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How to Play Well with Others (Even if You Don’t Feel Like It): The Ultimate Guide to Why, When, and How to Deal With People

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How to Play Well with OthersDoes dealing with the human race ever remind you of a movie? We all have days when we imagine ourselves as Clint Eastwood and repeat that famous line in our heads: “Go ahead, make my day.

I get it. There are days when dealing with people makes you want to… well… exterminate them. Days when you say it with a visible shudder and a foul look on your face like it’s a dirty word… people.

Don’t get me wrong. I love people, in general. However, certain people can push even the nicest, most tolerant person’s buttons!

In this series of Mirasee contest posts, you will learn tips, tricks, and myriad ways to be an expert at anything. It’s the Ultimate Guide book for any business-minded individual, to be sure.

That being said, the most important thing in business isn’t how to master SEO or how to set up a killer website. It’s – people. It’s relationships.

Come on, let’s face it. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns out there. This is the real world. People just plain suck sometimes.

But, wait! There’s hope. Just dial 1-800-take-a-breath.

After many years of working in sales, customer service, and other capacities in corporate America, I’ve dealt with some very difficult customers, co-workers, and even employers.

The good news is that a ticking time bomb can be defused. Sometimes you are the one in need of defusing. Other times it’s a customer, or even a rabid fan you managed to rub the wrong way.

Are you ready, class? Let’s begin.

Start with a Solid Foundation. No Guns Allowed. (The Good)

Let’s start off easy with “the good.” Always make a good first impression and you will likely receive a good response. Prepare yourself as though you are going on a first date. Or, better yet, meeting the parents for the first time.

Make and maintain good business relationships by being confident but not pushy (positive engagement), either in person or online.

Say “Howdy, Ma’am” and Tip Your Hat

Introduce yourself to your adoring public via radio spots and print media, or go meet potential customers face to face. Don’t be afraid to ask for a short Skype chat to tell them what you’re all about.

Don’t try to sell them anything just yet.

Give them a KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid): “I just wanted to come by and introduce myself and say hello.” Sell them on you and you’ll sell them on your product later. Make friends and steer clear of enemies.

When I was involved in door-to-door sales (yes, supplemental insurance) and casket sales, that turned out to be the most important move I could make. I wasn’t good at a “hard sell.” I was good at relationships, which breeds quality over quantity and long-term over short-term investment in product. If I got along well with a customer, I kept going back and eventually they would buy something, even if it was a small order. They liked me, so they wanted to help support my business.

When someone slammed the door in my face, however, or was terribly rude to me, I immediately took the hint and never bothered them again. It isn’t worth it to bug them and it isn’t worth it for you to endure the abuse. Never pester people.

Remember to smile and look people in the eye when speaking to them.

This is critical! Dress appropriately for in-person meetings and for phone meetings (it puts you in a business success mindset mode, even if you can’t see them) and even for Skype.

You can wear pajama pants on Skype and they won’t see you. However, make sure your top half knocks their socks off, but not with your cleavage, ladies, unless that’s your business (you might be an online dominatrix for all I know).

I once had a consultation on Skype and came prepared. I gussied up like I was going to a job interview. It turned out that the other party’s webcam was broken and she couldn’t even see me, but I felt like a million bucks anyway and I found that I was more confident in the conversation.

Immerse yourself in multiple streams of social media.

Learn to use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, at the very least. Pay attention to those who are successful at it. What do they post? How much do they interact? Don’t disappear for too long from any platform either. Consistent participation is best, even if you have to schedule it. Twitter on Monday from 3-4 p.m., Facebook on Tuesday, LinkedIn on Thursday for an hour, etc.

I have been offered guest posts via Twitter, joined freelance groups on Facebook who provide job leads, contest opportunities, and learning resources, and I became a published author by being active in a discussion thread in a LinkedIn group.

Be two-faced, in a good way.

You need to interact with your audience, customers and contemporaries online by talking to them, not at them. Don’t just post a tweet or Facebook update and high-tail it off the site. Re-tweet others’ helpful or interesting articles. Trust me, it works! You scratch their back, they’ll scratch yours.

