Are You and Your Team Energy Elevators or Soul Suckers?

By: Jim Roddy, VP of Marketing at the RSPA

When I saw Postec President Mike Seymour two weeks ago at RSPA Inspire 2020 and asked how he was doing, I already knew his answer: “Awesome!” Later that night when I shook hands with BlueStar VP of Marketing Mark Fraker, I knew his response as well: “Fantastic!” Then I was surprised – pleasantly – by a gentleman passing through the Inspire conference hall concourse one morning at 6:45 who responded to me with a big smile and one word: “Wonderful!” And prior to my slightly-behind-schedule Charlotte-to-Cleveland flight home, the American Airlines employee scanning boarding passes delighted everyone within earshot when she replied to me, “I’m too blessed to be stressed!”

Mike, Mark, and the two strangers I crossed paths with during my travels are Energy Elevators, people who seek to lift your spirits when you meet them. Here’s the stunningly simplistic Energy Elevator formula:

  1. When you greet someone, ask them, “How are you doing?”
  2. When you are asked that question, respond with a unique, memorable word or phrase that exemplifies positivity
  3. Smile (toothy grin optional)

Do you know who responds to this technique? Customers. Prospects. Suppliers. Co-workers. Colleagues. Competitors. Friends. Neighbors. Acquaintances. Strangers. We think we work in B2B (business-to-business) but, in reality, it’s a P2P (person-to-person) world.

If you’re not an Energy Elevator already, let’s take a minute to find the positive word or phrase you’ll use going forward. My go-to is “tremendous.” Other options for you could include “outstanding”, “excellent”, “splendid”, and “living the dream.” Terry Peterson, my old boss at Jameson Publishing, used to say “super!” no matter his life or business circumstances. Katherine Hoffman, a psychotherapist who shares a hallway with me in our office park, uses a variety of positive words and phrases when I see her each morning, and they’re always accompanied with a smile and a wave. She told me her dad recently greeted her saying he was “fantabulous!” which stopped her in her tracks.

Choose whatever word or phrase works for you. You’re like two clicks and nine keystrokes away from an online thesaurus, so you have no excuse for not figuring this out quickly. Determine your Energy Elevator word(s) today.

You can also integrate that word into your email messages. Personally, I conclude most of my messages saying, “Thanks & have a tremendous day” – unless it’s Friday where I wish recipients a tremendous weekend.

Be sure you don’t take the Energy Elevator concept to Defcon 12 and overwhelm the other person. One business owner I worked with years ago would respond, “I’m super great and always gettin’ better!” which seemed contrived to me. A former client (whose name I will change in this example) would respond at the start of every conference call, “Every day … is a great day … for A.J.” Puh-lease.

On the flip side, never be a Debbie Downer or, as Katherine calls it (and let me borrow for this post’s headline), a Soul Sucker. Soul Suckers respond:

  • “Don’t get me started” [sigh]
  • “Same stuff, different day”
  • “It’s Monday”
  • “Can’t wait for the weekend”
  • “I need coffee”
  • [sigh] “I’ve been better”

Even if you just flushed your new iPhone down the toilet or sat on a hairbrush, don’t let that ruin someone else’s day. People you meet shouldn’t be a temporary dumping ground for your problems. Your job is to serve others as an Energy Elevator. The exception to this rule is the rare instance you or your audience is engaged in a serious situation. You don’t want to be known as having the loudest laugh in the funeral home.

Your takeaways to be completed in the next 24 hours are to choose your word(s), use it, and then share this article with your team so your entire organization can embrace this concept. Elevate your culture, your customer service, and the energy of everyone you encounter.

Thanks & have a tremendous day.

Jim Roddy is the Vice President of Marketing for the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA). He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as an RSPA board member, one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board, and several years as a business coach for VARs, ISVs, and MSPs. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer. For more information, contact