SCALING DOWN FOR SUCCESS
In the popular film, Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise plays a thirty-five-year-old sports agent who can no longer stand himself. With seventy-two athletes in his fold and an average of 264 calls a day, he doesn’t have time to listen to his clients. He has become concerned about one thing only: the bottom line. As the movie begins, the narrator (Maguire) explains how he finally reached the breaking point.
He began to notice that “in the quest for the big dollar, a lot of little things were going wrong.” His motives gave rise to self-doubt. Was he “just another shark in a suit?”
Then, at a corporate gathering in Miami, he has a breakthrough. He realizes that he hates his place in the world. He’d become the very thing he never set out to be. He was no longer his father’s son. In response, and in a moment of hotel room lucidity, he sets out to write a mission statement. He titles it: “The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business.”
In it, Maguire details the basics of his job—the “simple pleasures.” He recalls the words of his mentor. Personal relationships are the key to business. He writes and writes until it all comes out. In the end, he comes to a conclusion: Fewer clients. Less money. More attention. He runs to the Copymat in the middle of the night and makes 110 copies for everyone in his office.
If you’ve seen the film, you know that Maguire is fired shortly after distributing his “mission statement.” In an awkward-but-passionate display, he vows to his boss and coworkers that he will succeed despite them.
In one of the final scenes, redemption comes. Maguire, with tears in his eyes, embraces his only client (played by Cuba Gooding, Jr.) who has just played the game of his life. Looking on is his former boss, Bob Sugar, with one of his clients. The client turns to Sugar with an earnest look and asks, “Why don’t we have a relationship like that?”
It takes time to develop a relationship, but if that’s not your goal with every customer then you will always be forced to rely on new business in order to stay afloat. What would you like your workday to look like: spent investing in people you already know or spent trying to earn the trust of people you don’t?
Building lifetime relationships with every client must be your goal. And the only way to do that is to communicate trust consistently to every one of your clients on a regular basis.