Be Creative and Friendly, Hombre!

Don’t just do one radio or print ad and put it on an infinite loop. People will become b.o.r.e.d. with you. Create something new and fresh every few months. And for God’s sake, inject some humor! Can’t come up with anything? Hire someone who can.

Consider doing a series of radio ads with a common thread, perhaps a storyline to creatively sell your product. I swear I’m going to visit a local furniture store one day, not because I need furniture, but simply because I love hearing their ads on the radio! The radio station writes the ads for them, but nobody knows that. They are so funny and they change the ad frequently so I (adoring public) never get bored. Entertain me and I’m yours, baby. Go ahead, sell me an armchair I don’t even need.

Take interest in your customer, employer, or co-worker. What do they like? Do they collect Hummels? Comment on it and then listen to them gush about it. Have you done your research? Do you know anything about them and their “business?” Or have you done nothing but tell them all about you? Come on!

People love to talk about themselves and what they’re interested in, so take the time to ask. Then remember what they’ve told you, even if you have to keep a notebook and refer back to it. Their dog Fido might just be the apple of their eye and the key to a harmonious relationship, but it won’t mean doggie doo-doo if you can’t remember Fido’s name.

Buy the House a Round

Seal the deal by keeping the banter going. Send a personal message (not a robotic auto DM) with a kind word and never mention “sell” or “buy.” Just be you. It’s your integrity and level of interest that sell your product, whatever that product may be. There is nothing worse than friending someone on Twitter only to receive an immediate DM asking you to buy their book. Really? Please, people. Remember to KISS me first.

Eventually, you can ask them to try out your service or product. Make true friends and they will truly help you out. Find out what you can do to help them out first — and do it! Most of the time, they will be happy to return the favor.

For example, I buy books from authors I’ve met online just because I like them. I met them online. I created banter with them online. We have a friendly relationship online. I want to support them, so I buy their book, even if it’s not quite my bag of tricks. I don’t do this with the expectation that they will buy my book, but they might just feel the very same way about little old me.

Remain engaged by being thankful, especially online. Send a tweet of thanks if someone with 50,000 followers re-tweets your article. Show them that you noticed their gesture! At the very least, it puts your name in front of them on the computer screen just one more time. It’s familiarization.

Care about people. Is it obvious that times are tough, even through the casual comments of an online contemporary? Give them a shout-out and tell them you care about their predicament and support them. I’ve received some of the best and most comforting support from online relationships.

This works for individuals and for business associates. Is a business blogger posting about a bad experience they had? Comment about one you’ve had. We all love to know we’re not alone in our miseries.

Has someone done an exceptional job at being your best customer? Send a gift basket of fruit, make a phone call, or send an e-mail or Facebook message and say the following, “I just want you to know that you are truly appreciated. You’re a great customer. You give us consistent business, you pay your invoices in a timely manner, and we really value your commitment to us. Thank you. Thank you so much!”

Build ‘Em Up – Don’t Shoot ‘Em Down (The Bad)

Let’s move on to murkier waters. Yes, let me introduce “the bad.” Even good people can be bad at times. We all have those days when we just don’t feel like we are in control of our emotions. Dealing with a tense situation isn’t as bad as you might think. Put the gun away, Harry. Let’s look at some options. There are things you can do to defuse your dynamite before it explodes.

Oh Crap, There’s a Firing Squad

Step up when you realize your company (or you, personally) made a mistake. Don’t delay! Call them and say, “I’m so sorry to inform you that our inventory count was off. The cymbal you ordered is not in stock after all. We made a mistake and we want to make it right. Would you like to put the item on backorder or choose another product? I’ll be happy to help you find a suitable replacement item.” They’ll be happy that you called them before they opened up the box to find their order lacking.

Learn to apologize profusely and let the customer know you sympathize. If you want to see some really ticked off customers, do my old job – internet service provider customer service. When people can’t get online, they want to kill someone and you are on the end of their lifeline. They will cut you for some internet, people. They will cut you.

I learned very quickly to apologize early and often. “I am so, so sorry that the internet is down, Mrs. Johnson. We don’t know where the problem is just yet, but our technician is aware and working on it. I know how frustrating it is and I will let you know the minute I have an update.”

