I have been thinking about why a recent visit to my daughter’s dentist bothered me so much and I could not put my finger on it for days. Then it hit me over sushi, as I was casually reading an article, Rethink your Relationships: Serve Don’t Sell, by Bruce Kasanoff. I was at the dentist with my daughter, and instead of being served by our healthcare provider, I was being sold. Do this today, sign this, agree to this… I left the dentist with a bad taste in my mouth, no pun intended. It felt more like buying a used car than getting my kids teeth looked at.
Kasanoff’s theory was not necessarily ground breaking, but it hit home.
Kasanoff says and is right, that too many people move through their careers trying to accomplish something that is a personal goal. For example, I want a better job. It is all about “I.” Kasanoff says that to truly advance a career the focus needs to be on people and the relationships, that overtime these connections will pay off in dividends.
Simple, right? I guess, according to Kasanoff though, this simple phrase, while seemingly common sense, can take a lifetime to integrate. Do we network to find this better job, because we really care about the people we are shaking hands with and passing our business cards to or are we sizing them for how they will actually benefit us?
What if we spent time creating relationships? Don’t people crave connections. What if my daughter’s dentist sat with me for a moment, created a connection, chances are I would have signed on her dotted line.
Kasanoff also brings up the idea of using your unique skills and talents to make connections to serve people. Is there possibly any better way to display to someone what you are good at, than by serving them? Turning that person into your personal cheerleader. Seems like a better way that creating a really saavy bullet point on a resume.
What about sales, would this work in sales? The reality is, you are actually trying to sell something. This reminded me of when I was tasked with starting a retention committee at a PEO I worked for. Identify clients that at are at risk, and based on their unique set of attributes and situations, create a strategy to retain them. While the sales team certainly was part of the strategy, the bigger part were all the members that served that client on a daily basis, payroll, benefits, HR, Service, etc… The people who formed and maintained a connection, a relationship. Isn’t this selling through serving? The sales people that were involved the most often in retention strategies, were those that had insight into their clients, who had maintained a relationship. These were also our companies top producers.
Food for thought. I switched our dentist.