If you’re anything like me, you know that you gotta work hard to play hard. For the past 6 months, I’ve been running and pushing hard at work, and it certainly was time for a vacation. I chose to take this time off to reset, rest, and prepare for the summer season (which everyone in the church world knows is a crazy time for student ministry).
So, the only way I know how to play hard is to get outside. And there’s nothing quite like the outdoors. The majesty of the towering trees, the intense colors of the scenery, and the uncontrollable nature of the roaring rapids are quite powerful reminders of just how small you are, as well as just how big God is.
This past weekend, I spent the majority of my time braving the elements while getting down and dirty out on the Catawba River.
Well… sort of.
Thanks to the team at On The Road And Off and their brands, I was blessed to spend Thursday through Sunday, the first half of my vacation, repping Teva and Fayettechill at Tuck Fest 2018, which is a multi-day festival that celebrates the outdoor lifestyle through competitions, exhibitions, demos, and live music at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Here’s how sweet it looked:
However incredibly fun it was, we still had to work hard. Exhibit A: packing up and getting our displays (pictured above) moved out.
Yes, that’s me riding on the tailgate of our rep’s pickup. It was packed to the brim with everything we brought, and the gate & window wouldn’t close with the trash that we had to take to the dumpsters. Like I said: you gotta work hard to play hard.
This was my first exposure to the outdoor industry, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. We had so much fun connecting with other vendors, meeting attendees, and selling product to them as they made their rounds.
If you’ve never been to the U.S. National Whitewater Center, then I highly recommend that you make it a point to go visit. This is my second visit to the center, and even though I didn’t get to raft or get out in the water, just watching others is satisfying enough.
While there’s so much I could dive into about what I took away from the weekend, from sales techniques and visual merchandising to starting conversations and drawing people to our booths, the biggest takeaway is this: if you identify or create a need within someone, he or she will be more apt to your solution to satisfy it.
Think about it. Someone walks by our tent, and takes a glance at what we have going on. She’s wearing tennis shoes, and it’s pretty hot out so she has to be thinking, “I need some relief.” What do we offer? A solution to cool her off, starting with what’s on her feet. We invite her to look at our product, see what she likes, and simply ask her to just try on a pair of shoes that are her size. Immediately, she feels relief, and realizes that she needs these shoes, and she didn’t fully realize it before she sat down to try on a pair.
You can contextualize this to your industry, too. Think of your potential customer or client. How do you hook them initially? You find or create a need that isn’t being met in their lives that you just so happen to be able to meet. You hone in on your expertise and convince them they need your product, and voila: they can’t walk away without purchasing or investing in at least one or two units.
Do you see what I’m getting at? Can you see where I’m going with all of this? Speaking from a pastor’s point of view, we know that people around us have needs, whether they realize it or not. We know that we have the same exact needs, too. But, we know something more than the people around us do; we also know that the things that we seek to meet those needs, the needs that are deeper and sometimes the things to which we can’t put words, will never satisfy them. They were never created to satisfy anything deeper than their intended purpose, and it’s truly impossible for created things to meet the needs that only something bigger than us could ever satisfy.
That deeper need? It’s the need for our own purpose. It’s the need to mean something in this world, and do something with our lives that goes beyond who we are as an individual. This is how the world sees the deeper need that those who know God understand as the need for Him.
At its core, if you boil down everything we do as ministers, we’re in the sales business. We make connections with people. We seek to improve people’s lives with our “product,” for lack of better wording. We make appeals day in and day out for the people with whom we come into contact to “buy in” to what we’re “selling.” Products in and from this world provide enjoyment, peace, and some form of satisfaction, but only for a moment. But, we know that what we’re “selling” is eternal, true joy, and true peace.
Within the next few days, I’ll be back with a full recap of the rest of the week, some sweet news about a new endeavor, and how you can get involved with it!