Are you listening?


I'm a generous tipper — always have been.  Because over the years, I've worked several jobs that depended on tips, I've always had a soft spot for those who are doing so now.

With one noted exception.  Cab drivers.

I travel a lot.  Which means I ride in a lot of cabs.   Most trips are uneventful.  The cab drivers are a little rude.  Typically they are either talking on their cell phone (hands free, of course) or they're listening to a radio station that I do not understand.

Basically, I am invisible.

So I have no inclination to be a good tipper.   If only those cab drivers knew how easy it was to get me to open up my wallet….

A few weeks ago, I had an in/out trip to DC.  Fly in Wednesday afternoon and out Thursday night, after a day long meeting.  But my friend Jean (who owns the excellent agency Fixation) was able to get us Nationals tickets for Wednesday night.

As I got into the cab around 4:30, the driver actually spoke to me.  He asked if I was in town for business and I said yes…but I was hoping to get to the baseball game that night, if the rain held off.  The conversation could have ended there….and it would have been better than most.  But then, the cabbie surprised me.  He said, "the weather is on every 10 minutes on XYZ radio station.  Let's turn it on and see what they're saying about tonight's weather."

And with that, he turned on the radio and we both listened to the dismaying news.  Odds were not good that I was going to get to see Randy Johnson throw his 300th win. (They ended up canceling the game and Johnson recorded the historic win the next night)

I gave the driver one little clue.  I was hoping the rain would hold off so I could see the game.  He could have ignored it, made a simple comment or just went on with his usual driver behavior.

But he was really listening.  And it paid off for him.

I think this happens to every one of us — each and every day.  Clients make a casual comment or an aside…and in our rush to get the work done or the information we need, we rush right by it.

We don't ask the follow up question.  We don't probe a little more.   And we miss incredible opportunities. 

I want to challenge you.  This week — listen harder.  Always ask a follow up question.  See where it takes you.  Remember all our talk about exceeding expectations and surprising our customers?

This week — do it.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]