Once I got rolling in my sales career, I made up my mind that, when I was through, I wanted to leave a legacy of compassion and commitment to all my customers. And, since most of them came back to me time and time again, I think I did. When you needed Joe Girard, he was there for you. He didn’t “hit you when you were down”. He stood in front of everything he ever did for you. I think I am most proud of the fact that that’s what made me successful. Some are doing nothing and apparently don’t seem to care much about it.
When I think of the health care and pharmaceutical industries, I can’t help but be outraged at what charges, even for the simplest of services, are being heaped on the majority of American citizens—yes, right here in the USA. What kind of legacy are those industries leaving in the minds of the average person? What about the elderly in our society who have the greatest needs? And what impression are they giving to the young people growing up today? When people have to decide between food, clothing, and a flu shot for their families, the flu shot loses every time. In my opinion, the legacy of these industries is clearly one of shame.
Listen, I’m not trying to make a political statement here or get on the case of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, or anyone else in those industries. I know there are very dedicated and wonderful people in all professions. But the facts speak for themselves: when people are going without basic medical services or prescriptions because they can’t afford them, and the profits are stacking up higher and higher in the health care and pharmaceutical industries, something’s wrong with this picture. If I took care of my customers that way, they’d walk so fast I’d be out of business in no time.
How you handle the people you care about most in this world—your family, your customers—has everything to do with whether or not they will stay with you or come back to you. People don’t forget how you treat them. Fortunately, you get to decide your own fate here.
HERE’S THE LESSON: What people will think about your character and reputation in the future is forged now—not tomorrow but right now. What are you doing about your legacy? Here are some guideposts for you to follow:
- Always remember the time you spend cultivating customers today is the fruit that will keep them for tomorrow.
- Do thoughtful little things for your customers to remind them you care. Send a birthday card; congratulate them on a new baby or a new job.
- It is the unexpected little things you do that will register the most (like staying in touch)
- “Give them what they want—and a little more”, as Sam Walton used to say. They’ll remember you and return your kindness many times over.
Don’t let others talk you out of doing something extra for the people you care about. The truth is, when people see how much you believe in what you’re doing for them by standing in front of your commitments, they’ll respond by believing in you. It’s human nature. Leave a legacy you can be proud of.