It’s more than just another Thursday

By J.R. Zirkelbach, New Leaf Service Contracts

I grew up with the “Rocky” film franchise. I love all the “Rocky” movies, but my favorite has to be the first one.

There’s a scene where Rocky’s friend Paulie (played by the late, great Burt Young) invites him to Thanksgiving dinner. Paulie gets into an argument with his sister (Rocky’s future wife, Adrian) and throws the holiday turkey out the back door. Rocky and Adrian decide to go ice skating instead, and as they’re leaving Rocky says, “Listen, I don’t want no turkey anyway.” “But it’s Thanksgiving,” Adrian says, to which Rocky mumbles, “Yeah, to you. But to me, it’s Thursday, right?” 

It’s almost a throw-away line — you have to listen carefully to hear it — but I think it’s actually one of the film’s most powerful. It’s a glimpse into Rocky’s world, in which he feels there’s little to be thankful for. Maybe Adrian has enough to celebrate in her life that she can set aside a special day of thanks, but for downtrodden Rocky, it’s just another day.

The same is true when we speak with our customers. Everything they say is a glimpse into their reality. If we listen carefully, they will likely tell us something very important about themselves and their circumstances. There are no throw-away lines during that conversation; everything matters. Of course, we must ask good questions to elicit the insights. But just as important, if not more so, we must pay close attention so we hear it.

In order to be effective at selling extended service policies, you must be able to show the customer why they need the additional coverage, and if you listen carefully, the customer will actually answer that question for you. Perhaps the model they’re considering has new technology for which the customer has neither the tools nor knowhow to diagnose should it fail. They need a plan due to product complexity.  

Maybe they have a large, busy family and do many loads of laundry each week. They need a plan due to product usage. Possibly they’re replacing their old, failing product because it costs too much to repair it.  They need a plan due to high repair costs. Will the new item be placed in a part of the house that’s hot, cold, dusty, dirty, wet or excessively dry? They need a plan due to product environment.  

The best lines are often the ones spoken most softly. Pay attention to what your customer says. Listen carefully to every word. Fully understand their circumstances. Let them tell you why they need a plan, then point out that need and make sure they are protected accordingly.

They’ll be thankful for the coverage, even if it’s just another Thursday. 

J.R. Zirkelbach is a business development executive at New Leaf Service Contracts with 30 years’ experience in retail. New Leaf-administered service contracts can provide an enhanced customer experience, earnings opportunities for salespeople and increased profitability for BrandSource members. Contact J.R. at

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