Show Me the Money

Probably many of you have seen the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire, in which Tom Cruise plays the title character who is a sports agent. He is all about showing his clients the money, but ultimately has a change of heart and chooses quality clients and relationships rather than more and more money.

Ironically, this is the exact opposite of the path that many businesses take as they grow. When we first start out, we focus on providing high-quality customer service, but then as we grow, often those values tend to take a back seat as you start to have to support your operations and employees, etc. It’s not that big companies mean to do this, it’s just the nature of growth. As you know, as we grow our costs increase so we need to increase our profits to support them, etc, etc. But what do we do about it?

As Jerry Maguire said in his mission statement memo: “The answer to the future is rather obvious. If the tap-dancing becomes less constant, less furious, less necessary, what will the result be? The result will be more honesty, more focus, fewer clients, but eventually, the revenues will be the same. Because the new day of honesty will create a machine more personalized, more truthful, and… has a greater chance of greatness next year.

The full text of the memo was actually released by Cameron Crowe and is available via his website:

It’s true but a difficult jump to make, to focus more on quality and customer satisfaction than profits. Just like in the movie though it’s not all about money and power, sure those things are certainly nice to have, but they shouldn’t be used as a measure of personal wealth or success.

In our case, the money coming in from our products and services shouldn’t be the result we are aiming for, it should be a by-product.

Concentrate on doing what you do, whatever that may be, (as honorably as you can,) and the customers, and the sales will come to you naturally as a by-product of that good service. What speaks louder than any clever sales terms or selling techniques, is your reputation and the quality of the services and products you provide to your clientele. Make that the primary objective and the sales will be the fortunate side effect.

If you want to see the money, focus on the clients.


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