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Thursday, July 06, 2006

No Guts - No Glory

(Not these guts, but I couldn't resist the picture)

I've heard lots of comments and even a few jokes about what a consultant is. One person told me that anyone with a laptop can call them self a consultant. But the one that always rings in my ears is that consultants are those people without the guts to do it themselves.

I hate backing down from a challenge and that definitely challenges me, but perhaps there is some truth in it and in truth is why it challenges me - because I somehow feel it is true.

I'm always a guy with lots of advice. I generally know the right answer for others and have great solutions to all sorts of problems. Not just business solutions either. Having spent 3 years doling out advice to marriages in trouble, parents with renegade kids and people with personal finance disasters, I'm not just an "expert" in the business realm.

My premonition that I may not have the guts to do something was proved a little more true when yesterday my wife told me the story of how she went to the local furniture warehouse to purchase the desk we picked out a couple of weeks ago. She stood waiting for a sales person to help her for over 30 minutes and no one ever did. Finally she left in near Mt. St. Helen's proportions.

When I heard the story I instantly knew what to do. I told her to call the store and ask is she could make an appointment with a sales rep. When they say "You don't need an appointment, just come in and one of our sales people will help you." she should reply, "I tried that and stood waiting for over 30 minutes ready to spend a lot of money in your store and no one helped me, so I figured I must need an appointment. But, it sounds more like you just have really poor customer service."

This is a great opening line to get a nice discount, free delivery or something out of the deal. Follow it up with something like, "So if I come back in you are going to guarantee that I receive good customer service?" or "Could I speak to the manager about this so I can be sure I'm going to get good service when I come back?" It's a calm, rational complaint and I think it would work great... but I don't think I could ever make the call myself.

My new resolve is to have more guts and take the action that I prescribe.