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It’s Nothing Personal???


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It’s nothing personal

I have always found it interesting that when someone uses this expression, they honestly seem to believe it to be true. It’s one of mankind’s greatest lies really. If you’ve been in business long enough you have certainly heard this comment from a customer and if you’ve been alive long enough you’ve certainly heard it from an ex-boyfriend, girl-friend or spouse. The truth of the matter is: Everything is Personal.

No one in this world makes decisions based solely on rational thought, not even Mister Spock could keep that lie going through the entire Star Trek series (and he was half Vulcan). We all make choices for reasons that are very much personal and it is wise for us as business people to keep this in mind when we deal with our customers and co-workers.

I can’t help but think about a recent example, in my “personal” life, when I had dealings with my insurance company while filing a claim. One Friday, recently, we had about 3″ of rain in a very short time and my basement sump pump failed, leaving me with about 1000 sq. ft. of soaked carpet. I came home from work and discovered the problem and notified my insurance company using their 800 number. I talked with someone who gave me the impression I was filing a police report and then didn’t find out until 3 days later I wasn’t covered (to that point, no one called me back, I had to call them to find out). I was furious for several reasons, and some would say my reasons were rational, but due to my anger level with my former insurance provider, I would say it affected me very strongly on an emotional “personal” level. I was furious that I didn’t have that rider on my policy because I have a lot of finished living space in my basement and the agent who sold me the policy didn’t advise me well. He didn’t bother to take the time to learn about me and what coverage I really needed. When I filed the claim nobody was personally concerned about making sure I knew the extent of my coverage so I could make the best decisions going forward. I now have all my insurance with a new provider and while I am paying more for it, I do feel I have the coverage I need and someone I can call on in a crisis situation who will take my concerns to heart “personally”.

AuthorSo think about how you deal with your customers and if they have concerns, you darn well better make them feel you are equally (if not more) concerned about their problem than they are. If you have the attitude it’s not a big deal, it’s not my job, it’s just business…you are making a big mistake.

When Michelangelo got the gig to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel I am sure he was concerned about how many hours he bid to finish it but if his client wasn’t happy would he say “sorry, nothing personal but that’s all you get”? Not very likely and I would imagine the Vatican was a pretty demanding client, too!

In fact, when I look at my customers I find those having the greatest success are those who have very strong, personal connections with their clients. Failing their customer is not an option and my failing them (as my customer) is not acceptable. Of course no one is perfect. Mistakes happen and when they do, you better believe I take it very personally. I’m emotionally invested in making things right and risk losing them as a client if I don’t.

Nothing personal…seriously??? Don’t believe it for a minute!

About the Author

Mark Nardoni is a Strategic Account Manager at Optima Graphics.
He has been in the Trade Show industry since the early 90s.

  1. August 2, 2013 at 11:17 am

    wonderful article, true in any line of business…love the personal story as well…good stuff :))

  2. August 2, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Mark — Well stated. Please allow me add my pop culture reference to your excellent blog. Yes, it’s a “chick flick” but how can that be wrong when it stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan (at her best). Perfect pivotal scene in the move “You’ve Got Mail.” Mel

  3. John Greusel
    August 2, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Beyond the vendor-client relationship how many would actually “go to the mat” for their employer and if they won’t whose to blame for their ambivalence?

  4. Jen LaBruzza
    August 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Great blog Mark!

  5. August 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I could not have said it better myself…. but wish I did! Great Blog.

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