Why Everybody Else is More Important Than You.

I’ll own up immediately. I think I’m pretty important. Certainly more important than the guy who’s on the phone trying to sell me something I don’t want and didn’t ask for.

And so do you. You almost certainly think (in secret at least) that you are more important than me. Your views matter and are probably better than mine. You know exactly how important you are and sometimes it’s really annoying that other people don’t.

But here’s the biggest secret to doing good business. You have to know that everybody else is more important than you.

It’s no good trying to sell them what you want them to have; you have to find out what they want and how best to get it to them. Then they’ll buy happily because they feel loved, special and looked after.

But even more than that, to succeed in your own business, you have to be sincere. It’s not about flattering with your teeth gritted, it’s about finding something genuinely to appreciate or admire in the other.

Greet them with pleasure, smile, even if you’re on the telephone. Let them know that it has made your day that they got in contact. If they’re in front of you, hold out your hand; if you like what they are wearing, say so. But don’t automatically assume that they want you to hug them. When you auto-hug you are doing what you want and saying that the other person’s view is not important.

If they’re cross or upset, it’s about acknowledging their feelings and telling them that they are perfectly justified instead of just defending your position. If you can’t actually apologise, you can tell them that you are sorry to see them so upset because then, at least they’ll have been heard.

If you’re sincere in your appreciation of the importance of others. Then they will appreciate you.  And your self-importance will like that.

Here’s an example: I recently facilitated at the wedding of two dear friends. They wanted a particular service format which I thought was ... um ... well, let’s just say it wasn’t “me.” But look, there’s me being important again! It was their wedding. My opinion had nothing to do with it.

So I had a think and wondered exactly what it was about that service that I was resisting and how I could turn that around in service to them so I could be the priest with integrity that they wanted me to be. And the answer was simple: it was a generic service. No matter how beautiful it was, it wasn’t about them.

So, what I did do was help them to make the wedding unique to them — I gave them some examples of how to draw their own differing religious heritages into their chosen service; some actions they could do and some sacred texts they could honour and they were thrilled. They felt (quite rightly) important. Together we melded the service they wanted into something even more special that made them feel acknowledged, unique and special.

So remember, everyone thinks they are more important than you. And if you want to serve them, you have to admit that they are right. And if you can do that, it will turn out perfect for you too.

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