The next critical step? Follow through like a boss! If your tech tells you the internet won’t be up today, call Mrs. Johnson back and tell her. If she’s really hot under the collar, give her credit for one day’s service for good measure before she asks for it.

Keep a list (yes, even though it may be long) and call each and every customer who called to complain (not every customer will call to complain) back with a response, some reassurance, and to check and make sure their service is restored.

Is it time consuming? Yes. Is it worth the investment of your time? Yes! During the time I handled that ISP’s customer service, the company was voted Best Internet Service in town. The year I left? Mmm, not so much. My co-workers made fun of me for being so overly kind and concerned. They felt it was a waste of time. Ha! Take that, punk! I rocked the customer service and you didn’t. I win.

Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em (The Ugly)

Sometimes you just need to know how to make that squeaky wheel stop making that awful noise! Yes, enter “the ugly.” It’s true that one bad apple can spoil the bunch, so learn how to pluck it out of the basket before you shoot him – I mean “it” – dead with your pistol. Sometimes, you have to just back it up a little to get out of a mess.

Recently, I became involved in an attack via Facebook. I knew that pushing back would do more harm than good. I was being shot at. I was already wounded. This could get ugly fast. Heck, I could get ugly fast. I had to do something nobody likes to do. I had to bite my tongue and turn the other cheek. Nooooooo! Yes.

Instead of responding in the angry way I felt, I deleted the post which had sparked the controversy and I left the group without a word. Guess what? I had no backlash, no bullet wounds, and I was the stronger woman for knowing when to exit stage left to avoid further conflict. I didn’t look back either. I decided I didn’t need the drama, didn’t want the conflict, and knew by responding that I would only spark a powder keg. My momma would be proud. I defused myself. Deep breath. Sigh. Done.

Sometimes you have to agree to disagree. Yes, even when you don’t feel like it and you know you’re right and the other party is wrong. Facebook is a breeding ground for differing views on hot-button subjects. I once was involved in a heated political dispute with a fellow church-going Facebook friend. She would bash, I would retaliate with proof that she was wrong. She would retaliate by bashing something else. I would prove that wrong.

This went on for some time until I finally said something like this, “Jessie, you are a worthy adversary and I have enjoyed sparring with you. I respect that you are passionate about what you believe and it’s obvious that you and I could cite reliable sources and stand our ground about our positions until the cows come home. I’m not going to change my mind and neither are you and I don’t want to fight about this. Let’s just respectfully agree to disagree on this subject.”

She agreed to disagree, but not with respect toward my view. She did this with a bit of grumbling, but I countered with, “I value our friendship at church and wouldn’t want to jeopardize that by continuing to argue.” She could appreciate this over my obviously flawed viewpoint, and she dropped it. I wouldn’t have answered anymore prompts anyway. We remain friends today and I’ve had this fight more than once with more than one person. Tell them you love them, you respect their passion for their ideals, and you don’t want to damage the relationship. You can easily translate this to a business disagreement as well.

Compromise!

I recently had a customer ask me for something unrealistic. I have a business where people drive up to five hours one way to pick up their merchandise. A customer contacted me and asked if I would deliver (over a three hour drive, one way). What? No! My time is precious! My initial reaction was to say no due to time restraints, but my husband suggested I meet them half way.

Instead of offering that up front, I indicated that my delivery charge would likely be too high for them to consider. By the time I sent that e-mail and was prepared to counter with the meeting half way idea, they had already sent me an e-mail saying they had made arrangements to go ahead and make the trip. I was prepared to compromise, but didn’t even have to in the end. Always have an option for compromise if you disagree with a difficult customer. If they ask for half off and you think that’s unreasonable, counter with 25%. Find a way to give them something, anything to let them know you’re making an effort to meet them halfway.

For the really ugly – and I mean butt ugly – there is sometimes only one way to deal with them.

Take five. If you’re on the phone, tell them you need a moment to consult with a supervisor and you’ll call them back. Breathe! Count to ten. Dial 1-800-I-Need-A-Chill-Pill. Sometimes when things get heated and there is yelling involved, just taking a break from each other for a short period of time tends to ease the pain and calm the nerves to where you can speak in civil tones again.

