Mind Your Manners

You don’t hear about manners much these days, but in addition to other benefits, good manners are a great selling tool. And they are a selling tool that cost nothing. They don’t say ‘mind your manners’ for nothing!

Don’t Get It

If you are a member of an online chat group, it won’t take long before bad manners and insensitivity becomes obvious to you. It usually begins with the line, “You don’t get it…

I was a member of a group where an agent posted a comment, to which somebody else opened with the “You don’t get it” line, followed by paragraphs of ego-bloated diatribe about what the person who posted first didn’t ‘get’.

What followed was four days of back-and-forth insults. On the morning of the fourth day I saw that these two were still at it and so I added a post of my own:

Children, while you two have been insulting each other for what is now four days, somebody is out there prospecting, attracting clients that you could have had. What have you added to the original question posted by [name]? Nothing – you’d rather insult each other than add anything constructive. Don’t bother responding to this as I will have already left the group. Goodbye.

Then there was a group in Singapore where the moderator posted what I thought was a reasonable question. I responded as did others, including a guy who started his post with “Wake up! The only way to…” I responded to this person by pointing out that his post could be interpreted as insulting.

I was flying from Perth to Adelaide and checked the comments when I landed three hours later. Hell had broken loose. There were no less than ten posts from this guy demanding that I apologise. Not once did he acknowledge that he may have inadvertently insulted the person who posted first.

Many other people responded too, all telling him that his post could be interpreted as insulting. I made one more post saying that I have no intention of escalating this issue – I was sorry that he didn’t like it, but I stood by my comment. Another twenty enraged posts later he was kicked out of the group and blocked.

Low Cost, High Return

What does courtesy and sensitivity to others’ feelings cost us? Nothing, but the return is enormous. There is a saying that says, “All things being equal, people will do business with people they like. All things being not-so-equal, people will still do business with people they like”. I believe it. People like people with good manners.

In Sales, little things make a big difference, and most are simply a case of good manners. Here are a few:

  • Arrive on time
  • If running late, call ahead to inform the person
  • Ask permission to take notes
  • Call the sellers promptly with buyer feedback
  • Thank clients for seeing you
  • Say ‘Thank you’ regularly
  • Say ‘Please’ regularly
  • Treat people how you would like to be treated

These might seem like old-fashioned values, but I have seen agents collectively lose hundreds of thousands in commission because of lapses in good manners.
It pays to mind your manners.

Gary Pittard
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