Word Of the Week #38: Reassurance

April 21, 2009 by  

Reassurance: a positive and earnest confirmation.

Last week’s word was recommendation and do you love it when the person who is helping you validates the choice you’ve made?

When it comes to a food and/or beverage order all you have to say is, “I think you will really love …. It’s one of our most popular items.” Also, it has been proven that servers can influence customers easier with a nod and a smile. A whopping 78.3% of the time customers will go along with the suggestion if they feel a sense of trust!

Back in my waitress days, when I made suggestions that my customers weren’t sure of, I would always say, “If you don’t like it, I’ll buy it.” There’s no better reassurance than that!

Dixie Lea

Dixie Lea

My friend Dixie, just bought a new car. She told the salesman she was looking for last years model. After much conversation he said, “Dixie, I want to tell you after seeing how you are dressed and how nice your current car is, I think you’ll be much happier with this years model. What you have to take into consideration is that last years model has been sitting on the car lot a long time and will have weathered, not to mention possibly having door dings.”

Dixie told me, “He was right. I’m very particular and I will be much happier with a new car that looks new.” That’s a win-win! He sells her what he has in stock and ultimately she is happier because she’s getting exactly what she wanted.

The point is, you can’t sell to everyone the same way. When you ask open-ended questions and listen to what your customers say, you find out what their needs and wants are. This week focus on making recommendations and then following them up with reassurances.

Reader Responses

“Your words are right on again! I laughed when I read your WOW #38. I use the same line; “I will buy your dinner if you don’t like it!” I have never had a member take me up on it, because I know what I am recommending them is awesome! I always make it a point to even go back to the table to check on them personally when I have made this type of recommendation.  Now, understand that I am the GM, not the server. I have 185 employees under me. I have a Clubhouse Manager, a Food and Beverage Manager, a Director of Catering, a Catering Service Manager, a Manager on Duty, Two Dining Room Managers, a Maitre d’ and so forth, just in the front of the house. However, as a part of my MBWA Program (Management By Walking Around)I like to make visits to the dining rooms (we have several of them) and touch every table, if time permits. I do it without being annoying, like some places do. I know how to read the table, then I know to approach them. In some cases, I just give a nod, to let them know I acknowledge them, so I don’t ignore them. However, there are some members and guests that want you to come to say hello to their out of town guests, so I do. I like to build the member up in front of their guests, they love it! I always make sure I know the soup of the day and I always like to know a few Chef Creations, so when I go to the table, I can make a recommendation.  WOW, a recommendation from the GM / COO, that means it has to be great! That is right, it better be great, this is why I always have to taste it to make sure prior to the dinner hour.  I tested a few servers last week with asking them to take the same approach I did and they came back to me and said, WOW it really works. Members like to go with my suggestions. So then it becomes a competition thing. They do it because it works and plus it is like a test to them to see how many members they can make recommendations to that buy what they are selling. Yes, it is amazing the power of the word of suggestion. “Which one of these wonderful desserts will you be having this evening (as you roll the cart up close to the table, displaying the large piece of double fudge chocolate cake and the coconut cream pie and the fresh baked apple cobbler……..?” Do you think I sold any desserts from the cart that night? It helps being a GM who has had waiter, bartender, cook, experience. I actually started out in this business washing dishes.” –Don Vance

“I find that using reassurance with my co-workers seems to make them feel better about themselves and their work. I will get co-workers who come up to me because I will usually lend an ear. In almost every case, people want someone to take a few minutes to simply LISTEN to them whether it is a customer or a co-worker. After I have listened to a co-worker’s woes about her day, I will pass along whatever it is I have learned in my experience. After I have finished, the co-worker at times will still be on the proverbial “pitty pot,” but invariably she will thank me for simply listening.  What I have found with younger workers is that they feel their woes are peculiar to them only, when EVERYONE has gone through the same thing at one point or another. One of the big ones, Susan, is that a co-worker is not getting what she wants from her job or feels that she deserves better. In many instances the co-worker has only been out of college a few years and wants to be on a faster track. What I have learned is that we all have to pay our dues and we really don’t know what the future holds for doors opening or closing. So, I try to counsel patience and that good things will come as long as you do the best job at whatever position one holds. I have learned that people notice what we take for granted. Some dues take longer to pay than others, but with patience, persistence and the reassurance that the best is yet to come, good things will come. Young workers who have only themselves to worry about are like children in a way, because everything revolves around their world which limits perspective in general. If we can reassure those around us that it does get better, maybe they will eventually find what they want. In the meantime, we all need to stop and smell the roses. Thanks for the word.” — Joe Moran


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