’re in the process of moving (results) forward.
As you prepare for your sales day or week, remember that doing what feels better is heavily influenced by what’s considered safe and involves less risk. Unfortunately, if it feels better, you’ll usually end up where you’re already at. Doing what’s right is very different. It involves more personal exposure and vulnerability.
Selling isn’t about feeling better – that’s what comfort food and vacations are for. Sales is about doing what’s right and truthful for your prospects and customers.
There’s little value in being right if it’s not the right thing to do. Pick up the phone and throw human vulnerability into your next prospect or customer conversation – the result might surprise you.