We all have to handle complaints if we are dealing with the public.
But what about the “crazies” you run into in business?
You‘ve met them. What do you do with them? Ignore them? Should you even bother with them?
The answer is Yes.
A sales book I read many years ago mentioned something called the ―Rule of 250
The rule of 250 is that almost everyone knows about 250 people. It‘s the average if you are having a substantial wedding, the number who pay their respects at a funeral, the number of holiday cards a medium business may send.
These are people who are not necessarily close friends but may be friends of friends, clients and other acquaintances. They are in touch.
The crazies also have about 250 acquaintances.
If you offend one of these people, you run the risk of their spreading the word to their 250 people.
Over the fence, at the supermarket, at the dentist – wherever they happen to be.
You would think that since most of their 250‘s are on to the fact that they dealing with a nut, they would not listen – but they still hear the gripe about you.
It creates an IMPRINT.
When I was teaching a sales class, I used to pick the nicest person there – the one everyone liked and was a good sport (with her advance permission) and I would say to the class, very confidentially, almost in a whisper.
I have a secret I want to tell you about Jane. Shhhhh. Don‘t tell anyone but Jane has a problem. She has a thing about stealing people‘s socks.
Everyone would laugh because of course a person like Jane would never do a ridiculous thing like that.
Then I would add, ―Of course you know that is not true. I am crazy to say that.
But still – if Jane happens to visit your home, in spite of the fact you know that is not true, aren‘t you going to keep your eye on your sock drawer?
That‘s an imprint.
The answer to dealing with crazies is to humor them. You don‘t want them talking about you.
When I owned a travel agency, we had a very eccentric client. Everyone in town knew her because she would try to register her St. Bernard dog, Sam, to vote every year.
She become very agitated at the voting registry because ―”he has more sense than any of you.”
One day she arrived in the agency to report that she had been ―
burned on the foot with fish on United Airlines.
We were very sympathetic and offered to help her report her injury to United immediately since she had not done so.
Absolutely not. I want to get 50 to 100 people who have been burned on the foot with fish together. This is going to be a class action suit. We want real money for this.
She wanted us to keep a list for her. We agreed.
Every week she called to see if we had any other victims. Since the whole office knew about the rule of 250, we were always polite when we reported we had received no other complaints about people who had been burned on the foot with fish but we were being watchful for her.
She seemed satisfied that we were on the job. This went on for at least a year until she must have forgotten about it and gone on to another nutty cause of hers.
But think of the story she could have told her 250‘s if we hadn‘t humored her.
She had suffered and our travel agency was heartless. We would not help her. We were unsympathetic. Mean. Don‘t go there. They are not nice people.
They might have doubted, considering her reputation, but it is still an imprint.
Humoring the eccentric clients is not dishonest. It is a protective device. Just do it. It doesn‘t take much time and it might save you a lot of explaining!
HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE CRAZIES?
This is an excerpt from
SALES LIES AND NAKED TRUTHS
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