A Return to Service

Remember the good ol’ days? Full-service gas stations. Live phone operators. Department stores filled to the brim with friendly, efficient staff, waiting to help you find that perfect dress for your niece’s wedding?

If you don’t, well hello young millennial – thanks for stopping by!

Over the last 5 decades, we’ve seen businesses everywhere favor short-term profits over long-term customer relationships. Fast and cheap wins out over friendly and engaging. There’s no more personal connection – customers must fend for themselves.

Businesses have made it clear that only two things matter about their customers. The size of their wallets and how easy that wallet will open.

When I walk into a store in my gardening clothes with my bank card tucked inside my phone case (fine… couch surfing yoga pants and the card’s in my bra), no one rushes to help me find what I’m looking for.

But if I walk in, dressed to impress, with my ginormous purse hanging in the crux of my elbow…? “Excuse me, madam, may I be of service?”

As a customer, I feel so disengaged; like I don’t even matter.

But there is a shift happening.

There’s a whole new kind of business owner that longs for that connection. They want to be of service to the people around them, to make a difference in the lives of their customers. They are the self-proclaimed ‘Heart Centered Entrepreneurs’. I’ve talked about them before and consider myself one of them.

They’re the people who start every business opportunity and customer interaction by asking themselves, “How can I help this person?” rather than “How can I get this person to give me money… er.. I mean, become a client?”

Why does that matter and what could the benefit be?

Well, to be frank, givers gain… they gain a lot.

There’s value (and money) in non-monetary interactions.

In today’s overly connected society we as people have become ludicrously disconnected.

It’s like calling sugar water a meal. Sure, you might drink enough to feel full for a bit. You may even feel a little energy spike after that second glass. But you’re starving yourself nonetheless.

We’re all starving.

Starving for a bit of human kindness and compassion.

Starving for a little connection.

We want to be seen, heard, and valued.

We want a connection of substance.

And when you approach your business from a state of service – from the stance of “How can I give?” rather than “How can I gain?” – you provide your customer with what they’re missing most.

This simple shift to connection first. This idea of ‘relationship marketing’ is making millionaires all over the internet.


Because connecting with your customers from a place of service, rather than want, builds trust and a deep loyalty that is hard to break. You build fans. And when someone is a fan they not only become your number one paying client, they also tell everyone!

That’s what I call a win-win-win.

How to network from a place of service

We’ve all been to a networking event watching some slick fast-talker schmooze the entire room. Handing out a business card to everyone he recites his elevator pitch to. Then moving on to the next person to “network” with.

*shudder* That guy makes my skin crawl.

There’s no connection.

When I go to a networking event my goal is to connect with 3 people. The keyword there is ‘connect’.

I don’t want to “meet” them. I don’t want to hand them my business card and move on. I want to talk with them. Ask them about themselves. Get to know them a little. And while we’re talking I’m listening and asking questions and listening some more.

And when that moment comes where there is something, anything, I can help them with, I do.

Once I was chatting with a woman and she mentioned she was working on growing her email list. The problem was she wasn’t sure if she should use MailChimp or ConvertKit. I seized on that, asked her more questions about her business and goals, and then told her which I’d recommend and why. Then I asked her for her business card. About 2 weeks later I sent her an email asking how her email marketing was going.

Another time, I had a lovely chat with someone who was looking to do a Virtual Summit with a couple of presenters.  Her main goal was for it to be interactive. She wanted people to be able to comment, ask questions, and chat with each other. But she wasn’t sure what tool would be best. The next day I sent her an email letting her know how nice it had been to chat with her and included a link to CrowdCast.io. The perfect tool for her virtual summit.

They were both super grateful and we’ve gone on to build a wonderful relationship. And each have referred their own clients to me and are eager to mention my name when the topic of support comes up.

That’s how you network from a place of service.

I didn’t offer my business card and I barely spoke to them about my own business. I made it as much about them as possible.

What about you?

Do you have any stories of how being of service has helped you in your business? We’d love to hear it. Just let us know below!

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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