The ROI is Always in the Relationship!

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Everyone Wears Sneakers These Days!


I recently had a stopover at JFK airport and decided to have my cowboy boots polished. I’d always seen people stop and do this and for once I wasn’t sprinting to catch a connection so I decided to indulge.

I was traveling with my friend Anita and she was doing some shopping so I told her I was going to get my boots cleaned and call my husband.

When I arrived at the polishing station I went to pull out my phone and realized how rude it would be to have a warm body in front of me, working on my boots while I had a conversation with Simon.

Practicing what I preach I kept the phone off and decided to be fully engaged with the shoe shiner! We had a great conversation about where he was originally from, what happened to the gentleman who used to work the station before he took over and I walked away with a reminder of a huge life lesson!

As he worked on my boots, I asked how business was going. He sighed and said, “Everyone wears sneakers these days, no one wants their shoes polished”.  I listened and then observed.  I watched loads of travelers walk by with sneakers on yes, but I also watched hundreds of people bustle by with gorgeous Italian loafers and black shiny shoes!

I was reminded that as entrepreneurs a huge part of our success is how we see the world. I saw opportunity for this gentleman at the same rate he saw misfortune. Not “everyone” wears sneakers and not “everyone” has spent their budgets in your world.

2008 was a banner year in my business because I blocked out the news that said “No one is buying” and I went looking for the people who were! Look for the people who are willing and able to use your services, who need your help and just need to be found!

Unless you’re selling rotary phones, the world is literally your oyster with unlimited potential!

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Something went wrong! Hooray!

Oh no! The order went wrong, the client is not happy! Take a moment, a brief moment, to cringe and move on!

Errors present a wonderful opportunity to show your character and create a pivotal point in any relationship.  Sales are no exception.

The minute something goes wrong, take charge and contact your client.  Forget email and reach out in a personal way with a phone call.  I’ve said it before, email just doesn’t do authenticity any justice. First apologize for the error and recognize the implications this has on the individual.  Perhaps this potentially tarnishes their reputation with their boss or their clients, but not for long!

Error rectification means tackling the issue head on.  Admit the error, taking ownership even if it’s not your fault.  It means accepting the challenge with an upbeat attitude and providing solutions! Make sure your client feels that you’re in control and you’re handling the issue.  You’re creating a “good news” story for them and need some time to work on a brilliant and prompt outcome.

Sometimes error rectification means losing money in the short-term but gaining a client for life in the long run. One of our clients recently received some defective goods.  The supplier was at fault but I stepped up to the plate, took ownership and took a hit of about $3000 for the error.  I didn’t doubt my client’s concerns, but rather fully justified their feelings and went to work on a more than acceptable solution.  By doing so, I lost three thousand dollars on the initial order but shortly thereafter secured an ecstatic client by replacing the goods with a higher value product and closing a $47,000.00 deal that same week!

Your clients need to know you have their best interests in mind.  Your insurance on errors puts the buyer at ease and allows for a fruitful and prosperous long-term partnership.

As Jeffrey Gitomer would say, go for the “wow”.  Most people don’t and most people lose clients when things go wrong, but what a shame to waste a wonderful relationship changing opportunity. Hooray!