Many Steps Over Time (Issue 1079)

In which we are reminded that it can take time and many baby steps before a client will take the risk of relying on us for professional advice … and it helps if they like us, first.

Where should we go? For how long should we be there? Where should we stay while we’re there? What could we do while we’re there?

These were questions I was asking in June and July last year as I was planning a much-anticipated October “find-family-roots-in-Ireland” trip. I asked State-side friends for their stories. I put the same questions to friends in Ireland. I explored the Web – “10 days in Ireland,” “Three days in Dublin”, “Three days in Galway”. After online family history research and many dozen emails, conversations, and web searches, an answer to the question, “Where should we go?” began to emerge.

However, friends’ answers and web search results for the remaining questions were scattered all over the place. Then I remembered Rick Steves.

I first became familiar with Rick Steves several years ago when I happened to catch one of his TV travel shows. I almost immediately liked on-screen Rick. He felt comfortable, warm, encouraging, positive, and relaxed.

Over time, I watched a few more of his shows including a wonderful “Christmas in Europe” program. I checked his web site. I used a few of his ideas while planning a trip to Italy. We used one of his audio programs to guide our walk through the Roman Forum. Brilliant!

A few years after that, I incorporated some of his ideas into a trip to England. Again, brilliant. And, then, Rick slipped off my radar.

A few years passed. Then, during my “too many ideas” Ireland planning, I had lunch with a friend who shared wonderful stories of her trip to Ireland. She mentioned that she had used Rick Steves’ Ireland travel book to plan her vacation.

So, I bought a copy of the book and decided, “I’ll follow his recommendations”. I booked sleeping arrangements he recommended. I followed his counsel for dinner locations (and, for Dublin, I received wonderful guidance from friend-of-a-friend Sarah Hanrahan, a Dublin-based travel experience planner). Once in Ireland, we read Rick each day over breakfast. While we’d check the Web and ask the locals, Rick was our guide, truly our “trusted advisor” for the Ireland trip.

I sometimes ask myself “why?” – why do I have such strong trust and regard for a person I’ve never met. The answer is: It evolved over several years’ time after a casual introduction. First, I liked him. Then, I felt inspired by his TV programs. I tried some of his ideas; they worked. I tried more of his ideas; they worked. Then, a trusted friend relied on him to solve the exact same problem I was trying to solve. So, I took the risk of quite literally following his advice for an important family trip.

‘Though I’ve never met the guy, he’s now my first “go to” for travel planning. He’s earned it.

Nick Miller and Clarity train banks and bankers to attract and develop deeper relationships with small businesses. Many more Sales Thoughts like this and a host of other articles and resources at .

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