My mom came to Canada from Finland when she was 19. She immediately met my Dad (who had also immigrated from Finland a few years prior) and within 4 short months they were married. My mom said she learned to speak English watching soaps on TV.
When I was 5 years old, arriving in Kindergarten I didn’t speak English either so what did I do? I smiled a lot! I remember people would often say “Maria is always smiling”.
Fast forward 25 years–before my design career, I was in corporate sales in the Hotel Industry. I started working in retail (Benjamin Moore) when I decided I wanted to be an internationally known colour designer because I knew I needed a crash course in colour and that was the best way to get it.
In the almost four years that I worked at store level for two different owners (5 years ago), I received some complaints, even letters sent by customers. When I had received my 5th or 6th complaint I was really distraught–owners take this kind of thing seriously.
I could not understand why people reacted to me so differently in the store than they did when I was in their home because my clients loved me (well you know what I mean) when I was helping them with colour and design decisions in their home.
At the time, I was having this conversation with my best friend and what she said transformed the way I relate to people in my business from that point on; “Maria, why don’t you try smiling at every single customer when they walk in the store”.
I looked at her (a bit shocked) and said “Uh, I’m sure I do that already, but okay”. The following day, a customer walked into the store and I said “Hi” with a smile–and then I thought “uh oh, that feels different”.
And the funniest thing happened. When you smile at people, they smile back (what a concept!). I never had another complaint after that! And now when I’m in a store or restaurant I smile and ask for what I need, it makes it so much easier. Duh.
Happy Canada Day Weekend!
If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact us! We would love to help you choose colours, select the right combination of hard finishes or create a plan to pull your room together. You can find our fabulous e-design consultation packages here.
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