Are You a Linchpin for Your Customers? We’ll be a Linchpin for Your Online Marketing Success!
I’ve just finished reading the new Seth Godin book, Linchpin: are you indispensable?, and in describing what it takes to be a linchpin, Seth talks about the power of gifts. This power was illustrated for me a few days ago, and I think it’s worth talking about.
Seth’s book is a thought-provoking call to become a linchpin — a person who can “invent, connect, create, and make things happen.” A linchpin is also someone who is indispensable to an organization because of the emotional labor that he or she performs in addition to the tasks listed in a job description. Linchpins are essential to any organization that seeks to thrive in the new economy with a strategy other than cutting prices. Seth says that in this new economy, giving a gift creates value for the linchpin even though these gifts are never actually repaid. If fact, if a business gives something with the expectation of a some customer response, then it’s not really a gift and won’t have the beneficial effect that the business or individual is hoping for.
Last week I joined a committee of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which is one of the biggest rodeos in the United States. It’s also an event which depends on the support of over 22,000 volunteers. The Rodeo funds scholarships supporting more than 2,000 students, worth more than $24.8 million, and it generates more than $345 million in business and revenue in the Houston metropolitan area.
I was leaving Reliant Center in Houston after volunteer training and started talking to the gentleman standing near me on the escalator. He told me he is on the Transportation Committee, which runs trams and other vehicles around the show grounds, and he said he had been volunteering for seven years. I said that I’d just volunteered for the Facility Services Committee, and he responded that he really enjoyed working with other volunteers and with the Rodeo. He said it was fun to do the work and he said that the fun was contagious — that visitors to the Rodeo picked up on the friendly, good-times spirit of the Rodeo volunteers and they seemed to have a better show experience because of it.
It occurred to me that the gift of this volunteer’s enthusiasm and positive attitude was a linchpin trait and it was making a difference in the show experience of every Rodeo visitor he met. He wasn’t being paid to be positive, and there weren’t rules requiring a positive outlook, but he and his colleagues freely invest their emotional labor in the Show, because they enjoyed working in that environment and for the benefit of visitors.
When we invest our creativity and our emotional labor in our work for customers and clients, we gift added value to the connection and any transaction. It’s the way to be a remarkable, successful business in this evolving economy. We can’t dictate a positive attitude or mandate cheerfulness and friendly service in our businesses, but we can be positive role models, recognize the linchpins in our organizations, and demonstrate that gift-givers are valued.
Linchpin businesses work to give gifts to customers through innovative Internet marketing and social media marketing programs. They understand that Internet business relationships are nurtured through creativity and gift-giving in the same way that offline relationships can be strengthened with linchpin behavior.
I strongly recommend Linchpin. I’ve read it twice and I’m sure I’ll refer to it often as I seek to strengthen my own credentials as a linchpin and endeavor to bring linchpin-thinking to the organizations I work with.
If you’d like help using Linchpin ideas for your online marketing programs, please call us at 713-234-6346 or send us an email through our contact form. We help small businesses in the Sugar Land area and Fort Bend County, Metro Houston, and other areas of Texas and the United States.