As I started to this article, the phrase: ‘the devil is in the details’ popped into my head and I made a mental note to try and squeeze it into the article somewhere. I then got curious as to where the phrase comes from, and was surprised to learn from Wikipedia that it was derived from an earlier phrase ‘God is in the detail,’ expressing the idea that whatever one does should be done thoroughly, i.e. details are important. So there you have it, you can interchange ‘God’ and the ‘Devil’ in that phrase depending on your mood, and mean exactly the same thing! Who knew?
Indeed, the little details, the little things we do in our office, such as the way we answer the phone, the way people are greeted, how we dress, all these seemingly little things, all in concert with one another, are really the things that brand who you are and that build your reputation, for better or for worse. Without the little things, every office would be similar to the next one, and each would be a sterile office devoid of life and personality.
One of my clients that I am working with now has only recently started to pay attention to the little things, and he admitted as much to me early in our coaching together. Now that he is starting to see how is clients are responding, he is kicking himself for not paying attention earlier. I see it all the time. The best part is that he is having fun. He told me that too. It’s awesome!
Just last week he was doing a call rotation to one of his best clients. This is a call we at Pareto Systems recommend that advisors make to top clients on a quarterly basis. The call rotation concentrates on the clients’ Family, Occupation and Recreation matters. Money is not to be brought up on the ‘call rotation’ unless of course the client brings it up. My coaching client learned that one of his clients, a successful and extremely busy business owner, just had his son graduate from University. The father was ecstatic. My client also learned that the gentleman was also about to go on an annual hunting junket.
Now for most people, that phone call would happen, the client would be congratulated of course, and then the whole thing would become a distant memory by the end of the day; another ‘little’ opportunity squandered. My client; however, has evolved.
My client reflected on the joy in the father’s voice, he soaked it in, and then decided to act. That very afternoon he went by the client’s business unannounced, and dropped off a big bottle of Crown Royal. He included a lovely card that congratulated the father on his son’s accomplishment, and also wrote something to the effect of: “Hope this keeps you warm on your hunting trip!” (My client is now keeping great notes on his clients’ family and recreation information, and had learned on a previous call rotation that the client was partial to this particular whiskey.)
As you can imagine, the client was blown away. What does he do? He takes my client advisor by the arm and walks him to the other side of the plant and says: “I want you to meet my brother-in-law.”
Just one little thing, that someone did not ignore, that culminated in an impromptu introduction. I always find these types of stories to be mind-blowing stuff.
Pay attention to the little things, be consistent, and let your disciplines compound, and you will have a better business than most! God is in the detail after all…
Contributed by Duncan MacPherson