Bill Gibson – Part 2 – Exceptional Customer Care From The Inside-Out

Watch Out For The Dot

Where our mind goes, our energy flows! In customer service it is vital we focus on The White Space, not The Dot. Let me explain it.

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When individuals at a meeting or seminar are asked by me what they see when they look at the above slide, they say “A Black Dot.”

What is actually there is a Dot with a “Whole Lot of White Space.” At work and in our life in general, we have a tendency to see the Dot (problems, why something won’t work, the negative side of a situation, what we don’t like, other people’s shortcomings, etc.) rather than the “White Space” (the opportunities, other innovative ways of doing things, the positives about a situation, the positive attributes and strengths of other people, etc.)

When we continually look at what we don’t like, what’s wrong, why things won’t work and are critical our energy gets drained and we become limited in our ability to find solutions and innovative ideas. Energy follows thoughts and feelings.

To have an exceptional marketing and creative mind, we need to be more “white space” focused than “dot” focused. (We are not saying to ignore negative realities and challenges that must be dealt with.)

What Are Some Dot Examples?

Respect Me Slide







  • The Job: When I read this quote to people at our seminars and ask people who the above quote is, they often say the customer, their wife or husband, or even their banker. In this case it is “The Job” or “Your Profession.”This is one of the finest quotes I have ever seen. It is so true for most of us. At the beginning of our new job or new company we are infatuated and excited…then we start noticing the problem areas and begin to overreact. Our jobs and companies provide many opportunities and benefits if we look for them. A good habit to start for yourself and others around you is to discipline yourselves to acknowledge 5 positives about your job or fellow workers before making a criticism.Within 60 seconds of meeting an employee of a business you and I know whether or not they are happy with their job that day. Our attitude about our job reflects either positively or negatively in our company marketing.Let’s take a look at a few more “Dot” focused situations, and see how they can be turned from “Dots” into “White Spaces” (Innovative Marketing and Servicing Ideas and Opportunities).
    • American Express Credit Cards:

    American Express Credit Card users often pull out their American Express Card to pay for a hotel room, pay for a meal or buy a product or service and get the following answer. “I’m sorry Ma’am we don’t accept American Express but we do accept Visa or MasterCard.” The question is, what credit card did the customer prefer to use? It wasn’t Visa or MasterCard or Diners. Many businesses say they don’t carry American Express for their customers because American Express charges an extra few percentage points than other credit cards plus they seem to pay slower. Most businesses have anywhere from 50% – 150% mark-up on their products and services. Is it wise to lose the sale and the customers goodwill over 3% – 4%?

    The customer may want to use American Express because their Visa or MasterCard may be over the credit limit. It could be because with a rent-a-car there is automatic car insurance when they use American Express or they are well protected against “fraudulent use of the card” or it may be the only credit card they have.

    Getting even with American Express because you or I may be disagreeing with their policies may lose customers, goodwill and profits we can’t recover…because the client often leaves and doesn’t buy or doesn’t come back.

    • “Change” for the Parking…“Change” for the Taxi…“Change” for the Telephone:

    It is amazing how often we walk into a Café (convenience store) or retail outlet and ask if they can make “smaller change” from a 50 Rand note to pay your parking etc. and the person behind the counter says it isn’t possible…because they don’t have enough “change”. Then you walk over to a shelf, pick up a chocolate bar, a bag of crisps, a soft drink and put them by the cash register with a 50 Rand Note and the person happily takes the 50 Rand Note and gives you “change.”

    What the person is saying, “we won’t help unless you buy.” That doesn’t make you feel positive about that business. As a matter of fact it leaves a negative impression in your mind.

    What if the store was innovative and each day fetched extra change and small rand bills from the bank and displayed the following sign on the door and at the cash register:




Which approach would earn your loyalty as a customer? Remember Innovative Attitudinal Marketing And Servicing comes from not doing what most other people and businesses do. Be different…be unique…and have a little fun.

  • Don’t Touch … Don’t Read:

Shops that display magazines and sell books, tapes, CD’s, etc. and have signs like “Don’t Touch … Don’t Read” don’t make us feel trusted or welcome.

What if the sign said?

Please feel free to sit down in the many chairs we offer you

and page through or read the books or magazines.

We like having you here!

How about the signs that say, “You Break It You Own It!”

What if the sign said?

If you happen to pick up an item and break it…

we know it wouldn’t be intentional.

Feel free to pick up items if you have a need to inspect it more thoroughly…

If an accident happens you can count on our understanding.

  • Display … Risk of Selling:

One time myself and Neil Godin were working with a chain of Petroleum Stations in Canada and I said to the owner of a specific station, “Why don’t you have a display of a dozen or so oil cans displayed here at the pumps? People with “used cars” always like to have an extra oil can or two in their “boot” for emergencies.”

