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Birth, Death …and Taxes

This has been an insanely messed up week. My tax refund arrived, my sister turned 8 (she’s a leap year baby, so she’s been on the planet for 32 “earth” years), and my grandfather died.

I’ve been trying to write a pithy piece on death and taxes, but I keep coming up short. Besides, how would that translate into a great learning bit for network marketing?

“The Show Must Go On” is about as close as I can get.

Call it cold and heartless, but business – and life – carry on after you die. It’s true. There are people to see, proposals to make, deals to close and customers to satisfy. Just because your grandfather passes into the next incarnation doesn’t mean the rest of the world stops to mourn with you.

Just to be clear, I’m not bitter. I was, however very apologetic to my hostess on Saturday for being 30 minutes late.

I hate being late. I’m sure if God sent me a memo that my death was scheduled for 7:42pm, I’d try to be there at 7:40, just to be safe.

And I’m not trying to affront my grandfather’s death. I am deeply saddened by the loss of such a great man. His 85th birthday was this month, and he outlived a daughter, his wife, MY dad, a couple of his sisters, and two wonderful women that he met after my grandma passed away.

So this is VERY personal for me.

When people in my life die, I get ultra organized. I start “nesting” like pregnant women do. Trying to “prepare” things and get places “ready”. I make lists.

Something about checking off to-do items makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something. Even though I know that all the minutia really don’t matter in the grand scheme of life.

So I plan to pick up my sister and mom at the airport at 10pm, but when I arrive, the board says the plane is scheduled to arrive at 10am. So I head home and call my sister. She tells me she is AT the airport looking for me. So I head back to the airport, and load ’em up to bring ’em home. But first, we stop for food.

We arrive at a local coney island that prominently displays a sign:

After 9pm, seating is limited to 1 hour.

Pardon me? I’m hungry, just plunked down $30 to feed the three of us (and I’m thinking about dessert), and you’re trying to kick me out the door in an hour or less? What if it takes the server 15 minutes to even take our order? What if she doesn’t bring the bill? Should we just get up and leave?

Where did good old fashioned customer service go? Instead of dealing with the occasional vagrant that might order a cup of coffee and hang out all night, you post a rude sign scribbled in chicken scratch for customers to decipher? Hmph.

I appreciate signs. Really, I do. But I was running on no sleep, and I had lost my internal dialogue – and did I mention my grampa just died, too?

You should be giving me a free cup of coffee, dangit!

Okay, maybe not, but a little compassion would be nice.

I did manage to eek out a smile from my sister – after all it was her birthday. So I got a chance to sing to her before the clock struck twelve.

Then we went out for dinner – the whole family – to kind of commiserate and reminisce and celebrate my sister’s birthday.

Our server was an angel sent from God – despite our rambunctious kids (that includes my 50 year old aunt). She was patient when we couldn’t decide what to order, tolerant when we kept moving “the coat chair” into the aisle, and cooperative when I asked her about humiliating my sister with a birthday announcement in the middle of the restaurant.

She didn’t know we were miserable. She didn’t care. She just wanted us to have the best possible experience while under her care.

That’s your marketing lesson. And it continues.
Today, we went for the family viewing. I arrived a bit earlier than the rest of the family because the funeral home is conveniently located across the street from my church.

Plus, I hate being late.

So my husband, the kids and I approached the greeter who escorted us to a waiting area. This funeral home was originally an old farm house, and I have an affinity for old houses. So as I was admiring the craftsmanship, and killing time, the greeter offered us a short “private tour” of the restricted areas of the old homestead. I was taken aback by the detailed woodwork and beautiful turn of the century detailing in the doorknobs and trim. My son was excited to be getting a “sneak peek” of places where people don’t usually go, and my husband was just glad that everyone was smiling and not crying.

Is it okay to tip a greeter? This funeral home is always top-notch. My grandmother and great grandmother were both viewed at this mortuary, and every time we are treated like old friends.

I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: how friendly are you?

Death is a horrible prospect for the people left behind, and most funeral homes are trained in sensitivity and decorum. But giving the tour was an extra touch that went a long way to occupying a couple of squirmy, bored children in an otherwise tense waiting game.

I really felt like someone gave a care that we were there. They could have just let us sit in the waiting area, bouncing on the couches and ogling the old antiques. Instead, they provided an extra touch that made us feel more at home.

What do you do to provide exemplary service to your customers. In network marketing, there’s always another distributor around the corner waiting to service your clients – or recruit your prospects. What are you doing to protect your turf?

The more friends you make, the better off you’ll be – in business, life and death.

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