Connecting Through a First Impression

On a recent trip to Nashville, I stopped at Dave Ramsey’s headquarters to visit Eric Anthony, the producer of the Entreleadership podcast. I had met Eric at the Podcast Movement conference last year and had worked with him a bit when Lee Cockerell was on the Entreleadership podcast. So I stopped in to say Hello and spent time chatting with Eric and Ken Colemen, who hosts the show. While I was there, Dave Ramsey was recording his radio show, and a couple was waiting in the lobby to do the Debt Free Scream. Do you know about the debt free scream? There’s been many people and couples that have screamed due to being debt-free, whether it be from their mortgage or even consolidating their credit card debt thanks to companies such as SoFi and others, helping people get out of a financial rut and do the debt free scream!

I didn’t want to miss a good debt free scream, so I hung out in the lobby to watch. The couple did a short interview with Dave and finish with the scream to announce their freedom. When they were done, Dave Ramsey came out into the lobby to say hello to them in person. Since I was in the lobby, I had the chance to meet Dave.

This was not the first time I met Dave Ramsey, though.

I have paid attention to Dave Ramsey for years. Even when I did not take his advice, I was paying attention.

Dave Ramsey helped transform my kid’s attitudes and actions towards money through Financial Peace Junior. My wife and I are students of Financial Peace University, I have listened to Dave’s radio show, and read a couple of his books.

Although I don’t remember how I heard Dave Ramsey was looking for volunteers for a Seattle event, when I heard he was looking for volunteers to help his team I did not hesitate for a moment.

I have organized many events; concerts, Sea Stories, puppet shows, Hispanic Heritage Celebration, and the Scandinavian Cold and Flu Festival. Working as a volunteer for Dave’s event would be an opportunity to experience, first hand and behind the scenes, how professionals put on an event.

I submitted a volunteer application and was delighted to be accepted as part of the team.

The evening of the Living a Legacy event, ten volunteers gathered before the event and received instruction from Dave’s team on our assignments for the evening. I was selected to work the Back Stage Experience, where I got to meet Dave and his lovely daughter, Rachel Ramsey Cruze.

I learned plenty from hearing Dave talk to the small backstage crowd. Of course, I learned watching Dave on stage. But the biggest lesson I learned was from a member of Dave’s team.

Before the event, before the volunteers had done any work, Pete, one of Dave’s team members, gathered us together to explain how the evening would unfold.

As Pete explained the importance of the volunteers greeting guests as they enter, he said “The first few minutes set the tone. If not, Dave will not be able to connect with the audience”.

Listen to that again. “The first few minutes set the tone. If not, Dave will not be able to connect with the audience.

Imagine if we all viewed customer service that way.

What if we took responsibility to set a tone to ensure anyone in our organization will connect with the customer?

How would you change the way you answer the phone?

How would you act when a customer interrupts when you are busy?

How would you treat the opportunity of being face to face with a customer?

What if your biggest role was to make sure the next person is able to connect with the customer. Let’s take a doctor’s office. The receptionist sets the tone for a nurse to make a connection with the customer. The nurse sets the tone for the doctor. This makes front line the most important part of an organization.

In your case, front line could be the person who answers the phone. The person who greets people at the door, or checks people in as they arrive.

Once we can connect with customers we can build relationships.

Once we build relationships, then we can get work done.

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Jody Maberry