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Kit Menkin

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"The Receptionist"

Everyone is important. Sometimes the person you might think as having the most common, low paying job, might be the key to the success of your company.

Here is one from Charlie Lester, now LPI Financial, formerly Lease Pro, among others; a dean in our industry.

As part of my initial training with IBM in 1966, I was assigned for a month as an AA to Tom Watson, Sr., the founder of IBM.  When we traveled to IBM Branch Offices in the Eastern Region, Mr. Watson would always spend 10-15 minutes with the receptionist before seeing anyone else, including the Branch Manager. First of all, he preached that the receptionist was the most important person in the branch. She was the first contact and voice that IBM customers encountered. She set the image for the entire branch. In addition, he believed the receptionist was tuned into branch attitude and spirit. He used the receptionist as a barometer, not as a spy. He also had AA's, like me, keep lists of branch receptionists and when there was a receptionist change in a branch, we would alert him and he would call and introduce himself to the new receptionist. Since the receptionist leaving the position had normally been promoted, he would also call her and congratulate her on the promotion. Mr. Watson had a profound influence on me since I married the receptionist in the Roanoke, Virginia branch where I started as a salesman. We have been happily married for almost 29 years and still going strong. I guess Mr. Watson was right.

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