Perhaps you may even need to have your supervisor call them back. I employed that tactic once. A customer was furious at an order snafu (not even my fault) and that man screamed at me until I cried. Yeah, I’m a girl! My very calm supervisor gave him some time to calm down, called him back, and soothed the savage beast he had unleashed on me.

He ended up feeling so bad about his bad attitude, he sent her flowers. He sent her flowers! Oh well, at least he was once again a happy customer.

“Go Ahead, Make My Day.”

You can’t exterminate the human race, no matter how clearly you see yourself as Dirty Harry. People and relationships are important to your business, your fan page, and your reputation. How you deal with people can make or break your business, no matter what type of business you own.

Put away the gun, Dirty Harry. Everything’s gonna be okay.

About Cindy Brown

Cindy Brown is a freelance humor writer and she runs a humor blog at EverydayUnderwear.com. Beautiful sights, great writing, and things that make me laugh are her main interests on Pinterest, and you can connect with her on Twitter

62 thoughts on “How to Play Well with Others (Even if You Don’t Feel Like It): The Ultimate Guide to Why, When, and How to Deal With People

  1. Great post!

    I too love being around people. It’s one of the reasons why I enjoy travel — you get to meet new people and hear new points-of-view.

    Dealing with people can be a challenge, especially if you get into a heated debate or argument. I’ve found that it is best to “agree to disagree” and walk away. Compromising could work, but often times the other person feels they had to give something up. Whenever possible, I look for win-win situations.

    As a writer, I love meeting new people. Why? Because some of them would make great characters in my books or screenplays. 🙂

    • Aw, honey, you can make me a character in your book or screenplay any day! I’ve got some interesting stories to tell, that’s for sure. Isn’t it fun, being a writer? Inspiration is everywhere, but especially in the situations that drive you to emotion, negative, positive, or otherwise. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  2. I loved this post. It is amazing. As an introvert, it has always been hard for me to deal with conflict. At the moment someone starts yelling, I just lose control. The worst thing it has ever happened to me is getting in a fist fight with a customer (yeah and I was not a boxing coach or anything like that).

    • Oh no, Alan! How awful for you. It’s a terrible feeling to lose control of your emotions – especially in anger. I’ve really had to reign myself in over the years (mainly with kid issues, but other things push my buttons as well). Just keep practicing control. Literally count to ten before reacting. Ask yourself, “What good will it do if I *punch this customer* and what harm could it bring?” Do this before you swing ;0)

      I guess I’ve also had to learn to “pick my battles” in life. Even with road rage or when my car breaks down, I’ve learned that over-reacting in anger won’t help ANYTHING and therefore, I shouldn’t even waste my time or energy.

      Also, try confirming the other person’s anger like this, “I understand that you’re very upset right now. I would be, too!” It helps them to know that even though you may disagree with the predicament, you sympathize with their emotion.

      Practice makes perfect. Just keep on trying and you will succeed in better self control.

    • And I appreciate you making the effort to comment. Do you have a website, Twitter account, or Facebook page I can check out? I love to connect with anyone who takes the time to comment on something I write.

  3. Great post. Personalities are so very challenging to deal with sometimes. But I will say, killing them with kindness works 99.9% of the time. There are those that go looking for a fight. With that particular type I just have to drop it and walk away. It used to be taught that the customer is always right, while not always true, I guess we need to make them feel like they did indeed win.

    • No, the customer is not always right, but I have found that you can always make them feel special and heard and that makes them feel better. Some people will use you as their outlet for anger, though, and those are just never easy to deal with. People can be very rude, especially if they don’t know you.

      I clicked on your name and it took me to a band page. What do you do for them?

  4. Cindy, your words of advice are spot on for all aspects of life. It all boils down to treating people (yes, clients are people too!) the way you want to be treated.

    If someone insists on being an ass, just walk away. Neither the relationship nor the sale is worth compromising your ethics. There are many others out there who will recognize and value your worth and talents.

    • I agree completely, Shauna! High five, sister!

