I was running a bit behind schedule this morning. Still, I knew my Keurig wasn’t going to cut it and I pulled into the Starbucks’ drive-through on my way into the office. I was immediately a little annoyed with the line wrapping around the building. Why? I am the one running behind and choosing to stop by Starbucks. I quickly realized I needed an attitude shift.

After I paid the man for my grande flat white with coconut milk, the encounter became different than my usual drive-through experiences.  My coffee wasn’t ready and rather than turning back to his coworkers and chatting or pulling his iPhone out and texting, he leaned in to the window sill and asked me how my day was. I told him my day was going well so far. He asked if I was going to work and said he assumed so since I was dolled up. Then we laughed about many girls get dolled up just to run errands. It was only a few minutes before my coffee was ready but that engagement left me with a positive feeling about my morning Starbucks’ experience.

Now, normally I would think this was just a chatty barista and not think anything of it; However, this previous Sunday morning my friend and I ran to the same Starbucks’ for a quick coffee fix. While we were waiting on our drinks, the bubbly girl leaned out and rested her arms on the window, asked us how our morning was and engaged us in conversation. After a few minutes, we had our drinks and were on our way.

Now there could be a few things going on here.

  • There could be a new Starbucks’ initiative going on to further develop the culture – think Chic-fil-a’s “My pleasure.”
  • There could also be great leadership at this particular store encouraging engagement.
  • Or it could be they’ve just hired really great employees who are rockstars at their job.

So what is the lesson I am taking away from this…

Jim Elliot is famous for saying, “Wherever you are, be all there.” I feel like these baristas have perfected that idea and in the process, are creating a brand experience. This is the sweet spot of selling, marketing and consumerism. As a sales person, this resonates with me.

As a sales person and a professional in general, I try to relate my experiences to my own career and life. This thought brings me to recent hubbub in the social selling community.  Jack Kosakowski recently argued how ineffective the idea of spamming people with inMails or other forms of outreach is. The experience and the connotation is a negative one. Sales people need to get back to creating personal relationships and experiences. Far too many reps are only concerned with quotas and burn relationships and networking opportunities while on the war path to hitting their number.

My thought on sales is to first and foremost develop a relationship with your network and anyone you come in contact with. David Oldham recently spoke with other panel members at our first Salt Lake City Sales Hacker Meetup. One bit of advice he gave is to give to your network and be a resource for them before you ever try to get anything. Self-serving is the quickest way to burn bridges. Jen Spencer was also on that panel and her advice for the year was to be authentic and create a good experience. This completely encompasses what I felt in my Starbucks experience and what I hope to emulate in my sales career. Life and work is about relationships. You have to learn to create meaningful, authentic relationships if you want to reach your maximum potential.

My final thought – as you go out and interact with others throughout your day, focus on how you can positively impact them and create a positive experience. You never know how what impact and positive repercussions will follow.

Have a beautiful weekend, friends.

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About the Author bmartindale

A lover of adventure. My goal is to treat life like one big adventure, taking in all the lessons along the way.


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