The carpet cleaner in Brian’s chapter suggested to a mutual customer that she visit Brian’s company to replace her carpet, but she expressed dissatisfaction with their previous work. Brian contacted the customer to find out what the problems were and fix them, and repair the relationship.
Without knowing about the problem, Brian would have lost this client’s business. His fellow BNI member did him a real service by coming to him with the client’s concerns. Clear, open, honest, direct communication can really help solve problems.
If you can address problems in your chapter the way Brian has here, you’ll have a stronger chapter.
Brought to you by Ask Ivan Misner.
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 160 –
Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by AskIvanMisner.com, which is a Web site where you can ask Ivan any question you have about networking.
I’m Priscilla Rice, and I’m coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkley, California, and I’m joined on the phone today by the founder and the chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner.
Hello, Ivan. How are you and where are you?
I am doing great, and this week I am in Scotland and throughout the United Kingdom doing an event in London. Last week I was in Ireland having a great opportunity to meet BNI members in Ireland and the United Kingdom. I always get a really great reception here, and we’re doing a little bit of vacation time and doing a number of BNI meetings where I have a chance to meet a lot of great BNI members, and so I’m really excited to be here.
Today I have on the call a couple of people who are with BNI; first, Deanna Tucci-Schmitt. Deanna has been a BNI director in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area, my home town where I was born. She’s been a director now for 13 years. She’s one of our strongest BNI directors, and it’s a real pleasure to have her on this call. And I’m going to turn it over to her in just a second.
We also have with us Brian Smith. Brian’s been a member of BNI now for two years. Brian runs a company called Foulk’s Flooring. And this is BNI, so you’ve got to do a little plug. His Web site is www.FlooringAmerica.com.
And I want to welcome both Brian and Deanna to this call. They have a great story. And Deanna is going to start us off by telling us a little bit about it.
Over to you, Deanna.
Well, thank you. Brian actually hails from the Meadville portion, up north of Western Pennsylvania region here, and Brian’s a great member and has a lot of great insight. And I was talking to him one day about BNI – actually Brian offered up this information, and we called it – I called it Spinach in Your Teeth because sometimes when you have spinach in your teeth, you wish someone would tell you, and Brian got that opportunity and just really – it’s just a great story.
Brian, why don’t you go ahead, set it up and tell the story.
Well, thank you very much, Deanna.
I am holding the flooring chapter, as Ivan said – or the flooring position in our chapter. The other person in our chapter that this story pertains to is the carpet cleaner in our chapter who is part of my Contact Sphere as well as my Power Group in the chapter. We share a mutual customer. We actually didn’t know this before this story, but while the carpet cleaner was there cleaning up the business, he mentioned that the carpet was nearing the end of its life and that the customer should consider coming out and taking a look at my store and taking a look at what I had to offer to replace the bad areas in her business. She had mentioned that she had actually done work with our company in the past, and the last time that we did work with her, she was disappointed with the service and the installation. And there was some communication errors that took place while we were doing this job.
The fellow member, he made a choice in a one-to-one that we had had to tell me that even though she expressed concern, that he didn’t want his name brought up in it or anything else, but that it may jeopardize the rapport that he had with the customer, but he had told me what she had said, that the installation wasn’t what she’d expected and there was just some service issues that she was disappointed that our company had done for her.
So after the one-on-one with that client, I proceeded to call the customer as if I were making a follow-up call or just a call for satisfaction, that it had been a number of months since we’d done any work at her facility and just kind of played it as if I didn’t know anything ahead of time. But she did open up and she proceeded to tell me that the issues that she had with the installation as well as the communication errors, which most problems do come down to communication problems. So I was prepared before that call for her to tell me what I already knew, and through that I was able to restore our relationship and really mended the service on the last one and was able to go out and fix under warranty some of the problems that she had, which were somewhat out of our control, but she blamed us for.