      I like your website – what a great cause you have! I followed you on several media sites. I see you’re in FL. We are thinking of moving to the panhandle. Much nicer temps there! The cold and snow in IL is awful this year!

    • Well, thank you! What a nice thing to say! I mostly enjoy humor writing, so it goes into almost everything I write in one way or another.

      Do you have a social media link you’d like for me to check out? I’d be happy to connect with you! My most humorous stuff is on my Facebook page called Everyday Underwear.

  5. Great post, great advice! Since you mentioned, remember the Bible says, “A soft answer turns away wrath.” It’s amazing the effect it has when someone is getting heated and you simply lower your voice.

    • Ha ha – I am a Christian and can tell you that even with me, I had an instance where that did not work. I was angry and someone tried the soft voice with me and it creeped me out and made me angrier. But alas, I’ve worked on that anger since then and yes, the Bible does say that and it’s great advice. Hard to follow sometimes, but great advice nonetheless 🙂

  6. I laughed, I cried (yeah, I’m a girl, too) and I even made a fist at one point and wanted to defend you, but mostly, I related so completely to what you were saying and appreciated the cool headed advice in a few places. Great post and worth the read! Thanks for sharing this.

    • Fantastic that the post got that many emotions out of you! I always say that if my writing is like a good movie (I laugh, I cry, I get a good message), I have done my job well.

      I checked out your site and am following you on Twitter now. So nice to “meet” you! Thank you for your comment and for raising your fist for me 🙂

  7. Cindy – thanks so much for sharing your stories, and yes, it’s nice to know that we are not alone! At one point or another, I think I have had all of these different experiences….and yup…I have even done the “walk away.” Sometimes you need to pick your battles.

    • When I inherited my two children, I learned all about picking my battles during the pre-teen years. Some parents thought I was crazy for letting them dye their hair crazy colors, but little did they know that was the least of my worries! I knew they would outgrow that stage and they did.

      People have often thought I was crazy for basically “being too nice” in certain situations, parenting, business, and otherwise. In the end, I know what I’m doing 95% of the time. The other 5%… well, I’m still working on that ;0)

  8. Beautiful, well thought out article. Compromise and turning the other cheek are always win win tactics. You get what you want and the other person feels they have won and is therefore happy.

    • Thank you, Veronica! No matter who we are, it is a constant battle in life to succeed at getting along with others. I just try not to let the bad apples spoil the whole batch of apple butter! Oh great, why did I say that? Now I’m craving apple butter on toast… or biscuits. How can I be hungry? I just ate supper! Ha ha.

      Thanks for stopping by to comment!

  9. I enjoyed this post 10 times more than I enjoyed watching TV today! Its one of the best I’ve ever read on fire pole. Thank you Cindy for the beautiful info. It really is down to people and relationships and how we handle them. Thanks for your wisdom!

    • My goodness, you guys sure know how to make me feel loved! Thank you for the compliment. I hope Firepole Marketing feels the same way about my post! To be called one of their best is quite an honor and saying you enjoyed the post 10 times more than watching TV truly is a compliment I can relate to. TV can be so entertaining and addictive.

      My husband and I just made the difficult decision to shut off our satellite. We felt we would benefit more from studying and learning on the internet. We stream things online sometimes, but overall, we don’t miss it a bit!

      Our kids miss it, but they don’t pay the bills. It is forcing them to spend more quality time with us and we love that. We won’t have them here for too many more years before they are grown and off to college – or life’s other adventures, whatever that means for them.

  10. Great post Cindy. By being your own boss when dealing with people I feel like a chameleon, wearing different hats to buffer each personality. One of the best lessons I’ve learned that you suggest is to not react, but retract. Thanks for your tips!

    • It’s an ongoing battle, and I hope I keep growing. As I mature (I’m 44, but still not all the way “grown up”), I see more and more that relationships can easily fall apart due to a lack of proper communication. I try to buffer more now and also to put myself in the other person’s shoes. It helps with perspective and that’s what it’s all about. I hope the tips help in some way 🙂

      I stopped in at your site and you have a great thing to promote. I think my expertise might be that I’m a people person. P.S. I connected with you on Google and FB just now as well.

