Sunday, 22 December 2013

Terrible Two

My friend has two younger brothers who are still in the university. Being identical twins, they have the same face, same build and even the same voice; but beyond these they are as different as lemons and oranges. They have very distinct temperaments and attitudes such that while one is sociable and sprightly, the other is amiable and calm. If you happened on both of them, you will either be charmed by the friendliness of one or the enigma of the other. The outgoing one was the leader of the debate team in secondary school and led the school to many competitions where they won trophies; he is currently studying to become a lawyer after graduation. The quiet one was in the science club and all his projects fetched his school the hefty grants that equipped their state-of-the-art laboratories and he is studying to become a civil engineer.

But, I forgot to mention one other similarity they possess. The two of them have a lot of female friends and they make it a point of duty to conceal their twinship from them. However, the female friends of the outgoing twin are always in a fight with him while the female friends of the quiet one are always fighting each other. When a girlfriend is fighting with the outgoing one, he calls his twin into their room and after a few minutes they both come out wearing the same clothes. In no time the angry girlfriend storms out from frustration of not being able to tell them apart and not knowing whom to direct her anger at. When the girlfriends of the quiet one are going at each other, he does the same thing. But when they both emerge from their room, the girls have been known to fall deeper in love with them over the newly discovered conundrum and suddenly they stop fighting.

I must confess that their escapades or how they have managed to keep up the act for so long has no effect on me. What I find puzzling is what elicits the different reactions from their female friends. I always wonder, “Why will they always fight one twin and fight each other over the second one?” And to be honest, it took a while before I figured it out but I have cracked it. The outgoing twin is a sweet talker and knows what to say to keep the girls giggling with glee. And while at it, he often makes promises he does not fulfill. He doesn’t make the promises without meaning to fulfill them but when circumstances are beyond his ability to control, the feverishly hopeful girls are left high and dry and they come down on him with fury. The calm one is taciturn by nature and communicates with his eyes and gestures. For instance, when a girl mentions her upcoming birthday, he shrugs off the comment and says no more unlike his brother who would have promised her Venus and Mars. But on the birthday, the girl wakes up to an anonymously addressed birthday card and a big chocolate cake on her bedside cupboard. The girl will be stuck with the mystery until the next time she meets him and he asks if she loved the cake and card. After treating girls like this for so long, they become quite possessive and will fight tooth and nail to keep their man.

That brings us to today’s post: Everyone loves themselves and generally wants more than they actually deserve. If you limit their understanding of what they deserve but give them much more, they think highly of you because you prove that you love them too. Customers prefer businesses that under-commit and over-deliver to the ones that over-commit and under-deliver. If a doctor mentions that he will call me to find out how I feel after taking my drugs, I will be expecting his call. If he calls, I will feel good about him. But if he doesn’t make that promise but goes ahead to call, I will feel good about him and great about myself. By saying less, we actually make others think more about us. I suggest you redraft your company brochure and leave out a few of the after-sales promises or warranty pledges you proudly make. You might also want to retrain your salespersons to exclude some fantastic specifications of that product you sell. That way you can do more than 'wow' your customers, you can make them lifelong unpaid sales rep of your business.

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