Business Lessons from a Masked Man

maskA masked man had me pinned down.  He pulled and plucked at me, his eyes intent on his purposeful movements.  His helper lurked behind me, ready for the next command.   I was unable to speak. How had I gotten myself in to this all too familiar situation?  Easy – I made an appointment with my dentist.

I love going to my dentist.  I’m not a masochist nor do I have an oral fixation or anything weird.  I just really enjoy the people there and I appreciate the way my dentist does business.  Many of us are in the business building stage, or the career building phase.  We succeed by offering value and solving problems.  We learn about problems and value by knowing our contacts, customers, and networks.  And I’ve learned a few things about all of this from the way my dentist does business.

Here are the most important things I’ve learned from the Masked Man:

Take notes and use them.  When you meet someone new, note something special about them.  Where you met, something they said that was interesting, write it down.  (Back of a business card is the easiest for me.)  Refer back to it when you are contacting them again. My dentist writes a lot of notes in my file.  I hope most of them are about my teeth.  But the one that convinced me he had my best interests at heart was the one about my horseshoe.   For some long forgotten reason I told my dentist that my father used to say that I was born with a horseshoe up my, let’s say “bum”.  My dentist loved that expression, wrote it down and the next time I came in he asked me about my horseshoe.  Now that is creating connection.

Respect other’s time.  I am prompt for my dental appointments.  He is prompt seeing me.  It’s not difficult but it’s also not common.  Build the unforeseen in to your schedule.  It makes everyone’s day move along easier.  Respect your connections’ time in other ways by ensuring your phone calls and emails are meaningful and succinct.

Be holistic.  My dentist takes my blood pressure and asks about my health.  He is interested in the whole me – not just my teeth.  You will meet people for very specific reasons – build relationships with them based on their whole.

Lastly, when people tell you what they want or don’t want – remember it.   Don’t make the same offer once it has been refused.  I have a deal with my dentist.  I will keep coming every 6 months as long as he and his hygienist don’t tell me to floss, because I’m just not gonna.  They never mention the F word and I’ll see them in six months.

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