Seriously! Just Tell Me The Truth Misti Burmeister

By: Misti Burmeister

“Everything you are against weakens you. Everything you are for empowers you.

-Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Many organizations are looking for the quick fix when it comes to attracting and retaining both customers and talent. While I usually say, “there is no quick fix to anything,” today I’m going to share a story that will show you how to do it right. Is it a quick fix? You bet — as long as you make firm commitment upon completing this newsletter.

A few days ago I received an urgent voice message on my cell phone. The message sounded something like this, “My name is Diane and I have an editor with Money looking to do a story on your topic. Please call me immediately so that we can set up a phone interview.”

Money magazine! As soon as I got that message, I called Vannessa Moran, our Business Manager and asked her to help me set up this phone meeting right away. Vannessa followed up and was in the process of setting up a phone meeting for the next day.

The next morning I sprang out of bed and headed off to the gym for my morning workout. On the way, I left a voice message for Diane to let her know she was welcome to call me on my cell phone at her earliest convenience.

Just as I was arriving back at my home from the gym, Diane called. Naturally, I was excited to be speaking with her – I wanted to get a story in Money! Diane asked me almost immediately if I was near my computer.

I told her that I could easily log on if it was important. I would have preferred to take a shower and get ready before doing so, but I wasn’t going to let this opportunity go.

I quickly fired up my laptop and went directly to the website she instructed me to go to. The first thing she said was “Do you see that beautiful lady on the top left side of the page?” “Yep, I said.” “That’s my boss,” she responded. I happened to know that lady, but wanted to let her proceed.

She then pointed me toward the middle right-side of the webpage. There on the page was the lady who she mentioned in her voicemail message – the one who would do my interview. Wasting no time, I said, “let’s do it … I’m ready to do the interview … Let’s set it up.”

She then directed me to other parts of the website. And I quickly got the feeling that something wasn’t quite right here. When the following words came out of her mouth, I was ready to drop-kick her: “Membership for you today is $1,350/year, and we’ll give you two years free” – “And, if you sign up for our X service, I’ll give you two weeks free.”

In order to gain my attention, she totally lied to me. YUCK, what a huge turnoff! Had she told me the truth from the beginning, she may have actually captured my attention. I might not have bought into her system that day, but who knows what I may need in the future. Now I have zero interest in speaking with Diane or anyone from her organization – I have no respect for people who lie to me.

This is the same system many organizations are using to entice young professionals to join their team. They say things like, “You can have the freedom and flexibility you deserve,” or “Build your skills here,” or “Come join a company who cares about their people.” But when young workers sign up, they find that instead of freedom and flexibility, the company expects all team members to be in the office from 8-5. And when it comes to skill building, well, there really is no system in place. And instead of that caring atmosphere, the organization is hugely lacking when it comes to developing a sense of community across the generations.

The system that Diane – and many organizations – are still using today is very outdated and has little chance of survival, especially with young professionals. This new generation of workers saw the scandals within the business and political arenas alike while growing up. They have sensitivity for and zero tolerance of inauthentic people and organizations.

So, if there’s one magic bullet that will help you attract and retain clients and exceptional talent, it’s this: Tell them the truth. If what you’re selling (i.e. a position within your organization or a product/service) is of value, you’re sure to attract the right people.

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