(Time to read this Blog article is about 60 seconds)

Most businesses make the mistake of defining themselves by what they sell…and their focus is on their need to sell more of it. But when you shift your thinking and define yourself by how you make a difference in your customers’ lives, you start to build powerful emotional connections that create customer ‘ownership’.

As we’re well into the ‘gardening season’ here in North America, here’s a gardening-related example of what I’m talking about here.  My Mother loved gardening, but in her 70s she pulled a muscle in her back and had to give up gardening for the season.  So, she hired an elderly Japanese gardener who did work for many of our neighbors whose gardens Mother admired.   

Mother loved her garden and knew every flower in it.  After a few weeks, she started noticing new plants appearing.  When she questioned the new gardener, he explained, “Oh, Mrs. Cooper, you have so many coreopsis daisies but you have no Sweet William.  Mrs. Murray around the corner has so much Sweet William but no coreopsis.  So I gave her some of your daisies and I brought you some of her Sweet William.” 

You have so many irises, but Mrs. Hooks has none.  She has too many peonies, and you have none.  So I gave you some of her peonies and I gave Mrs. Hooks some of your irises.  And now the whole neighborhood is more beautiful, right?” 

Most so-called gardeners cut the grass, do a little edge trimming and that’s about it.  That’s how they define themselves.  But this gentleman defined himself by how he made a difference in his customers’ lives. He defined himself as being in the business of making entire neighborhoods more beautiful.  And I guarantee you that he loves what he does, that he feels good at the end of every day and that he keeps as busy as he wants to be based on enthusiastic references from delighted customers. 

So, do you just sell stuff?  Or are you on a passionate mission to make your customers’ lives better, more productive, more convenient or more beautiful in some way by transplanting information, help, ideas, possibilities and joy?  Whatever business you’re in, define yourself by how you make a difference in people’s lives…and then keep looking for more innovative and amazing ways to make that difference.

This simple shift in thinking will create energy, passion and purpose in your business and your life…and in every life you touch.  It will make a difference far beyond that achieved by simply defining yourself by ‘the stuff’ that you sell. 

Note: To enquire about Donald’s business speaking and coaching for your company or industry Association, contact us at donald@donaldcooper.com

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