Yesterday was Valentine’s Day
Over 2.5 billion emails were sent.
Florists sold 6 foot tall roses grown 10,000 feet above sea level.
Pet owners in the US spent $815M on little PhePhe.
2.16 million lovers tied the knot.
212,946 babies were born.
And while all that was going on, a small company in Vancouver had their biggest day ever.
(Yup, it was Spokal’s busiest day of 2013!)
Since it was the holiday of love, it got me thinking…
Do you love what you do?
I was in a French bakery in the West End a few weeks ago, and I was surprised by my visit. It was one of those authentic experiences you can’t replicate.
The girl serving me wasn’t pretending to be French. She was French. Her accent wasn’t scripted, it was who she was.
As a side note, it reminded me no matter how effective the big guys are at streamlining processes, gaining economies of scale and making cookie cutter chains/products, they will never be as good as small businesses at being themselves.
Because a big business isn’t one person, it’s many people. And to make sure everyone upholds the same company values, they have to streamline the brand, and to a lesser extent, the people.
Few have been able to scale personality (exceptions clearly being Zappos) and that’s why I believe small businesses will never disappear – small businesses don’t have to “fake and scale” personality, they just have to be themselves.
Back to the bakery
I was exploring the pastry window.
Instead of reading ingredients off a chart and going through “the shpeal,” she was so excited to show me what they baked that she bubbled away as she highlighted her favourite treats and what occasions they were perfect for and which ones were the most popular and how I can get mini treats to sample more and…
She had my undivided attention for 5 minutes, without trying. Why?
Because she loves what she does.
I got a mini-cheesecake. It was good. I wish it was the best cheesecake I ever had, it wasn’t.
That’s not the point.
If I bought it anywhere else I may not go back. But I enjoyed the experience and the story I told myself about who I was after shopping at that French bakery – and because of that, I will go back.
As Seth Godin famously said, “Marketing is about giving your customer a story they can tell themselves that they believe is true.”
If you’re thinking, “That’s nice Alexandra. But I’m an accountant/foot therapist/internal medicine nutritionist, and that’s not as loveable as cheesecake. How does this apply my business?”
Check out this video.
Kenny is one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve seen in a while. And he doesn’t sell exciting things. He sells cleaning products.
He shows us that it doesn’t matter what you do. If you love it (or the end goal of it – in his case going to school), your passion will sell it.
So where am I going with this?
If you’re in business for yourself, the next time someone chats with you about what you do or sell or make, invite them into your world.
Share your passion. Passion sells.
Share your story. Stories sell.
Be the baker who sells a mini-cheesecake because she loves them.
As a small business owner your biggest advantage is you, so be yourself.
Let your customers know who you are and why you love doing what you do. You may be surprised to find out how easy it is to turn a first visit customer into a lifetime customer simply by inviting them to share the journey.