Jerry the Pharmacist – Focus groups with millionaire-next-door types are always interesting. Participants in one particular focus group I conducted had to have a financial net worth of at least $5 million. At the onset, I asked each respondent to introduce themselves and briefly profile their vocations. First there was a man who produced scientific instruments. Then there was a man who owned parking lots and warehouses. Then there was a very wealthy scrap metal dealer. And on and on until I called on the last respondent. Jerry said, “I’m a pharmacist. I run sort of a ma and pa old fashioned pharmacy.” Everyone in the room glared at Jerry, unable to believe that he had investments of over $5 million. Then he said, “But I do other things. I’m a business broker.”
Earlier in his career, Jerry and his wife thought about selling the pharmacy. They worked long and hard hours and were not generating anywhere near a big league income. Jerry’s discomfort sometimes spilled over in his abrupt handling of customers’ questions. Consequently his wife insisted that he take a Dale Carnegie course which, according to Jerry, was the major contributor to his financial success.
Upon finishing the course, he would ask all of his customers such key questions as, how is your family, how is your job, how is your business. Then he would listen intently. He quickly discovered that many of his customers owned businesses. Some of these customers were interested in selling their businesses; others were in the buying mode. Thereafter, Jerry became a clearing house for buyer/seller inquiries. But as an amatuer matchmaker he wasn’t making any money. That’s why he eventually became a licensed business broker.
This role was more interesting, exciting and profitable than being a pharmacist. But Jerry did not give up his “day job.” To do so would eliminate his main source of information about who wants to buy and/or sell, who needs a loan, who can make a loan, who needs an accountant, a lawyer, etc. Jerry’s customers were his database.
I would love to take credit for Jerry’s extraordinary ability to network since I wrote a book about it. But Jerry had never heard of me or any of my books! However, he intuitively understood (with some help from Dale Carnegie) that his customers had needs beyond prescriptions being filled.