Crack heads. Bank robbers. Salespeople. Taxi drivers.
What do they all have in common?
They’re always gunning for the next big score.
A few days ago I was in a cab (in Montreal), and for those of you that don’t know what it’s like, try and picture a combination of a demolition derby and stock car race. With no rules. And faster.
The driver’s speeding along leaving pedestrians and pigeons in his wake, and I’m thinking, “Why IS he going so fast? What’s the hurry?”
My thinking went something like this:
- The cab driver can’t be that concerned with customer service, it’s unlikely I’ll ever see him again. Sure, becoming a customer shouldn’t be a one-night stand but in this case it really is. So it can’t be customer service.
- His reputation is at stake, but again, I won’t see him again, so what’s the difference? And I can’t believe he cares that much about the reputation of his cab company (I don’t even know which one it was) or the reputation of all cab drivers in Montreal.
- It could be pure boredom; so cab drivers race around like poodles on speed for entertainment purposes. That makes some sense to me.
- It could be that customers complain if the cab driver goes too slow; there’s an expectation for the entire industry — cab drivers must drive at blazing, reckless speeds — and so everyone works to achieve that, and surpass it. That also makes some sense.
Then I thought, “He’s driving like that so he can get to his next fare. And the next one after that. Always seeking out the next big score.”
Who knows how long he had to wait for my $15 fare, but he’s got to be hoping to get it over with quickly so he can find someone else who needs to go to the airport ($40+) or even farther.
Of course, that’s a silly way to think. The next person he picks up might want him to go two blocks.
It seems salespeople often think the same way. Land a deal, do it quick, with as little effort as possible, so they can get to the next one. The Big Kahuna. The Mother Of All Sales.
It’s a bad way to think. It alienates the people you’re currently working with and shows a lack of true interest in building a relationship. Plus, the next deal could be for less. The sale you just closed might not have been enough to buy that condo in Maui, but who knows how much repeat business could have been had with a bit more effort, thoughtfulness and authentic relationship building.
Gunning for the next big score is a bad way of doing business.
So there I am paying the cab driver his fare, and trying to calm my exploding heart, when he thanks me kindly and hands me my receipt and a candy. A little blue candy.
I’ve never been given a candy from a cab driver before. Cool. Talk about changing my impression in an instant. I’ll probably never see that cab driver again but he sure left me with a positive feeling. Maybe he wasn’t going for the next big score after all…
Photo by Skip the Budgie on Flickr.