Orders for Making a Living Without a Job were piling up and my shipment was more than a week overdue. I called my publisher to see if they could track the order and learned that the shipping department was clogged getting Dan Brown’s blockbuster The Lost Symbol out in time for its’ debut.  I was assured that my books should be arriving momentarily.


Later in the day, I heard my doorbell and when I opened the door saw the UPS delivery man heading to his truck. Even though it wasn’t my regular driver, I called out to him and said, “Do you allow your customers to kiss you?” He turned around, smiled and walked back up the sidewalk. “Man, I hear ‘You saved my life,’ all the time. Yup, we’re just out here delivering packages and saving lives every day.” I suggested that UPS turn that benefit into a new advertising campaign. 


I get a lot of packages from UPS and have noticed that even though I’m on their route late in day, the drivers are always cheerful. My regular driver calls me by name and exchanges a few words even though he’s probably eager to finish his day. It’s a dramatic contrast to the cranky postman who delivers my mail with a snarl. 


Yesterday afternoon I decided to sweep my front porch and prune the bush that was intruding into the walkway. As I was puttering, I noticed that the welcome mat by my front door was showing signs of wear and tear. In fact, it says “lcome”. I made a note to replace it soon. After all, I want the UPS guy to know I’m glad he showed up. 


Even though my customers do not normally appear at my front door, I am always looking for ways to keep the welcome mat out in my business, too. Seems pretty fundamental to me.


You’d think that every entrepreneur would consider it essential to welcome potential buyers and clients to their business, but experience shows that’s not always the case.


Consider the less-than-welcoming way some businesses answer their phones. Browse at any flea market or craft fair and you’ll see numerous vendors who are reading a book or chatting with other vendors while ignoring the crowd.  And it’s not just exhibiters that do this: many businessowners seem to wear a “Do Not Disturb” sign—defying anyone to ask them questions or offer them money.


Smart entrepreneurs make it their mission to let others know that they are in business to serve. I bet the people that you most like doing business with have their own version of a welcome mat, don’t they? Do you?

3 Responses to “What’s Your Sign?”

  1. Traci

    Great post, I just returned from a six-week road trip and one of the first things I noticed near the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin was the attitude of the storeowners and/or clerks. Not a welcoming greeting, not a friendly smile, nothing. I was stunned and appalled and certainly had no desire to buy anything from them. One shop was a very high-end women’s clothing boutique. I was the only customer in the store; the owner looked right at me but made no effort to acknowledge me. I stayed all of five minutes, not wanting to waste my time. I wonder how long she’ll keep her doors open.

    I don’t think it takes much effort to smile, say hello and make someone feel welcome. I wish everyone and every business would pay attention to the little things that can make a HUGE difference.

  2. Melody Sage

    This is a welcome reminder:) Synchronistically I just made a welcome sign for my apartment. I love checking your blog for your insights and great attitude.

  3. Terri Belford

    Thanks for the reminder, Barbara. I used to always tell new employees that “I should be able to hear you smiling when you answer the phone.” If your customers don’t feel that their call (visit, email) is the most important thing you to do today, you risk losing them to someone who appreciates their business.
    Great reminder.

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