R U ETDBW? That’s an essential question astute business persons ask on a regular basis. Few do, however, but the ones who take this question seriously, and listen carefully to the answers, know that there are significant short- and long-term rewards. It’s difficult with all the responsibilities of running a business to take the time to put yourself in your customer’s shoes, to actually see things from their point of view, to experience the spirit of your operation. Some companies hire mystery shoppers to gather and report first-hand information about what it’s like doing business with you.
Here are four EASY ways to be ETDBW.
1. Engage your customers
Don’t just be a warm body hanging around in the same vicinity. Really engage your customers. Treat them as members of your family. Most of the time, I find that salespeople convey, by their attitude and body language, that I’m interrupting them. They silently shout, “Get lost!” They disengage rather than engage. I asked for some assistance to find reflective tape at a home improvement store recently, and the sales associate replied in a monotone voice, “Two aisles thataway.” By contrast, Ken Grashuis, a real estate agent from whom I’ve bought a couple of houses, treats me like royalty. He not only remembers my name, he remembers my needs, my family, and my interests. We have a relationship for life.
2. Anticipate their needs
Don’t just respond to your customers. Almost anybody can react. No, differentiate yourself from the competition – anticipate their needs. Keep in touch with them like a good friend. Be their business partner. Take a vital interest in their goals and share their hopes and dreams. Kevin Johnston, Director of Convention Services at the Amway Grand Hotel, a fire-star hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is the best example of this I know. He has a sixth sense about what you’re going to need. Every time I give a speech or seminar, or coordinate a conference at the Amway Grand, he quietly anticipates, and delivers, what I need and what I might need. I’ve often thought that Kevin would be a tremendous asset in the Department of Homeland Security.
3. Simplify the process
Don’t put roadblocks in your customers’ way. Remove the obstacles. I’m amazed at the number of businesses that require jumping through their hoops and slaloming through their bureaucratic pylons. The other day, I received in the mail a $10.00 Off coupon if I spent $20.00 at Office Max. Pretty good coupon, I thought. And I needed some labels. So I got the labels and proceeded to the checkout. The clerk pointed out that she could not honor the coupon because my labels cost $19.99, not the required $20.00. I offered to pay her the penny. She refused. She suggested I buy some gum. I told her that I once tried using gum as a label and it hadn’t worked very well. Don’t complicate, simplify the process. Give people the authority to make profitable business decisions. Develop a smooth process for no-hassle transactions. Maybe the Outback Steakhouse has the right idea: “No Rules, Just Right.”
Don’t say yes when you don’t know. A self-designated financial planner sent me her brochure that indicated her areas of specialization. I counted them, twice. She must be amazing with numbers because she claims to have thirty-seven areas of expertise. Be brutally honest. If you don’t know how to get the job done properly, refer to somebody who does. But if you do know, say yes with a positive attitude, and find a way to solve their problems quickly and effectively. Three years ago, I repaired my deck. I went to the “You can do it. We can help” place, but felt like I couldn’t do it, and there really didn’t appear to be anyone who wanted to help. So I went to a small lumber company in my community. Julie engaged me. We chatted about what I wanted to do, and then, to my astonishment, she suggested: “Let’s go over to your house right now and take a look.” Can you guess where I’ll go when I have another building project? Say yes when you know. Deliver your promise and then go the extra mile. Go above and beyond. Surprise them with your willingness to literally do whatever it takes to get the job done.
R U ETDBW? Try these four ways: engage your customers, anticipate their needs, simplify the process, and say yes. As Dizzy Dean once said: If you can do it, it ain’t braggin.”
Dr. Phil Johnson, The FireStarter, is an international speaker and author whose mission is to ignite people’s passion to Do the Impossible™. You can contact him here!