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  • Writer's pictureBurk Moreland

How Much Is A Smile Worth to Your Business?

On a recent trip, I was having lunch with a client at a local restaurant (Oregano’s in Tempe, Arizona).  Soon after we were seated a young woman came to our table with a huge smile and informed us that she was going to be our server for our meal.  Soon after she asked if we had both been to the establishment before, to which I responded ‘No.’  Upon hearing that, she lit up.  She gave me a 30 second tour of the menu along with a few recommendations and expressed her belief that I would be back.  Her enthusiasm was contagious.  She made the entire meal more enjoyable through her attitude and energy.  At the end, she was rewarded with a generous tip that was 25% higher than I might have given her otherwise.  

So…how much is a smile worth?

That same day, I boarded a shuttle bus from the rental car center to the terminal.  Phoenix’s Airport has a lot of great qualities, the time it takes to get to the terminal from the rental center is not one of them.  I truly dread this ride because it always seems to take forever and I very much dislike wasted time.  That day was a different day though. Our driver was an amateur comedian apparently.  The ten minute drive flew by as he told joke after joke, and even as we departed the bus, he added one more one-liner.  Almost all of the passengers looked up from their phones and looked around the bus at the other passengers with a smile.  Even if the joke was corny, we couldn’t help ourselves.  I have ridden literally hundreds of shuttle buses in the last few years.  I have never seen one where everyone was smiling and looking at each other.  Everyone thanked him and some of us even tipped him on the way out and I took a moment to thank him specifically for making it a fun ride.  So…how much is a smile worth?

As Lynda Spiegel, a human resources professional and founder of career coaching and resume writing service, Rising Star Resumes says, “employees who are happy tend to earn more money because their optimistic approach makes them more open to opportunity and new experiences.” And, in the above scenarios I shared, I saw their financial gain with my own eyes, and the really neat part, was the ripple effect of the smile.  I don’t have proof, but I would imagine that when patrons left that restaurant, they might have been nicer or more understanding to drivers on the road.  When the other travelers got into stressful situations at security, they smiled and politeness prevailed.  The effect of a 45 minute meal and a 10 minute shuttle ride could have been enormous if you “pull the string” and could follow these people to see what happens.  A single smile isn’t just a pebble thrown into a pond, it is a cannon ball!

So my question to you is “how much is your smile worth to your business?”  Are you investing in order to get the return?  Are your team members smiling?  If not, why?  An old sales training tactic was to put a mirror behind your phone and look at yourself as you talked.  The point is to smile as you speak.  The difference in your tone, your pace and your overall energy is really quite amazing when you do it.  Your likelihood of successful conversations, negotiations, and sales goes way up.  

So go be the cannonball.  Smile and say hello to people.  Cause people to look up from their phones or change their perspectives on the day.  Who knows, you may even make more money as you change someone’s day or even their life.  Heck, you might even get an article written about you…

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