You can try to fool yourself into thinking that your success is all because of the products you sell or the services you offer. Yes, of course, what you sell is important. You need to offer something to consumers that is needed or desired. That’s a given.
But in my humble opinion, the #1 reason for continued long-term success is your people. You need good people who know how to create, build, and service. And you, their leader, needs to instill in those people your passion and your mission. (Your passion stems from more than just making money, right?)
Now, let’s dig a little deeper. All employees need to be good… BUT… THE MOST INTEGRAL PARTS OF YOUR TEAM, THAT MOST DIRECTLY EFFECTS YOUR SUCCESS OR FAILURE, are the people who deal with your customers and your potential customers ONE-ON-ONE. They’re the ones who make the customer experience a great one. They provide a better customer experience than anyone could get from your competitors.
There are companies past and present who have great products and offer much needed services, but they’ve either gone away or are constantly struggling because the customer experience is… or was… horrible.
When a consumer is uncomfortable during an interaction, sales pitch, or service call – it will all fall apart. If not immediately, it will eventually.
Do not kid yourself. If you run a company that depends on multiple employees… one person does not make a successful company. You may be a great leader, but you also need to identify and mold good talent. And you need to know when someone does not fit the mold. Not everyone is trainable at this very moment in time or sometimes ever. And if you need help identifying “the right stuff” in people when you’re hiring them… then get some second and third opinions on your potential new hires. You have to uncover who people really are in your interviews. You have to get them talking. It’s more than just a sheet of questions asking about their skills and where they see themselves in 5 years. It’s about making them feel comfortable enough in an interview to open up and be honest with you.
But again… not everyone is trainable. You know what I’m talking about.
Think about a time you had a great customer experience when you purchased something. Usually, the big, fat, juicy main reason for that great experience was because of one person. Or a string of people who were on-point with how to interact with you.
It’s how they talked to you. They were pleasant, skilled, positive, and they were REAL.
But have you ever been in a buying situation where a person went into a canned sales pitch, and you just wanted to tell them to stop the bullshit and level with you? It’s like your lizard-brain is telling you to run away. Or have you ever got a grumpy service person, and you vowed right then and there never to hire that company again? Ever talk to a rude front office person who gave you a bad taste in your mouth? Yup. All of them. Me too.
Anyone within your company who deals with your customers (or prospective customers) one-on-one… in-person, on the phone, or even through email… are your main reasons for your success or your failure.
People have more choices than ever before to buy the goods and services they want or need. So, when that one employee gives a customer an easy interaction, and creates an environment of calmness and trust, that customer will stay with that person no matter what. Even if that person goes to work for a competitor of yours, that customer will most likely follow that person. Because we all like to do business with PEOPLE… not corporations.
This blog post was inspired by a buying experience I had recently with a salesperson. We’ve done a lot of business with this person, over many years. And this person always treats my wife and I like we’re human beings. They “get it”. This person is almost the complete opposite of what you usually find. They’re a gem that makes us feel COMFORTABLE. If this person ever changed companies, we’d follow.
The one-on-one human interactions are where your battles are won or lost.
It’s not your social media.
It’s not whether you have great products or services.
It’s not because you just “know” that you’re better.
Make sure you have a team of diamonds dealing with your customers. If they need more training on how to deal with people… give it to them. And then, continue with that training weekly… forever. If you need to hire more diamonds, go find them. They may be hiding in a rough… but they are out there. And if you have trouble KEEPING those gems, then, figure out what you can fix.