Brutally Honest #50: How I Made Myself Some Money This Morning

I probably made myself a lot of money this morning. I didn’t earn it, strictly speaking. I haven’t worked for yet. I don’t have this money yet either, nor do I have a contract promising it to me, but I’m confident that the money is made. I’m very happy about this, especially since all I did was answer the phone.

I get calls from numbers I don’t recognize several times a week. Sometimes I just let it go to voicemail, hoping that whoever it is needs me enough to leave a message. Some people leave messages, some don’t. It’s reasonable to assume that most of these no-message callers are bill collectors and stalkers, but perhaps some of them are potential customers that simply don’t feel confident enough to leave a detailed message.

The mother-of-potential-student who called me this morning before noon got lucky. Thursday mornings are not ideal for getting a hold of me. On Wednesday nights I play a very sweaty rock gig that does severe damage to my physical person and requires plenty of rest, and on Thursdays I write and publish a rather astonishing e-mail/blog/newsletter/spectacular called Brutally Honest. So if you call at 11:24 on a Thursday, you are trying to reach a Luke Leverett that simply does not exist on Thursday morning. At 11:30 CST I’m stuffing my face with tacos and drowning my headache in gallons of red soda, clad in pajamas and not answering the phone at all.

Anyway, the conversation was pleasant but standard at first. She wanted to know how much lessons where, I quoted her my highest rate. Basic info. In the course of this convo, I became more involved and helpful. I asked questions about her son. For the purpose of this story I’ll call him Chad. We talked a little about Chad and the mom revealed little pieces of info that were interesting to me. Chad is a loner, she said. Loves music, would not join band at school because he’s not very social. Apparently, music is his whole life. Listens to it all day. Has a guitar, doesn’t know how to play, but trys A LOT.

I had a geniune human response to her description. I related to the idea of a high school junior that doesn’t have many friends but lives for music. I told this mother about my teen years, about how music helped me transition from bookish preteen to the cool rock star/philosopher that I have become. Well maybe I exaggerate, but certainly music gave me a way to speak to, engage, and even lead groups of people. I got to be thought of as a cool guitar player instead of as a chubby nerd. Chad, if he turns out to have some musical ability, might become more social as his love of music becomes his need to SHARE music. She was excited about this possibility. This pretty much sealed the deal. She said that she enjoyed talking to me and that she would find out which day/time would work best and then call me back, and I’m sure that she will.

In this whole conversation, I didn’t do anything that required my expertise or my training. This situation merely required that I be a cool, genuine person. I didn’t have to sell myself to her, I didn’t have to talk about my credentials or method. I also didn’t have to undercut my competition in terms of price. All I had to do was be real with somebody, and it worked. These people probably will be using my services. Chad might be a very cool kid. We might enjoy a long and fruitful relationship that ends with Chad being a musician and me a better and slightly richer teacher. After all, most of my students are loyal long-term students who have studied with me for a year or more. Other students of mine are generally the younger siblings of the other students. So it stands to reason that this one conversation could have long lasting results that profit everyone involved for years to come.

The moral is obvious but I’ll state it anyway: there is generally no substitute for having a great personality that treats customers and potential customers as humanly as possible, with lots of individual attention, with sympathy and a hopefullness. I kept my potential customer on the phone today and had a real conversation with her in which I was truly myself. I brought my human experience to my work. I have to. You have to, too. You might even make some money.

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    photo of  Luke Leverett
    New Braunfels, Texas Phone: 830-708-5883