Have I Got A Deal For You! Well,…Maybe Not
Dear Mr. Schum: Hey, I really need to talk with you about your (used) car. I have an immediate need for it and you don’t even have to buy a new one from me. I think you will be shocked at the price I am willing to pay for it! Included is the name, title (big title) and phone number of a representative at a well-known manufacturer’s local dealership.
So, you ask, “What’s the problem?”
I know, guy wants to buy my 10-year-old minivan for top dollar. (We’ll address the minivan in another blog down the road OK?). There is no problem with the offer! The problem lies when I leave not one, not two, yes, THREE messages for this guy to see what he really wants to pay for my beautiful set of wheels. “Hey, you’ve got my attention! I’m here! I’m over here! Hey, buddy!”
And, now for the punchline: I am not only considering finally parting ways with my pragmatic ride, I also want to upgrade to something built in this decade. So there is a huuuuuge potential win/win here. Or, apparently, there isn’t. Because even more amazing, in the week since I started writing this blog, I’ve received not one, but TWO additional postcards acknowledging my interest and, specifically, my responding to them by calling. Their response is to ask me to call for even more information. While I still wait for a return call to my first three messages. Crazy daisy.
This whole experience brings up the Rule of 8/16. If you do something a person likes — make them feel good about their experience — they will tell eight people how wonderful it was. If the experience leans toward frustration, disappointment or downright misery, then the person will let 16 of their closest friends in on that memorable gem . Wow. It’s a total flashback to those old Breck shampoo commercials: You’ll tell a friend, and they’ll tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on. (A little bit of nostalgia for the end of the Baby Boomer and front of the X generations). In other words, it becomes viral (a reference for our Millennial readers to connect) and when it’s bad news, it’s not good.
The point is, let’s be ready to carry through on our intentions, with others and with ourselves. If our intentions change, let’s have the difficult and truthful conversation that we are no longer interested in that offer, event, engagement, etc. We spend all this time and energy establishing relationships at work or at play, then after asking for someone’s valuable time, mindshare and possible commitment to some sort of transaction, we destroy it to avoid one uncomfortable or lazy moment when we need to step up and do the right thing: “Sorry, I’m no longer interested, that offer has passed.”
My experience could just be a case of Mr. Big Title being lazy, yet I’m rocking the /16 of the Rule of 8/16. And my guess is that if I walked into this dealership, they would be more than happy to assist me. And I’m passing on that attempt. So whether it’s laziness or the inability to overcome an uncomfortable moment or conversation, when you make an ask, you must step up, take responsibility for the ask, and provide an opportunity for all parties to move forward. Be purposeful with your intentions.
I know it sounds simple. And if it was and everyone was doing it (or specifically one postcard writer in particular) well, I would be stepping hard on the 8/ right now while I was stepping on the gas of my new ride!
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