We bought a new care recently. Actually, a new used car.
When it came down to price, I presented the salesman with my research and my price. He did the walk to the sales manager and came back with a figure. I came up about as far as I could. Still $250 apart. He goes back to the sales manager. Comes back and tells me with their price unchanged and the sales manager saying this is the best we can do.
I ask to see the sales manager. He comes over. I figure by this time, he should realize I have done my research, am a serious buyer and want to continue to negotiate. We shake hands, have a few words about basketball, and then he tells me that is his best price. I counter with my numbers and he doesn’t negotiate. I ask to meet half way. He doesn’t budge. Then I say to him, “What story do you want us to tell about our experience. I tell him we can tell a story of how they gave us a great car and really worked with us, or we can tell a story of how we got the car but had a negative buying experience.” I ask again, “What story do you want us to tell?”
He says, “I hope you will tell the story of how you got a haggle free price.” He goes on to elaborate about how they don’t haggle over prices. Something in my mind is puzzled, because we have been haggling for the past 15 minutes. He actually says, “If you were at CarMax, they wouldn’t haggle with you at all.” My comeback before I can stop myself: “I’m not at Car Max. I’m here.”
The sales manager starts to get combative. I make no response. My wise wife expresses her feelings, “We are trying to work with you, but we do not feel you are working with us. Is that worth $250 to you?”
The sales manager unhappily comes down a $100 and we take the deal. His last words, “For $100, I’ll buy your endorsement.”
Love the car, hated the car buying experience.
What does this have to do with your organization?
How many people today profess to love God and hate the church?
Focus on this: What story do you want people to tell when they leave your church? The sales manager never got in tune with the story I wanted to tell: I got a bargain. He was so tuned into to his own narrative (the haggle free price) he missed what the customer really wanted.
What story do you want people to tell? "Everyone was so friendly!" "Nobody spoke to me." "The preacher felt like he was talking to me, not yelling at me." "I felt like was five years old again, in my Grandma's church." What story do you want people to tell?
When people walk away from your church, you want them to feel like they matter to God and that church is a place of grace. Everything we do should be geared toward people experiencing what we say we believe. The environment we create by our behavior shows that we love as Jesus loves us.
Isn’t that what every one really wants? Isn’t that the real story – the Good News?