The manager of a ladies’ dress shop decided it was time to have a serious talk with one of her sales clerks. “Janet, your figures are well below any of our other sales clerks’. I’m sorry to say that unless you can improve your record soon, we will have to let you go.”
“I’m sorry, ma’am,” Janet humbly replied. “Is there any advice you could give me on how to do better?”
“There is an old trick I can tell you about,” the manager said. “It may sound silly, but it has worked for me in the past. Go through a dictionary until you come to a word that has particular power for you. Memorize it and work it into your sales pitch whenever it seems appropriate. You’ll be amazed at the results.”
Sure enough, Janet’s sales figures improved, and at the end of the month the manager called her in again and congratulated her. “Did you try my little trick?” she asked.
“Yes,” Janet nodded. “It took me an entire weekend to find just the right word, but I did … ‘Fantastic’.”
“‘Fantastic’. What an excellent word,” the manager said encouragingly. “How have you been using it?”
“Well, my first customer on Monday was a woman who told me her little girl had just been accepted at the most exclusive prep school in the city. I said, ‘Fantastic.’ She went on to tell me how her daughter always got straight A’s and was the most popular girl in her class. I said ‘Fantastic’ and she bought $450 worth of clothing.”
“My next customer,” Janet continued, “told me she was in charge of the Spring Ball at the country club and needed a new formal dress. I said ‘Fantastic.’ She went on to tell me she had the best figure of anyone on the committee and her husband makes the most money. I said ‘Fantastic’ and she not only bought the designer gown, but hundreds of dollars of other merchandise. It’s been like that all week: the customers keep boasting, I keep saying ‘Fantastic’, and they keep buying.”
“Excellent work, Janet,” complimented the manager. “Out of curiosity, what did you used to say to customers before you discovered your power word?”
“I used to say, ‘Who gives a sh*t!'” Janet replied with a shrug.