“I’m not that kind of angel”
-John Travolta in “Michael”
One of my favorite actors is John Travolta. He’s bright, he’s talented and he’s very good at what he does. Travolta has done a lot of fantastic movies and one of the best is called “Michael”. It’s about a quirky angel (Travolta) who finds he really enjoys certain aspects of this world, much more than a “traditional” angel might. He smokes, he drinks, he dances and fights and, he seduces the ladies.
In this movie one of Travolta’s recurring lines is: “I’m not that kind of angel”. He says it whenever one of his earthly cohorts asks him to use his “angel powers” to do something. It frustrates his friends to no end. Their impression seems to be that he simply does not want to do the things they ask. They think he’s just being a pain in the neck.
When Travolta says he’s “not that kind of angel” and refuses to do what someone asks, it’s not that he can’t do it. It’s that he CHOOSES to not do it. His point is that his reason for being there is not to perform such miracles. He has a different purpose. His unique blend of personality traits and talents makes him useful in other ways. He uses a different path to perform different kinds of “miracles”.
For all his weirdness, Travolta’s character makes a valuable point:
We all have a unique set of talents and we need to use them the best we can. This means we shouldn’t do what everyone else does or what other people expect, unless it fits our talents and our purpose.
This is a good lesson for all of us.
Too many people and their companies do just the opposite. They try to be all things to all people. No request is too great or small, no matter how far it is from their core strengths. And they do this to attract and keep customers. They think it will help them grow their businesses in a profitable and sustainable way.
But I think just the opposite will happen.
If you spend your resources providing many different services and products, or providing them in many ways to a wide variety of customers, you risk diluting your quality. The more you do, the less you can do well. A downside is you spend too much time learning and not enough time earning.
If Lindsey Vonn had tried to be a professional at Skiing, Tennis, hockey and soccer, she would not be the world champion she is today. But because she focuses on alpine skiing, and he has done so for most of her life, she has gotten extremely good. Some say the USA has never had a better woman downhill skier.
We can all learn from Lindsey Vonn.
The best way to attract and retain customers in a way that is sustainable is to be the best at what you do. Serve your customers better than anyone else does or can. And the only way you can serve them better than anyone else is to focus on what you do best. There is no other way.
Let this define your business and your market. What you do best, in the context of your mission, values, purpose and market will tell you who can best serve. So focus on them and give them your best every time (no exceptions and no excuses).
Do this and you will outperform your competition every time. And your customers will be permanent. They’ll keep coming back and they’ll bring others with them.