FAIRFIELD — Being on the City Council may yield power and influence, but it doesn’t pay the bills.
No worry for Councilman Steve Lessler. Several local businesses have already ponied up for what he’s offering through the business-development company he recently put together, aptly called The Lessler Group.
So how does he generate business for his clients?
Lessler explained.”I go out and talk to businesses throughout the community, and I present them the services my clients have to offer. I talk to the companies about what their needs are,” he said. “It’s been very well received. Companies have been calling me up saying, ‘I need. Find me something.’ And I do.”
In other words, Lessler sells the services of service providers, in effect acting as an in-house marketing department while providing a free service to businesses which need the services of his paying clients. If they need services not represented in his client portfolio, he’ll find companies that do, he said.
In short, Lessler aspires to be Mr. Service.
Of course, the possibility for conflicts of interest is great with his position on the council, which he will pursue again in the next election. For that reason, he runs all his clients past the city attorney just to be safe, he said.”
I always err on the side of caution for the business community,” he said. “If it doesn’t feel right, I won’t do it.”
Some types of business simply present too many possibilities for conflicting interests. As a council member, Lessler likely would have to vote on approving a project of one of his clients if they were in commercial real estate, for instance.”
That’s the most likely for a conflict, and that’s an area I’m avoiding,” he said.The business has already enjoyed success in its first month of operation, adding three clients in June alone, he said.
Owner of Express Personnel Services, Rosa Phillips spoke of the value her business has received in the short time as a Lessler client.
” He’s the reason I’m so busy,” she said. “I am just so impressed. He has an excellent concept.”
For Fairfield’s Credit Bureau Associates, Lessler has expanded its marketing vision, going after larger customers in Northern California, well outside of its previous territory of Solano County, owner Kathy Parsons said.
” Sales people have a tendency to go back to the friendliest customer instead of testing new waters. He’s helped the sales people look at the larger picture,” she said.
Despite her initial success with Lessler, Parsons isn’t sure whether she will renew the six-month contract with The Lessler Group when it expires. While his service has “re-energized” her sales staff, the increased fees Lessler recently contacted her about might cause her to assess whether using him on a six-month basis every two years or so would work just as well.
” That’s what I am looking at. It’s like a shot in the arm,” she said.
Just starting out, Lessler wasn’t sure about the amount of time he’d spend working for a client, and once he got into it wound up spending a bit more, Phillips explained.
” In a couple of months I have seen the value to pay him a bit more,” she added.
By: Daniel Kerr @ firstname.lastname@example.org