Who is your boss?
by Kevin D. Crone
There is only one real boss in your company. They can fire everyone from the chairman on down. The customer – because they may not come back or they may go somewhere else. Peter Drucker, the biggest management consultant of all time, said in his writings that the only purpose of an enterprise is to please customers. In my work with executive teams and their organizations, that insight often seems to get lost.
Just yesterday I bought a beautiful new car! The car of my dreams and yes it wasn’t too logical a purchase. At my time of life I said, “what the heck, why not?” I bought it from a company in Toronto specializing in luxury cars. You would think they would be totally different from the old style dealers who use lots of tricks to manipulate a hot prospect like me, someone who drove a long distance and through traffic to get there. Yes, they had a classy building and cappuccino served by thoughtful people. But all the rest was from the same old design of the car business. Messing around with pricing by asking too much then lowering the price, up-selling extra warranties, pretending they are giving you lots for your trade-in. They pulled the old “I have to go get approval from my sales manager, wish me luck.” Up-selling everything extra in the book and of course, all their extra fees. You know the experience. Yes, all that still goes on in many places.
Your offering is the total experience for the customer, not just the product you sell. I am still irritated a day later and I almost backed out this morning because when I went to pick up the car, they changed the deal again! At the very least, I would never go back or refer anyone. Customers can slowly fire that entire business.
For years, I asked management teams to invite a group of their clients and listen to them. About 50% liked the idea and did what I suggested. After the listening, I would then ask the management team (they were the listeners because they were not allowed to talk in the meeting) to describe their offering to me in factual terms and what they heard the clients say they wanted. We looked for the match. 90% of the time, their offering wasn’t matching up. They also saw how they don’t listen very well. The idea was to design their business around an offering that matches up with what the market they are competing in actually wants. Pretty simple, but somehow management seems to know better than the customer. They often put their needs above the customers. Their goals, their success, their wants. Yes, you have to make a buck and you have to flog your stuff but, to stay in business long term the design of your business had better stay abreast with the needs and wants of your customer. Your organization and everyone in it must understand what those wants are. Your internal operations need to be congruent and support the offering.
Great marketing may get customers in the door, but it is not enough long term. Really describing the profile of your client and what they want including how they want to be treated etc. and then organizing your business to support it is still the biggest key to growing your business. Dale Carnegie taught millions around the world that to get what you want “find out what people want and help them get it.” He said that is the only way to deal with customers, bosses of all kinds, family, associates and friends. Trying to convince people of what you want is very hard work and doesn’t work well especially long term.
Having some challenges lately with sales or with a tough boss or employees or associates or even at home? I suggest trying Dale’s principles (find a free download below). Create an eager want. Truly find out what others want and help them get it. You, them and the relationship will all be better.
Have a great week!
Kevin D. Crone
Dale Carnegie Business Group
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