Today, I sat on a beach and watched two yellow seaplanes flirt with each other. They dipped and banked, flew in tandem, then apart, only to line up again and then diverge under the gorgeous sun.
The courtship in the sky went on for all to watch, but I think I was the only one enrapt in their maneuvers. To me, it was as if they were without pilots: winged lovers playing out a relationship, testing each other, searching their souls, wondering if they were meant to be. Or not.
In their aerial ballet, they were cognizant, consciously or not, of The Line. This is the line between like and love. It impacts everything we do in life. And business is no exception.
When we like, we dabble and move on. When we love, we change. Forever. A part of us never reverts to the way we were before we crossed the like to love line.
Some companies know how to make this happen in the world of commerce. When I started out in business, I happened to meet dozens of Price Waterhouse clients. They were clients for decades and could not be lured away by competitors, regardless of the offer. I was told it was because PW had been working on their books for years and it was just too complicated to leave.
And I believed that nonsense.
Now I know better. PW trained its team to deliver a level of elite professional service and to treat clients as the kings and queens of the business world. Do that and you will have relationships that cross The Line, relationships for life.
In its heyday, Xerox used to pride itself on having its salespeople fly first class. Why? They were told that as the company’s sales force, they were the princes of the business. Elevated this way, treated with this rare caliber of respect, as royalty, they in turn served their customers in truly memorable fashion. The business world didn’t buy from Xerox; they adored the company. They would buy from no one else. They were in love.
All of the world’s greatest business people have been romantics. They are often painted as technicians or financial engineers or scientists, but first and foremost they are romantics. They have to be. They see The Line. They understand its power. They know why the seaplanes flew apart. They know it is better that they did because they were not the real thing.
But, they know how to create the real thing and the thermonuclear force that is unleashed when they do.
They get this by:
* Thinking ahead of you.
* Delivering what you want before you even thought you could get it.
* Generating a constant state of excitement.
* Creating the element of surprise.
In life, there is nothing more powerful than The Line. Getting close but failing to cross means you are a zillion miles away.
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