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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

From Negative To Positive

Shortly it will be 25 years since that devastating day, 28 January 1986 when the NASA Challenger space shuttle broke into pieces over the Atlantic Ocean. I can still remember today the horrifying event shown on television and not believing it to be true. Could it be possible that just over a minute into the flight, the shuttle disintegrated with its seven crew members aboard. Can anything in our lives be as devastating, but there is an important lesson to learn from the incident - how to turn a negative into a positive.

When a bad thing happens, it is so easy to feel defeated, depressed, hopeless, and wonder why does it always happen to me. But we can also use it as a learning experience, to grow, redefine, and improve. NASA may have been beaten down by their failures that day in 1986 and again during the pursuing years, but when you are dreaming big and tackling what seems the impossible, you are bound to have some setbacks along the way. The same is true when you are dealing with antiques and conservation products, not every day is going to be a good one. Not every experience is going to be positive, but with every negative experience or display of bad behaviour from a difficult customer, an opportunity presents its self to correct it and turn it around into a learning experience.

Negative experiences serve as a reminder to ways in which we can improve, because without weakness you do not know strength. 

Several years ago I had an old lady visit my stand and I tried to convince her of the benefits of using my eco friendly metal polish. After demonstrating the product she still remained unconvinced, but reluctantly bought a bottle on the basis that she would go home and try it and if it did not work she would come back the next day and get her money back. The next day there were a number of people watching me demonstrate the product, and low and behold the old lady arrived, joined the crowd but never said a thing. At this point I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me, because my efforts to sell the product were just about to evaporate before my very eyes. None of the people were convinced and were beginning to move away when the old lady spoke. She told her story and the money back guarantee and said she had returned again not to get her money back but to buy another bottle because it was the best she had ever used and she was afraid she would use it all up before she saw me again. I have told this story many times at shows, because older people are usually more difficult to convince because they are set in their ways and change is difficult for them to accept. 

As you consider the problem behaviour of your customers, do not get frustrated or down if you have some setbacks along the way. If customers never exhibited bad behaviour, how would it be possible for you to improve your customer handling techniques? Take every negative experience and look at it as an opportunity to correct and grow – turn it into a positive! 

I cannot tell you how many times I thought it would be better to sell non eco-friendly products and make more money, but if I do not help planet earth – then who will !!!

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