You Wouldn’t Want To Do That

In which we are reminded to ask a question and clarify before expressing a point of view. We have the possibility of bunking and entertaining some 'snooty' out of town guests. They asked us to reserve space in a snooty hotel. Oh, joy.

In Boston, snooty hotel #1 moved across town to a new location and snooty hotel #2 took over the vacated location at the corner of Arlington and Newbury Streets.

Seeking accommodation for our soon to arrive snoots, my wife called snooty hotel #2 and asked about rates and availability for the evenings in question, saying that she was also considering snooty hotel #1, previous occupants of the space, now moved across town.

“Oh,” came snooty hotel #2’s response. “You wouldn’t want to do THAT. This is a MUCH better location, overlooking the Public Garden. Right at the foot of Newbury Street. Wonderful shopping here, many restaurants. Beautiful view.  The other hotel moved to the new location and, frankly, they regret it. That area is… well…. a little seedy… and the shopping isn’t nearly as good over there as it is here.”

It was later reported that there followed several seconds of silence before the conversation continued.  My wife was incredulous…

Yah, but we’ve all done it, yes? Listened to a prospect’s plan and said, one way or another, “you wouldn’t want to do THAT.”  Wouldn’t want to do that, stay there, go with them, buy that, finance it that way, install that, use that, conduct that, or do whatever it is…. THAT way. And then we’ve pitched OUR very smart ideas or products.  Yes?  [And, if you answered “no,” to that question and you have children at home or employees who work for you, look again!]

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!  YOU wouldn’t want to do THAT!

What do you think snooty hotel #2 should have done once she’d heard my wife was considering snooty hotel #1?

How about……Acknowledge and ask a question (are you shocked?).

“Ah, madam, thank you for calling us and for considering both hotels. We are both wonderful, and we are somewhat different. What might madam’s snooty guests enjoy? Shopping? Theater? Music? The waterfront?”

“Shopping, for sure. Shop, shop, shop, shop, shop.”

“Ah, very good, madam.  Since madam’s guests like shopping, consider that we are at one end of the most wonderful shopping street in the city, overlooking the Public Garden. Right at the foot of Newbury Street. Wonderful shopping here, many restaurants. Beautiful view. Had you said, “theater” or “music” I would have suggested the wonderful former occupants of this magnificent space, as they are very close to theaters. Would madam like to make a reservation now or discuss options with madam’s snooty friends?”

The “what would madam’s snoots enjoy” question would have put snooty hotel # 2 in consultative position to win the business rather than a pitching position to lose it. You WOULD want to win THAT!

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