How We Turn Beer Into Impact

BigBeerTestI call it the beer test. Some of our creatives have tried to get me to call it the beverage test, but I’m not buying that. It was and is the beer test in my world. Every single Fervor client passed it in order to actually be a client. I’m not talking about knowing about beer, I’m talking about having a conversation over a beer. Drinking it, and talking. A real get to know you kind of conversation.

To be fair, some had whisky and others had wine (we even sub in great coffee at times). Nevertheless a drink was had. If a relationship was to be started, it started with a beer. Why do we do this? I’m glad you asked.

Back in my days of climbing one particular corporate ladder, I loved monthly sales meetings because I got to report on my team’s results. We always killed it. We were never less than 113% for 23 months straight. But when I would talk about how many new customers we were signing up, my boss (who is now my mentor) would always lay the same perplexing, yet compelling, question on me: “Any good ones?”

Any good ones!?! Was he insane? Didn’t he just hear how we crushed our goals?! Wasn’t that the point?

Nope.

The point was, and still is, making sure that we get the right people to sign up. It’s about connecting with the ideal client who will love us and what we do for them — happy customers use the products and pay their bill, joyfully. They are the ones we want to do life with, even after the work is done.

That’s where the beer test comes in. It’s my way of asking, “Any good ones?” It’s my job to make sure we serve the right clients. These are the ones who need what we offer, who we can impact and who will in turn make a huge impact in the lives of their employees, customers, donors, patients, advocates and the world.

If we take just anyone who walks through the door, how do we serve them well? The short answer is, we really won’t. We serve our clients best when we can get behind what they are doing. It’s when we like them, as people, for who they are.

The first step is to decide if we would have a drink with them on our own time if we had the choice. If that’s true, then we can move to helping them and truly caring about their business, their hopes and their impact. Without the beer test we’re just order-takers looking for anyone with a checkbook. The beer test exists to keep us honest about who we serve best and honest about how we’d rather live and work. Plus we do like great beers (or wine, whiskey and coffee).

It’s not about beer at all.

The beer test isn’t really about the beer at all. It’s about the people who happen to be drinking the beer. It’s about the communion forged over the beer — or the wine, the cocktail, the lunch, the dinner, the coffee, the tea, whatever. In order to be about relationships we must actually start a relationship. That’s the heart of strong businesses as well — real, authentic relationships.

What’s more, I use this same test in making hiring decisions. Sit there and tell me that stodgy interviews are the way to really find and have the best talent on your team . . . I think not.

Go on, take a look at the clients (and creatives) God has given us to serve and tell me this isn’t working. I can honestly say that I like all of our clients. Not sure that I could’ve ever said that in my corporate days.

Perhaps a beer test doesn’t fit your model of business but my guess is that you are with it enough to come up with your own version that will make sure you have the best possible clients (and employees) in your business.