"OKAY"

Regardless of what a person is trying to say, sell, communicate or write, it's often easier when there's some form of inspiration to help drive the message or clarify the main point. When it came to writing this column, I didn't have to look far.

My daughter Emma never ceases to amaze me. At just under 2 years old she's already made an art form of manipulating her father. You see, mom knows when she's being dramatic and screaming just to get her way. Dad, on the other hand, just can't handle seeing his little girl cry, even when he knows nothing is wrong.

A perfect example was last night at dinner. After trying a multitude of different options, it became clear that Emma did not want to eat, and she wanted down from the table ... now! Mom wanted her to stay in the chair until she had eaten more. I crumbled as soon as my wife went to answer the phone.

"Daddy will get you out in just a second ... okay," I told her. She almost immediately stopped yelling and crying and simply responded, "Okay", in a soft, yet wavering voice that I'm sure was hiding a got-him-again grin. I had clearly been played. I can't wait until she learns about money.

So how does this apply to you and your business? My daughter's reaction was not just about getting her way. She was also reassured because there's a demonstrated pattern of me doing what I say. And every time I've told her that it would be "okay", it has been. So she knows everything will be fine, and then confirms it for herself by repeating that assurance.

When looking at your business, do you follow through on what you tell your customers? When you say something is going to be okay, is it? Do they trust you? Can they depend on you?

The relationship between end-users and distributors operates in a vacuum where the service you provide is just as important as the product. You can have the greatest offerings at the best possible prices presented in the most productive and efficient manner possible, but if you haven't built the relationship, or the customer doesn't trust you, none of that matters.

Your consistent presence in the shop every week (at the same time and on the same day) is one of the most important customer service tools you have. Covering warranties – no questions asked – is another. In both ways you're working to reassure the customer, and let them know that everything will be ... "okay".

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