Excerpted from Acclaimed author and speaker Tim Templeton’s groundbreaking new book, The Referral of a Lifetime.
It was another perfect morning at the California Coffee Café and Bistro, the favorite spot of the locals in the tiny, upscale California coastal town of Rancho Benicia. The fog was floating in from the harbor across the street as the regulars zipped in and out or stayed to chat, enjoying the ambiance of the little café.
Chuck Krebbs, the owner, was standing behind the antique oak bar that had been there when the town was a harbor for the nineteenth century sailing ships and the place was a watering hole for the waterfront's sailors. Now, though, Chuck proudly labored between it and his wonderfully gilded espresso machine for this watering hole of a different era and all the friends it had made him. He took a moment, glance around, and smiled. Four of his favorite regulars were there right now.
In the center of the café with her large double mocha was Sheila Marie Deveroux, one of the most prominent realtors in town. Flamboyant to say the least, the eclectic woman with her raven black hair, her bright outfits, and her happy way of talking with her hands was hard to miss at her favorite table in the middle of the morning chaos. Chuck couldn't remember the last time he had seen her there alone. She always had someone with her, which of course Chuck liked since that meant yet another coffee drinker. But he couldn't help but notice that whoever the current person was, Sheila Marie would treat him or her like family. Just as she had always done with him.
"Chuck! A fill-up please!" Chuck turned his head to another of his regulars--Paul Kingston, a casually dressed, thirty-something good guy, who was holding out his empty vanilla latte. Paul, a fixture each morning in the corner booth, with his sports page and his own special coffee mug, was one of those trustworthy men who knew everybody and seemed to know a little of everything, who loves spreading his knowledge around, and who had found a home in managing sales at the largest auto dealership in town. Chuck could not think of one bad thing he'd ever heard about Paul--except that he was talking about cutting down on his latte consumption. And that made Chuck laugh since Paul had just ordered another.
Out on the patio sat young Sara Simpson, Female Entrepreneur of the Year before she turned twenty-nine, holding court. It was Tuesday. Every Tuesday and Thursday, 8:30 A.M. sharp, that was where she and eight of her top salespeople met. A dynamo, all business and proud of it, Sara loved to have her early morning meetings with all her system sales consultants in the warm California coastal air under Chuck's umbrellas. "Double espressos all around, Chuck!" was always her "good morning." And he always made hers a triple, just to see if she noticed.
And then there was Philip Stackhouse, striding in on his expensive loafers for his large cappuccino-no-whip with a purposeful, time-to-get-the-day-started wave. Philip, who had just turned forty, had somehow turned his networking ability and his early years hustling securities on Wall Street into being the guy to trust in Rancho Benicia for financial planning. Everybody knew it; everybody trusted him and told their friends about him.
"The usual?" Chuck called as Philip came toward him, saving Philip a few seconds. Philip gave him his trademark thumbs-up and bellied up to the old oak bar, popping the correct change on the counter as he waited for Chuck to deliver his morning brew, which Chuck did in record time.
As he watched Philip pivot and head purposefully back out the door with a smiling salute to the coffee "colonel," Chuck gazed over the scene, hands on his hips, enjoying the sight. That's when he noticed Susie McCumber standing alone at the bar, staring at the circles she was making in her coffee with her spoon. It was her usual--hazelnut with steamed milk--Chuck remembered, and moved her way.
Susie momentarily looked up. "Hi, Chuck."
"How are you doing?"
"Fine," she answered, unconvincingly, continuing to stare into her cup.
Chuck leaned closer. "Okay. Now. How are you really doing?"
Susie didn't even look up this time. "Oh, you don't really want to hear about it, Chuck. But thanks for asking." She began to rap her fingertips nervously on the counter.
Chuck pulled a biscotti from the big glass jar at his elbow, placed it on a paper doily, set the doily on a little plate, and slid the plate right to her fingertips, bringing them to full rest--prompting Susie's eyes to look up to meet his.
"Yes," Chuck said. "I do."
Susie could see that he did. She gave Chuck the smallest of smiles and said, "Well, okay. The thing is, I can't deny any longer that I've come to a crossroads."
"What kind of crossroads?"
"The business kind. I may have to admit to myself that what I've wanted I'm not really going to get. And I don't know what to do about it. I wanted my own business so desperately. I wanted to feel some purpose beyond a nine to five job, wanted to work for a dream of my own instead of someone else's. You know?"
