A friend of mine is a successful Realtor–but more than that she’s a fantastic person. She recently told me that a prospective client was interested in hiring her to help sell his home–but it was in an area outside her geographic expertise. Certainly she could sell the house there and would do her usual great job–but she was very clear that she didn’t know the area as well as other Realtors who usually work that area. She didn’t want the prospect to feel that she was taking advantage of them for her own short-term gain.
I take her example to heart–in fact, I actually have done the same thing. Sometimes a prospective client will contact me–fully prepared to hire me–and I will often have to be candid and explain that while I can do what they need, I may not be their best option. I then offer to refer them to a colleague who can do the job more quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. (But I will sometimes take the job if everyone is clear about what I think I can do–expectations must be realistic and understood.)
True, I may be missing out on some paydays. But in the long run I believe that by telling the truth and being invested in helping the prospective client succeed, they’ll remember me when they need something I can do best (or they will refer me to someone else who needs my services).
Besides, what if my Realtor friend or I did take jobs that we aren’t best-suited to do and ended up disappointing the client? Dissatisfied customers can be pretty vocal about it.
Maybe it’s karma, maybe it’s just doing what your Mom always told you to do. Telling the truth–up front–is the best policy.
In light of our recent analysis of Apple’s PR problems, we thought this post from The Observer might be of interest:
The event was an instructive shambles. In summary, the message was: Apple is good and makes great products; all smartphones have reception problems; Apple loves its customers, which is why it built all those cool retail stores for them; the iPhone problem can be fixed by fitting a rubberised “bumper” over the bezel; and Apple will give everyone a free bumper, so what’s the problem?
The press conference was instructive because it provided such a vivid demonstration of how inexperienced Apple is in its new role as just another company – and how inept Jobs is when faced with the hostile skepticism that is the routine experience of other CEOs.
“When it comes to responding to hostile or sceptical media coverage,” wrote one experienced commentator, “Jobs & co seem to be like a presidential contender who’s been able to skip the primaries and go straight to the general election – missing all the vetting and the hundreds of debates that help to surface any weakness or issues of concern, providing time to develop the skills necessary to respond to any situation. Jobs demonstrated what I've never seen him do in front of an audience: he not only lost his cool, he lost his charm. He was a like an arena rock star who can’t perform acoustic.”
I always thought it bad form for a wife and husband to argue in front of dinner guests. It’s just not cool. All it does is make the guests wish they could crawl under the rug. (Well, okay, sometimes it’s pretty entertaining–as in Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor entertaining, but usually not).
I feel the same way about business. If you have to bawl out an employee–excuse me, I mean if you have to clarify or correct behavior–do it in the backroom, your office or virtually anywhere except in full view of your customers. The same applies to staff arguing openly amongst themselves. Check out this review of a restaurant in Maryland:
“atmosphere unpleasant” by ****
November 07, 2009 – The food is good but some of the staff needs customer service courses. We showed up at 2:00 pm thinking we got there in time before they closed which is 3:00 pm. We waited 40 minutes to be seated only to hear time again that the grill was closing. Some of the staff were arguing, in front of me and several other customers, about seating us because it was too close to closing time. It was a very embarrassing experience because, “hello, I’m can hear you.” I actually thought they were going to turn us away because we were too far down on the seating list. When we did get seated we were rushed and got second rate service. No food is worth indigestion.
Wanna bet they never went back? And what effect has that review had on the restaurant’s new customers?
Being polite. What a concept.
This sounds like obvious advice, but I have–more than once–been exposed to bickering couples and business managers yelling openly at their staff. Both times it made me uncomfortable and reluctant to spend any time with the offending couple/business in the future.
So, if you have a staff member who needs “correction,” take it outside–and make sure staff know you expect them to keep their cool in front of customers when you’re not around.
If you find yourself arguing with your spouse in front of company, then perhaps you should serve less (or more?) alcohol. Whichever works best.
Today’s economy is creating a glut of misery and uncertainty. It’s also rife with desperation.
Desperation–when you’re at the end of your rope–is bad for a lot of reasons. Perhaps the most insidious is that it often robs you of the ability to know you are reeking of desperation, which makes things worse. Check out this excerpt from an excellent post by Mitch Joel:
When you’re desperate it’s hard to win business, get that job, market a product or do anything (like find a mate).
The trouble is that most people who are desperate, can’t even muster up the levity to see, feel and hear it in themselves. When you’re desperate, your confidence drops, so whether you’re looking to meet someone, get a job or close a piece of business, nobody wants to connect with someone who reeks of desperation – and therefore lacks confidence in whatever it is that they’re doing.
If you can’t find a job, there are plenty of things that you can do.
What most people fail to realize is that while they are looking for work, their full-time job is actually making themselves as knowable as possible (Hugh McGuire over at the The Book Oven and one of the co-hosts of Media Hacks once brilliantly stated, “don’t Blog to be know. Blog to be knowable”). Our work/world has changed. If you are looking for work, pay attention to this…
Read more for “Four Ways Not to Reek of Desperation” on the Six Pixels of Separation blog.
NEXT!, the creative brainchild of Kansas City-based casting director Heather Laird took top honors in the Comedic Webisode category at the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) LATV Fest in Los Angeles.
NEXT! was one of only three finalists selected. The web-based comedy was announced as the winning entry during the LATV Fest July 14.
Laird created the comedy web series in an effort to showcase her work as an emerging director, choosing the internet as her medium.
“Getting a foot in the Hollywood door is an enormous challenge,” she said. “The internet has become a way for some to slip in through the back.”
Laird partnered with T2 + Back Alley Films owner Teri Rogers as Executive Producer to create six, six-minute web episodes.
“It’s a faux reality series,” said Laird. “It’s a fictional realty show that tracks the trials and tribulations of real-life casting director John Jackson.”
Jackson, who is the primary casting director for the award winning director Alexander Payne (Sideways, Election, About Schmidt), also has a long acting resume under the stage name of “John Durbin”.
Other Kansas City companies who lent production support to the project include Liquid 9 and Wheeler Audio.
A Hollywood mainstay, NATPE is dedicated to the “creation, development and distribution of televised programming”. The annual NATPE Market & Conference is considered to be the largest trade show event worldwide for buying and selling television and new media content.