Chris, a good friend of mine and one of our top marketers, went to lunch with me this week at J Dawgs, a local hot dog shop in Provo, UT.
Chris manages multiple client accounts in our company and is dedicated to doing the best that he can for our clients. Truly, he’s one of those guys that just cares.
But as he was biting down on one of those succulent all beef trademarked criss-crossed hot dogs with a little ketchup and some onions, he began to tell me about a sales lead from Florida that he ended up being on a call with who was interested in some of our marketing services.
He said that this person started the conversation with an aggressive and even condescending tone. The person started demanding results and making insane requests. “What are you going to do for me?” and “Are you going to give me my money back if such and such doesn’t work in such and such a timeframe?”
Chris described to me the feeling he had inside while on the phone for the first time with this lead. He talked about an almost instantaneous desire to not work with this person. He didn’t know a thing about their business and didn’t care how much they were willing to pay. All he knew is that they were going to make his life and our lives miserable.
Then he went on to describe how much harder he works for the clients that treat him with respect and appreciation. “I work my butt of for them. I never do the bare minimum and I go way above and beyond for them just because they appreciate me and are nice. Even when things aren’t going great, they’re patient with me and I go the extra mile to make everything right.”
I have literally watched this happen over and over again with people inside of our company. When a client is appreciative, nice, grateful, and respectful… I watch members of our team rise to the occasion and do whatever it takes in order to make them happy and provide results.
They’ll stay up all night to get a project done. They’ll respond quickly. They’ll figure it out no matter what.
But then I have also seen the flip side where someone comes in and starts barking out commands, using aggressive and sometimes abusive language, and begins making unreasonable requests just to make sure that they “get their money’s worth” or because their life is miserable and they feel like they need a dog to kick.
There are some people that think they need to be demanding and rude in order to get results in business. If I have learned one rule in business it’s this: If you want to “get your money’s worth,” then treat the person, vendor, partner, employee, etc you are working with in the most respectful and grateful way you can.
You will get their very best effort with nine out of ten people.
I have seen this trend in our company. The clients that are doing really well and that are getting good results are all of the clients who treat the members of our team collaboratively and kindly. I have wondered about that correlation and the only conclusion I have come to is that our team is going the extra mile for these clients.
The client is nice. The team works hard and pushes through obstacles. The client gets results. The client gets even happier and is more grateful. The team wants to keep winning for that client. That is the cycle and it is a cycle that has made some of our clients very rich.
But a client or vendor or boss or anyone else who wants to try and exercise power over another almost never gets the results they’d like to see. They’re more concerned with driving someone with a proverbial whip that they miss an opportunity to work together cohesively to make something great happen. And so they normally end up bouncing from vendor to vendor for a few months and never really seeing the results they think they should be getting.
So here’s the life lesson. It’s applicable in business and really every other aspect of your life. Be nice. Be respectful. Be grateful. And the odds are, you’ll get what you want out of the people you work with in business and in life.
There’s no need to be a jerk about it. Jerkiness is not a strategy that will work in the long term.