I was calling to check on reservations for my one night (city un-named) stay. Our office was closed for the holidays, and I couldn’t find the information I needed (if you’ve ever seen my office you’d understand). I knew it was one of two places — either the Radisson or the Marriott Courtyard.
I called directory assistance for the city, and asked for the number of both places. The operator had the Radisson, but could not determine what address I was wanting for the Courtyard, so she gave me their 800 number. Rats. I hate centralized reservation numbers. They seem so impersonal. People walk you through a pre-written script so you won’t take an extra second of their 800 phone-time, and then they give you a “confirmation number” that would fill a legal pad. Then the robotic person says, “Thank you for choosing……… (insert any name, they’re all alike).”
Anyway, for some reason Radisson was on my mind — perhaps it was that I had just spent two perfect nights at The Radisson in Pittsburgh (actually Monroeville). So I called the Radisson first. They didn’t have my name in the computer, so I figured my reservation was at the Courtyard. I asked the Radisson person for the phone number of their competitor — the woman was painstakingly pleasant, and double checked that I got the right number, because there was a Marriott and a Marriott Courtyard in the vicinity.
Then she thanked me for calling. (Remember, I just asked for their competition’s phone number.)
So I called the Marriott Courtyard. This time a man answered — I asked if I had a reservation at his hotel tonight — “NOPE!” he said — like I had just asked a dumb question, and he was doing me a favor by answering (at least that was my PERCEPTION — and that’s all that matters).
If the Courtyard guy had said — “Mr. Gitomer, I can’t find your reservation — but I’d be happy to make you one — when will you be arriving?” I would have happily made one. But to the person on the phone, I seemed to be more of a bother than an opportunity.
So, I hung up and recalled the Radisson, and made my reservation there because of one word — friendly.
I never asked the Radisson their price, I never asked the services offered, I just asked for a reservation — and gave them my credit card number. They started to give me the compulsory confirmation number — I said no, I didn’t want it — and the woman cheerfully said — “No problem, the room is in your name anyway.” Cool.
How does this episode affect and relate to your business? Let me count the 6.5 ways:
1. When a prospect or customer calls, the first words said to him or her, sets the tone for the transaction. How friendly are your companies first words?
2. The person who answers the phone represents the entire company. How is your company being represented?
3. When a question is asked by a prospect or customer it means there’s a need — and a buying signal. How well are your people trained to respond to the need, and ask for the sale?
4. Most companies think it’s their people that set them apart — almost. It’s their friendly people. How friendly are your people?
5. People prefer to buy from people they like. How well are you liked?
6. Friendly makes money, unfriendly chases money away. How much money is unfriendly costing you?
6.5 Whatever you say to a customer (good or bad) leads to word of mouth advertising. What’s the word out on you?
A medium sized hotel gets hundreds of calls a day. If only two people a day make a “friendly decision” at $150 a day each (as I did), that would represent an annual revenue gain (or loss) of $109,500. Wow!
What does friendly mean to you? To me it means smiling — all the way to the bank.
Go to www.gitomer.com , click Access GitBit, register if you’re a first time user and enter the word SALES PILLS in the search box.