Paying attention is such a common phrase that we rarely stop to consider the financial impact of its meaning. In business there are many ways we pay people: with our money, our loyalty, our repeat business. But our most valuable resource is, without doubt, our time. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Indeed, time and attention are the greatest gifts a person can give to another.
When a new business first opens its doors, it usually has a surplus of time and a shortage of income. The way to turn this around is to use our time to help and serve our potential customers — to solve their problems and address their needs and wants. Business consultant Rob Hatch says, “We need to earn the right to sell.” And the way we earn that right is by giving them our precious time and our full attention.
I love that phrase “the right to sell” because it implies what business truly should be about: the privilege to serve another human being. Say what you will, but all business is personal. Very much so.
When we pay our customers with our attention, they will reciprocate by paying us with their money. In other words, we “buy” their patronage and loyalty with our attentiveness. The customer, in turn, “buys” us our living by giving us their money. We support them, they support us. It’s as simple as that.
Take a good look at your business. If you’re not doing as well as you’d like, you probably haven’t been paying good enough attention.