Neil Alcala, CEO and owner of DirectPay for the last 20 years, processes credit cards and places ecommerce solutions for coaches, speakers, trainers, infomarketers, and other professionals to get paid for their services.
I’ve personally witnessed Neil’s generosity throughout the years, as a CEO and a person, with no concern for receiving anything back. “Kindness is ingrained in our culture at DirectPay,” he told me. “It’s not something that we actively measure, but one of the things that we really focus on is when you call or contact DirectPay, we treat you as a person, a person needing assistance, needing help. Whether it is for our service or even a competitor’s, if we have the capacity to assist you, that is what we are going to do. That is the foundation of how we operate at DirectPay.”13
As Neil spoke, I couldn’t help but recall that pivotal scene in the classic holiday movie Miracle on 34th Street when the Macy’s Santa Claus instructed harried mothers to find the most popular toys at Gimble’s, a known rival of the department store super giant. The idea that a Macy’s employee would send a customer to a competitor and drive away a sale was preposterous to store managers—at first. But right before
Santa is to be fired one of the mothers thanks him for putting good spirit back into the holidays and vows to do all her shopping at Macy’s. Neil reminded me of what it really means to be at one’s service.
There are many times when a small business owner calls DirectPay accidentally, unaware that their shopping carts are serviced by another provider. “We will still assist them the best we can anyway,” explained Neil. “We believe in supporting small businesses—period. It may take some extra time, but we are committed to helping them.”14
It is no different than if a stranger stops you in the middle of the street and asks you for directions. “If you know the way,” says Neil, “you will share that information. If you don’t, maybe you will stop another person for help or look on your phone, or take the person to the nearest point you can. It’s the same way at a DirectPay.”15
This good will and kindness has increased the intimate connections (the trust and reliability the company is known for) between not only their own customers, but the competitors who get wind of DirectPay’s assistance to noncustomers. As a result, DirectPay processes about 3.25 billion dollars a year for its clients and has grown despite a recession and credit crunch, while their peers have had a retraction in their business. This is why most people assume that Neil would want to keep his currencies of kindness a secret in order to keep the other sharks at bay, and perhaps beach them for good. On the contrary, kindness is so ingrained and institutionalized in Neil’s mission that he sets out to help and support future entrepreneurs, even helping build brands that might one day directly compete with DirectPay. At first one would think Neil is out of his mind. What kind of corporate sabotage is he going for exactly? But Neil reminds us that it comes back to that biological desire and need to bond with one another.
In 2016, Neil implemented a new program internally working with StonyBrook University on Long Island, located 15 minutes away from DirectPay’s offices. The idea is to work with their school of business, encouraging students to apply for a fulltime position at DirectPay for a fiveyear contracted term. DirectPay will then train the graduates, send them for certification programs, get them up to speed in the coaching, speaking, and infomarketing worlds, and encourage them to start their own businesses. Why the fiveyear contract? Neil explains, “We want them to be able to say, ‘Hey, I’ve started a business with the help of DirectPay.’ Our goal is to spin off a new company every six months. It’s their company; I don’t have any ownership. I just want to add a new business to the U.S. market, and who better to start a business than someone with a passion and energy and excitement fresh out of college?”16 And each new business launched with be onedegree of separation from DirectPay, and that is some mighty network!
Additionally Neil explains that entrepreneurs in training at DirectPay are an added value to its clients because their employees then understand the experiences their clients have gone through or are going through in their businesses. “If you are on the phone with an individual who has started their own business, and you have never tried it, it is very difficult to understand their point of view.”17
We will talk much more about how kindness can be used as a major support mechanism for competitors and colleagues in Chapter 6 when I introduce to you Berny Dorhmann, founder of CEO Space International, but for now I can’t underscore enough how this story of building and supporting others, creating network connections, and providing empathy are pathways for profit that we can all embark on.
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