It doesn’t matter whether you are in product manufacturing, internet marketing, engineering, retail sales, wholesales, real estate, auto repair, equipment rental, construction, or any other business . . . if you do not focus on empowering your customers and providing value to them, your business will flounder at best and most likely fail.
This is a servant mindset – or what Jay Abraham calls a “super-servant.” He defines a super servant in his book Your Secret Wealth, as someone who sets their “goal in life, in business, in jobs . . . is to identify and understand how many more, and better, and continuous ways you can help serve, or fulfill, or clarify the non-verbalized needs and desires of your customer or your marketplace – and your marketplace, again, is whomever it is you’re trying to positively impact.”
I learned this early in my life while I was in grade school selling and delivering newspapers and shoveling snow from driveways during the cold, dark, northern Alberta winters. It was also apparent when I was a little older and working summer jobs in landscaping and residential and commercial construction.
It was very clear to me in these businesses that if I did not understand what the customers’ needs were, I would not have any repeat customers and this would limit my earning potential!
However, it wasn’t until I graduated from university and started with a company called Kenonic Controls that I realized how important this super-servant mindset really is. Initially my main role at Kenonic was electrical engineering and design. However, over the years, I also got involved in control room architecture and design, cutting electrical cables into cabinets, removing asbestos floor tiles from a building under renovation and installing kitchen cabinets and custom millwork. We did these things because the customer had a need and we saw an opportunity to step up and take a larger role than we typically would. Our customers recognized this behavior by giving us millions of dollars of work year after year.
I recently attended a leadership training event and Horst Schulze, former CEO of Ritz Carlton, was one of the speakers. He presented four simple rules that drive this super-servant mindset and ultimately determine the level of success of your business.
Schulze’s rules are as follows with a major emphasis on never violating rule number one;
- Keep the customer
- Find new customers
- Get as much money as you can from the customer
- Work on your efficiencies
The first priority for any business is to keep every customer and turn them into a repeat customer. Then you need to focus on finding new customers but make sure that this effort does not impact your existing customers. Do not sacrifice an existing customer in an attempt to land new customers!
You also should be trying to get as much money as you can from each customer but again you need to do this in a way that you never lose a customer. This means that you need to be a super-servant and empower your customer by providing as much value to them as you can for the money they are paying you.
Finally, you need to run your business efficiently and remove anything that is wasteful or excess. In doing this, you need to be mindful that you must never lose a customer. Don’t cut corners and decrease value just to save some money when this will endanger your relationship with your customers.
These four rules are very powerful when you apply them correctly! Spend some time this week and look into your business. Does your business have a super-servant culture where you are anticipating and meeting the needs of your customers? Are you applying Schulze’s four rules properly in your business?
“The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary.” Sam Walton
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