Are you a Hawker or Fixer?

Hawker – a person who travels around selling goods, typically advertising them by shouting.

Fixer – A fixer is someone who carries out assignments for someone else or is good at solving problems for others. The term has different meanings in different contexts. In British usage, the time is neutral, meaning “the sort of person who solves problems and gets things done.” 

Stanley Leary Portrait

I have always been a fixer. I am a fixer. I like problems, and I like puzzles, and I like to help people, so I have been a fixer, and I have always been an educator.

Tabatha Coffey

I feel like Tabatha says what I believe about myself so reasonably. Just the other day, a college student came and stayed with us. He had an event to go to the next day in our town.

While we were sitting around, he pulled out his Macbook Pro and a separate keyboard and mouse. I asked why he was using the keyboard.

His trackpad and keyboard were no longer working. He was a poor student; before he left our house, I had the trackpad and mouse working again. It was my mission to solve his problem.

Become a fixer, not just a fixture.

Anthony J. D’Angelo

Sometimes you need to be a Hawker because you cannot find anything to fix for others. Hawking is then a matter of telling people the skills you have to fix things they have forgotten to mention.

Cesare Bambaro (male Lay Leader) is the lay leader of 1st Baptist Garango. Jay Shafto helps with the translation from the Bissa language into English. (Photo by: Stanley Leary) [NIKON D2X, AF Zoom 70-200mm f/2.8D, ISO 400, ƒ/2.8, 1/250, Focal Length = 270]

The problem is if you see yourself as a Hawker, you cannot become the Fixer. You are too busy, Hawking.

Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.

Ross Perot

I would change that quote to “Spend a lot of time asking questions and listening to customers face to face.”

Your questions should not be “do you have photography needs,” but what keeps you up at night? What are the most significant problems your customers are struggling with today? How is that different than a few years ago?

Get to know their business, not just look for how they can use your business. Sometimes the best way to build a client is to refer them to someone else for something you don’t do, but someone you know does well. They will remember you.

While there are times you may need to be a Hawker, spend most of your time trying to be a Fixer.