Friday, February 01, 2008

Tell the Truth

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day, actually emailing is more accurate... about business.  He is in Germany and he said he has discovered that he is too nice to be fully effective in business.  He tries to "soften the blow" so to speak when it comes to sensitive matters.  Sometimes customers disagree and he doesn't want to offend so he is careful how he phrases what he tells them.  Well the problem is the customer ends up with a low opinion about his skills.  How does my friend know this?  He watches others with less skill than him succeed with the customer by telling them they are idiots.

So my friend figures he needs to tell the customer they are idiots!

I thought must be tough to work in Germany, then I thought well, "it's probably like that in New York from what I hear".  And then I realized it's really like that everywhere.  Well sort of.

Both my friend and I realize we aren't made that way, we can't tell the customer they are an idiot if they do something.  BUT... we can tell the truth. 

When it comes to computers, I have been there.  I have been in front a customer with a computer/network problem.  I have come up with a reason that the problem was coming up and the customer wasn't receptive, because they would have to change their ways.  I have at that point noticed they weren't really receiving the message and tried to "soften the blow" rather than stick to what I think.  The result is they love me for a few moments more but eventually they become frustrated and blame me for their problems.  But, but, I tried to tell them!

So now I try to be brutally honest and everything goes well.  Oops, I'm supposed to be telling the truth.  No it doesn't always go well.  I have lost customers telling them the way I see it and sticking to the facts as I see them.  That really hurts.  The sad part is I knew I was right and eventually they find out I was right but it still hurts and I still don't have that business ($$$). 

But I would rather loose business for telling the truth than for letting them feel good about being an idiot.

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