  11. Cindy, I loved your post. In my job I regullarly interact with every kind of people. Sometimes the difficult ones makes life inpossible, but my goal is always keep a greater attitude and a smile than changes their mood, and I usually succed, if not at the first time, regularly afterwards. The clue here is never to give up. We’re here to improve the world we live in. I hope that more people like you come to the world!

    • Carlos, I may have to quote you for my blog! Thank you for saying that you hope more people like me come into the world! What a fantastic sentiment.

      Good for you for your efforts to try and change the mood and make people smile. I always try to do the same, even if they are being very sour. Some people never react to my humor and rarely, if ever, smile. I think that’s a travesty!

      And yes, never give up! We need more people like you in this world, too!

      I connected with you on FB and Twitter and checked out your art on your site. My husband does wood carving and I used to be a graphic artist. We are very artsy-fartsy people, like you! So nice to meet you.

  12. Hi Cindy,
    This post not only was very informational, but it was entertaining! I love your ‘sub-heads’ and your writing voice. You combined being serious and being funny in a very effective and balanced way. I WANT THAT QUALITY! Can you just clone that into my mind please??? : )

    Thanks so much for providing valuable information and making it fun.

    • Cloning? Lordy, lordy, the world does not need two of me! I’m so happy you enjoyed the post. I love humor and think I would wither away and die without it, honestly. I was raised on Saturday Night Live and learned humor from the legends.

      I see on your site that you specialize in mental improvements in order to help people grow. We should all be consciously trying to increase our mental acuity, but we become stagnant and forget to keep growing when we become adults.

      One of my favorite sayings is, “If you’re the smartest one in your group of friends, you need new friends.” We should be around people who challenge us intellectually, don’t you agree? How neat that you discovered the power of the mind while researching for your children’s disabilities! Great story! You are doing a good thing.

      • Cindy,
        Just wanted to write a quick thank you for taking the time to look up my site and for such wonderful feedback. Yes, mental skills, I truly believe, are THE hidden secret of entrepreneurs. I’ve spent months getting inside the minds of successful people and in every single one…the bottom line is that they have acutely developed mental skills.

        Your comments, here on this post, and your posts on your blog demonstrate excellent mental skills too. I’m going to have to track you down and pick your brain for some strategies since you won’t ‘clone’ your brain to me! : )

        Thank you so much for your time and kind words. Talk soon! : )

        • Oh, I am so quoting you on that! I am going to scream from the rooftops that an expert in the field of mental skills said I have excellent mental skills! LOL.

          Sure, you can pick my brain. You’re actually the second person to ask me that as a result of this contest’s exposure. Hmmmm, note to self… come up with brain picking fee schedule. Ha ha.

  13. Great tips, Cindy! I love the analogy of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, one of my favorite movies. You’ve certainly had many interesting work experiences. One of the hardest jobs i had was working as a Fitness Supervisor at the YMCA. It was dealing with people constantly, their needs, complaints but on the upside their appreciation made it worthwhile.

    • I have had a very interesting life, including my work life. The amount of variation has helped in my expertise in this area of dealing with people. Almost every job I’ve had involved dealing directly with multiple types of people on a daily basis. The public can be the worst, though, especially when you are manning the desk, as you say you did at the YMCA. It’s those people who appreciate you who make it all worth it, however, just like you said!

      Thanks for stopping in to leave a comment. I haven’t connected with you in a while 🙂 Nice to see you here and on SheWrites.

  14. This is a wonderful guide, Cindy! Although I’m a huge introvert, I began my career in customer service (retail, hospitality and call center) and looking back, I realize I made so many mistakes. But in terms of my entrepreneurial efforts, it was all great practice! I think I’m much better at it now! Thanks so much for sharing your tips – and with a great sense of humor. 🙂

    • Stephanie, thank you for reading and leaving a comment. I checked out your site. Are you what is also referred to as a “life coach?” I thought about becoming one because I am a good counselor. I think I have a gift for dealing with people and certainly a gift for gab. You too, huh? I connected with you on FB and Twitter. You sure don’t seem like an introvert! 🙂

      • Hey Cindy – thanks for connecting on social media! I am indeed a life coach but we are a dime a dozen these days so I tend to use the moniker: “Unsticker of Stuckness.” 🙂 Creativity and a sense of humor are wonderful assets when it comes to coaching others! Good luck with the FPM guides contest – I’m rooting for you!

