Paul, the 20 year old technician who shuttled me back from the dealership, was talking about how he fits in there. He credited being outgoing as the reason everyone seems to like him at the dealership, even as a fairly new employee. He wondered aloud how some seemingly less friendly types sell the most cars.
When I asked how he thought those salesmen did it, Paul said he had not seen them in action. I pressed and he was silent. As the light turned green, he suggested that instead of talking a lot, the salesmen might be studying the customers, trying to figure out what they need.
It took Paul just a few moments to come up with this theory. If he is even partially right, why do we lawyers keep proclaiming that we do not want to be like car salesmen? Maybe we should reframe our challenge and try to be like some of the most successful ones. Talk less, listen more.
I liked this kid. I talked less, listened more.
Paul has a niche all to himself in the service department – - electronics. He got into it for two reasons: he has always been interested in playing around with electronics and no one else in the service department wanted to do that work. I suspect he is developing a niche skill set that he can build on for years to come and use anywhere in the country.
In high school Paul thought he wanted to be a psychologist but realized he did not like to study. So he decided to go to an out-of-state technical institute. He may not like studying, but obviously he likes to learn. He picked a specific car family track and graduated in two years. He chose the track based on his personal background and what he knew of the need in the market.
Of multiple job offers, he accepted this one based on the dealership’s reputation and his sense of how employees are treated there. He has benefits, a nice car and funds to travel to see friends in college. Unlike two friends at the institute who have held and lost several jobs elsewhere in less than a year, his niche and relationships in the dealership seem secure and full of potential.
As he pulled up in front of my house, I repressed an urge to thank Paul for starting his career exactly where I wish more lawyers and other people could be, in the middle of a Venn diagram. He is thriving in the intersection of three circles: his interests/passions, things at which he excels and a need or opportunity in the market.
Instead, I thanked him for the ride and wished him luck. He is a terrific young man headed in the right direction.
If you would like to thrive more in your legal career, please contact me.