#850 Shirtsleeves

First of all,a BIG SHOUT OUT to all of the great people I met last week, when I spoke at a sales meeting for Robert DeFalco Realty! Thanks for your kind attention and for making me feel so welcome.

Here is this week’s post:

I have a friend who built an impressive, professional services, business. He toiled hard, networking like crazy. He joined the boards of a couple of charities when he was asked and used his considerable skills and connections to help them grow. In fact, he and I met at a charity event.

He came from an immigrant family and grew up in a two bedroom apartment in Flatbush, where he shared a small room with his two brothers. His dad was a laborer who worked hard and went without, to save money to send his boys to college.

Do you know the expression "Shirtsleeves to Shirtsleeves in Three Generations"?

I'm afraid that is what will happen to my friend. You see, my friend built the business and had the experience of growing up poor, with hardworking parents who lived frugally to climb out of poverty and into the middle class so even when he became wealthy, he still understood value and the work involved. He'd seen enough poverty in his life to be able to imagine losing it all and going back to a fourth-floor walkup in Brooklyn.

My friend's son has only known a life of privilege. Yes, he watched his dad work long hours, but without the experience of going without, of delayed gratification (which is what made the middle class in America) this boy will likely undo what his father spent fifty years doing.

The dad is an impressive guy. He is in his late seventies and retired now. But when he was running this three hundred-person company, I could call him and expect a call back the same day. I could ask for a meeting and expect one scheduled within two weeks at the outside. The man was accessible, and while wealthy, he was entirely grounded.

I know the son. He is a nice kid of about forty years old. Although the son and I have business together like his dad and I did, I don't enjoy the same responsiveness I once did. The son wears expensive suits, drives a Benz and rarely returns a phone call in less than a week.

(Maybe I should text him…WTF?)

The office doesn't look like it used to either. When I go by there, I'll see an empty box lying about, messy desks or coats strewn over chairs rather than hung up in the closet. It never looked like that before the old man retired. I read a funny line recently that applies perfectly here. This kid was born on third but thinks he hit a triple.

Appreciation for where it all came from and a dose of humility would probably serve him well, but I'm afraid he is on a course that will land his son back in that 4th-floor walk-up. Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves.

Responsiveness, work ethic, and humility are essential ingredients in sales success. No matter how well you’re doing, always remember this.

Own Your Sales Gene…

Frank SommaComment