The Silver, Gold, and Platinum Bullet

By Kevin Sweeney

How many times has someone made a statement to you personally or professionally that you immediately knew they had no intention of following through with that particular statement?  They were just blowing smoke up the tail pipe so to speak.  They said something like I’ll give you a call and we will go play golf or I’ll give you a call and we will go have lunch next week.  You knew they were just being friendly, but had no intention of calling you to play golf or calling you to have lunch.

What does that do to your relationship with them?  Does it build trust?  Will you call them when you really need something and expect to have their help in a quick reliable fashion?  Strong business and personal relationships are cultivated when statements are treated as promises that will be in fact delivered.

Let’s think about that for a second, how can we make ourselves the sales person, the team mate that all our customers call when they are in a pinch?  How can we be the sales person, the team mate that everybody trusts and relies upon in tight situations?  How do we differentiate ourselves from the competition in this dynamic economy?

People look to people they trust when things are tight and they really need help.  I have to admit that in my twenties I did understand the true business value of trust as much as I should have.  But one day a customer of mine really hit a chord with me and I have never forgotten it.

I was calling on an established customer who was the Director of IT for a midsized city.  Jerry asked me a question during my sales call and I didn’t know the answer to that question so I said to Jerry: “I don’t know, but I will call you at 10:00 AM tomorrow morning with the answer.” 

Jerry looked at me and said: “You are the best sales person I have ever had.”  Of course, you want to stick out your chest and think, “Yea baby, I knew that.”  But when Jerry said that, it really bothered me.  For one reason I knew the previous two sales people from my company that had called on Jerry and I thought they were much better sales people than I was.  So I asked one of the best questions I ever asked in my sales career, I simply asked Jerry – – Why do you say that?

Jerry looked at me and said one of the most profound statements of my sales and business career…..Jerry said: “You do what you say you will do.”

That sentence has stayed with me for decades.  I try to live my life by that statement.   It has to become your way of life, your word is your personal integrity and if you live by your word you will garner the true trust of all you customers. You have to have a true personal commitment to the statements/promises you make.  Think about it, in today’s dynamic economy who is your customer going to go to when they really need help?  They will rely upon someone they absolutely know they can trust and someone they absolutely know will come thru in a pinch in a stellar fashion.

If you do what you say you will do I guarantee that you will be a successful sales person, you will have excellent relationships, and you will be an excellent family person.  It really is that simple.  You do what you say you will do, you will have integrity above reproach, people will know what to expect, and you will be successful. 

It is the silver, gold, and platinum bullet.  Also, it is the epitome of customer service, period!!  Set the proper expectation and then deliver.


About the Author

Kevin is a retired Lt. Colonel in the United States Air National Guard, and a renowned pilot having flown combat missions in both Viet Nam and Desert Storm. Kevin is the only person to have successfully landed a KC-135 (Boeing 707 Air Refueling Tanker) after two of the four engines were ripped off the airplane in mid-air. And he did it at night — on a combat mission — while loaded to maximum capacity.

His incredible flight has been featured in a Reader’s Digest article titled Bring Them Home and a featured segment on the A&E channel titled Frontline Pilots.  A highly decorated combat pilot, he was awarded numerous medals, including the Air Achievement Medal, multiple Air Medals and the United States Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross.

Additionally, Kevin has been a successful business executive for a Fortune 50 company in both sales and operations. Kevin is also well educated with two Bachelors degrees and a Masters Degree in Business Administration. He attended undergraduate school on a basketball scholarship where he served as captain of the team and was honored as an all-conference and all-district athlete.

He is also the author of two books, Pressure Cooker Confidence, How to Lead When the Heat is ON and Conversations with the Colonel, Lessons in Life, Leadership, and Wisdom.  Kevin is a frequent keynote speaker for corporations and organizations on the topics of performance under pressure, decisive leadership, and the value of being a great team mate.

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