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Thought Leaders Unpacked -> What the Dog Saw #1: The Pitchman

thought-leadersWe’re making a mistake. I’m making a mistake. A big fat ol’ gnarly mistake.

Our mistake is to think our professional story is about us. My mistake is to think that my professional story is about me.

My skills, my resume, my experience, my competence, my insights, my ideas, my appearance, my efforts. If only I were more aggressive. If only I were better connected. If only I were more organized. If only What-the-Dog-SawI were less like me and more like so-and-so (insert name of who you are measuring yourself against here), I’d be more successful.

Success, though, is not about me. Success is about you. “You” being the others in the equation, in your market, your circles, your family.

Or so we glean in Gladwell’s first chapter of What the Dog Saw. What the other person is trying to accomplish. Where they are trying to go. What they need. What they feel. What they want.

Success, so to speak, is in understanding the other person’s story and being able to articulate how you, your product or your services enhance and belong within that story.

The power of Ron Popeil’s story lies in his making his products understandable to people. The products were the star of his sales efforts not him. When people saw Popeil’s kitchen gadgets, they saw themselves.

At first read, I must admit I wasn’t inspired by this first story of Gladwell’s book. “This is sure a lot of verbiage dedicated to the eccentric hawking techniques of a niche salesperson.”

But the more I reflect, I am taken by Popeil’s freedom to get out of the way as he introduced people to his products. As with any successful matchmaking, the matchmaker cannot remain in the middle of the relationship if the relationship is to succeed.

What sort of matchmaker are you? Matching your services to customers needs. Matching your parenting to your children’s development needs. Is the subject what you do or what your customers are trying to do? Your authority being respected or your child’s well-being being enhanced?

What do you think? What was your main take-away from this chapter?

Each Friday I post my reflections from one chapter of What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. Join the discussion now, and contribute your thoughts, reactions and insights here! Catch up on the entire series here.

Here's My Thought...

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