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Being Genuine

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When I first took Cathy’s spin class, I hated her.   All I heard was yelling, and I thought it was a bunch of contrived nonsense.  But I needed a good workout, so I figured I would give Cathy and her class a chance.  She yelled.   Everyone else yelled back.  It wasn’t long before I was yelling too.

What was it about Cathy that won me over? I could see she believed in what she was doing. It wasn’t an act.   She loved her craft, and she was a great teacher and motivator.   She was real, and that’s what attracted me. Even in art, being “real” is also the key to tugging at my heart strings.   Listen to Sara Bareilles’ song “Gravity”, and tell me you cannot hear the heartache in her voice.  I hate the “you complete me” line in “Jerry Maguire”, but I love moments before when he said “I miss my wife...I am not letting you get rid of me…how about that?”   You could just tell the guy really felt that.

As a sales professional, being real is the only option.   Buyers are too well educated and can sniff out BS with a simple Google search.  I can be convincing, but people really don’t want to be sold anymore.  They want to believe, and that means you need to believe passionately in what you sell.

Of course, this got me thinking about our business model and how much phones have changed now that you can buy this as a managed service.  Before, you bought a box, and companies like Avaya and Nortel spent money building brand. They were trying to build trust in a technology and companies who never talked to you again after you bought.

Our service model is about people.  Sure, the technology has to be first class so you don’t even think about it.  But then people take over.   Can they help you? Are they nice? Do they listen?   Most importantly, do they actually care about helping?  I’m proud of how we treat our customers at M5, but I am even prouder of how we treat each other.    Our culture is a bunch of people who genuinely like working with each other and believe in what they do.  Anyone who thinks that belief doesn’t scale should know we are now 11 years old, 170 people, and 3 offices still going out of the way for each other.

Anyway, I try to live my life this way, though I still lie sometimes, mostly to myself.  But being you, as scary and vulnerable as it can be, is worth the risk.