The car in front of me on the highway stops short on a bitterly cold morning, so I brake hard and ignore the three beeps from my dashboard indicating low tire pressure.
Up until now, that’s the only reason I ever hear those three beeps.
Bitterly cold weather.
Once off the highway, though, I know something’s wrong.
So I drive the remaining quarter mile, park in front of my office, and check my tires.
My back left tire is completely flat.
And for once, it does not get me thinking about your Elevator Pitch.
Because what happens next is the direct result of a strong business network.
It’s light-years past your Elevator Pitch.
It’s what happens five, six, 23 steps later.
It’s opportunity spotting.
It’s professional referrals.
It’s the holy grail of becoming a Trusted Advisor.
It’s 9:55am when I notice my flat tire.
I end up being on time to the 10am meeting at my office.
And my car is ready in time to make a 1pm client meeting in Belmont.
Total cost in my time for fixing my tire: zero minutes.
Total cost in dollars for fixing my tire: zero dollars.
So before I share the full story, think about your business network.
You have a flat tire… who do you call?
Your website goes down… who do you call?
Your client gets laid off from their high-paying job… who do you call?
Knowing who to call is being a Trusted Advisor.
It’s developing trust and goodwill.
It’s knowing quality people who return your calls.
It’s being one phone call away from a solution to almost any problem.
So I’m looking at my flat tire not sure how I can possibly make it to my 1pm client meeting.
Then it hits me.
The mechanic who’s right next door to my office.
He handles all the maintenance for our company vans.
I drive my car over.
“I’m from the business next door. My tire’s flat. Can you take a look at it?”
Joe (he bought Bruce out a few years ago) is very apologetic.
“I don’t have that tire in stock, and I can’t get it up on a lift for another hour to put the spare on.”
The hour was fine. There was still a chance I’d make it to my 1:00.
But you know spare tires today.
You have to travel less than 50 miles an hour.
You can’t go further than 50 miles.
That was going to be a problem.
But one issue at a time.
I tell him to go ahead and put the spare on and order me a new tire.
Then I walk the 50 yards back to my office and attend my meeting.
At 11:45 the office phone rings.
Turns out that when the tire pressure sensor corrodes, it just falls into the tire.
But the tire’s fine.
My mechanic puts in a regular plastic valve.
And tells me to come pick it up.
I try to get him to take some money.
Well, partly because, the very next day, he does $893 worth of work on one of my company vans.
Did I mention that we send him a lot of work?
But mostly because we have the relationship.
He works on our vans.
He works on our employees’ cars.
We take care of him.
He takes care of us.
That kind of relationship…
That’s being a Trusted Advisor.