Tell me a story

Early in October 2007, Mike Miller resigned from the RB Sunrise Rotary Club.aaeaaqaaaaaaaagbaaaajgmxmjrlzjrlltzkntgtndlhyi05nwuwlwy5otrjogfmntixza

President of RB Financial in San Diego, Miller said he was “tired of being nickel and dimed,” with fines for his birthday, wedding anniversary, etc.

Club members wished him well and assumed he’d never attend another meeting.

Two weeks later the Witch Creek fire swept through town. Mike and Teresa Miller escaped from their burning house with 10 minutes notice.

Word went around the Rotary club like…well, like wildfire. And the following Saturday 40 Rotarians and spouses appeared at the Miller property to search for any surviving valuables.

Lunchtime brought one of our members carrying a dozen pizzas, salad and sodas. Mike watched in amazement as a table and checkered tablecloth were set before him.

“Why are you all here?” he asked. “You were in trouble, Mike. We came because you were in trouble,” was the answer.

“But…I resigned from this organization two weeks ago,” he protested. The response; “Yeah…we didn’t accept your resignation.”

Not another word was said on the subject and we spent several more hours helping before going on our way.

Nobody was terribly surprised when Mike returned to Rotary’s 7am meeting the following Tuesday. Crying, he announced “You will NEVER get rid of me; I’m in this organization for life!”

I recount this story whenever someone asks me what Rotary’s about. It explains our philosophy of “Service Above Self” far better than discussing the 1.25 million members in 34,000 clubs throughout 200 countries.

Consider this whenever you’re explaining your own organization. Remember that anyone can quote facts and figures about real estate, but only you can tell the tearjerker about the couple you helped move cross-country to be with their only grandchild.

Stories about larger goals and customer successes you aided are an important differentiator in today’s business world. They show your depth, character, and humanity.

Such an approach multiplies reasons for someone to buy from you. You’re obviously not just about trying to make that extra dollar.

As we careen into a new year and a new reality, remember how much competition you’ve got for every customer.

Now, more than ever, it’s critical to develop strategies for connecting with your clientele. Mike Miller has shown us the way.

One comment

  1. Barbara says:

    So beautiful. And once again, had me in tears… then laughter AND tears: “yeah, we didn’t accept your resignation. Just beautiful. Thanks, Rob.

    Oh, and point well taken. Heart gets my business all the time.