He answered with the following statement. “No way, I did it once and I had a few “oil cans” stolen”. I replied, “Where did you put them?” He answered, “Back by the front of the Petroleum Station”. I said, “They are not there”. He quickly replied, “I put them inside where they couldn’t steal them because they still stole a couple of “cans of oil” when they were at the front.”

My reply was, “Why don’t you put them out front and display them even at the Risk of Selling Them?”

As a matter of interest Neil and I convinced him to drain the next 12 cans of oil from the bottom, clean them up and display them at the gasoline pumps. If they got stolen it would only be empty cans of oil. You see, he got so focused on the Dot that he couldn’t see the positive options. How often do we do this?

  • Test Drive … Try It:

Most of us don’t buy a vehicle until we take it for a “test drive”. If we can’t taste it, touch it, lie on it, try it on, pick it up, smell it, listen to it, sit in it or view it, we most likely will not buy.

Years ago Ten Speed Press of Berkeley, California published my Boost Your Business In Any Economy book. Around the same time I had two ½ day speaking engagements to do for Toyota U.S.A. in the Midwest of the U.S.A. The speaking engagements were 2 weeks apart.

On the first Saturday, I presented my half day session and then made an offer to the group to visit me at my “table of books” and purchase my new book that was just published. About 15 – 20% of the 100 Dealer Principals and Sales Managers bought.

Two weeks later I spoke to 100 more Dealer Principals and Sales Managers, but this time I put a book on each chair and told them to feel free to “page through the book” while I’m speaking. At the end approximately 80% of them bought. I allowed them to Test Drive my book.

During a tour speaking at the “Big Idea” Conference sponsored by Mark Shuttleworth’s Venture Capital Company HBD Venture Capital and the S.A. Government’s Innovation Fund, I had a similar experience.

On day one 10 of the participants were at the product table looking at our three programs from the Business Success Series (Boosting Sales and Profits With Focus Selling, Turning

Entrepreneurial Spirit Into Business Opportunities and Making Personal And Corporate Marketing And Advertising Really Pay). They asked if we were going to be here with the products on day two. We asked “why”? They replied with answers like “I don’t have cash with me”, “my credit card or cheque book is at home”, or “I need to speak to my spouse or business partner”.

We responded by putting the products in a bag and said, “take them home tonight and look through them. If you decide you want them, you can pay tomorrow, if not, just bring them back”.

Most of them responded with, “You can’t do this, you don’t know me, how do you know you can trust me?”

I replied, “I can do this, the products are mine and I trust you”. 8 of the 10 people bought. At events we actually let people take the programs and electronically transfer the money at a later date. The vast majority paid immediately without follow-up.

Now, some business people would say, this isn’t wise. What if 2 of those people didn’t pay and kept the product?

Let’s look at it logically.

What if the cost of my individual programs is R150 and they retail for R700 at the event. My margin is R550. And, suppose the 10 people each take the 2 programs home. What if 2 of the 10 don’t pay? Here is what the financial results would be:

               8 buy with a margin of R550 x 2 = R1 100

               8 x R1 100 = R8 800

              2 don’t pay (R150 lost x 2 = R300 x 2 = R600)

Results:  R8 800 Margin

R   600 Minus

         R8 200 Gross Profit

The results could be R8 200 margin I would not have had.

I’m not suggesting you need to do this, but it works for us. “White Space Thinking” instead of “Dot Thinking” can make a difference.

  • Penny Wise and Pound (Rand) Foolish – “Refunds” & “Exchanges”:

This is an old saying that comes from the U.K. In South Africa it may be “Cents Wise and Rand Foolish”. How often as a consumer have you returned something to a business asking for a “refund” or “exchange” and they point at a sign that says, “No Refunds or Exchanges, sale is final!” Or, they scrutinize you, make you feel like a criminal, argue with you and finally begrudgingly give you a refund.

What we are saying here is, if you are going to give an exchange, refund, discount or credit do it in a positive way. Try this:

“I’m really sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you of having to make a special trip to bring this back. Here is your refund and a 20% off coupon on “sports jackets” that you can use anytime in the next 12 months. Be sure to come back. We value your business.”

Remember, most of us shop at large department stores and large retail chains because of their “No Hassle” exchange policies. It works. Focus on the “White Space” not the “Dot”.

What am I saying? It all starts deep on the inside with the right Attitudinal Marketing.

Where can you improve on your Attitudinal Marketing?

“If you have found this blog article to be valuable for you, I would be grateful if you “shared” it with your Social Media Networks. Also feel free to circulate it by e-mail or other means internally within your organization or externally to your clients, suppliers and personal and business network. Thank-you!”    – Bill Gibson

Bill Gibson is a Canadian who is living in South Africa. He is an international speaker and author and a developer of sales, service, marketing, collecting, employee morale building, personal development and entrepreneurial training programs and systems. His blog is and his website is He can be reached at or phone +27-11-784-1720 in South Africa. You can follow Bill Gibson on Twitter: @billgibson1, connect on LinkedIn: or Knowledge Brokers International SA Pty Ltd Facebook Page:

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