Every child (I hope) has been taught the “magic words” that will cause most adults to give their attention. Please and thank you come to mind first, then excuse me, I’m sorry, yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am, and no ma’am. Manners are oil on the rusty hinges of society and separate those who were “raised in a barn” from the rest. Of course, I realize this is a Western culture thing and may not be consistent in other cultures, but for the most part I think we can agree that being polite is quite nice.

Recently I learned something new, to me at least. I follow a blog written by Jason Horejs, owner of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. His idea has rocked my world and in an extraordinary way. As the sole person completing sales and receiving payment I’ve been on top of my game thanking customers and of course, I’m just approaching the borderline of gushing due to the fact that I AM appreciative, grateful, thankful and relieved on a myriad of levels. I’ll admit it. I am thinking to myself, “Yippee! There’s the electric bill. Woo hoo! That just paid next month’s rent” and so on. No, I don’t tell the client that info, but it does occur to me mid-transaction. Well, after reading Jason’s article “Don’t Overdo the Gratitude When You Make an Art Sale” I had an epiphany. Certainly manners are in order, but what he suggests is taking the focus off yourself and making it about the customer by saying “Congratulations”. It turns everything around instantly, much in the same way those magic words please and thank you do when used appropriately.

So, I tried it. “Congratulations on your selection. It will be a great addition to your collection.” “Congratulations on your choice. It makes a lovely gift.” Regardless of the reason they bought the art, I am now congratulating them and the reactions truly are magic. Their face lights up, they seem satisfied and justified. It’s amazing and it makes ME feel better giving them something back after they just gave me a sale. It’s just mind boggling to me that such a simple turn around can bring the experience to a whole new level.

Is it REALLY magic? Probably not, but it does cause me to pause and ponder human nature and our need for affirmation. Basic human instincts are fraught with doubt and second-guessing, but when someone says, “Hey, you did good there Friend,” then something beautiful happens inside. I still throw in the occasional thanks, but I’d much rather congratulate them on being a smart collector, wise investor, and generous patron of the arts. That way….we’re all winners.

To read Jason Horejs’ article follow this link.



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