Today’s podcast is the second half of our conversation about Graff-Pinkert’s business in 2021. I particularly liked this part of the conversation because we dug deeper into our approaches to selling machinery, talking to people, and one of our favorite subjects—how to find serendipity.
Lloyd says one thing he wants improve on as a machinery dealer is his tolerance for risk. He believes taking gambles on used equipment is the key to being successful and having fun in the machinery business. Noah asks Lloyd if his willingness to take risks has waned now that Graff-Pinkert is not in debt for the first time in a while. After a moment of reflection, Lloyd says he still wants to take risks and that risk taking is what enabled Graff-Pinkert to get out of debt. Also, he is pleased to say he now sleeps better at night because he is less worried about keeping the machinery business afloat.
Noah says he is working on getting to know customers more in-depth when they contact Graff-Pinkert. He says it is easy to allow phone conversations to remain merely transactional, only talking about what machines customers are looking for or what they want to sell. In his experience, spending extra time to really get to know people leads to learning important things about business and the world in general. He believes the more information he gathers about a customer, the more chances for serendipitous opportunities—lucky breaks. Also, spending extra time to get to know customers can lead to rewarding relationships that can pay dividends long-term.
Lloyd says he admires Noah’s conversations and often finds them fascinating to listen to, but he feels he doesn’t have enough energy to have a lot of long phone conversations. His brain is constantly consumed with trying to piece together clever deals. “Connecting the dots,” he calls it. He marvels that all three of his children have careers that revolve around having in-depth conversations. His daughter Sarah is a rabbi and son Ari is a therapist.
Noah says he wants to work on talking a little bit more during conversations, rather than remaining passive the entire time. While it is great to be an attentive listener and question asker, he says participating more actively is helpful to bring out new important information and create stronger bonds. He tries to use “serendipity hooks,” a phrase coined by Christian Busch, the author of the book The Serendipity Mindset, who he interviewed on a podcast. Serendipity hooks are various statements one inserts into a conversation to spur new discussions. For instance, one person in a conversation could mention they love a certain book or they are passionate about a certain hobby, which then could create a new interesting connection between people.
Lloyd ponders the idea that he likes blogging because it gives him a chance to express himself. He says to Noah that he is disappointed when he doesn’t get any comments on what he writes, interpreting that means the piece didn’t leave an impression on readers. For both men, connecting with readers/listeners, clients, and especially with each other, helps make life meaningful.
Question: What are you working on in your professional life?