"Oh, yes." Chuck sighed, looking around. "I know."
"I wanted to make a living, not just a paycheck that could disappear at somebody else's whim. So I got up all my courage and all my savings and ... well, I risked. I tried. But," she paused, fingering the biscotti, "it's not working. And I may have to give up." She shook her head. "I mean, I have to be the absolute worst at cold calls. I can't do them. I cannot."
Surprised, Susie looked up at that.
"It's more than about making money, isn't it?" Chuck said.
"Yes. Or it was supposed to be. But maybe I'm not cut out to do anything but just put in my hours and get by."
Chuck leaned against the counter behind him, crossed his arms, and studied Susie.
Finally, Susie couldn't stand it anymore. "What? What's wrong?"
Chuck grinned. "Less than you think. Susie, you don't know how familiar this all sounds. Look. I'm going to give you a phone number. You can use it or not. But if you do, well, let's just say that when I used it and I met and listened to the man on the other end," he waved an arm around at the busy place, "the rest is coffee history." He grabbed a napkin and a pen and scribbled a number and slid it over to Susie.
"His name is David Michael Highground. A good friend of mine referred me to him years ago, and now I'm doing the same for you."
Susie looked apprehensive. She'd heard so many pitches, read so many books, and listened to so many big ideas for making it "out there." How could she get excited about another one? She didn't think she had the energy for another letdown.
"No, Highground's system isn't like anything you've ever heard."
That definitely surprised Susie. "Are you a mind reader, too?"
"No, I just know exactly what you're thinking. It's just another pitch, right?
"But have you ever heard a pitch that talked about relationships?" he asked. "Or about building a business doing the right things at the right times for all the right reasons? Have you ever heard a pitch that suggests putting the relationship first--making your growth foundation the golden rule?
"Trust me," Chuck laughed. "David Michael Highground does not now nor ever will have dollar signs on his forehead! Yet he's the most successful man I know. It's not about money. He has all the money he will ever need. It's about purpose and personal fulfillment. That's what floats his boat now." He nudged the napkin closer to her. "It's your call. Let me know what happens." And he moved down the bar to wait on a new customer.
Susie stared at the napkin, then at Chuck, then back at the napkin. Absently, she picked up the biscotti, dunked it a few times, and took a bite. Chuck got busy again and Susie's thoughts went bleak once more. She swallowed the last of her coffee, then picked up her belongings, turned to leave, and remembered the napkin.
To her surprise, she reached out and took it. And with a glance back at Chuck, she left.
Inside her car, Susie picked up her cell phone, then put it down, staring at the number scrawled on the coffee shop napkin. A rush of thoughts--not the least of which was the thought of her cell phone bill at the end of the month-- made her hesitate. Maybe she needed to admit to herself that her dream didn't fit who she was. She just didn't have the right personality--or something.
But the things Chuck said.
Well, she sighed. She definitely needed help, that was for sure. And she had nothing to lose, that too was for sure. So she dialed the number and pushed the Send button.
"Yes?" The response was surprisingly warm.
"Hello," she said, trying to hide the nervousness. "Yes, hello ... my name is Susan McCumber. Is David Highground available?"
"This is he," the voice responded, still just as friendly.
She paused, enjoying the warmth. She wasn't used to that sound from a stranger. She had spoken with far too many strangers who hated receiving cold calls as much as she hated making them. She took a calming breath. "Mr. Highground, I hope this isn't a bother. You see, Chuck at the coffee shop gave me your name, said I should talk to you, that you have helped him and thought you might help me."
She could almost hear his smile over the phone. "Ah, yes, Chuck. He's a good man. Any friend of his is a friend of mine. How might I help you?"
Susie realized she no longer felt nervous.
And to her surprise, she found herself telling him everything:
"Well, you see, I went into business for myself six months ago. But now I seem to have lost my momentum and I'm beginning to think the problem is me. What I mean to say is that I started out so well and the company I'm affiliated with is fantastic and the people are so helpful ... and I really believe in what we're doing. But I'm not making it work somehow. I've gotten off track and I can't seem to get back on. I feel like ... like ..." She made herself say the word she had been dodging for weeks: "a failure."
Susie couldn't believe she had just admitted this to a complete stranger. But the weeks she had spent attending local chamber of commerce networking meetings and following the cold-call procedures she had learned in training without results had become increasingly frustrating.
