A few weeks ago I told you that I was a salad girl when I was young, but I didn’t tell you why. The reason I was a salad girl was that I desperately wanted to be a waitress at the Chart Room on Cape Cod. But it was a hard job to get. I knew if I started as a salad girl I could work my way up to a bus girl, and then a waitress! And I did.

Why am I telling you this? Because I read a study about waitressing this weekend, and it explained why I get some really good tips back in my day. You see, when a customer would give me their order, I’d repeat it back word for word. He’d say “swordfish with anchovy butter on the side, baked potato, salad no dressing.”  Then I’d say “Got it. Swordfish, anchovy butter on the side, baked potato, and salad, no dressing”  And it turns out that mimicking a customer’s order word for word leads to larger tips. 

Customers want to know that you hear them, and that you’re trying hard to get it right. When I repeated the customers’ dinner orders back for them, they felt heard. And they felt confident that I was doing what I could to get it right. No matter what you do, your customers want to feel heard and confident too.

So whether you’re in sales, education, real estate or medicine, make your customer feel heard. But here’s the best tip of all–this doesn’t just work in business. Your family and your friends want to feel like you’re listening too. So give mimicking a shot, and maybe take them out to dinner too.

2 thoughts on “Hear Them, and Try to Get It Right

  1. Heather, this is a great point. You are reminding me of a sales call I made when I had accidentally started a company. Now having a company, I needed clients. I was making sales calls, which was also new to me. As I listened to a prospect tell his story on the phone, I was taking notes.

    At one point, he made a remark. In response, I repeated back to him in his exact words, something he had said, referring to it as something he’d want.

    He thought I was brilliant to know this about him. He expressed his amazement over and over. I firmly believe he had forgotten that he said it!! 🙂

    Needless to say, I had landed a profitable, loyal client! Better yet, I learned a valuable lesson that I use to this day. It always works!

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