Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Have a Good Day, Honey..I'm off to Help

My wife collects Heinz Silver, Pez and hand carved bunnies. I collect "Thank-Yous." She's a collector, because I am.

The most important question in business is, "Have I helped you?" The most rewarding answer is "Yes, thank you." My wife's ability to indulge in her hobbies is an incidental, yet automatic by-product of my devotion to my collection.

It really doesn't matter what business you are in, or what product or service you represent. Someone thought of, or replicated that product or service because he or she believed it would help someone get something they wanted or needed. It would make the target constituent's life, business, day, minute better in some way. It has value because it enhances an experience of some kind for the customer. How you think about that which you represent, and what its intended purpose is, will be a most important determinant of your degree of success. It's more important than your territory, commission rate, competition or anything else you can think of, except your determination to help others benefit by making use of it. The uncommon achiever leaves his office well prepared and enthused not because it's another day to make sales, but rather because the new day brings fresh opportunities to help other people be more successful in their lives. Helping someone else to the top of the hill, gets you that much closer to it as well.

Human behavior and time have created an apathy, if not hostile barrier, between Buyer and Seller. Long before there were pockets, buyers were keeping their hands over where their pockets would have been to protect their purses (a gender-neutral term in years gone by). Except for remarkable and uncommon sales people, the guy with the sample bag coming through the door is "out to sell something," and everyone on the other side of the door knows it and counts the minutes until the seller leaves.

But there are rare performers as well. They walk through the door with a different purpose and they get different results. If one of these special performers has a product for a retailer to resell, he is attuned to the retailer's need to provide for his family, send his kids to college, and put something aside for retirement. The retailer toils to fulfill his dreams and the uncommon achiever is in the dreams-fulfillment business. "Mr. Jones, I can and want to help you build your business. My challenge is to get you to let me help you do that." Pretty corny, huh? Sure, so don't say it to the retailer but say it over and over to yourself until it becomes muscle memory and you behave accordingly. It's not how many people I can sell today, it's how many people can I help today?

"Emily, what does your daddy do?"
"He helps people make smart decisions about personal transportation."
"Oh, he sells cars?"

What do you collect?

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