Thursday, January 26, 2006

Consistency Is Far Greater Than Rare Moments of Greatness

You just never know.

When you answer a phone call from an unknown number...When you engage in a conversation with a guest at your office...When you greet a potential customer who walks into your store...When you make small talk with a stranger you’ve just been introduced to...When you respond to a random email from a friend of a friend of a friend...

You just never know.

And because of that, because any of these individuals has the potential to immediately tell everyone he knows either “That guy’s great!” or “That guy’s an asshole!” you must remember that consistency is far greater than rare moments of greatness.

This means you have a choice. You can be a nice, friendly, approachable, authentic, easy-to-deal-with person ONLY around those “important” people, i.e., customers, coworkers and managers; or you can act that way with EVERYBODY, notwithstanding their apparent insignificance. It brings to mind the words of Roy Beers, who once said, “Your true character is most accurately measured by how you treat those who can do nothing for you.”

Great example: I do a lot of staff training for hotels, namely, Hyatt Regency. One Friday night after hosting an afternoon session, I bumped into a few of my audience members at a nearby bar. (I didn’t know who they were at the time.) But literally, we smacked into each other! And I spilled half of my drink on the floor. I looked up at the three guys and said, “No worries guys - this place is a madhouse. It’s just water anyway.”

One of them said, “Sorry about that Scott. Hey, by the way, we really loved your speech on approachability today! Thanks a lot.”

“Oh, I didn’t realize you guys worked for the Hyatt! Yeah, sorry we didn’t get a chance to meet after the session. But I’m glad you enjoyed it. And it sure is funny running into you now, huh?”

Yeah, funny.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever realized who the person was 20 seconds AFTER you’d made your impression?

It’s kind of scary. Kind of makes you think back and wonder, “Wait, what did I say again? Was it something stupid? And would I have said something different if I knew exactly who I was talking to?”

That’s the big question. That’s where consistency comes in to play. Because odds are, you might not know right away if the person you’re talking to is stranger you’ll never see again, an existing customer, a potential customer, or a friend of an existing or potential customer.

And all it takes is one sentence to make him think, “You know, I think I’ll take my business elsewhere.” Then again, all it takes is one sentence to make him think, “Man, I love this place! I can’t wait to tell everyone back at the office all about it!”

Because you just never know.

And yet, some people still don’t understand the power of this idea. Probably because they’ve never had a business-changing encounter – positive or negative – that swiveled on the hinges of serendipity.

But they will. And so will you. Both bad and good. Hey, I once started a friendly conversation on a bus with a complete stranger who eventually passed along my business card to a local reporter whose news story kicked off my career as an author and a speaker! Then again, I once made a terribly rude comment about my former boss without knowing he was a customer of my father’s! Ouch!

So whether you’re prospecting, greeting guests or just making small talk around the office, remember this: it’s just easier to be consistent. Kind of like the old adage, “If you tell the truth all the time, you won’t have to remember anything.” Because ultimately, consistently is greater than rare moments of greatness. And people only give you credit for that which they see you do consistently.

Because you just never know.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

What's your best (or worst) "you never know" story?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com