Dan Naden

Pull up a chair and talk with your customer

Peel back the vulnerabilities of a person and you discover his true self.

If you keep your eyes and mind open, you have a brilliant opportunity to meet some fascinating people.

As I’ve shared in previous Naden’s Corner posts, I strongly believe that you can learn something from every person who crosses your path. No one is too big or too small in this journey of life.

Are airplanes an elixir for feeling disconnected?

Not sure why, but I have an uncanny ability to get people talking on airplanes. Honestly, I’ve received my share of fearsome stares from beaten travelers who crave solitude instead of my loquaciousness. Not everyone is friendly in flight when his mind is thinking: a missed flight connection, a nerve-racking important meeting, a craving for a home-cooked meal.

Let’s meet Leon, a friendly ‘talker’ and seatmate of mine on a recent flight back to Austin.

Leon could have been anywhere from 18 to 25 years old; I am terrible at guessing ages, so I am be way off the mark.

Leon and I talked soccer; we both like the fluidity, efficiency and athleticism of the world’s most popular sport. He cringed about his overbooked class schedule at a local university. His vision about where he wants to be in 10 years was perfectly clear: owning his own physical therapy practice. If this is the lucid mindset of our next generation, we are in good hands.

Leon’s depth of character and wisdom at such a young age was mind-blowing; his openness and passion had me thinking about applying his gift to other worlds.

So how do you apply this lesson to your ‘world’?

From a marketing standpoint, how can you meet your customer in the right time and place and start a conversation, much like some transparent conversations that happen between relative strangers on an airplane?

We don’t all desire to be ‘Oprah on the airplane’, chatting with every unsuspecting seatmate or prospect. Can you, however, find the perfect moment to engage with your customers when they are open, honest and truthful about the problems they want solved? Solve that riddle and you’ll grow.

The next ‘Leon’ is waiting; it’s your time to find him.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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