Get results with groveling
One of the great misconceptions
people have about the concept of owning your own business is the dream of
"being your own boss."
There is an inference of independence, of answering to no one.
You are the top dog, and those years of sniveling obedience to higher-ups
are finally behind you. No one can tell you what to do. Let others do the
In business, we all have someone who requires continual
pampering because their allegiance is essential to our success. For some itís
a major client who could pull their account on a whim, sending profits
tumbling. For others it could be an investor, or a key employee they canít
afford to lose.
For me, itís landlords. Find me a landlord with a top retail
location, and Iíll show you some major league groveling.
In fact, I performed some impressive groveling just last week.
The present landlords of the prime retail location my main store occupies
selfishly sold the building out from under me. All those years of pampering,
down the drain. They just took the $11.2 million sale price and ran, leaving
nothing for me except the remains of my lease.
Meanwhile, the new landlord was coming to visit. No time for
self pity, there was groveling to be done.
"Well, Mr. Chin, its such a pleasure to meet you," I
said with a wide grin as my new landlord, the master of my inconsequential
life, entered my office (which I was humbly renting from him).
"Iím very happy here," I continued. "Itís a
wonderful building, great investment. I wish I had the money to invest in
such a fine piece of property. I hope you like what weíve done in the
retail portion. Itís been a lot of work, but weíre counting on staying
here for a long time."
Iím not stupid. I know when to stop babbling. It was time to
get a rapport going.
One problem, though, which I quickly learned. Mr. Chin was from
Hong Kong. He didnít understand babble.
The rapport was not going to happen. There was a translator
available, Mr. Chinís local agent, but how was he going to translate my
charm, grace and willingness to grovel?"
This was going to be a challenge.
I made a rapid decision. Short sentences, lots of smiles and
constant nodding with short bows was the way to go.
"Good building," I said, smiling, nodding and bowing
all at once.
"Yes," said Mr. Chin, "very good." When he
smiled, nodded and bowed, I knew I was on the right track.
"Very happy here," I continued. Smile. Nod. Bow.
"Good," said Mr. Chin.
"I want to stay forever." Smile. Nod. Bow.
Too complicated. Mr. Chin looked at his translator, puzzled.
His translator spoke to him in Chinese and Mr. Chin now understood what I
said. He threw back his head and laughed heartily.
Whatís so funny? I thought, as I laughed along with him.
It didnít matter. We were bonding. It looked like humor
was going to be appreciated.
"$11.2 million," I noted. "You have lots of
money. Will you be reducing rent?"
After the translation, we had a good laugh over that one. For
some reason he thought that was hilarious.
After a few more chuckles, we were bosom buddies. He opened up,
and in halting English and with the help of the translator told me about his
factory in China, where he makes millions manufacturing fish toys for
I listened like I never listened before. Everything he said was
fascinating. Some of it I even understood.
Of course, if he had told me he had made his fortune kidnapping
babies and selling them into slavery, I would have told I admired his
courage and initiative.
The fact of the matter is Mr. Chin, by controlling the building
that generates a good portion of my income, is a good man to have on my
side. Fortunately, I happened to like him and we got along well. If I hadn't
liked him, we still would have gotten along well.
Thatís the way it works. We can all be fired, one way or
another. For me, itís locations and leases. Iím at their mercy. Only Mr.
Chin can save me.
Thatís why I grovel. And thatís why I suggested to Mr. Chin
that he adopt me. So what if he laughed. Iíll keeping working on him.