And since that position on – I’ve been able to hold a relationship with this customer, and she actually built a new house and we were able to help her out with that as well as some different things with her business. It’s provided for a substantial income source over the past couple of years that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, that had I not known to make this satisfaction call, because it’s not typically the same time frame that I would do them, but because I had this inside information, that I was able to call her and mend this relationship.
And even though the carpet cleaner didn’t gain anything from telling me about this problem, the relationships that we had mended – or that we had gained through BNI through our Power Group, that he cared enough about my business to speak up and tell me what the issue was. And that way, I was able to mend it and I was able to create more business through an existing client. It’s really about the relationship.
That’s what I was thinking.
He knew enough about you to know that you were a professional, that he could come to you and tell you that, what was going on. Whereas, I think most people would run away and hide. They’d be scared to bring it up or they’d feel funny bringing it up. And I just think it speaks a lot about Jeff – that’s who it was, right, Jeff in your chapter?
And I think it speaks a lot about you, that you actually – A, he came to you and talked to you about it, and B, you didn’t get all defensive and just put down the customer and blah, blah, blah. But then you were able to restore that relationship with the customer.
I just think that that is something that people don’t think about in BNI that your members have your back; they tell you when you’ve got spinach in your teeth. So I just thought it was a great story, and it says a lot about you, Brian, that he felt comfortable coming to you.
And Ivan, I was just wondering, that’s something that comes out of BNI, out of the relationships in BNI that you don’t really think about when you come into it, and I was just curious if you had any other situations like that. I know that you’ve talked a lot about people telling you what they’ve received as a result of having better presentation skills, for example.
Well, true, but I think that there’s almost an even deeper issue here, and that is a clear, open, honest, direct communication really can help resolve problems. I’ve situations like Brian’s described here where somebody wasn’t willing to go to the other person and say, “Hey, you have a problem,” because they didn’t want to rock the boat, they didn’t know what to do, they just didn’t want to say anything, so they say nothing, and the problem festers. My has been, overwhelmingly, that when people actually sit down and talk, amazing things happen and you get to the problem and you resolve it.
And the other thing is – and Brian, listen, you dealt with that really well, because a lot of times – you said something, it was beyond your control, and I’ve seen people say, “Hey, it’s not my fault! Out of my control; it’s not my fault!” And they get very reactive.
A great technique that people can use when they run into, and they may be dealing with somebody who’s not as receptive as Brian was in this case, is to say to them, “You have a PR problem here,” because feelings are as good as reality. This is a great way to open up the same dialog with somebody, especially if you think they’re not going to be as receptive to taking the concern and issues as Brian was. I mean, you handled it really well. But sometimes people get defensive, and so when you say to them, “Hey, you’ve got a PR problem. This person feels like they weren’t taken care of well,” feelings are as good as reality. Most people will respond to that better, because, you know, “Oh, okay, a PR problem. I can recognize that. I recognize that I have a PR problem. It’s not really my fault. I didn’t do anything, but I recognize that I have a PR problem.”
And that’s a really good technique to use when you run into that as well.
I like that.
Well, Brian, well done. And I think you really bring up a lesson. You see, the kinds of conversations that I like to have on these podcasts are really meaningful conversations and dialogs that would resonate with members and that they can use with the chapter. And you’ve probably given one of the better examples of how to address something when there’s a challenge in your chapter. Because if you can address it like Brian has here, you can have a stronger chapter where you have clear, open, honest, direct communication and people addressing the issues in a professional and positive way.
So, kudos, Brian! Well done!
Thanks, everybody. Thank you so much for both of you being on my podcast. Any last comment before I wrap it up?
It’s all about relationships.
Yep, you’re absolutely right, it’s all about the relationships. And the more you can go into it understanding that you want to build that relationship and enhance it and make it better, then people being honest with each other and saying, “You’ve got spinach in your teeth,” is good for the relationship.
So Deanna, thanks for bringing the story to me. And Brian, well done. I appreciate the message.
Priscilla, back to you.
Thanks so much.
Well, I think that’s it for this week. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by AskIvanMisner.com. Thanks so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you’ll join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.