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Daniela Balzano: The Honest Truth

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Lies (even the little white ones), invariably come back to haunt us.


Honesty. It’s a concept that we have all explored from adolescence to adulthood. As a young child, we learn that dishonesty can gain immediate benefits like helping us out of trouble, getting us what we want, and instantly pleasing the people around us. Lying could be exhilarating and addicting in the moment. My mother used to call this “weaving a web,” because dishonesty ultimately necessitates more dishonesty.

It took effort, it took consistency, but in my early youth, I began to recognize that while telling the truth could sometimes be hard, mistakes were more likely to be forgiven and conflict more apt to be quickly resolved when I told it like it was. Telling the truth just felt right, and it didn’t leave me stuck in a web.

As an executive representative for Kabana, I am often placed in the position of having to tell hard truths. While running a recent trunk show, I was asked about how well a pendant and earring combination worked for a customer. The customer was planning to attend a fundraiser that she hosted in honor of her late husband, and was going to be the belle of the ball. She was enthusiastic about the pieces that she had tried on, but they were not working together. While the white gold and black mother of peal were the common denominator between the two pieces, they stylistically did not work. The earrings were shoulder dusters, large and dramatic, and while the pendant was equally as breathtaking, the combination of the two was overwhelming. The energy between the elements was lacking balance. I gently pushed our shopper in a new direction, suggesting alternative coordinates for each piece.

The result was stunning, and she was thankful for the honesty. She also recognized that my suggestion had ultimately saved her money, and our long lasting retail relationship was born.

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In business, we recognize many parallels between our actions in the work place and life. We know being dishonest in the moment may lead to short-term gains, but have long-term consequences. Had I chosen to celebrate the mismatched choice of my customer, she may have returned home to a best friend who openly disliked the mismatched set, or, after looking in the mirror, may have come to the disheartening conclusion on her own. And depending on store policy, she may not have been able to return her pieces, resulting in conflict for both my retailer and their customer — and leaving a bad taste in her mouth for my product.

Let’s face it: Success in sales is based on immediate impressions and communication. Our customers are just as in tune with our energy as we are with theirs. It is the retailers who base their practices on honesty and trust who are able to forge the longest-lasting and faithful relationships. In an industry where repeat shoppers are a means to success, honesty is always the best store policy.

Daniela Balzano ([email protected]) works as the East Coast executive representative for Kabana.

This article originally appeared in the January 2015 edition of INSTORE.

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