Brad Beck explains that it’s the little things, done with consistency, day by day is what leads to success. Beck shares his experiences and insights of working in the same industry for forty years.
The great Jim Rohn said, “The smallest of disciplines, practiced every day, start an incredible process that can change our lives forever.”
I have practiced the discipline of being consistent for 40 years. Here’s the proof. Tuesday, August 1, 2023, was an anniversary of sorts. I started working in the flower business for my father as a salesman in his manufacturer’s representative business. I was fresh out of college with a degree in Communication Arts. Little did I know I would still be in the business and come to love and enjoy working in it. For 16 years plus years, I travelled the West Coast calling on wholesale florist and craft distributors, selling flower supplies. I would be gone for weeks at a time, often six months out of the year.
Before this time, I had worked for my father when I was in high school. When he was traveling on business in different parts of his territory, I would drive to the Flower Market in Los Angeles and call on various customers, stocking their shelves of products my father had sold them. Then I would take inventory and present it to the buyer. I learned the ropes by doing the basics of business and it taught me many important lessons about serving customers.
Stocking shelves taught me the importance of rotating inventory and keeping shelves full. This activity also allowed me to see the back stock room where I could observe my products and the competition. I was always trying to keep my backstock neat, numerical, and easy to count. This helped the warehouse workers see my products and pull them if there were similar but competing items to choose from.
My Father had instilled in me that every product I put on the shelf for walk-in sales was a penny in my pocket. In the 1970’s pennies led to dollars, and I like the idea of making money. I later realized what I was doing was not just making money, I was helping my father’s customers become successful by helping them move products out the door.
After the shelves were full and I placed as much product out on the sales floor as possible, I would take inventory for the customer on index cards way before anyone had computers. The cards were divided into what today we would call cells by columns. At the top was the date and along the side was the item number. I would record the current inventory on that date and then hand the cards to the buyer. The buyer would often give me the reorder right then. I would write the order up on an order form pressing hard because there were always three copies; one to leave for the customer, one to mail to the company, and one for my father’s files. When I arrived back to my father’s office, I would fold the orders and address each order for the various companies, place a stamp on the envelopes, and mail them the next day. There were no 800 numbers or fax machines, let alone e-mail or text. I would leave a copy of the orders for my father so he could review them once he arrived back home.
I worked for my father for sixteen years learning about building relationships, helping customers get what they needed when they needed it, and selling myself. I learned and practiced the platinum rule, treating customers how they wanted to be treated. I continued to stock shelves, take inventory, sell what was new, note what was missing, and determine what could make my customer more productive and profitable. It was not always easy, yet I learned to have fun while doing my job which became my passion for serving customers and thereby became my career. Over time I earned a reputation for getting the job done with integrity and respect. My customers would often send me “Thank You” cards for helping them in their success. I treasure these to this day.
Times were changing and after a series of less than favorable events I was recruited to work for a specialty spray paint company located in Boulder, Colorado where I started as the National Accounts Manager and then transitioned into the role of National Sales Manager. I served this company and their customers for 22 years and 10 months before the company was sold and my position was no longer available. It’s a nice way of saying I was terminated.
As good fortune would have it, I was asked to join an internationally renowned sales and importing company allowing me to go back to my roots selling and servicing wholesale distributors on the West Coast. For the last two years and one month I have enjoyed getting back in the trenches, working directly with buyers to provide the best products and service possible. I still stock shelves when needed or take an inventory just to verify what’s in inventory. The years really do fly and the lessons in business and in life have remained consistent. Get up early. Work smarter. Serve customers how they wish to be treated. Find ideas that benefit the customer, the company, and myself. Outwork the competition. Read, write, think, and create to prepare for success. And most importantly be persistent and determined. These actions done consistently over time lead to becoming a success.
As Jim Rohn said, “We suffer one of two things. Either the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.” You’ve got to choose discipline, versus regret, because discipline weighs ounces and regret weighs tons. Be consistent with your positive actions.