By Micah Solomon – keynote speaker, customer service speaker, customer service consultant, and #1 bestselling author of “Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization.” Visit with Micah at http://customerserviceguru.com
A future benefactor of your business, whether a future customer, lender, star employee, or other benefactor, may first see your business in another role. A future customer might now be a vendor; your future financial savior may now have his hand out.
The most astonishing example I know of is the case of pharmaceutical heiress Ruth Lilly and her nine-figure bequest to Poetry magazine.
As the New York Times described it in her recent obituary, Lilly was “an aspiring poet for much of her life whose work had been declined for publication by the magazine”–nicely. “Ms. Lilly was reportedly moved by the encouraging rejection letters she had received.”
Apparently very moved. Toward the end of her life she endowed the tiny magazine (staff members: four;circulation: 12,000) with $100 million from her fortune as the last surviving great-grandchild of pharmaceutical magnate Eli Lily.
Think on your own business dealings. I’ll bet you have similar examples, likely not as dramatic, but possibly just as important to the health of your own business. There are a lot of sheep in wolves’ clothing, and vice versa, in this world. This is one reason to not screen your phone calls. To give your personal email address to anyone who asks for it. And to always, always be a gracious loser. Because losing is temporary, and one of the best ways to ultimately win a lot of business deals is to come in second a lot of times. Ultimately, folks will remember how graciously you came in second all those times, and call you when their first choice proves to be not-so-much a first choice as they thought.
A bonus post from the College of the Customer archives
Ruth Lily, Heiress and Philanthropist