I hesitated to tell my story because I didn’t want to be seen as a braggart. In the spirit of The Go-Giver, I had to remind myself that this isn’t about me—it’s about the value my story may bring to others by sharing it. I want people to see that, more than just a nice concept and kind way of living your life, living the Go-Giver principles really does work. BIG TIME, in fact!
I loved reading The Go-Giver and got super excited when I first learned of Go-Givers Sell More. You see, it was this very concept that inspired me to start my company nearly four years ago.
Here is a brief video clip that gives a quick sense what I mean, followed by my story.
“They made fun of me…”
At 23, I began selling cars and spent the next 11 years with one Acura dealer. As an ex-insider, I can tell you that the car business, by and large, has done plenty to earn their not-so-stellar reputation.
And, I saw that as a wonderful opportunity.
I thought, “Wow, if my clients could actually enjoy what could otherwise be a very grueling process, I can really build something here.” I envisioned a long list of clients that would continue to buy from me over and over again and send me everyone they knew.
I’d been car shopping myself just four months before entering into this new career. A restaurant manager at the time, I’d spent several months looking around, visiting dealers, and meeting all kinds of salespeople — and I do mean all kinds. After an 8-year restaurant career, I ended up going to work for the very place that had sold me a car and had truly earned my business.
At first, some of my practices were not all that well received by my managers and co-workers. They actually made fun of me for being “too nice,” making friends with my clients, spending too much time with each client and even letting a client leave without a fight so they could, “go home and think about it” or “talk it over with their spouse.”
You see, I trusted that they’d actually be back. Imagine that: trusting them to honor their word instead of going in for the high-pressure close. While this didn’t always work, it certainly felt better than the alternative — and to the amazement of my managers and co-workers, most of the time it actually was working.
Thinking back on my own experiences as a consumer, it was easy to see why clients were so leery, cautious or even fearful of the car-buying process. I decided I was going to help dissolve their fears, put their needs before my own, ask meaningful questions, listen with both ears, and earn my title of Consultant. I also learned it was important to under-promise and over-deliver. Too many people, especially in the car business, practice the exact opposite. Many of my peers saw me as a bit of a consumer advocate. I was on a mission to make car buying easy, low-pressure and even fun.
It wasn’t long before all of this began paying off. After a turnover in the management and sales staff, my new peers weren’t making fun of me. Instead, they were trying to figure out why my clients were so loyal to me. Year after year, my repeat and referral base continued to grow. My CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) was in the top 1 percent nationally. Eventually I was working by appointment only, 70 percent of my business was repeat and referral — and I’d achieved Salesman of the Year seven years in a row.
I was selling a product I believe in (still drive one today), alongside people I respected, to wonderful clients … and I was only working 35 to 40 hours a week and making a very comfortable six-figure income. Could it get any better?
I suppose I had faith from the very beginning that by investing in my clients, I was investing in my own future. By following the golden rule (or better yet, the platinum rule) I trusted that I would benefit as much as, if not more than, my clients. It felt good. It felt right.
I originally founded Driven To Excel, Inc. as a Sales Training company, setting out to share this “system” — this methodology and its best practices — with other salespeople. While today’s clients might still refer to it as “sales training,” I prefer to call it what it really is: Client Service Training. My business has since evolved into much more, but one thing remains true: I trust that by providing value and putting my clients first, it will all work out in the end. I’m living proof of it.
My hope is that anyone reading this is either able to reinforce an existing belief or have newly found faith in a mindset that will prove beneficial to all human parties involved.