To be around so many successful people who treated her with respect and encouragement made her feel upbeat. But each week the vision of her actually attaining the same level of success as others in the business community seemed to decrease because of her absolute inability to obtain and keep new clients. In fact, the several contacts a day she had been forcing herself to make had dwindled lately to nothing more than thinking about making them. And her workday had begun to consist entirely of looking forward to the next business mixer to hopefully get an easy lead, maybe a new direct mail concept or a new book or audiotape that would save her. Day by day, she could actually feel her confidence draining away.
"Susie." Highground's warm voice snapped her out of her funk.
"Oh, I'm sorry," she said, embarrassed. "Really, forgive me. I just can't get my mind to stop thinking about it all."
"Susie--may I call you that?"
"Sure," she replied. "All my friends do."
"Susie, you're definitely not a failure," Highground began. "You're simply in a place that all people pass through at some time in their career and in their life. You're on the mantel."
"The mantel?" she repeated. "You mean like the shelfover- a-fireplace kind of mantel?"
Highground laughed. "That's the image. The mantel is a place to reflect. It's where the good stuff happens. It's the best place to be in for me to help you because in order to get off the mantel and move forward permanently, you need a new plan. And you will move forward, I guarantee it. Does that make sense?"
"Absolutely," Susie responded.
"Okay, then," Highground continued, "before we meet I need you to know that my help is not for everyone. My philosophy or way of doing business doesn't suit everyone's style or need. So before I agree to meet with you, I need to ask you a few questions. Is that okay?"
"Well," Susie said, "I suppose so. "
"All right. "First question: Do you like yourself?"
Susie almost laughed. What a question! Did she like herself?
She listened as Highground went on. "In other words, do you want to become more of yourself and refine the gifts you have been given instead of trying to imitate someone else?"
"I've never thought about it that way," Susie replied. "I can't say I'm 100 percent happy with my current situation, but as for myself, well, yes, I do like myself, basically."
"Very good," Highground said. "I didn't ask if you were happy with yourself. I help people become more of who they are, to become genuine. That's what others are attracted to."
Susie perked up. What a wonderful idea.
"So, question number two, Susie. Ready? Do you believe in your product and company? Are you proud to associate yourself with all aspects of your organization?" he asked. "It can't be only about making money.
"You see, I am going to show you how to build lifelong advocates of you and your company so it's imperative you are absolutely sold out for it yourself. That way, even in the event you were to move on, all the people you do business with will feel that you moved them to a better spot with the products or service of your current organization."
"There's no doubt about that," Susie replied emphatically.
"That was why I started my own business in the first place."
"Excellent," said Highground. "Now, question number three. And this is probably the hardest one. Are you willing to 'stay the course'? Everyone is different so the system applies differently to each. The one key thing, though, that everyone must have is what I call 'demonstrated consistency.'
"You will see results immediately, but the real lasting effects, the kind on which you can build your business and life, happen only when you adapt this marketing system on a daily basis consistently for about four months. Then it continues to build and deepen each month thereafter. So the whole system turns on this: Will you stay committed to a course of action that won't include cold calling or making others uncomfortable but will take a daily commitment on your part?"
Susie felt a bit overwhelmed. But there was nothing that she was hearing that she did not instantly like. "Well, yes. I'm ready to try," was her determined response.
"Well, then, Susie, so am I," was his reply. "We'll meet this afternoon, around 3:00, at the coffee shop if that's convenient."
"Yes, I can be there."
"Good. See you then."
Before Susie could respond, Highground was speaking again: "Oh. One more thing."
"Yes?" she replied.
"You're going to do great."
Susie tapped her cell phone silent. What was she getting herself into? But she trusted Chuck, and this Mr. Highground seemed to be a good friend of Chuck's. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. "And," she told herself, "you certainly have nothing to lose."
She'd be there.
Excerpted from Acclaimed author and speaker Tim Templeton’s groundbreaking new book, The Referral of a Lifetime, which offers readers custom-tailored strategies to increase client retention and referral, and thus their success, using proven techniques based on Templeton’s philosophy of putting the relationship first. His no-nonsense, straightforward approach makes his techniques easy to understand, and with your commitment, yield to a lifetime of success, both personal and business-related. Order your copy at http://www.mastertrack.net.
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