What would you do if you were brave?

Oct. 1, 2004
TONY Ruesing, president of Ancillary Enterprises Inc, works with companies that want to have more impact with their message and with people who want to

TONY Ruesing, president of Ancillary Enterprises Inc, works with companies that want to have more impact with their message and with people who want to reach their potential.

In his general session at the NTDA Convention, “Serve Customers Like a Pro,” he was working with owners and sales managers and offering information they could take back to their staffs to spread the message that customer service is “absolutely everyone's responsibility, and everyone in the organization has a part in that.”

He asked them to identify their communication style and to be clear about how they communicate so that when they are communicating with someone else, they can match their style with that person's style.

“We need to build a rapport with the customer and find the customer's need,” he said, “and then we have to act in a brave way.”

Then he challenged the group with this question: “What would you do if you were brave?”

“It's a question that allows us to think beyond the box and to think outside the parameters we typically work in when it comes to customer service,” he said.

Ruesing first came across that question when he was a participant in a San Diego workshop on business development. The question was posed by business consultant Mark LeBlanc to Ruesing, who was one of six men in the room. Ruesing, with some time to think because he was the fourth to answer, said he'd buy a house in Ruidoso, New Mexico.

“I no more thought that it would be something I'd do than the man on the moon,” he said.

But when he went home, he told his wife what he had said, and she said she had received a call from a builder who had constructed a home for their friends in Ruidoso. Ruesing and his wife ended up buying a second home in Ruidoso and now use it three or four times a year.

“It was a life-changing experience for me,” he said. “It was one of those profound moments when you start doing something you hadn't done before.

“You can use being brave on big things — and that was certainly a big thing. You can use it on little things, too.”

A small thing

He said he was standing in line at a rental-car counter during a Florida vacation while his wife retrieved the baggage.

He asked the clerk, “What would you do if you were brave?”

The clerk said, “That's an interesting question,” and he wrote it down on a sheet of paper.

“I'm asking myself that question,” Ruesing said, “and the answer is, ‘How much are convertibles?’”

The clerk told him they had gone on sale that morning and were just $15 more than the rental he had reserved. Ruesing, who describes himself as a “conservative person who doesn't rent convertibles,” said he'd like one.

“I didn't tell my wife, and I surprised her,” he said. “I would not normally do that. But I did. And now I wouldn't go on vacation without one.”

How would that translate into the business world?

“Call the customer you called on before, using a new approach,” he said. “Invest in that product line that's going to serve your customer more effectively and help you grow your business. Hire the PR firm or marketer you've been thinking about. Those are the brave things you would do that you might not do otherwise.”

Ruesing said there are seven areas of life on which we need to focus: physical, mental, spiritual, financial, social, career, and family.

“If one is out of sync, then the rest are out of sync,” he said. “I'll give you an example: This is just me, but I practice my faith, because without my faith, I couldn't do the others. It makes you a better person if you're focusing on all areas of your life and not just one. We all know people who overemphasize one area of their life over another, and it creates problems for them because they have a main focus and they miss the other six. If you were brave, what would you do physically? Financially? Spiritually? Mentally? Socially? Career-wise? Family-wise?”

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.