Last week, I read a great book titled Concierge Confidential – it was all about the insider experiences of a hotel concierge who worked at the Hotel Continental in New York City.
Concierges have the most interesting jobs in the hotel. Why? Because they get to hear the craziest requests.
From the normal “Where should I go for dinner?” to “Can you help me plan a surprise proposal for my girlfriend with rose petals and a bathtub full of chocolate?”
Which is why they are the BEST people to learn from when it comes to figuring out the hidden needs of people around us. In this post, we’ll talk about how we can use this skill to improve our business and life.
How A Guest Paid $4,000 … And Was Happy About It
One day, a guest dressed in a business suit approached the concierge and asked if he could get to Atlantic City in a hour (It usually takes about 3 hours).
Concierges are trained never to judge requests – only to respond to them. “Well sir,” the concierge answered, “You can probably get there with a helicopter.”
“Hmmm. How much does it cost?”
“Around $4,000 to charter a private helicopter.”
“Okay,” said the guest. “Do it.”
The concierge was smart enough to realize that this was no ordinary guest. He was a high roller with lots of money – and needed to be treated like one. After a lot of effort and pulling strings, the concierge finally secured a helicopter ride for the businessman.
As the helicopter took off, the concierge realized that he missed something: How would the businessman be taken care of when he landed in Atlantic City?
And so the concierge called Caesar’s Palace and asked to speak to the pit boss.
“I’m the concierge at the Hotel Intercontinental in New York City and I have a businessman with a briefcase full of hundred dollar notes. He’s on his way to Atlantic City right now on a helicopter. When he gets there, give him the VIP treatment. He needs to feel special.”
“I’ll send a limo,” said the pit boss. “I’ll go down personally and welcome him”.
With that settled, the concierge hung up and went back to his work. At the end of the day, he called the pit boss and asked how everything went.
“Fantastic,” the pit boss answered, “We gave him everything: The Presidential Suite, tickets to our best shows, free champagne, everything. He had the time of his life. Anytime you need a room in Atlantic City, just give me a call. It’s done.”
What Concierges Can Teach Us
There are so many things to love about this story, but here’s an important takeaway:
People have lots of hidden needs below the surface. (See the Iceberg Effect that we talked about last week). If you can figure out what those needs are and how to meet them, you can become crazily valuable.
Concierges are experts at figuring out the hidden needs of guests which often go unsaid.
When a guest says, “I’m willing to spend $4,000 to get to Atlantic City”, a regular concierge might simply find a mode of transportation.
A good concierge, on the other hand, would go out of his way to arrange for the VIP treatment, because he understands the implicit needs of his guests.
Think about the possibilities if you could do this for your friends, colleagues and business contacts. In a world where everyone does just the bare minimum, you can stand out from the crowd by serving their hidden needs.
And good things come to those who can apply this skill well: More opportunities, more business, and a valuable network whom you can call on when you need help.
How Can You Apply This To Your Life?
An average candidate will simply think: Okay, I have to talk about myself now. So I’ll just do this chronologically, starting at the top.
So he might start off with, “Well, I graduated with a degree in Psychology and then I worked for XYZ Company for 3 years, and then I went on to…” And at this point, he’s lost the interviewer.
Instead of rambling on, put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. He’s already seen 20 other candidates. He’s exhausted, and he’s under pressure from his boss to fill this role. He is NOT interested in your life story. So a better answer would be one which highlights why the interviewer should care.
Imagine if you said something like “I spent 3 years doing e-commerce, and one interesting thing we uncovered was that customers visited our site 2.3 times before making a purchase. Applying that information to YOUR company, I’ve got a couple of ideas on how you could increase your conversions.”
Boom! NOW the interviewer is sitting up! Do you see how by addressing his hidden needs (i.e telling him something useful instead of rambling on about your work experience), you can easily stand out from everybody else?
And that’s just one example. Think about all the hidden needs of people out there: Losing weight, getting their kids do well at school, relationships with their spouses, money insecurities, etc..
Today, I want you to think about the hidden needs of the people around you. Try to figure out what those around you are REALLY saying, and how you can help them out.
You never know, your next huge opportunity could standing right in front of you.
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