I walked into a makeup store with my heart set on a red stain for my lips. It was sold out! I rummaged the shelves with no luck. As a last ditch effort, I asked the sales associate if the store had this item in the back. She responded “no” and proceeded to stare at me. I asked when it might be back in stock and was told to try to purchase it online. The sales associate walked away. I left empty handed and discouraged (a direct impact on clients when we say ‘NO’ in business).
You might think this was a “one off” incident, but it is more common than you think. I bet if you think back, you might even be guilty of creating these same barriers for your clients. Sure, poor customer service is about a 50/50 shot in business, because you think the employees are underpaid and overworked. I have also found these same barriers in corporations.
A couple years ago, I worked for a small business that provided healthcare services for their clients. The clients paid tens of thousands of dollars every single month to our company. When the client had a special event and wanted to promote the services that we provided, they asked me to provide them with pens. The pens would have cost our company roughly $30.
This request excited the directors with anger. They asked me why I would want to give the client the pens for free since that was not included in our contract. I was lectured on how it starts with pens and next the clients expect everything for free. In short, the company expected me to tell my client “no”. I already told the client that we would support their event through providing pens, so we gave them the pens. We spent $30 on them, the client was happy and the client believed that I cared about their event. Trust was starting to build between us. The contract was worth more than a half million dollars a year.
Saying “yes” in business, has a wonderful power in itself
The word “yes” is a relationship builder. It reaffirms the other person’s belief that their needs and wants are valid. Understanding that we cannot always say the word “yes” if we do not have the ability to provide what the client is requesting, we can still tell them what we can do for them.
Take the example above in the makeup store: Instead of the sales associate responding “No” and subsequently being told to go find it online, what if she tried “I’m sorry. It appears as though we are currently sold out of that item. Can I show you another red lip stain that I really love?” The probability is high that I would have at least tried on the product and potentially still purchased other things on that day.
Ultimately, when we say “no” in business, we create barriers to relationship building, developing much needed trust and as a consequence- we lose more potential future business from a “would be” long-term client.
About Tantam Health
Tantam Health specializes in onsite health, worksite clinics and nearsite clinics. Their innovative programs, advanced reporting capabilities, and unique structure of their team allows them to deliver customized solutions that exceed their client’s expectations. The company takes a team-based approach to their worksite healthcare delivery model, adhering to patient-centered medical home (PCMH) guidelines set forth by the NCQA. Learn more at www.tantamhealth.com