When I talk about being the complete person, I’m not referring to anything that suggests you, I, or anyone else is trying to become the perfect being. Far from it. We’re all human and subject to making mistakes. My ideas about being a complete person are simply to make you aware of how others see you. When you are interacting with people who are either counting on you to stand behind your commitments or to provide some needed assistance, this is your opportunity to make a difference and step up to the plate. Stand in front of everything you do for others.
It’s one thing to show a caring nature and help customers and other clients through some issues so that your relationship remains intact with them. You should do that. It’s quite another thing to let anyone (prospect or customer) who comes in to see you about something think that “it’s all free”. It’s been said, “If you help someone when they’re in trouble, they’ll remember you when they’re in trouble again”. Once in a while, you’ll run into someone who’ll try to take advantage of you, especially if you develop a reputation for being a person who demonstrates a caring attitude toward others. There are some conniving thieves out there who will see you as a “soft touch” when it comes to getting favors. Be prepared for them. They have only one goal—to cheat you out of something. Trust me, as your success grows, they will come. This is something that, unfortunately, you might also see in your personal life with family and friends. It happens.
As I mentioned several times, I often “gave a little” to help customers out to let them know I cared about our relationship. For the most part, they were all very appreciative. Once in a while, though, I’d run into a person who was interested only in taking advantage of me and not really sincere about being a loyal customer. They were interested only in what they could get for free—nothing else. Even prospects would come in and ask for free oil changes for the life of a new car as part of the deal because they heard Joe Girard never says “no” (which was not true.)
Don’t be a patsy. Here’s what to do if someone comes looking for something for nothing:
- Don’t be rude or impolite. That’s not who you are. The complete person does not take that approach.
- Let them know you are flattered that they know of your reputation for taking care of customers.
- Tell them that all your customers are special people and deserve special treatment. What you do for them is reserved for them only.
- Close the conversation by telling them you’d love to add them to your list of special people too. Now you’re calling their bluff. The ball is in their court. You’re getting right to the point—“Buy a new vehicle from me”—but you’re doing it politely.
Chances are they’ll walk, but your dignity and self-respect will remain intact. Or who know? Maybe you’ll convert someone! That’s the classy way to handle a situation like that.