        • Yes, I meant to mention to you that I like that tagline, “Unsticker of Stuckness.” I’ve been there before and thankfully have learned my own unsticking techniques to help with that nasty glue that holds things tight which don’t need to be held onto 🙂

    • Yes, that is unfortunate, isn’t it? If only we could put up a sign, “I serve nice customers only!” I saw an article about a business (a coffee house, I believe it was) who had different pricing depending on whether you said “please” or not when you ordered. They never followed through on the threat to charge higher prices if one didn’t, but customers were reminded to be nice and joked about it. Neat, huh?

  15. Terrific post Cindy. I agree about making relationship before sales. Just yesterday my husband had a salesman in who was trying to find problems to solve. The guy was so earnest in trying to help him, and dumbfounded that Paul had solutions to his customer’s usual troubles that Paul felt bad for him. He genuinely liked the guy, now he wants to help him and will go out of his way to attend a demo of his new products

    Cindy do you know Eric Maisel? He does training for Creativity Coaching. Specializing is a good way to find a niche market. I can see you doing that. http://ericmaisel.com/trainings/creativity-coaching-trainings/

    • What a nice story, Lynne! I love to see people helping each other out and sharing their wisdom. That is something that keeps my faith in humanity when it seems the world is full of blithering idiots. Good for your husband!

      No, I don’t know Eric Maisel, but I will check out the link you provided. I have wrestled with finding my niche and picking my area of expertise. I love writing about so many things! I will check out Creativity Coaching. Thanks for the info and as always, it is nice to see your face and name pop up 🙂

  16. I don’t get the chance to read everything you write, but I am always so proud of you when I read your work. You are truly a great writer and a great person, both in real life and on the internet. Follow your passion of writing. You’re good at it! I hope you win.

    • I’m so glad I married you! Yes, you are my husband, but you are also my biggest fan and I love you for that. You sing my praises everywhere you go, even if you haven’t read my latest piece. If I win, I will use some of the money to buy you a present 🙂 Also if I win, I will give you a kiss. You are the only fan who will get that gift, ha ha!

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. You are a great husband. To return the compliment, you’re good at it! And even if I don’t win this contest, I won the love lottery when I married you and that is good enough *wink, wink*

  17. I hope you win *some*thing for this post! Have to be honest…I haven’t been following the guest posting contest, so don’t know what you’re up against. But I laughed out loud at least 3 times and said out loud, “this writer’s so funny!” as I read this, so there are 3 points toward a win. You have more patience and goodwill than I do, so there are 2 more points. No, make that 4. You have *way* more of both than I do. And because I gave up church decades ago (and you didn’t), because I couldn’t find anyone more about the love than the rules, I’m giving you 10 points. Ah heck (edited), make it 100. I would only subtract 1 point though, for telling people to try to set up a meeting to be friends first when really, all they want to do is sell something. I must get 10 calls a month from people who say they’re going to be “in my area” and want to schedule a meeting so I can get to know them and my first thoughts are, “Really? Not a good enough reason for me to set aside time; I’m really not interviewing for friends right now. How ’bout just telling me what you sell and I can let you know if I’m even remotely interested? Be transparent. Honest. And then we might be friends.” So in case anyone reads this and thinks setting up meetings around the idea of just introducing themselves is a good idea and they are unlucky enough to call me, I’m going to deduct a point. But maybe I should add it back in the goodwill column. Ah heck…

    • Well, thanks for all the points! I wish you were a Firepole Marketing judge. I am so appreciative of your many compliments and I’m so glad I made you laugh! That is my main goal with my writing, to make people or smile or feel something tangible.

