So … Is Alabama a large or small city?
Yes, unfortunately, you read the above sentence correctly.
My wife, Vanessa, was asked this geography question by a young lady working in a ladies’ boutique while we were on a mini-vacation in Aspen, Colorado.
I used to marvel at a statement like this. But, frankly, this type of thing doesn’t have the same effect on me today as there is so much ignorance in the world.
Back to the story, and a lesson for you/your business ...
Vanessa was doing some shopping while I was back at the St. Regis Hotel enjoying a coffee, new book, and cigar while a light snow was coming down. It was beautiful. We would meet up later for lunch.
Vanessa walked into a ladies’ boutique staffed by a lone employee with zero customers. This young lady was on the phone. Not the store phone. Her cell phone.
The clerk totally ignored making eye contact with Vanessa. She continued her call which Vanessa could easily tell was personal, not a business call. The clerk continued the call for at least 5 more minutes.
Finally, she hung up the phone.
She approached Vanessa with a smile, no apology for the wait, but a nice greeting offering assistance.
Vanessa smiled saying, "no thank you, I’m just looking”.
She told me she was a little offended by being ignored while the employee continued her personal call. Adding it happens sometimes as customer service has declined everywhere.
The young employee made another attempt with some small talk. Very soon it led to her ignorant geography question.
Vanessa answered with a smile, “We have both large cities and small towns in Alabama. Also, Alabama has mountains, it’s green much of the year with beautiful beaches on the Gulf of Mexico.”
Very soon, Vanessa walked out the door as she did not see anything that interested her, wasn’t presented anything by the clerk to get her attention, and had zero interest in continuing the conversation.
This is what can happen in a business when you allow your team members to "wing it” by not having talking points and a scripted system in place to engage visitors in the business.
Forget the geography bone-headedness. Let’s discuss some problems & solutions here …
- No acknowledgment of a visitor
- Get off the phone, especially your personal cell phone - it should be in a locker in the back with access
only during lunch or other breaks
- No scripts
- No attempt to exchange something of value to capture visitor information to stay in touch and start building a relationship
Here are some do’s …
- If on a business call, smile, acknowledge the visitor, and gesture it’ll be just a minute
- Everything should be scripted, from the initial greeting, small talk talking points to closing the deal, to capturing all contact info to enhance the relationship with specials, etc.
- The Owner/Manager must monitor with video and audio so you can coach to improve performance, plus hold team members accountable WHEN, NOT IF they get off-target
Current and past BGI coaching members and conference attendees have the tools to easily do this in your business.
Are you using them?
Could you use them better?
Don’t sweat the answers to those questions. I know the answer. We, including me, can all do better.