I'm always looking for something to inspire me to sit down at this thing and hammer out a blog. Whether at work, at the gym, drinking establishments, restaurants, anywhere with human presence. For our own kind is often the most effective transmitter of emotion and feelings. We can relate, we can empathize, and form opinions and thoughts more accurately than if we were examining an amoeba or plant, or object.
Today at the gym in downtown San Jose, while overlooking a pedestrian promenade in the middle of the city, adorned with strolling pedestrians and draped in the glowing cascade of Christmas lights and decor I was engaged in a deep session of people watching. Across from the gym, lies a "Ye Olde Kettle Korn" tent, with a older, heavy set man the sole proprietor and salesperson on this frigid evening. As i studied his movements and demeanor I became increasingly enamored with how he operated his business. The man was meticulous. He was a calculated mass of kinetic motion circling the ten square foot space, and he was unrelenting in his effort to maintain order in the world of exploding kernels.
He would pour seed into the large bin, then swivel precisely around the ingredients table to open a new bag of corn, then back to the kernel bin, then around to the mixing machine, and repeat this process over and over. Once the corn was well underway en route to popping, he fixed his focus on the front display, two wooden tables, draped in a green cloth, both stacked high with perfectly executed 6 bag pyramids of his delectable holiday treats. He would constantly reshuffle the bags, ensuring their uniform alignment, often massaging each to keep the kernels from attaching to one another and then step back, arms crossed, eyes narrowed and study his work and then grin in satisfaction. Often, a group of pedestrians would stop by the booth to taste a sample. The man would break into a wildly animated sales approach, pointing feverishly at his magical corn popping contraptions, holding up the cans of caramel, gazing to the sky to express his special process. And more often than not the stalled group would slowly reach for their wallets, walking away with one, sometimes more large bags of his tasty corn confections. Each time, not more than ten seconds after their departure the man would snap back into his obsessive organizational state and begin re-stacking, re shuffling and re-aligning the pyramid perfections he demanded.
The owner of this business had an extreme amount of PRIDE in his product. It was infectious. No matter how small, how simplistic, how seasonal this business venture was to the outside world, to him it was his own, and if you stood there and watched this man for a mere matter of minutes it would become absolutely obvious to you as well.
I found myself for a brief moment envious of the popcorn purveyor. He seemed content, fulfilled, and accomplished in how he operated and controlled every facet of his commercial venture. He knew his product from field to kernel. He enjoyed selling people on the joy and delight he was providing. He made a commitment to himself and to his customers to ensure that he provided emotional value and physical satisfaction through his bags of Kettle Korn and they appreciated him for that.
Perhaps we can all stand to learn a little something from this man and his business. For every one of us has, or will have a similar role in our lives. Where we stand behind something, put our seal, our name on it and attempt to convince others to realize what we believe, what we must believe. That our product or service provides a benefit to them, and not a profit to us. Whether you are a entrepreneur or an executive, the pride you instill within yourself, the belief you create in what it is that you do, will absolutely overflow onto the consumer base you are serving.
Too often we lose ourselves in seek of our own individual gains. We see our customers as dollar signs and not equals. By mastering your product, by developing and understanding the true value of what you do, you in essence complete the bulk of the sale entirely on your own before you even engage your intended customer. For someone who can visually see, or hear, or feel the pride you have in your product, can very easily relate to what it is you believe.
And why ? Because we are human, because we understand one another. Tonight I knew by looking at this simple Kettle Korn vendor operate his business for five minutes how much it meant to him, how much pride he had in the work he was performing and to me, no free sample could have ever been as equally appetizing.
Do your best to love what you do, and people will take notice. If you can't, do something else, and fast.