In order to have a widely successful business it’s not necessary to be great at everything, but it is necessary that your business be superior in at least two of the following six areas.
Once in a while you will see a superior product take the world by storm or a restaurant opens in the perfect location, but for the most part you need to be good in at least two of the following areas.
Having quit school at 15 and never graduated college, I have never put much stock in certificates, diplomas, accreditation, or resumes of any kind. But just because I don’t doesn’t mean the rest of the world doesn’t. In fact, it astonishes me how much people crave such paperwork.
One of the easiest ways in the world to gain instant credibility is simply to form your own association. This practice was rampant in the martial arts world in which I once lived. As soon as an instructor felt he had gained enough knowledge from his master, he simply broke away and formed his own style and own association. King of his own nation and master of his own subjects in one fell swoop. This association would then offer membership and rank accreditation, generating membership and testing fees at every turn. The fact that the new master might only be 23 years old seemed to bother no one (other than his previous master). As long as his students had something more to learn from him, they gladly paid.
We all have stories about people from whom we thought we would get superior service, but in the end were disappointed. Then, at the other end of the service and reputation spectrum, there is Rolls Royce.
The Legendary Rolls
Back in the early 1950s there was a legendary tale of service told by a new Rolls Royce owner who decided to travel on the Continent. While motoring through Switzerland in just his second week of ownership, his car broke down. He called the dealership, who called the factory. He was immediately put up at the very best hotel, given complimentary champagne, and fed the most wonderful food imaginable.
In this economy most people are already up to their armpits in alligators and don’t have the time or energy for much strategic thinking, they are just looking to survive. So they do what they have always done. Trim some hourly employees, shop for cheaper (usually inferior) vendors and discount a little more in the hopes of gaining ground. Or they simply maintain the status quo, changing nothing hoping things will just get better while they slowly bleed to death.
Twice in my early business career I have been at the crossroads where I thought I had tried everything and was about to go broke!
In fact the second time I was already beyond broke. My home was mortgaged to the hilt and I had $126,000 on nine different credit cards! In both cases, a small change of marketing strategy and I mean something that took just a few seconds to come up with and a few hours to develop, completely changed my financial fortunes forever…
You might not like this post. You may find it sexist, clichéd, rude, and demeaning to women – perhaps even distasteful. BUT…whether you agree with my approach or not doesn’t affect the laws of the REAL marketing universe YOUR company lives in one bit… Sex sells!
Let’s not get off on the wrong foot here, with a lecture for me on political correctness or any of the above objections. Let’s talk about something far more important – PROFITS. YOUR profits are the very thing that keeps food on the table for you and all of your employees.
There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.
ROGER STAUBACH, Hall of Fame NFL Quarterback
Go to any large company and try to find a phone number you can call and actually speak to a human being. Most hide behind FAQ pages that seldom seem to answer YOUR UNUSUAL QUESTION. They hide behind “contact us” with a drop-down menu of choices, none of which actually matches your issue. If you do find an 800 number to call, it’s usually a voice mail sending you back to the website or an endless loop of choices you can’t actually execute because you don’t have the 15-digit code they want (in fact that’s why you’re calling).
When clients want to get hold of you, they want to do it now. Few things are more irritating than calling a service provider and being shuffled to voice mail automatically, with little or no indication whether the person you are looking for is in the office or traveling through Kenya on safari. I made a huge leap in business and customer service at my karate schools when I bought a cellular phone and answered my phone sixteen hours a day instead of eight.
I do the same thing now; I answer my phone sixteen hours a day. Any one of my clients can get me almost around the clock. Those who can’t find me get a detailed voice mail that lets them know exactly when to expect a call back, or asks for a specific time and number where I can reach them after seven o’clock, in the evening, or on weekends, as the case may be.
If nothing else, tell your receptionist when you will be returning calls so that the person waiting for the call can continue with his or her daily life. Nothing irritates most people more than being told they would be called right back, only to be hanging by the phone for hours waiting for the call.
Don’t hide on your website: put up pictures, short bios, contact emails, and phone numbers for all your key service staff.
Accessibility is a simple advantage you can offer that others won’t.
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