Dad ran a small remodeling company. He built decks, finished kitchens and basements – that sort of thing. One day when I was 12, he was headed to a sales call for a huge deck and invited me to tag along.
I watched as Dad interviewed the Jones couple and got them to dream of life on their new deck – entertaining people from the office, barbecuing and sharing cocktails, just enjoying the space and building relationships that would last them a lifetime. It was a great project for Dad to get, and they were bonding with him like old friends catching up.
So I was kind of shocked when I heard Dad say, “You don’t want to hire me. I’m really good at building fast and ‘close enough,’ and providing bang for the buck. But I’m not a master carpenter, and that’s what you want.” Then he dug out a competitor’s business card from his Rolodex and handed it to the couple, saying, “This is who you want to build your deck.”
A few months later, Mrs. Jones called Dad. “You’ll be hearing from our neighbors,” she said. “They asked us who built our deck, but we told them to call you.”
Dad never was a craftsman with wood, but he sure was a master craftsman with people. And that is why he succeeded at sales.