Focus on the needs of others

Zig Ziglar was well known as one of the top motivational speakers in America. One statement I heard him make at every seminar I attended was “You can have anything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want.” He was exactly right.

In his book Business Secrets from the Bible: Spiritual Success Strategies for Financial Abundance Rabbi Daniel Lapin writes, “There is only one way to make money: finding out what other people want or need and then providing those things to as many of our fellow humans as possible…In order to do this effectively, you need to establish meaningful connections with your customers.”

Success comes when we focus on the needs of other people and find ways to meet those needs. This makes success a by-product of serving people, not an end in itself. When people pursue success for the sake of success they are tempted to cut corners, provide poor service or products, and violate ethical and legal standards. However, when we legitimately attempt to serve people and meet needs they have, success will often follow and we can feel good about both the success and the service we’ve provided.

For the past 34 years I have been involved in ministry. For 20 years I was the pastor of a church, and for the past 14 years I served in denominational ministry. When I got my auctioneer’s license three years ago people wondered why I was going into the auction business. They are surprised to hear that I consider it an extension of my ministry.

Who are the people most likely to need the services of an auctioneer?

  1. People who make a living buying and selling. There are people who buy products to sell at auction in hopes of making a profit. These might be pickers like you would see on TV, others may buy at flea markets, storage auctions, estate auctions, and yard sales. They consign their purchased items to auctioneers for sale. This is how they provide for themselves and their families.
  2. People who inherit an estate. It’s not uncommon for someone to suddenly inherit an estate and have no idea what the estate contains. Since families no longer necessarily live close to each other, the heirs may live many states away from their inheritance. While there may be a few items they want to keep in memory of their loved ones, they don’t know what to do with the remainder of the estate. Plus, often times the estate must be sold to pay bills before the estate can be closed. An auctioneer can help the heirs dispose of the estate quickly and with minimal effort on the part of the heirs.
  3. People who need to downsize. A good number of estate sales are living estates. The owners may be moving into assisted living and cannot take most of their property with them. Rather than spending large sums of money to put their property into storage, they may decide to sell them at auction. Several of my clients have been older and wanting to downsize to simplify their lives. Others are wanting to begin to put their affairs in order. After offering many of their personal belongings to family members they sell the remainder at auction.

In each case, I can minister to these individuals by meeting needs they have. Many times clients have expressed great relief that I was able to help them dispose of property they no longer wanted. The same will be true for you, regardless of what business you might be in, if you focus on meeting the needs of your clients.

The trick is to listen to your clients so you will know how you can best help them. It may be that your product or service isn’t right for this particular person. I was once asked to sell furniture a builder used in his display house. As the builder and I talked it became apparent that he wanted much more for the furniture than it would bring at auction. When I explained what I felt the furniture was likely to bring, the owner decided not to sell and thanked me for my honesty. I lost that consignor, but I left there knowing that I had served him well by being honest with him.

Fortunately, I don’t lose many clients like that. By listening to them and understanding their needs I can usually offer the best solution that will solve their needs. Focusing on their needs makes it much more likely that both they and I will get what we want. I will get a client and they will sell their items for a good price. Success is even sweeter when both parties win!


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