A few years ago, my friend introduced me and several other wine collectors to a wine representative who sells to private clients. Over the years, the collective purchases from this group of referrals has gotten to be over 6 figures! These guys take their wine seriously and are high-value clients to the rep. As a means of gratitude for all of the referrals, my friend received a very small gift card from the rep, but only because one of the referrals joked to him about it.
While the gift card was not expected, my friend was a bit off-put by the lack of appreciation. However, during a conversation with the wine rep, it became clear that this distributor saw his only function as selling wine. Technically, he’s not wrong. In my opinion, at a basic level a wine rep’s role is to just sell wine, yet his real job is to build relationships and make his customers feel appreciated. As a result, he provides an experience rather than just a transaction. Our wine rep does not seem to understand that this is his real job, otherwise he would have shown more appreciation to my friend for all his referrals- if only to make sure they keep coming!
Don’t get me wrong, my wine guy does a great job of keeping me informed about new wines that become available. While I’m happy to be kept up to date, I can’t help but imagine how much more successful he would be if he took the time to learn what my preferences are. Just by asking a few questions about my tastes, he could send me more options and explain why he is suggesting certain bottles to build a relationship with me. If he went that extra mile, honestly, I would buy more.
Clients seek out those that want to go above and beyond the simple job functions, that want to learn your preferences and take time to get to know you and build that connection. They’re looking for the individuals that understand what their real job is: developing a relationship, connecting and creating an experience where they can add value to your situation with their expertise.
To really flourish in any role, you must understand what you do beyond your job description. For instance, the wine rep is a salesperson who could find even more success by developing a relationship with his clientele. The same goes for your jeweler or your hair stylist, or the mom-and-pop store down the street; if they get to know you, they’ll get to know your style and preferences and anticipate your needs. They may even ask your opinion on what to stock. When you make that extra effort, it will result in repeat business due to personalizing your clients and building a relationship with them.
At J2 one of our core values is growth and we define it as “become better and leave people better than yesterday”. When we interact with our clients, we keep that in mind and in many instances we provide conversations and advice at no charge; because we want to understand their vision and deliver to it. Every so often when we cannot do that we let the customer know right away, and even recommend them to someone else we feel can carry out what they are looking for. Our real job is to build relationships, not just chase down transactions.
“Go above and beyond. Not because anyone is asking you to, but because you want to.”– Anonymous
Do you know what your real job is? Let me know what you do, maybe we can learn from each other ?.
Have a great weekend.