What Business Are You In?

“Okay. What business are you in, really?” she asked, with just the hint of a smile in her voice.

Her response to my nearly inaudible answer took me completely by surprise, just as she expected it would.

She continued, The undeniable truth is, you’re in the people business, everything else is secondary.”

A bit thrown off my game, I still managed a feeble reply. “Umm, I see where you’re going, but . . .”

She interrupted, “It’s all about the people, otherwise you’re focused on the wrong target.“

And you know what, she was right!

You’re not in the sales business, marketing business, computer business, or any other business if the people are ignored. Because if people are left out of the equation, there won’t be any business at all.

As much as we like to talk about technology, processes, ideas, and systems, but no matter what line of business you’re in, one thing remains unshakably true:

It’s all about the people.

Many highly successful people, from very diverse walks of life, agree.

Doyle Brunson, celebrated professional poker player gave his personal insight into his consistent, unfailing success over many decades.

“To win as a professional, you must realize that you’re in the people business – while you’re playing cards. The more you know about people, the better your chances of winning.”

Herb Pomeroy, renowned educator and trumpeter of Berkeley College of Music, and widely recognized as the “musician’s musician,” had his own version of the same concept.

“In my early professional years, I thought music was the most important thing. I came to realize that I was wrong. The people are the most important thing.”

Another memorable quote, revealing his underlying philosophy of passion and integrity, attributed to Howard Schultz, Founder and CEO of Starbucks says this.

“We are not in the coffee business serving people, but in the people business serving coffee.”

For me, this was one of those “whack on the side of the head” realizations that happen when you figure out something that you knew all along. But this one is a gemstone!

It’s axiomatic. If you’re actively involved in the game of life – You’re in the people business.

The subtle yet profound wisdom and broad implications of this concept cuts to the core of all selling. You can’t divorce yourself from this truth and hope to succeed over the long run.

Being in the “people business” means that everything you can do to nurture, care for, or help others get along better in life, will inevitably end up helping you as well.

Recognizing and applying this, as one of the natural laws of selling, is as close as you can get to a guarantee of success.

If you’re looking for something to hang your hat on, something you can believe in and depend on, this is it.

Using this principle will focus your thoughts, clarify your purposes, and simplify your actions and efforts, all in the direction of taking care of business where it really matters.

It’s all about the people.

daniel w. jacobs
© 2007 -2030, all rights reserved


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