Paul Castain's Blog

The Sunday Dinner Test

Posted July 18, 2012

This is a guest post from Derek Hoffman, President of Bellatoris Consulting


What’s on tap for this weekend?


David and Victoria invited us over for a cookout.


I thought we’re supposed to get a huge storm on Saturday?


They invited us over for dinner on Sunday.  It’s supposed to be really nice.

– – –

At an early age, I realized the importance of Sunday dinners.  For a short time each week, our busy lives slowed down and we strengthened our bond as a family.  It was a sacred time that wasn’t disturbed by the outside world.

When my wife told me that our friends David and Victoria invited us over for dinner on a Sunday, I was surprised.  I couldn’t remember the last dinner party I went to that wasn’t on a Saturday night.

Prior to that invitation, we’d been to the Beckhams’ house many times.  However, this occasion turned out to be very different.

Maybe it was the fact that we showed up at 3:00 and stayed well into the night (when we had dinner together in the past, we typically started at 5:00 and called it a night at 8:00).

Maybe it was the fact that the house was filled with their extended family (up to that point, we only hung out with our immediate family members).

Maybe it was the fact that they were serving steaks and vintage wines (we usually only had burgers and beers when we ate at each other’s homes).

Maybe it was something deeper than that.

As we left that night, I felt like I had just spent the better part of the day with my family.

That was the difference!  Our bond with the Beckhams had grown to the point where they saw us as members of their family.

While this was a tremendous honor, I asked myself, “How many of my clients would invite me into their home for a Sunday dinner?”

That question prompted me to take a romanticized image of a Sunday dinner and create what I call…wait for it…The Sunday Dinner Test.  This test was designed to determine whether or not I would be worthy of an invitation to a family’s sacred weekly gathering.

For each of my clients, I decided to think about the relationship I had forged with them.  I came up with the following questions to see if I would pass their Sunday Dinner Test (assuming they had one):

1)      Am I positive?  (Is my energy infectious?)

2)      Am I genuine?  (Do I show them the real Derek Hoffman?)

3)      Am I caring?  (Do I give a damn about who they are as a person?)

4)      Am I supportive?  (Have I been there when they needed me?)

5)      Am I gracious?  (Can I look past their flaws and mistakes?)

While there may be other dimensions that would be incorporated into your Sunday Dinner Test, I think this gives you an idea of where my head is.  (Feel free to share some of your Sunday Dinner standards in the comment section below!)

What about you?

How many of your customers/clients wouldn’t think twice about inviting you to their home for a Sunday dinner?

(P.S. – The names of my friends MAY have been changed to protect the innocent.)

Derek Hoffman is the President of Bellatoris Consulting, the author of The Sales Tax Insight Blog and the host of The Only Tax Podcast If you found value in Derek’s guest post, please hook a brother up and forward his contact information to your CFO

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