My mother was born in 1929 – when the stock market crashed, when food was more valuable than most other things, when life was hard. When Christmas came one year (she was little and can’t remember the year) all she got was this little bear. Her brother Paul got a small truck. That was it. No chocolate, no oranges, no brightly wrapped presents, no stocking – just a bear. When we moved her from her house to the nursing home, she made sure we didn’t forget this tiny bear. Now, every so often, she will ask “Where is my bear?”
This bear resides in my house now. It’s a vibrant reminder to consider what is really important. Her parents had nothing. Who knows what they did to get just a little money to buy two gifts for their children. But they knew that it was important they showed their love that year in the face of a tiny bear.
As we go about our daily lives, do we consider what is really important? What if we led the day with giving our gifts to our friends, our customers, our family? A smile, a genuine question, a hug – these all work. What if we asked our customers a different question other than “how can I help you?” We could ask them about their day, if they need ideas for what they might be shopping for, about their families, simply strike up a conversation. Show them you are genuinely interested in them.
It requires that you pay attention to the answers and not be all tied up in giving them information they may not want. Really listen. I think that’s the key – listen to what your customers want. Then give it to them.