I’m back from my week in Singapore. Singapore is one of those cities that is just great to visit – the food is great, the city is clean and easy to navigate (as long as you have a driver), and the hotels are clean and comfortable…here is just one highlight from my trip…
Kern, the taxi driver who picked me up last Tuesday, was exceptional…and offers a great example of the power in, what we have come to know as, The Perfect Greeting.
The Perfect Greeting
Getting into his cab that morning I was reminded of some reading I had done just before getting ready for work – a reminder to offer a perfect greeting. In our homeschool curriculum, one of the things we have been working on is, what we call, the perfect greeting - a greeting that expresses enthusiasm. So rather than mumbling, “Morning….” like most do after staying up to watch late night TV, we are working on expressing a spirit of excitement and anticipation as we interact with others.
Engaging in Conversation
The perfect greeting let’s people know you are happy to see them and genuinely interested in their lives. It invites conversation and friendship. And it often creates an opportunity to meet a need. Right at the start we hit it off with an update of the Singapore happenings. I was on my way to class in the Changi Business park, just down the road from Changi Airport. Though I had been there before, I learned through the ensuing conversation that I didn’t have my Singapore pronunciation right on the word Changi, along with a few other words that were going to be useful as I began my day. Kern filled me in.
From there we moved through various topics from business to religion, family, politics, and a host of subjects that kept us going for the next 40 minutes as Kern navigated us through the morning rush hour. It turned out that simply by offering this perfect greeting I was had moved from surface chit chat to engaging at a much deeper level. Through our conversation I was then able to offer some insights into some areas that were going to be helpful to Kern – something I had not anticipated. This is the very definition of Trusted Adviser.
When we arrived he simply said, “No charge, I was honored to serve you this morning.” Wow – no charge after 40 minutes of driving? Unheard of. Well, it get’s better.
That afternoon Kern was right on time to fetch me from work. As we headed back through the rush hour traffic, our conversation picked up where we had left off. 30 minutes later we arrived at the hotel and Kern again said, “There is no charge – I was honored to serve you and would like to serve you as long as you are in Singapore.” And sure enough he did. He drove me back and forth through my couple of days of training at no charge. Why?
Sales is about serving. It’s the first step in customer service. One of the most often neglected sales skills is simply the greeting – in fact, it’s not really a skill, but rather a demonstration of character (or lack of character). How often are you asked the question, “What do you do?” How often does it lead to conversation, friendship, and even a desire on that other person’s part to help you or engage with you on a new level? The answer is, “Not often.” This is just one of the many things I was teaching in my sales training class in Singapore. I was pleasantly surprised to have a real time illustration to share with the class on how a person can offer a simple greeting, that then leads to conversation, friendship, and a chance to serve that person. From there, there is no telling what will come of of it. Try greeting people today in a way that makes them feel special and offers you an opportunity to serve them in some simple way, and see what happens.
© 2013, David Stelzl