Profiting At The Bottom Line™

This month’s focus: What’s In A Name?

We understand that a person’s name is one of the most important things to remember when meeting someone. Yet, we don’t put as much attention or high regard for remembrance on the exact name of their business. For example:

You might remember Mr. or Mrs. Smith’s first name is Roberto or Roberta when greeting them for the first time in person. However, make the mistake of forgetting the “o” when greeting Mr. Smith, or the “a” when sending Mrs. Smith a RFP, and you’ll most assuredly feel foolish when they remind you of that fact.

Hopefully you’ll never call one “Bob” or “Berta” without being told to. That said many will do just that when referring to their place of business. i.e., “Oh yes, I know that you own the diner on 5th Ave. And I would love to do business with you!” When its true name is “The Restaurant on 5th Ave.” It might seem as an honest mistake by many yet, just as being caught flat-footed when pronouncing or forgetting someones name has implications, so to for their place of business.

Put the same amount of effort and care into both. Why? Because a persons business is just as personal in many ways as themselves. They are more times than not extensions of their personalities and more. If you appear to take any aspect of their business in a seemingly trivial or flippant way, they may react harshly catching you thoroughly off guard.

Case Study: I worked very hard as to acquire an account. Finally after a long period I broke through and made the sale. When we were filling out the paperwork to finalize the agreement I nonchalantly filled in the name of the business as, “The Fill in the blank Rest.” and proceeded down the checklist.

After moving down a few lines I could tell something was wrong so, I asked the owner, “I’m sorry but you seem as if somethings wrong. Did I do something?” He stated a very polite, yet forceful – “Yes!”

Taken back I asked what for since I hadn’t a clue. Again politely, yet forceful, he pointed at the documents and said, “Who’s business is that? If you noticed when you came to this establishment, the sign topping my building does not read ‘Rest.’ It reads ‘Restaurant.’ Maybe it’s not important to you, but it’s surely important to me that when the name of my business appears anywhere, it reads exactly how I named it. I spent a lot of time going back and forth between other names and abbreviations where I decided on ‘Restaurant’ not ‘Rest.’ So if you don’t mind, I wish the name to be on any documentation is exactly what its name is.”

You could cut the tension with a knife and the business seemed to be hanging in the balance of what was said next. There are many who may have responded with something along the lines of, “Sorry, but it’s really nothing to take offense or get upset about.” And with this gentlemen, any hint of that kind of thinking he would have just negated everything on the spot. Whether one agrees with his assertions or not.

However, I apologized profusely and stated to him honestly I never gave such a second thought. I didn’t see that I may, or may not be doing something unintentionally, and thanked him for pointing it out to me. I also stated I would never make this same mistake again. I was both sincere and honest. And, it has never happened again.

Don’t let it happen to you.

© 2013 Mark St.Cyr

Profiting At The Bottom Line™ is a monthly memo, which is pithy, powerful, and to the point. It focuses on innovative techniques and or ideas that you can put to work immediately in your daily or business life.