Erik’s parents opened a video store when he was in high school. His dad had just retired from the Air Force, and his mother was working for the Federal Government at the time. To help out, Erik worked at the store on the weekends and a few weeknights.
Erik would work the counter checking customers out, and he’d also work the floor helping customers pick videos. During that time he learned a ton about retail and customer interactions.
Customers would constantly ask for recommendations on movies to watch. To make sure he could help, Erik assigned himself “homework”, and ended up watching a lot of movies!
Inevitability a customer would come up to Erik with a movie in hand and would ask him if he’d seen the movie and recommended it. At first, he would tell them yes, even if he didn’t personally like it. But quickly he realized that it was better to give his honest opinion of the movie.
If he didn’t like the movie, or wasn’t a fan of the genre, then he’d tell them. That feedback resonated with customers. Half the time they’d put the video back on the shelf and ask him what other movies he would recommend. That honest feedback put Erik in the position of being a quasi-expert in movie recommendations. That lesson carries forward to Erik’s experience today at Array Digital.
When a recent prospect in the construction industry told Erik that they were spending time and energy on Instagram, Erik questioned why. This company gets their work from a much older demographic that doesn’t hang out on Instagram. The prospect didn’t have an answer as to why they were supporting Instagram, but agreed it wasn’t compatible with their business development strategy.
The lessons learned in high school, and today, is that you should always give people your honest feedback. They may hope to be hearing something else, but they’ll respect what you have to say and respect you for letting them know what you think.