Last week, when a meeting ran short, I squeezed onto an earlier flight to Hobart. Fueled by Tasmanian excitement I delighted unsuspecting strangers with anticipatory tales of the next stop on my journey. Unfortunately my single serving sounding-boards responded in equally un-researched kind. The difference obviously being I knew the origin of my excitement. Everyone else assumed, and some even projected their proclivities into me. After a half a dozen stories about the majesty, the charm, the modesty, and the quaintness of Hobart, the Aussies had nearly extinguished my excitement. Yet I told myself, that while their assertions may be well founded, they certainly weren’t comprehensive. So I actively maintained my optimism.
I deplaned by stairs and Tarmac, followed a painted walkway to the one and only arrivals gate, abandoned my orange at the “recommendation” of an angry beagle, breezed thru the door and basically tripped over the baggage claim residing not 15 feet away. So far pretty quaint indeed. The ride to the hotel came complete with beautiful backdrops and charming conversation – nice and all – but I couldn’t help but notice the severe lack of stuff along the way.
By ten min past 5 in the afternoon I was checked in, changed, and in the lobby ready to explore. “Which way should I head to find the best shopping?” I asked the hotel lady to which she replied, “Oh, it’s after 5, nothing is open… well… Target might be open til 5:30 if you hurry.” This made me smirk, which apparently insulted her, as it garnered the follow on remark of “This isn’t one of those kind of cities.” It turned out they were right, this town rolls up the streets before the business tourists can even see anything.
I can’t help but wonder though, was my disappointment exaggerated because everyone I engaged with kept pointing out the things about the place that I wouldn’t like? Had someone taken a moment to discover that I’m not the kind of girl who finds parochial charming, and used that understanding to highlight the great people and food instead, would I have neglected to notice the limited late night activities? Sales, and influence, opportunities manifest in countless forms, even when money is unlikely to change hands.
So this week, don’t just hurl your “value” proposition at the wall and assume everyone is longing for a pasta dinner. People like, and purchase things, for very different reasons. When you fail to appreciate that fact you risk not only tainting their experience with your product, but also forever jeopardizing their ability to be objective. Do some discovery; tailor your spiel; win the deal.