The manager of a ladies' dress shop realized it was time to give one her sales clerks a little talk. "Alice, your figures are well below any of our other salespeople's. In fact, unless you can improve your record soon, I'm afraid I'll have to let you go."
"I'm sorry, Ma'am," said a humbled Alice. "Can you give me any advice on how to do better?"
"Well, there is an old trick I can tell you about. It sounds silly, but it's worked for me in the past. Get hold of a dictionary and go through it until you come to a word that had particular power for you. Memorize it, work it into your sales pitch whenever it seems appropriate, and you'll be amazed at the results."
Sure enough, Alice's sales figures went way up, and at the end of the month, the manager called her in again and congratulated her. "Did you try my little trick?" she asked.
Alice nodded. "It took me a whole weekend to find the right word, but I did: 'fantastic.'"
"'Fantastic.' What a good word," said the manager encouragingly. "How've you been using it?"
"Well, my first customer on Monday was a woman who told me her little girl had just been accepted at the most exclusive prep school in the city. I said, 'Fantastic.' She went on to tell me how her daughter always got straight A's and was the most popular girl in her class, I said 'Fantastic' and she bought $300 worth of clothing. My next customer said she needed a formal dress for the spring ball at the country club, which she was in charge of. I said 'Fantastic.' She went on to tell she had the best figure of anyone on the committee and her husband makes the most money. I said 'Fantastic' and she not only bought the designer gown, but hundreds of dollars of other merchandise. It's been like that all week: the customers keep boasting, I keep saying 'Fantastic', and they keep buying."
"Excellent work, Alice," complimented her boss. "Just as a point of interest, what did you say to customers before you discovered your power word?"
Alice shrugged. "I used to say, 'Who gives a damn?'"
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