I was never that smart in school or talented at school sports, I was never a genius or particularly good in HS or community college. I did love music and played piano from age 7 and saxophone in the 5th grade. I was in the HS marching band from grade 7-12.
When I was about nine years old, I realized through my parent’s experience of purchasing a piano, that the business of music was my calling. I had no idea what, when, where or how, but I knew at age nine I was destined for a career in the business of music. My imagination of the future in the business of music was super active.
I hung out at Phipps Piano Company in Birmingham, AL every chance I got. I became a fixture there on weekends. I loved being around the business side of music.
By the time, I was old enough to drive I was taking my friends to see Mr. Phipps who sold their parents VOX equipment for my friends to form a band. This was 1964. The British Invasion was in process. Bands were forming daily in garages across America. Mr. Phipps paid me what he called a bird dog fee for bringing in buying customers. Today we call it an affiliate link. I enjoyed the money but really enjoyed seeing my friends enjoy their new gear more than the money (possibly this is a lesson in security needs for a future post).
I wasn’t interested therefore not good at the academic stuff, but I knew how to help make kids successful with gear. Two HS teachers, in particular, suggested I drop out of school to work as a laborer or in a grocery store because they considered me dumb as a stump because I talked about the business of music almost all the time. They were certain I would never succeed in the business of music and pro audio. I graduated HS and started full time with Mr. Phipps at age 17. I eventually became a district sales manager for a small musical instrument products distributor (note, I wasn’t the first choice. I was the only one to accept the gig because other candidates did not see the opportunity I did).
After several years in successful field sales as a rep (always number 1 in one or more categories), I applied for an opening in sales management with my employer at the time. After a battery of IQ-type tests, my employer told me my intelligence level was not at his desired level and I should give up my goal of sales management. However, he said I scored in the highest percentile in the nation for sales leadership, therefore, I should remain a successful sales critter in my territory (he confused the difference between management and leadership nor could he accept I did not have a college degree). I never quit helping my customers succeed in the business of music, even when I was told in no uncertain terms by my elders, that I would never make good living selling pianos, organs, guitars, amps and sound gear, especially if I wanted to move into what they considered a management role.
I just carried on regardless, because like I said, I knew my calling and my creative imagination to help others succeed with my profit opportunities would see me through. Albert Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge and who am I to disagree? The truth I have seen played out, again and again, is that harnessing the power of my imagination to help my customers succeed helped me experience a whole new world inside of my mind. It gave me the absolute ability to examine every situation from every angle and different points of view. My friend Mark Taylor, principal at ONLINE Enterprises in Wadsworth, OH. calls this common sense leadership thinking. My desire to create Customer Success for others ruled because it is common sense to me. It was and still is my secret sauce. And so here we are, 50 years later and I am super happy with my career thus far. With my recent piviot out of corporate, I feel as I am starting again with 50 years of knowledge as a foundation for my growth with a super-charged desire to take my calling to a higher level.
Customer Success is The Mission; Celebrated Partnership is The Goal® is more than a slogan. It is a statement of belief. It is spiritual in concept. It is more than a job description it is a statement of a calling. It is a unique description of a commitment to help others thrive and prosper.
We do not need to be in sales leadership to practice Customer Success is The Mission; Celebrated Partnership is The Goal.® Doctors, lawyers, store clerks, garbage collectors, IT pros, CFO’s even CEO’s etc. can make their customers successful by helping them thrive and prosper with their profit opportunities. All it takes is understanding our calling. Think about it!