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Two Kinds of People: A Simple but Powerful Truth

When it comes to your business, there are two kinds of people (and organizations) in this world: Those you can help, and those you can’t.

It really is that simple.

Focus on those you can help.

They are the ones who will bring positive energy into your life and business, and they are the foundation of a thriving (a.k.a. profitable) business… because they recognize they need your help and they’ll keep coming back time and time again for all the help you have to offer (and most will gladly pay you for it — that’s the “thriving business” part).

That’s great. Now how do I find them?

It’s not so difficult.

1. Monitor feedback.

Comments from clients, from event attendees, from customers who buy your products, from people who read your ezine, etc. will help you put individuals in the “can help” and “can’t help” columns (based on whether the feedback is positive or negative).

2. Keep an eye on all of your client/customer activity.

Not everyone will give you explicit feedback, so observe transactional trends. For example, track referrals and spin-offs generated from each speaking engagement. Track customers and see who is buying the most product. (And in contrast, who is returning the most.) Those are “can help” and “can’t help” identifiers — so again, put people (and organizations) into columns.

3. Create profiles of the “can help” and “can’t help” people and organizations based on the trends you discover in #1 and #2.

We’ve got individual people and organizations in the “can help” and “can’t help” columns now, but ultimately, we want to categorize groups instead of individuals. Over time, you’ll see that a lot of the “can help” people and organizations have similar characteristics. Same for those in the “can’t help” column. It may come down to demographics. It may come down to industry. One way or another, there will be trends. As an example, maybe you’ll discover that “Real Estate Professionals in the Northeast” are clearly in your “can help” category.

Now what do you do?

Invest all of your energy in taking care of those in the “can help” category.

That means all of your content development, product development, marketing and customer service initiatives are directed toward people and organization who fit the “can help” profiles you created in #3 above.

Invest ZERO time and energy in those in the “can’t help” category.

This may be difficult at first, but just remind yourself that energy you invest in those you can’t help is taking away from those you can help — those who really want your help. When you see a “can’t help” come along, just tell them up front, “I’m not the best solution for you… but you might want to check out Option X.” It’s what’s best for you, and it’s what’s best for them.

But I might be turning down some money.

Yes, that’s true. I’m not saying that those in the “can’t help” category will never buy from you. But if they’re really in the “can’t help” category — I’m not talking about people who started there and have now moved into the “can help” category — they’re most likely not going to be thrilled with what you do for them anyway. It’s probably going to be a one-and-done deal.

Not bad, but not the best. And we’re going for the best here.

When you find and work with those who are clearly in your “can help” column, you’re more likely to create “raving fans” who will buy and buy and buy from you over time — and they’ll tell others to do the same. The ultimate payoff — tangible and intangible — is far greater.

Have anything to add? Any questions? I’d love to hear your comments below.

Otherwise, get out there and help someone! 🙂

3 Comments on “Two Kinds of People: A Simple but Powerful Truth

Gene Swindell
June 15, 2010 at 12:48 pm

You scored again with another great article – a timely reminder that my “can’t help” list is costing me time and effort that should be directed toward those positive prospects. Comments from speakers who “know it all” are ones who have too much pride and ego to seek help. They’re waiting for the phone to ring. Delete those messages and move on.

Shawn
June 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Thanks, Gene! Glad the message was valuable to you, and I appreciate your encouragement.

Adele J Foster
November 20, 2010 at 5:26 am

Gene, thanks for these tips…very valuable and a great reminder for present and future speakers.

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