I’ve been connecting with a lot of new people lately in my business. Generally, I’m always looking to broaden my network, meet new and interesting people, and connect people within my network. I love being a connector.
Throughout my career I’ve been in roles where I’ve been paid to build networks and relationships – it can’t get better than that, right? Take for example my work as the former Executive Director of the CT LGBT Chamber of Commerce. In that role my job was to get my face out there, the organization’s name out and help members generate business.
I’ve recently taken on a new client contract that is very reminiscent of my chamber executive days. However, now that I am a few years older and a few years wiser I’m noticing some startling patterns. A good friend of mine dubbed me the ‘Dark Lord’ quite sometime ago – suggesting that I am the person in the background orchestrating everything and to be frank – the one getting shit done. I have a posse of Dark Lords now, including my son, who has been dubbed the ‘Mini Dark Lord.’
As a business owner – the bar is set really low. Not a high bar in terms of your customers having high expectations, but rather that your customers are not expecting crazy things from you – but yet they are in a constant state of being let down. They are likely looking for very simple things. But the key is you or hopefully its not you and its your competition, that isn’t serving the customers basic needs. I’m finding two noticeable patterns that can raise the bar and lead to your future success.
1. Providing exceptional customer service through listening
I come from a retail background where ‘the customer is always right’ as cliche as that sounds. To a certain degree I can get behind that, but in reality, the customer is not always right. The key is that you need to listen to what they are saying to you. It is amazing how many business owners are ignoring what their customers are trying to tell them. The key to make customers happy is to provide exceptional customer service and simply listen. I’m not suggesting pulling an Oprah and buying everyone a new car. I am suggesting you just hear them out. It is amazing how many business owners I’ve run into lately who are falling short on this. I’m of the mindset that you do what it takes to get the job done for the customer who hired you for the job. I’m not alone in this mindset. The businesses I see employing this simple concept are rockstars and doing amazing in their businesses. You can be a rockstar too!
2. Do what you say you are going to do
Now this might seem like common sense. You may be scratching your head thinking how can this be the second key to success? Well, I am here to say that most people do not do what they say they are going to do. This could be as simple as saying you are going to call someone at a mutually chosen time and then not calling them. It could also be saying you are going to make an introduction to someone and not following through. There are many examples of how a lack of follow through can damage your reputation and business. Common courtesy and respect for your customers and potential business relationships can go a long way.
As a Dark Lord who gets shit done I’m in constant awe and amazement with how low the bar is generally speaking. If you want your business to shine and your customers to take notice it’s a matter of mastering some fundamental and simple principles like listening to your customers and doing what you say you are going to do.
Are you up for the challenge in doing one or both of these things? If you have other keys to success for raising the bar and your business, leave a comment – I’d love to know!