You’re Always Making an Impression Whether You Want to or Not
Everyone is watching you all the time. I’m not talking about “Big Brother.” I am noting that wherever you are, interacting with one person or a hundred or more, you are making an impression. The personal impression you make is also your professional and business image in any given moment. Imagine the good spirit and optimism you generate for your profession and business when you improve another’s optimism in any encounter, business related or not.
The other day, I was reminded about the importance of this lesson by my business partner who clearly handled the situation in the RIGHT WAY! A solicitor stopped by our office without an appointment. Jackie went into the reception area and greeted the stranger with a handshake and a smile saying, “Hi, what can we do for you?” He explained that he was in the business of selling copy machines, and wanted to talk to us about his products and services.
Jackie indicated that we didn’t do a lot of copying. He said that was OK, but asked if there was a time he could come back and meet with the person who made decisions about the copy machine service for the business. She indicated that she was it, she was willing to meet, but did not want to waste his time. He said he never considered it a waste of time to learn about someone's business and how his products and services might be of help. They set up an appointment for the following Monday at 3.
My Negative Thinking
Our office area is designed to have a great deal of open, non-walled-off space, and I could easily overhear the conversation from my workstation. I thought to myself:
* Why is she being so friendly to this guy? We don’t have need for any more copy services. We have the best do-it-yourself service from Office Max, and I am sure he will be more expensive. Now she is going to waste time meeting with this person. I’d have told him we didn’t have any needs for his services and shown him the door as quickly as possible, while being polite.
It Only Takes a Few Moments to Spread Optimism
At 3:15 on Monday, the copy machine salesperson came by for his appointment. Jackie greeted him and they met in our reception area. For the next ten minutes, a conversation ensued in which he shared information about his business and he learned about ours. It was agreed that we did not have current needs for his products and services, but there might be a future window of opportunity.
It was obvious to me that he felt welcomed by Jackie and he now knew about our business. He knew enough that he could tell others about us and even refer someone to us. In that ten minute moment, Jackie made him feel welcomed and that he had something meaningful to offer. I believe he left in a more positive mood than when he came in. And, he certainly left an informed fan of ours.
Had it Been My Way it Would have been the Highway
If the encounter had gone according to my mindset, I would have sent him “packing” the first time he came in. I would have been polite, said "Thanks, but no thanks, we don’t need any of that."
I realized, had it gone my way, we would not have made a new friend and possible advocate. He would have never known what we do, and would never have given Moment-to-Moment another thought.
I think we all have much to learn from Jackie's approach. Think about the positive climate and business productivity that would result if every employee made an effort to give everyone they encountered co-workers and clients alike the gift of a moment of optimism in every encounter throughout the day.
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