The Two Flower Merchants

tale of two merchants


one day, two flower merchants set up shop next to one another. They opened for business on the same day, carried the same lovely selection of aromatic flowers, and maintained similar prices for their marvelous plants. Both merchants took great care with raising their plants and both were kind and courteous to their customers.

In fact, their stores appeared to be equal in every way.

At first, the merchants even received equal traffic through their shops, but–as time went on–the first merchant’s shop became more popular among the people. The second merchant noticed this and became concerned. One particularly slow day, he decided to look into the matter. As he stepped out his door to visit his neighbor, he passed one of his regular customers leaving the first merchant’s shop carrying their weekly purchase of flowers. In disbelief, the second merchant hurried into the next store.

Indeed, the store was teeming with customers. The second merchant noticed his competitor wasn’t taking the money himself, as he always did. The first merchant was out among the aisles, talking with his customers. To his amazement, the second merchant watched as the first would chat at great length with the customers and even would occasionally talk to the flowers themselves! The second merchant prided himself on being a serious store owner and could not understand this leisurely approach to running a shop. Yet this behavior seemed to be working for the first merchant, as his thriving store would attest.

When the second merchant could stand it no longer, he approached the first and politely asked to interrupt the conversation. The first merchant smiled, handed his customers to one of his clerks, and turned his attention to his exasperated neighbor.

The second merchant asked, “Brother, I am your humble student. Our stores are nearly the same in all ways, yet your results are doubling while mine are halving. I do not understand.”

“Brother,” the first merchant said, “We are the same in most ways, this is true. The difference lies in what we see with our hearts. You see your store as a store, your plants as plants, and your customers as customers. I see my store as a beloved home and my cherished friends are my customers, clerks and plants, all present to be adored. In that way, we are very, very different.”

Personal to Pro: Selling Ideas Like a Motivational Speaker

public speaking

One of the most important ingredients for a successful, happy and harmonious life is the ability to communicate effectively. Life is built upon relationships, and one of the components of positive, successful connections is good communication. This applies in both your personal and professional life.

Motivational speakers are known for their skilled communication abilities, and we can learn a lot from them. Whether you work for an existing company or are an entrepreneur, the only way you’ll be able to sell your ideas is by communicating what you’re offering in an effective and compelling way. The same goes for having a satisfying personal life. Here are five of the hallmark strengths of the very best motivational speakers that you can incorporate into your own communication style:

1. Know Your Audience

Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Every customer, individual or group you will be addressing is unique. Get to know their background as well as their primary wants, needs and concerns. Focus on the individual aspirations of each person you speak to, whether it’s an employee, a customer, your child or your life partner.

2. Establish Credibility

If you’re meeting someone for the first time, you’ll likely have to work to establish credibility and earn their trust. If you’re pitching new ideas, define a proven methodology ahead of time that you can explain and help compel your audience. Whether your agenda is personal or professional, create a detailed, step-by-step, clear plan for success. Your credibility will rise exponentially if you can point to past successes based upon the same formula.

3. Learn From the Best

When choosing and refining your communication style, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Look to successful speakers and great leaders that you admire and glean ideas and inspiration from them. For example, consider Josh Shipp or Ed Young; according to inc.com, Shipp is a motivational sensei, employing both his youthful spirit and sense of humor to relate to audiences. Ed Young, the founder of Ed Young Fellowship Church, uses a creative communication style that helps to make even complex ideas easy to understand and apply, according to FellowshipChurch.com.

4. Build a Genuine Connection

While this tip will be easier to apply in your personal life, it can be invaluable in your professional life as well. No matter who the person is, no matter what their background or walk of life, you can relate to them on an authentic personal level. All you have to do is speak from the heart and have true empathy for them as a fellow human being. We all want pretty much the same things in life: security, peace of mind and to be appreciated. If you relate to every person you meet with this in mind, your relationships are likely to thrive.

5. Expect the Best of People

A positive attitude and outlook can go a long way toward success in every area of your life. Try and enter into every human interaction with an expectation of the highest and best outcome from the exchange. Visualize your ideal scenario with that person before the meeting begins. Expect the very best from people, and you’ll likely be amazed at what transpires.

public speaking

Sean Patterson is an English instructor and is working on his first screenplay.

Marketing Idea #44: Showcase Local Artists

Marketing Ideas Local Artists

Display artwork for sale from local artists. In doing so, you support the local artist community, gain word-of-mouth through the artists, and bring more interest to your walls. This can be done by writing up an offer and presenting it to a local art gallery. You may want to bring focus to the display either by centering on a specific artist or by having the showing coincide with a particular (and appropriate) event.

Marketing Idea #20: Donate to Charity

Marketing Ideas Donate to Charity

Donate your products or services to a charity auction. In doing so, you add value to the fundraiser while promoting yourself. Furthermore, the fact you’re willing to offer your time for a good cause can only help your own cause, and you just might be helping someone who wouldn’t have been able to afford your services otherwise.

Tip: Get started by contacting your local radio stations, libraries, or newspapers. You might also do a search online for charity auctions in your area.

Marketing Idea #24: Volunteer for Local Nonprofit or Charity

Marketing Ideas Volunteer

Volunteer for a local nonprofit group or charity. Maybe you have something to offer by volunteering on an advisory board. Maybe you want to climb into the trenches and help on the front lines. Whatever direction you choose, be sure your efforts are a reflection of the values you hold close to your heart. The cause you support must inspire you on a deep, personal level. Otherwise, you will tire quickly and may end up abandoning the effort before you’ve even begun—and that is not the way to build a reputation for quality and service.