Networking Further: Trunk Slammers and CLJs

00715_00793A drum that gets beaten often in my columns and blog posts is on the importance of networking with related trades as a conduit for referral business.

As you might expect, I typically point to the usual suspects when I talk about having connections: electricians, millworkers, HVAC guys and, of course, interior designers.

But beyond those, there are always people in diverse fields with whom you can forge a beneficial relationship, you just have to take the right perspective.

That’s why I’ll tell you that, as an AV Pro, you can benefit from having a solid relationship with a reliable Trunk Slammer. And here’s why:

The fact is, you can’t say yes to every customer, and you can’t take on every job, especially if you’ve positioned your company in a very specific way, such as doing full design, programming and install of higher-level projects. But customers don’t know any of that. They’re just going to Google their city and “home theater” and call you.

Some of them will be the kind of customers you’re looking for, and some of them won’t be. And if you’re a full-service company, the ones who call you and say, “Yeah, hi. I bought a 50-inch TV and surround-in-a-box from Best Buy this weekend. Can you put it together for me?” aren’t what you’re looking for.

Incidentally, in our office we used to call those hang-and-bang projects CLJs, short for “Crummy Little Jobs.”

There are two things that I hold dear (three if you count coffee).

The first is the notion of karma, and that you get back what you give out. The second is that the world is a better place if you spread the love around.

After I’d determined that I was talking to someone needing a hang-and-bang and there was no unspoken need for five figures or more worth of my products and services, I never felt good responding to their innocent question with “No. Bye!” and hanging up on them. Instead, I tapped the availability of a guy named DJ that I used to work with in retail who, as far as I could tell, was perfectly content to do CLJs all day, every day.

Rather than tell someone with a CLJ that needed doing no, I’d tell him “No, but I know I guy who can. Here’s his number.” Which brings me to the point of my story: One day DJ stops by my office and drops off a present for me. Inside the box is a fancy cut-glass bottle of Remy Martin XO, in the presentation case and everything.

After he left, I committed the cardinal sin of gift-receiving: I called a liquor store that a friend managed to find out what it cost. Yes, terrible, I know. Anyway, I described what I had to the clerk on the phone and enquired about the price: $2,500, she told me.

I spit my coffee all over my computer monitor.

Damn, I thought, I didn’t know all those bones I’d thrown DJ had so much meat on them.

Turns out, she was looking at the wrong box. The one DJ had bought was $125, but regardless, clearly we had both done each other a good turn.

And yes, the cognac was amazing.