Years ago a little book authored by the late, Dr. Richard Carlson entitled, Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff provided some much-needed wisdom for those of us whose sense of peace of mind and happiness were continually disturbed by life’s little inconveniences.
And, in that context, the phrase itself is certainly valid.
Many are familiar with the term, First-World Problems. Yes, your hotdog bun splitting at the bottom while you’re enjoying a baseball game is indeed “small stuff.” So are most of what we allow to annoy us and sometimes even ruin our day.
However, there is also a time to absolutely sweat the small stuff…because doing so can make a significant difference in your results.
In our Go-Giver book series, John David Mann and I suggest Attention as one of the five “Elements of Value” that serves as a differentiator. While this includes attention to one’s prospective client in terms of listening to what they are saying (and, sometimes, not saying), allowing us to better understand their needs, it covers another area, as well.
Attention to detail means also learning as much as you can about them as individuals. This creates the environment for you to cultivate the “know, like and trust” relationship so often the difference-maker in today’s commodity-based sales environment. In this case, paying attention to the “small stuff” provides you with a distinct advantage over your competitors.
One of my favorite examples of this is business legend (and, self-proclaimed “envelope-salesman”) Harvey Mackay. In Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, his first of seven New York Times bestsellers, the Founder and Chairman of the enormously-successful MackayMitchell Envelope Company introduced us to his now-famous Mackay 66 — a customer profile helping his salespeople to really “know the customer” – the individual who would make the buying decision.
Please understand; Mr. Mackay’s company sold envelopes! If ever a product could be considered a commodity, here it is. After all, there’s only so much possible differentiation in a product like this.
However, there’s lots of possible differentiation in the person selling that product. When you focus your attention on them; on knowing everything you can about what’s important to them, it allows you to effectively communicate your additional value.
And, that’s where sweating the small stuff…make a huge difference!
How do you sweat the small stuff in a way that communicates your value?