Small Talk = Big Sales + Customer Satisfaction

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On my way home from the office, I decided to pick up a chicken dinner.

The woman who readied it for me asked, “How was your New Year’s?"

“Pretty good, I replied. "

She leaned over and confided in a whisper with a smile, “Mine SUCKED!"

Give her an “A" for honesty.

More important, she deserves a gold star for making meaningful small talk.

What did she accomplish in that 10 second exchange?

(1) First, she became more than a chicken vendor. She’s a person and I like her pluck!

(2) I smiled at her honesty.

(3) She sent me a signal that says, “It’s okay to talk to me, I can handle it!"

So often today, you hear the empty pronouncements about the importance of developing “customer relationships. " A quick, exchange like I had brings the idea to life.

Too much attention is paid to offering incentives, bonuses, ariline miles and other perks to customers in order to build loyalty and a desire to come back and do more business with us.

You don’t have to have lots of contacts with customers to establish a relationship, to build rapport. It can happen really quickly, if you polish the art of using small talk.

Now, the only question is, how do we super-size that?

Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of, is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone® and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service. A frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide, Gary’s programs are offered by UCLA Extension and by numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. Gary is headquartered in Glendale, California. He can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at:


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