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To me, job titles don’t matter. Everyone is in sales. It’s the only way we stay in business. – Harvey Mackay

She had not been in the job long and people were already talking about her. She was pleasant, smiling, and greeting everyone by name.

Each guest got her undivided attention and still she answered the phone with a smile by the second ring.

One day a small sign appeared at her desk:

Director of First Impressions

“Glenda, when did you get promoted?” I asked.

“Oh, I didn’t get promoted,” she replied. “I just didn’t care for the old title much…I thought it would be better if I put myself in-charge of creating a good first impression when we have guest or people call on the phone.”

Creative for sure … and it worked. Soon, when people called while she was at lunch, they said they would just call back later. When folks came for an appointment they had to be dragged away from her reception area for our meeting.

Behavior like hers becomes infectious – others pick up on it quickly and begin doing the same. Bosses can talk about this idea until they are blue in the face with little impact – but when people see it in action they understand. Soon they are doing the same.

The sign was not on her desk for others – it was just for her, positioned so only she saw it – as a reminder. The new title stuck, she was officially The Director of First Impressions.

Glenda became one of the most valuable associates on our team. If I needed to know something about a Customer or Client, I would just ask her. She either knew or would soon find out.

When it was time to add to our team we wanted people who fit our motto.

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At McIntyreSales we are:

On Time
Well Prepared
Committed to do what we promise
And enthusiastic, ALWAYS!

Any job candidate was intentionally kept waiting in the reception area prior to their interview. There we learned about their desire to ask questions, to engage in conversation, and generally establish a relationship. If they were not interested in learning about the company from someone who worked there, what were they interested in? If they were not engaging with a potential team mate – were they team players?

I could get their history from a resumé but their interpersonal skills were equally important. An applicant could manipulate those skills for the situation – personable with the owner but dismissive of the receptionist.

With pre-arranged signals, it was easy for Glenda to let me know what she had learned from the applicant in the short time they were together. Showing them into my office with a hidden wink or frown saved everyone a lot of time.

Glenda, like so many, put her drops in the bucket every day – it’s the extra drops that turn a good company into a great company.

What is your experience – do you walk into some companies and feel welcome while in others you feel like an interruption?

Are people like The Director of First Impressions happier throughout their lives, at work, and at home, than other workers who just put in the required eight hours?

Have you ever changed your title? Does your management encourage creativity, or do they ask people like Glenda to stick to the job description?

As always, the conversation starts here.

“In the ordinary choices of every day we begin to change the direction of our lives.” – Eknath Easwaran

Epilogue

Speaking about bad customer service … have you encountered people like this?