The names have been changed to protect the guilty.
I was introduced to Bill in December of 2012. We exchanged a few emails in May 2013. Here's a few excerpts.
28 years old, first company.
8 employees a year earlier, then over 20, projecting 35 employees by the end of the 2013.
I may seem like I know what I'm doing, I'm figuring out everything along the way.
I want to be the best and will do whatever it takes to get there.
I trust you very much and I am truly excited to be working with you. I know I'm going to learn a ton.
Thanks for everything already, and I'm looking forward to what's next.
We did our 'buyer-seller dance' and a month later, I told him that I wouldn't work with him.
These are excerpts from his reply.
I understand. Rick, you know how I feel about you and what you can do for our agency. You are the best at what you do. I trust you 100%
Thank you for ALL the time you have spent with us and everything you have done for us in the last few weeks. We are already so much better just from what YOU have taught us. I hope this is not the end of our relationship.
I also hope I didn't offend you because I guess the analogy here would be like trying to bring in Michael Jordan to play on my local adult league basketball team. That's how I feel right now. You're right, we'll be "fine" but I don't want to be fine, I want to be the best.
Maybe the timing will be right sooner than later, but I respect your choice to walk away from the table. You need to do what's right for you. I hope I don't sound like a cocky kid.. That's not my intentions, trust me. I don't know what I don't know, I'll be the first to admit that.
Unfortunately, Bill and I travel in some of the same circles. Every time we were in the same room he'd make it a point to tell me how much he thinks of me and that we're gonna do business someday soon. Two months later (August 2013) I sent him this email.
You ever notice how laid back my clients are? You're not. You're in my face, enthusiastic, positive attitude. You don't have the quiet confidence that my people have and people like me feel like we need a shower after we deal with people like you. Stay the hell away from me. I will never refer you or anybody that you can attract to work for you. On Tuesday, you told me that we're not done. Same as above. I don't like being near you. I don't want to shake your hand. I don't want you to be nice to me. I don't need you to like me. Please just stop. I don't want anything from you. I know that I was very helpful. I know that the evaluations and reviews were helpful and on the money. I know that your sales guy was not right. I don't need you to tell me. So, please just ignore me. I don't want to know you.
I know. I was mean, but if you re-read his stuff, you'll see that he was lying. He wouldn't do whatever it takes. His company does do fine, but are they the best? Not even close. Why? He can't keep a salesperson. Hopefully he'll stay fine.
Two months ago, Hillary (no relation) put Bill and I together again by email because he had just lost a salesperson that he paid good money to get and his #1 key employee left the company.
Bill and I exchanged a couple of emails. I shared a story about a couple of his competitors that were having the same issues along with some insight as to solutions.
I have to ask, Rick, why are you interested in helping me right now? What you just shared was very helpful, but you've made it very clear that you don't like me. What's the end goal here?
It's not that I don't like you. However, your need to stroke and compliment those around you appeals to and intensifies your people's need for approval and makes them weaker and if I could have made you stop doing it to me, you might realize that strong people don't need it and you'll stop doing it to all of your people and grow them professionally. If your salespeople were strong and you used that approach on them, they may have left because they didn't like it. It could also make someone un-receptive to coaching because they don't want you to stroke them. Pete has never told me that I did good, but he has told the world. Many of my clients are top producers. They don't tell me. They evangelize, refer and endorse. The last time I did a group program for Pete's people, Pete wrote, "Rick's not in it for the money. He has no agenda. He just wants to help. I have no end game, but if you get the message, you'll have one."
Regardless of the future, I've helped and made the world better.
So, if you were Bill, what would you do?
BTW, have we ever spoken?