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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Using Assertiveness to Build Your Business

Atlantans call a taxi for two reasons:  to get to the airport or to have a designated driver for an evening out.  We don’t use taxis as a basic mode of transportation like people do in other big cities like New York or Washington, DC.  So we usually call, rather than hail, taxis when we need them.  

I like my house to look occupied by leaving my car parked in the driveway when I go out of town.  I also don’t like paying the $8 a day parking fee charged by MARTA (the rail/bus service here) or the high parking fees at the airport.  

So when I went to Santa Fe for a professional conference a couple of weeks ago, I called a taxi to take me to the MARTA station (to go to the airport).  I had a cab company I used a lot when I lived on the northside of the city, Su Taxi, but now I live in Virginia Highlands in Midtown Atlanta and needed a different cab company.  I googled cabs for my area and called Atlanta Lenox Cab company.

The nicest man picked me up in his clean-as-a-whistle van with seat belts that worked.  His name was Keiros and we had a lovely conversation about NPR on the way to the Midtown MARTA station.

As he pulled up to the station, he told me the fare and handed me his business card.  “When you come back on Sunday, call me from the airport MARTA station and I’ll be here when you get to Midtown to take you home,” he said.  I was impressed with his assertiveness; I had his number in my cell phone from his call to let me know he was outside my house; I liked his basic approach.  

He was clearly an assertive person, building his business.

So at the end of the week when I arrived at the Atlanta airport on Sunday, I called him from the MARTA train.  “I can’t meet you today because I have a client right now,” he said, “but I have a friend who will be there.”  

Indeed, when I stepped out of the MARTA station, a nice man with his cab was there, walking toward me, saying “Miss Leenda???” as I approached him.  He told me that Keiros has a large number of people who call him regularly and if he can’t pick them up, he passes them on to his friends who are also cab drivers.  

Last weekend I went to DC to visit my daughter.  Again, I called Keiros who was at my house with his van right at 6:30 AM to pick me up.  We had a nice conversation about Ethiopian restaurants in Atlanta.  Again he assertively said, “Call me when you return on Sunday, and I’ll pick you up or send someone else, if I can’t”

I called when I got home to Atlanta, and he was waiting for me when I stepped out of the midtown MARTA station.  

He clearly knows how to build his business using assertiveness.  As he drove me to my house this time, I apologetically noted that I would not be going out of town again until early December.  “Oh, call me for any reason,” he said.  “I’ll drive you to restaurants, the theater, any time you’d like not to take your car.”  

As a bonus, nothing to do with driving a cab, he also said to call him when I got ready to go to Desta Kitchen, his favorite Atlanta Ethiopian restaurant and he would tell me what to order!

Keiros is a great example of someone using assertiveness to build their business.  I don’t like too much uncertainty in my life and it feels great to know I have a responsible (and very assertive) cab driver available for me when I need him.  And all because he was assertive about building his business and provided a high quality service in what he does.

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