CREATING CUSTOMERS FOR LIFE

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Michael Wickett

About the Trainer – Michael Wickett More than a dozen years of research and experience have enabled Mike Wickett to bring his state-of-the-art approach to building better client relationships to companies all across America. With a wide range of powerful yet easy-to-use techniques, he knows exactly what it takes to increase sales and profitability, enhance productivity and move organizations far ahead of the competition. Michael Wickett has been a professional speaker, trainer and success... Read More

My friend, Don, years ago, early days, trying to get into Ford Motor Company. He’s calling on his one buyer and he has no business with him.  So he said to the guy one day, “How about if we stroll out and have a sandwich.”  He said you know, “Don (something like) I don’t want to lead you on we can’t use you.  You are too small.  We really don’t have any need for your business and I can’t see us using you here at Ford.”  He said, “I understand that but maybe the day will come when, God forbid, somebody will disappoint you and let you down.  We would like to be in the background.  I know you are busy.  How about if we take one day, go across the street, take 45 minutes to have a sandwich?”  The guy took a deep breath kind of and said, “Okay.” Now if you’ve got 45 minutes with somebody for the first time away from the office, who don’t you talk about?  Everybody?  Don’t say one thing about yourself.  So, they’re having a sandwich, “What do you like to do when you’re not working?”  “Well, I spend time with my son, 15 year-old son.”  “What do you guys like?”  “Well, we like sports.”  “Does he have a favorite sport?”  “Yep.  The Detroit Lions.” “Favorite player?”  He says, “Don, it’s interesting that you ask.”  He said, “Charlie Sanders.  You remember Charlie Sanders #88 the former All-Pro?”  He said,” He loves Charlie Sanders.”  He said something to the effect, “Most teenage boys have pictures of bikinied women on the wall.  I didn’t but some do.  He had posters of Charlie Sanders #88.” And they just loved football and he would read about the Lions and read about Charlie Sanders and 45 minutes went just like that and it was gone.  “Don thanks for the lunch.  I don’t know how we are going to use you.  But you are a gracious guy and we will keep you in mind.”   So, he leaves; goes down to the sports store.  Buys a $32 dollar NFL football which, I was a wide receiver, yes, right, a $32 dollar NFL Football which is not, anybody can send a football to a guy but his great aliveness was sharing the love of football with 15 year-old son whose favorite player was Charlie Sanders.  Don didn’t know Charlie but he knew someone who did about three lines down.  Called somebody said would you have your friend….How does he know Charlie… he lives down the street from Charlie.  Tell Charlie he has a great fan in Dearborn, a fifteen year-old boy.  Ask him if I send over an NFL football and the spelling of the boy’s name, would he write a note?  Listen, called back a couple of days later, said Charlie is thrilled to do it, near the end of his career.  He is glad have one fan left.  And so sent the football over, spelling of the boy’s name, Charlie takes a marker, boys name and writes him a beautiful note “Wishing you great success in life. Your friend, #88 Charlie Sanders.”  The ball comes wrapped up back to Don.  He sees it.  He gets chills.  He calls the buyer up, Don Toko, thanks for taking the time to come over.  Could I please have two minutes to come in and share something special with you?  The guy takes that deep breath again, “Don I told you we can’t use you at Ford.  I told you.” He says’” It’s not business. All I need is two minutes. Swear to God you won’t regret it.  I will be out of your way.” “Okay, Don.  Come on in.”  Goes over to the Ford purchasing, is ushered in, football behind his back, said, “Thanks for taking a minute. Knowing how much your boy loved football I got a special football for you here.”  Handed it to him and the guy says, “Well, Don it’s very thoughtful”. Glanced down and saw the note and said, “Don, did you sign Charlie Sander’s name to this football?”  He said, “No.  Charlie signed it for him.”  He said, “You know Charlie Sanders?” He said, “No but I know some people who do and I made a couple of calls.  You told me how important it was. When I was a kid I couldn’t get anybody’s autograph.”  He said, “Charlie Sanders wrote this note to my boy?”  The guy got tears in his eyes, couldn’t talk.  He said, “Don you need a break here.  Call me another day.” Nobody had ever done anything like that before.  Everybody’s trying to get their business.  Trying to buy their business with entertaining sometimes, maybe that’s how you do it. Phone rings the next day.  The buyer, “Don I cannot tell you what you did for my boy.  Never seen my son so excited.  He asked me 10 times, ‘Dad did Charlie Sanders really sign that football? Did you sign it Dad?’” He said, “Don I never had anybody do anything like that for me.  Let’s get together in a couple of weeks.  I’ll do what I can for you.”  So the guy is leaving Ford.  He gets a promotion a month later or something.  Calls Don in.  Gives him all kinds of direction for Ford.  It has led to 30 to 40 million a year at Ford.  From, let’s pause for a second.  Am I suggesting that a $32 football generated millions of dollars for him at Ford?  Am I suggesting that?  That’s exactly what I am suggesting.  That is exactly…how many got the point?  That is a classic all time example of supporting someone’s aliveness.