Detmer's Corner: Relationships you sow today amplify tomorrow’s potential
There was a lot going on as I walked into the distributor’s branch this afternoon. Counters arranged like pods, each one bursting with dealers placing orders and getting advice, charged the air as a sign of a recovering economy. I hadn’t been to this particular distributor in years.
Yet from afar the GM, Jeff, dropped what he was doing and greeted me with a warm welcome. “Sparky, it’s been a while!” he joked, pointing to the ever-graying hair that struggles to remain atop my head.
Afterward, while touring the facility and I couldn’t help but notice the value-added service being offered to dealers by this particular company. The open concept aisles and knowledgeable staff made dealer shopping comfortable and efficient. As we discussed this new distribution paradigm, Jeff made a comment about his son—one of the employees—and called him over. With a powerful handshake, Jason introduced himself, turned to his Dad and said “Is this is the guy you told me about?” Jeff nodded yes.
“Dad told me about the jacket you gave him,” Jason said. “He wears it all the time,” he added. All of a sudden it came back. Years ago, when I was a product manager doing a training session for Jeff’s staff, I wore a logoed leather jacket that Jeff admired. When I got back to the office I packed up a similar jacket and sent it to Jeff along with a note thanking him for his support, something that Jeff appreciated greatly. But until now, I had no idea that small action was something that he appreciates to this day.
It’s amazing how simple actions you do today expand your potential into the future. So to those of you who are determined to grow in this bustling trade of ours, I offer you a bit of advice. Things come and go, but it is relationships that define your longevity. As you develop your relationships, here are a few tips to follow: