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THE SHOESHINE BOY

If anyone down the street can shine shoes as well as he does, chances are they’ll take half his business and probably more if they cut their prices.

Second, and more importantly, nobody needs their shoes cleaned; it’s a want not a need.

Maybe his customer wants to look good, like his dad looked. It makes him feel more confident.

Perhaps it’s for someone who likes the status of having someone wait on him. Once a week he gets to sit on a throne with a well dressed artisan who is applying the finishing touches to his appearance. As they say, ‘You can tell a man by his shoes’.

Perhaps it’s a signifier. He wouldn’t normally bother with his shoes except it’s what people like him are supposed to do. And of course not any shoeshine will do.

Anyone of these stories and transformations is available to the shoeshine boy as soon as he decides to make a difference.

However, knowing that this is the story your customer tells himself is not enough. You still have to act on it, open the door to the possibility, and organise your response around that story. This is what helps people understand that you are special, and this is the work that makes things better.

Seth Godin ‘THIS IS MARKETING’ “