“The Market for Something to Believe In Is Infinite." - Hugh Macleod
If you attend a River Dogs baseball game in Charleston, SC (home of the New York Yankees Single “A” farm team), you’ll no doubt encounter a man named “Tony the Peanut Man” selling peanuts. He’s an older gentleman with a smile as wide as the distance between first and third base. He bounds through the park with energy and life, while families and friends buy his peanuts in mass quantities.
Are his peanuts simply better than everyone else? Probably not, but it makes no difference because we aren’t really buying peanuts. We’re buying Tony. We’re buying the passion and the humanity Tony brings to his business. He’s impossible to ignore. He’s infectious and loveable. “Tony the Peanut Man” walks up and down the ballpark and you feel the connection. There is no you and I, only “we”. You could be stuck in your head after the worst day possible, and then you cross paths with the Peanut Man and are immediately disarmed. Think Tony believes in the limits of selling peanuts, or the limits of his place in the world? Not as much as you and I do.
Tony has his own booking agent! How? Communities and people are desperately searching for the genuine, human, transparent, and real. You don’t get much more transparent than “Tony the Peanut Man”. He stands out in a sea of self-serving marketing speak.
Ask yourself this - What do you believe in? Capture that essence. Express that in your work and watch what happens. It’s not easy. It requires courage and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone.
When people come face-to-face with their “calling”, I often quote this Native American passage given to children at the time of their initiation into adulthood.
“As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm.
It is not as wide as you think.”
If you’re looking to grow your business, understand that at a core level it’s not about merit or the quality of your service. It’s about your clarity of purpose and your passion for that vision. People buy your genuineness. It’s your gift that attracts people in droves.
Think about it for a moment.
I want a therapist who oozes empathy and presence, a Yoga instructor who journey’s inward at levels I could not possibly imagine. Heck…I want an exterminator who will talk to me for hours about the eating habits of cockroaches unless I cut him off. I don’t want a “punch the clock” guy or a “find a safe path” woman. I want the real deal.
Communicate your mission with conviction and you’ll be selling your services as fast as Tony brings a smile to the faces of children at the ballpark. And, as with Tony, they’ll remember you forever.
David P. Diana is a counselor, author, and a director for a behavioral healthcare organization. He writes a weekly blog on sales and marketing for counselors (www.davidpdiana.com)