Wednesday, November 19, 2008

So Called Gurus

As I prepare for my first indoor Art Fair I find myself brushing up on old notes - marketing, promotion and such. But I've always noticed that no matter what you read on the formalities of doing business there is something that is always overlooked. It's overlooked in classes, books and workshops. No matter what you are taught by the so called 'gurus' of the business world there is one universal truth that can shut a door in your face as fast as it can open it.

I learned this little tidbit from watching my Father make deals. If I haven't said it before I'm going to say it now. My Father was either the shrewdest or the luckiest person I've ever known. In reality the truth probably lies somewhere in between. He would take me along on many of his business dealings whenever and wherever they were held. Now at the time I had no idea of the weight of the transaction I was bearing witness to. Much of it due to the fact that I was around seven or eight when I started hanging out with my Dad. But more so due to the fact that the transaction was seamless and completely natural.

For example, one Saturday morning we ventured off to a 'meeting' with a supplier. I had no idea what this was for and probably didn't care but it was fun to dress in a shirt and tie, like my Dad, and go for a drive to another large Plant. Especially since being Saturday I got to ride in the front seat. When we arrived the Plant was closed except for the office but we were greeted at the door by an older gentleman also in a shirt and tie. My Dad shook hands with the other man and then introduced me. The other man now shook my hand. I'll never forget the feeling of being treated so equally.

We were given a quick informal 'walk through' of the facility which was a huge deal for me. To me this was Disneyland. Then we settled into one of the offices located near where we parked. So once the coffees were poured the chit chat began. My Father and the other gentleman began a friendly banter about the weather and then some generalities about current events all the while tightening and refining the conversation until observations about each others businesses were tossed back and forth like a beach ball. And was over. They both stood up at the same time and instinctively shook hands. It was like this whole thing was choreographed and rehearsed. I didn't hear a single mention of money or anything very specific for that matter.

As we drove away I asked my Father about the meeting and he responded by telling me that he had just bought a new roof for his Factory.

In the years following it became apparent to me that what I was watching that Saturday morning was two experienced business people doing nothing more than sizing each other up. Which brings me back to the universal truth I mentioned above. No matter how good the product or service is...people will only deal, when given a choice, with people they genuinely like.

At the risk of sounding like a greeting card it costs nothing to smile and be genuinely interested in the other persons venture or inquiry which in turn makes you more likeable. And on that note...

Today I'm showing a pic of a natural rock carved into a delirious grin. This is quite large at approximately 14 inches across and one of the first few natural rock pieces I sculpted.

Did I mention...only three more sleeps until the Art Fair at The Rose Theatre.

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