Do you want to work for “The Man” or build your own personal brand that makes you an incredibly valuable asset to your company?
Being an employee of a great business is awesome, but if you make the decision that you are the CEO of your own company even though somebody else owns the building, the approach to your work can be more fulfilling and much more lucrative for you.
My wife and I took the family on a trip to Costa Rica over spring break, but we had never been there so we did our research. We picked the Westin Playa Conchal for our home away from home, and boy are we glad we did. It was beautiful and the staff there did an amazing job of taking care of the Quinn’s, so well done team!
During the research phase of this trip, I kept reading reviews on Tripadvisor about this guy named Erik Garcia. Erik was a tour guide and sold packages on the beach, and people loved him so much that his customers included him in a lot of their reviews of the Westin. Naturally, I had to meet this guy when I got there and learn what I could from him, and I’m glad I did because he confirmed a lot of what we talk about in our book Come Back To Bed.
He is not selling tours. He is creating memorable experiences for his customers that will last them a lifetime, connecting himself to the purpose behind the job.
He understands personal branding, and executes on that idea in a big way. His name is on his hat so he is easy to find, and his shirt looks like a NASCAR with Google and Tripadvisor logos showing the tourist that he is LEGIT.
Word-of-mouth marketing and reviews drive Erik’s business. He knows if people are talking about him and look for him on the beach, 80% of the work has already been done for him.
If you really want to be successful, stop selling and start trying to figure out how to serve people in a way that is best for them. He is a great listener and has empathy for his audience. If you want to go on an ATV tour of the island he is going to ask you a bunch of questions first so that he is certain that you have picked a tour that is right for you and your family.
He has a great smile and shines a very bright light, which makes him the kind of person you want to do business with. His ability to make you like him and trust him is definitely his super hero power.
So what does all of this have to do with mattress and furniture retail?
The more value that you create in yourself with consumers in your marketplace, the more value you have to them and to your place of employment. When people read reviews about your company, they should see your name all over those reviews.
That doesn’t mean that you beg customers to write things about you, that means that you do such a kick ass job of taking care of them that by the time you’re done working together, they want to do something good for you in return. Create your own social media presence around your profession if you are allowed to do so. Talk about things that are important to people as it relates to their sleep and help them in the shopping phase.
After you have earned the right, you can ask your audience to come in and ask for you to get the special treatment only you can provide. Remember names, ask a ton of questions, and make yourself memorable in some way and watch your income grow.
Erik makes commissions selling tour packages for a company. Truth is, he has more clout than the company he represents because he is the one building the trusted brand.
Erik loves the group he works for but he also knows that he can walk whenever he wants and take that business to other tour outfits. He doesn’t have a big head about that and will probably never leave the group he works with because they have a mutual respect built on honesty and good will.
But there is no doubt that Erik feels good about the fact that he has leverage because he takes his job seriously and has made himself the CEO of Erik Garcia Inc.
I asked Erik to spend some time with me on the beach to talk about some of these things, so watch the interview with him below. Thanks to my very steady camera man and son, Nick Quinn, and to Erik for taking the time to share some of his story.
In Costa Rica they have this saying, “Pura Vida” and it means “The Pure Life.”
It really is less a saying and more of a way to live. People greet each other with it, and also say goodbye in the same way. It’s a great reminder to live a simple life, be in the moment, enjoy what you do, and to find joy in life and share that with others along the way.
To my new friend Erik Garcia I say THANK YOU for showing me what that looks like and giving me some inspiration to go home with.