      And thanks for your constructive criticism as well. I guess in the sales jobs I had, people knew what I was selling. I went to a funeral home and I was from a casket company – no brainer. The word “insurance” is in the title of my company and I’m coming to see you – no brainer. But I do get your point. And there were many who were too busy to give me the time of day, who had suppliers they were loyal to and loved, and even ones who didn’t care for women in the industry and I understood that and respected it. It didn’t mean I never went and tried to sell product to them again (unless they were rude or said, “Don’t bother coming back”), but it did mean that I took more of an approach like you talked about from there on out. Not all people are “relationship” people. Ah, but I totally am just that!

      If I were a “hard sell” kind of gal, I would definitely approach it in the way you talked about, but it is not my personality and is therefore why I no longer do sales. It’s just not my thang.

      As for church, I don’t blame you for leaving for the reasons you did. We have been so lucky to have two churches that were awesome in the past ten years, full of love, understanding, and support – not hypocrisy and judgement. They are few and far between, but they are out there. I always joke that we “church hopped” to find them. I used to bar hop instead, so I find that hilarious. Got to find the happenin’ joint where I could get my groove on, you know? 🙂

      Lovely to meet you, Michelle, and thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Love your horse art! I took some pictures of my neighbor’s horses and plan to do a picture post someday 🙂

      • Yeah, I realize as a solopreneur, I tend to have B2C reactions to sales approaches that are targeted to B2B audiences. When it’s clear I’m being called from a list because they start by saying something that tells me they know nothing about my demographics, the whole “friendly” approach feels completely insincere. But I totally get the situation you were in!

        Anyway, Cindy, I would love to see your horse photos, so keep in touch! If you have a story about a connection you or your neighbor has with the horse in them, all the better. Just let me know on my site and I’ll post your story and those pics to get you/them in more places!

  18. Great post Cindy – love the suggestions. I have never really understood how Facebook (in particular) leads to so many ruptured associations/friendships based solely on the fact that two people disagree about something. Personally I find I learn a whole lot more from the folks who don’t agree with me than from living in a perpetual digital echo chamber of like-minded folks!

    • You know, that’s so true! Even when I disagree with an article someone has shared on FB, I will normally go and research it to see if it’s true or not. Few people do this. I think that’s so sad. We end up with a lot of sheeple believing ridiculous fictional tales which as you said, lead to the destruction of a relationship online just because nobody respects others’ opinions anymore or takes the time to see if there is any validity to them. Like I said, sometimes people just suck. I try to hang around the open minded and tolerant ones!

  19. Cindy great post! The topic caught my eye because I have trained on thsi issue many times and was hoping it would be good and I was not disappointed: pithy, funny, well-organzied, very salient info. Thanks for writing it and best wishes~

    • Daryl, I thank you for all of your kind comments and really would like to quote you on my “What People Are Saying About Everyday Underwear ” page. Thank you so much for the comment and your support and I will be in touch soon!

  20. Very funny, Cindy! It is a breath of fresh air to read something quirky and offbeat in the midst of all the serious. I know of which you speak, since I used to take calls for stranded motorists who were none too happy–especially in Pittsburgh in the dead of winter. 😉

    Keep writing, and keep us laughing!

    • Oh my goodness, I bet that was stressful! Humor is a focus of my writing and of my life. I’ve had some pretty dire circumstances in life, and if it weren’t for my sense of humor about it all, I probably wouldn’t be here today! I love to write and love to make people laugh, so don’t worry, even if I write serious pieces, they are usually peppered with humor.

      Thank you so much for stopping by. I am checking out your site right now 🙂

  21. Ooh, I almost missed this one! Came back looking for it ’cause I knew you had a post coming up, and I was *not* disappointed.

    When I read “they will cut you for some internet”, I almost peed myself laughing. Had the no-internet jitters for more than a week this month and came this close > < to shedding actual tears over it. I can't imagine dealing with a huge line of net addicts all ready to go postal. [Wrong metaphor. If they went postal, they wouldn't need internet. But you know what I mean.]

  22. Useful tips, Cindy! I think they are suitable for every profession because wherever we work we always make some contacts with people. And it is a perfect guide for SEO providers and its clients. We actually have written one good article on this subject: searcheva.org
    It would be an honor to know what you think about it.

    Thanks!

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