I am always talking about sharing good information with your customers so that you can position yourself as a trusted expert in the industry, but today I am going to talk about how sharing matters in a much deeper way.
This is what happened to me a few weeks ago.
I was just winding down my day when the doorbell rang. I tripped over my barking “girls” to get to the door, fully expecting it to be one of my neighbors looking for a cup of sugar (yes, we still do that here in suburbia). When I opened the door, it was a young man dressed in a long-sleeved shirt, khakis and tie. “Oh,” I thought. “Here we go. He wants to sell me something.” But despite putting up my guard to not purchase anything, I stepped outside to listen to what he had to say.
And I am glad I did.
He was selling magazines as part of his “step” program, with the purpose of learning how to speak to others (without being nervous), being professional, answering questions, and yes, even putting a little money in his pocket so he could begin the next phase of his life. (For him, it was to go to school for IT.)
The story he shared was brief – he grew up on the wrong side of town – but it became a powerful story as he filled out my order form. (Yes, I am a softy; I totally caved and purchased a subscription to donate to the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster.) He shared with me one particular piece of his journey: he was excited to share that just the previous week, he’d learned how to tie a necktie. He said he’d never been taught this skill before. Imagine that. A mid-20s guy never knowing how to tie a necktie until his mentor showed him how.
This little tidbit hit home with me on a very personal level. I was raised and surrounded by boys. I had my mom (until about age 17 before circumstance took her out of being an active part of my life), but my neighbors were boys, most of the cousins I grew up around were boys, and I have a brother. I spent my childhood playing with Star Wars figurines ( I was always Leia), running around the yard playing flashlight tag, and building campfires – but the girl stuff, not so much. In my younger years, my mom taught me how to do many household chores (cook, bake, iron), but there was certainly more to learn. Sometimes I find that even the most basic lessons were never “taught” to me, and when I ask another female, I usually am looked at like I have five heads. That’s okay – I am used to it.
So I understood how the young man would be excited to have found someone who was kind enough to teach him how to tie a necktie – and give him another step in becoming the professional he wants to be. It is the same way I felt when one of my girlfriends taught me about moisturizing my face so I don’t look (as) old and wrinkly as I could.
Sometimes the information you share makes a difference on a much deeper level.
You may intuitively know to use an oil-brush with oil-based paint, or to check 2×4 boards for warps prior to purchase, but someone else might not.
For example, when Jason and I built our home, this was our first home. We didn’t have a clue as to how to fix things – and quite frankly, this is why we built a new home and didn’t purchase a fixer-upper. We moved into our home on August 31 and by the following Memorial Day weekend, our AC wasn’t working. Why? Yup. That pesky little air filter (see video here). When the HVAC contractor came calling and pulled out the mutilated and black air filter, did he look at us like we were stupid? You betcha. But we were never told/taught/shown! We don’t live near our families, so it isn’t like our dads were coming by once a month to help us figure out this homeowner stuff. How would we know?
It may be a little detail to you that you think all homeowners know, but maybe they don’t. Sharing basic information could make a world of difference to someone who grew up without someone to teach them these things.
The next time you write your newsletter article, blog post or shoot a video to share on your YouTube channel, take a step back and think about one basic detail that you can share with someone – and then share it. Don’t do it for the “know, like and trust” factor or because it will set you apart from your competitors … do it because it could very well make a difference in someone’s life.
Speaking of sharing … I’ve got something for you!
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