Poisonous Entitlement

December 5, 2022

In the last few months, I’ve needed to obtain financial services at banks, purchase items both at retail stores and online, and interact with companies servicing things at my home. I’ve also been mystery-shopping car dealerships for my consulting business. What disturbed me was the overwhelming sense of entitlement that so many people have. 

Businesses are not entitled to my business or anyone’s. They must earn it. When I owned my business, one of the most important things my leadership team and I preached to our staff was that the customer is to be SERVED and that we need to have a servant-like mentality when dealing with people who are spending their hard-earned money. 

I strongly advise you to identify people in your organization who have a sense of entitlement and coach them to improve their attitudes. The days of “Take the car for this price or someone else will” are over with. The days of not following up on leads properly are over. Answering the phones unprofessionally won’t cut it. Taking your time greeting a customer or not seeming to care when you do greet them can cancel a sale before you even get started. 

Just because you have a car does not mean that a prospect is stuck with you. Your staff must prepare themselves to SERVE, just like you prepare your inventory. Put your best foot forward. When they come to see that car that you have in stock, it should look its best, and you should show the best version of yourself, too. Salespeople that assume they’ll make the sale and feel entitled to it rarely make a good impression, even if they do make the sale. Prospects will appreciate the effort of someone with a true SERVICE mindset who works hard for them. You’ll convert more sales and create more loyal customers.

On the flip side, you can be treated poorly by customers even if you are giving great customer service. It happens a lot, especially in restaurants and other service establishments. I see it all the time. I saw it quite a bit when I owned my car dealerships: in the showroom and in the service drive. Why does this happen? Do some customers feel like they are entitled as well? Does it make people feel better about themselves when they are rude to other people? Take it as a challenge to rise above. Win over these customers. Sometimes their bad attitude will evaporate when they see how hard you are working to do right by them. You can’t afford not to try.

Entitlement is poison in your business. If you see it, don't ignore it…

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