Profit Matters (but is it everything?)
I shared previously about the purchase of my new boots. I didn't need just any boots, I needed cowboy boots because- well, cowboy boots. I had always wanted a pair but never gave myself a good enough reason to spend the money. My trip to Africa was exactly the reason I needed.
Before I ended up at my final shopping destination, I found myself at Crowes Shoes in Mansfield, Ohio. I went in and told the salesman what I was looking for and he showed me the closest options he had- a very nice selection of really good looking dress shoes and boots. Unfortunately none of these would be practical for me while trekking around Africa.
When I clarified what I was looking for, he astounded me with amazing customer service. He led me to the door and stepped outside with me, pointed beyond the Richland Carousel, told me to walk two blocks and I would find The Boot Life, a specialty boot store. (For more on my awesome encounter at The Boot Life, click here.)
Imagine that! Not only did he not lose interest in me when he realized I wasn't spending my money with him, he was happy to help me get to what I was looking for. This is a man and a business that looks after people. I am sure that I will have a need for quality dress shoes at some point and I will certainly remember that this man went out of his way for me.
I went back later and talked to the salesman, who turned out to be the owner, Jeff Delianides, and asked why he helped me the way he did. He told me that for him, it isn't just about selling. It is about helping others- the customer and the other business owners in the area.
This one simple act perfectly captured the essence of The Relationally-Driven Experience- putting other people first. It wasn’t about him pushing a sale on me. It wasn’t about his frustration at a missed opportunity. It was about him seeing the person in front of him and going out of his way to show that those needs were of greater concern than his own.
Here are some final thoughts-
1) Put others first. Being relationally driven requires a lifestyle of putting the needs of others ahead of our own. This is counterintuitive to many people as it seems we often live in a "me first" world. When we live life putting others first- at work, at home, while in line at the grocery store- it changes the world around us for the better and it makes us better humans in the process.
2) Some will take advantage. Certainly there are those who will take advantage of your kindness or won’t reciprocate or even appreciate your gestures of goodwill. But a lifestyle of going out of your way for others will bring more positives than negatives. It's the principle of sowing and reaping, and over time if you plant seeds of putting others before yourself, your crop will be amazing.
3)The small moments count. Thirty seconds earned this man a future customer, but a lifestyle of these moments will change his world. I promise, if you will fill your daily living with these kinds of small moments, the return on your investment will be huge.
4) Profit does matter. Financial gains are certainly the goal of a business and a Relationally-Driven business will experience those gains. Not only that, but you will also find profit in the overall satisfaction of those in your sphere of influence. Go ahead and test me on this.
What are your thoughts? I would love to hear some other stories about awesome customer encounters, from both the givers and receivers. How has your view of the world around you changed or improved because of an effort to love the people in front of you?