Monday, April 22, 2013

The Power of Paying Attention

No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.
-          Theodore Roosevelt

If anyone were to ask me, “what’s the key to your success as a salesperson, retail store owner, boss?”, I would answer: listening.  Or, better put, paying attention.

You’ve heard me say it before on this blog: I know my customers, and I’m privileged to do so.  I know their lifestyles, what their homes look like, their kids and parents.  I also know what they care about – the charities and causes and little idiosyncrasies that matter, really matter, to my friends and clients.

But more than just knowing, I care too.  At The Menagerie my marketing budget is 90% charitable giving.  I give to the causes that matter to me and to the causes that matter to my customers.  This isn’t an empty gesture or a cynical ploy.  It’s because I really understand President Roosevelt’s point.  Why should I expect loyalty from my customers if they don’t think I care about them?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if more of business in America operated this way?  In such a way that customers felt cared for and companies made it a point to support the things that matter to their customers.  There are many companies that do this (Whole Foods, founded and headquartered right here in Austin, comes to mind), and I applaud them for it.

I’m not saying we get it perfectly right at The Menagerie.  Of course we don’t; no one can.  But day in and day out, we keep trying.  And that’s part of this quote too.  That’s the part represented by that seemingly insignificant word ‘until’.  The ‘until’ tells us that we don’t stop trying to show we care until we, somehow, get the message across.

And so, I’m up on another Monday morning, getting ready for the week, and looking out for ways to listen, pay attention, and care for those around me.