I recently had the opportunity to attend the LinkedIn Sales Connect Conference in Las Vegas, where four-time NBA Champion, business mogul, rapper, actor, and according to his LinkedIn Profile, “purveyor of fun,” Shaquille O’Neal was the keynote speaker. Shaq spoke about his upbringing, athletic career, his philanthropy, and his fondness of social media outlets.
One of the stories Shaq spoke about was how when he was in 8th grade he was 6’8” tall but managed to get cut from his middle school basketball team. At that time he was very skinny and uncoordinated so he really couldn’t manage playing an athletic sport like basketball in his large frame. At that point he could have given up on sports all together and who knows what direction his life would have went in. Around this same time, his father, who was in the military, brought Shaq to an event on the army base, where the LSU men’s basketball coach was speaking. After the coach was done speaking Shaq went up to him and asked if he could help him make his “lower extremities” stronger (Shaq had looked up a more intelligent way to say “legs” to impress the coach). The coach replied, “Sure soldier, how old are you?” When Shaq responded saying he was only 13, the coach’s jaw dropped to the floor.
Over the next several years the coach built a relationship with Shaq and did give him a workout plan to strengthen his lower extremities. By his senior year in high school Shaq was one of the top recruits in the country and had offers from most major universities. In the end Shaq chose LSU, not because they were a college basketball powerhouse (they were far from that), but because of a relationship he built with their head coach four years prior to his senior year.
This story reminded me of how we work with our customers on their real estate tax monitoring, flood determination, and insurance monitoring needs at Info-Pro. Whether we are working with a multi-billion dollar institution or a smaller hometown business we give all of our customers the same top notch support they deserve. Just like it wasn’t the coach’s goal to just recruit Shaq to his school, it isn’t our goal just to make a sale. Instead, we want to build a relationship and help with whatever needs an institution may have. From just getting to know a new institution, where we offer customized services to each individual institution’s needs, to later in our relationship where we offer free training at any time upon request, we are looking to build and maintain strong customer relationships.
To this day Shaq recognizes that LSU’s coach’s actions and support as the reason why he had such a successful basketball and post-basketball career. Think how that story might have been different had the coach viewed Shaq simply as a potential future recruit, rather than someone to build a relationship with. At Info-Pro, we take the same approach to our customers (and potential customers), viewing each interaction as an opportunity to build a relationship and help support their needs, rather than simply selling a product.