Shannon Callahan, an Account Executive in our Buffalo office, correlates her Uber rating success with her career in sales.
Many of us compare our Uber ratings to those of friends. I’m always proud to announce that I’ve retained my 5-star rating even after significant Uber use. Inevitably, someone will sarcastically ask if I’ve even really used the app. I’m even prouder still to scroll through “Your Trips,” a section highlighting rides of different lengths and within various cities, to prove that I am a frequent rider.
Although not rocket science, retaining your 5-star rating does necessitate thought and specific behaviors. To retain mine, I implement the same procedures I utilize in sales meetings. These five examples can help you connect with others, both in business practice and social situations.
- Promptness. In sales, meeting times and locations are determined in advance. You know both when and where you need to be. Promptness is important. If it looks as if I will be late, I quickly send an email explaining my delay, how long I will need, and to inquire whether their schedule will allow for the delay. When using Uber, I can see when my driver is on the way, and when he or she will arrive. I am typically standing outside when the driver arrives at my pick-up zone. If, by chance, I am going to be late, I will send a message to my driver explaining that I will be out in X number of minutes, the same as I would for a sales meeting.
- Assessing your surrounding environment. When arriving for a meeting, I search for relatable items to use to inspire conversation. Jerseys, diplomas, or vacation photos can be used as conversation topics. The same works during an Uber ride. Before entering the car, I check for bumper stickers. Once inside, I glance around for other interesting themes. These could include their choice of music, various items lying throughout the car, or their cell phone. Finding common ground is the key to connecting with another person.
- Reading your audience. Work meetings have taught me to intuit when someone is looking for a quick catch-up or to connect with a longer conversation. This allows me to read my Uber driver’s mood and decide whether they are interested in conversation or looking for a silent ride. It’s a good idea to remain open to either.
- Creating a game plan. Before sales meetings with team members, we prepare and discuss who will speak about which topic and determine the meeting’s overall goal. During a group Uber ride, we should all be on the same page. If my team member isn’t prepared, they won’t join the meeting. If my friend isn’t in the correct state of mind on a Saturday night, they will not be joining me in the ride. We can use their Uber account, but I will not allow their poor behavior to affect my rating.
- Follow Up. After each meeting, I send handwritten thank you cards as an extra touch point between an email and a contract, keeping communication lines open. Similar to how I follow up with potential clients, I understand the appreciation for timely Uber feedback and remember to rate my Uber drivers immediately following my ride.
Courtesy, consideration, and personal interest go a long way towards connecting with business contacts. Whether you’re in sales, marketing, education, or any number of careers, Uber rides serve as terrific reminders of modern politesse and methods with which to spark a conversation.