During a recent trip, I was helping a relative who is in need get a bus pass. It’s been many years since I’ve had to get a bus pass myself so I was not familiar with the process.
While we were standing there, I was completely unaware that we were being watched. I was explaining to my relative that I didn’t really know what I was doing. The cost of the bus pass was $25, all I had was a $20 bill and a $10. I put both bills in and change came out not in bills but in actual coins. I asked my relative”What the hell is this”? He explained to me that it was dollar bills in the form of coins. We got a slight laugh and started to collect the coins. Before I could turn around, a man came up to me from nowhere and asked if I had any change to spare.
I was completely caught off guard, I could not use my usual excuses about not having change. It was obvious that he saw me put money in machine and he saw the change returned. This was an awkward circumstance for me. There was a part of me that felt like I was being stalked and used and another part that gave me yet another perspective on business. I was not impressed with his tactics when I thought of it in the business realm, and it was not a win/win situation. My entire job was to give him money and help him. Do you look at your clients like this? Are you just looking for money to pay your bills or are you thinking of a benefit for them too?
When we think about business, it is always a good idea first and foremost to utilize our passion then find a hole then fill it. Something that OTHERS need and that we can provide not the other way around something that WE need and THEY can provide. We are in business to serve a porpose, not ourselves. If you are in business to serve yourself you will have the neverending job of seeking out new clients because the old ones will not return. What’s the possibility that I will go back to the bus station and look for that man to give him more spare change? It’s not going to happen but this is what long-term success is based on. This panhandler had a great idea. He saw an opportunity and seized it. I was being watched and didn’t know it and he was watching for an opportunity. He may have heard excuses time and again,”I don’t have any change” and here he found a way to shut that down before asking for money. I still could have said no, but being the giving person that I am, I gave him a couple of dollars anyway.
What’s the lesson in all of this? Make sure you bring something to the table, and not just come to eat. The goal is repeat clients who love your business so much they come to YOU.