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Drive Like You Mean Business

Drive Like You Mean Business

 

Last week I was driving home from work… along my normal route… within my local community…¬†minding my own business.

Something caught my eye in the rear-view mirror.

Weaving through traffic was¬†Michael Schumacher Junior… changing lanes… passing… braking… tailgating… repeating.

Junior pulled up along side of me in the left lane as the traffic light turned red.

I’m a cynic.¬†¬†I couldn’t resist.

I looked at Junior with¬†a smile, and made three successive hand¬†gestures… the number “3”… followed by “2”… followed by “1”… and then I mouthed the word “GO-O-O!”

Junior fired back a single gesture… with a single finger.

I smiled again at Junior’s unbridled testosterone, which only made his finger move closer to the passenger window.

And that’s when I saw it.

Junior’s car was all branded up with a nicely-designed company¬†logo, complete with website address and phone number.

When the light turned green,¬†Junior tore off in a fury, weaving in and out of traffic… in and out of… potential customers.

When I got home, I went online and checked out the URL.¬† Sure enough, the sole proprietor’s prominent photo was that of Junior.

Junior the Caterer, hoping to cater¬†your party…¬†after he cuts you off in traffic and gives you the finger, of course.

The amazing thing is how frequently this happens. 

Of course, we rarely notice when nice driving happens… unless we’re the one doing it.¬† And therein lies a secret.¬† Drive nice, feel nice.

RoadSmile - 5227241301_e4db0d965d_z That’s right!¬† Being nice to pedestrians and¬†other drivers actually brings you a more positive inner vibe, during the journey¬†and¬†when you arrive at your destination — be¬†that your customer’s office,¬†your office,¬†a lunch¬†meet-up, home, wherever.

I’m a New Yorker, so it would be a stretch to say I’ve always been the nicest guy on the road.¬† But ever since living in Switzerland, the local etiquette¬†has been contagious.¬† (O.K., there are a few Juniors around.)

I now stop for the guy who’s trying to pull on to a busy street et al.¬† And I never, ever, regret it.¬† In fact, I always get more fulfillment out of gestures like that than what it actually costs me.¬† Three seconds is not a lot to invest in my own karma.

It also makes good sales and business sense.¬† Your energy will be more positive and you might be closer than you think to your next customer.¬† We can’t be perfect all the time, but try it in your real critical business excursions.

Rule 1: the closer you get to your client’s office, the more polite you should be.

It will lift your attitude when you need it most, and you may just “bump into” your client.

John is one of the nicest salespeople I know.  A decade ago, he flew to a small city the night before a series of final interviews at corporate headquarters.  After checking in to his hotel, he wanted to go out for dinner and get a feel for the town.

As he pulled into a parking space, the driver of another car wanted the same space.  John waved the other driver into the space.  For a brief moment, the other driver paused and motioned back, but John just smiled back and drove on down the street.

As fate would have it, when he walked in to the restaurant, the other driver and his wife were inside.  They gave a friendly wave and, before long, a conversation started.  In the better light, John realized the other driver was was the CEO who would be among those interviewing him the next day.

John was offered the job.  He turned it down while leveraging it into an agency representation role instead, which was riskier but turned out to be more lucrative, and had been one of his long-term goals.

Nice one, John!

Do you have any juicy stories like this?
Know anyone who’s won or¬†lost a piece of business¬†from behind the steering wheel?
Do you notice how your driving “karma” impacts your first few minutes at a business appointment?

 

Top photo by Arvis ir Jurga.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/arvis/134979916/sizes/z/in/photostream/

Bottom photo by Paul Malin.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulmalon/5227241301/

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  • Hi Jack, I live near you in Switzerland and have certainly experienced this – and also the business part as I work with local partners and clients and parking lots and spaces near businesses (and everywhere) are often very small around here. This is a great story and a good extension to what you more commonly hear along these lines, which is to “be nice” once you enter the office (e.g. with the reception and other people you encounter on your way to the meeting, interview, etc.) For some people that is entirely natural, and for others they need to keep it actively in mind. I haven’t thought about it on the road out front, but indeed you never know, and the good feeling you get from this kindness is worth it whether you bump into the CEO or not! Thanks for this interesting post! Cheers, Gillian

  • Thanks, Gillian. Have a great, snowy weekend and… drive safely!

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