George gets it. He probably gets it better than any one else I know. The other day George was telling me how he works to earn the trust of his accounts, and by doing so becomes more than a vendor, much more. George sees himself as a partner and a key adviser to his clients. The first step he takes is to become expert in the client's business. He told me that in the new "search world'" that goal's attainment isn't much further away than his laptop where he can learn all about his clients' industries; the market sizes, consumer demographics, competition, etc. Part of his learning regimen is to subscribe to his clients' trade organs and to receive RSS feeds and alerts. George jumps all over the alerts and communicates their contents to his clients before they've stirred the sugar in their morning coffee.
But here's what really caught my attention. George is very deliberative about who he calls with the information. He used a car dealership client to illustrate the point. He knows both the owner and the general manager of this dealership well and has entree to each. But George delivers the new information to the general manager so that the GM can look good to his boss. George understands that the measure of his success in business will be how meaningfully and fully he serves everyone with whom he interacts. It's not about him looking good, in this case, it's about helping his client look good. Who thinks like that? Remarkable. Uncommon. Way above average. George has forged a wonderfully satisfying career with service to others as the cornerstone of his credo.
Sellers whose M.O.s are service to others before self, quickly become key assets of their clients and enjoy significant benefits in trade for the trust they engender. Their calls are taken. Their ideas are heard with open minds, momentarily emptied of the cache of cynicism normally stored within as a defense against, ugh, salesmen. Their suggestions are evaluated solely on the basis of the merits of the argument. And why not? They can be trusted.
Chances are pretty good that when GM puts out a new incentive plan George's dealer/client hears about it first from George, along with a suggestion coincidentally about how the program can be successfully advertised and a commitment to have the commercial production ready to go within hours of the "okay."
George and I "one-on-one" every Monday. I'm never surprised when George beats me to "How was your weekend?"
Love Your Work and Work Tirelessly
Communicate Honestly and Fearlessly
Serve, Don't Sell
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