“Don’t worry about getting bigger. When we get better, our customers will make us bigger.” —Truett Cathey
The law of Chick-fil-A: If we want to get bigger, we must be better. If we improve on what we do, focus on our strengths and practice what we are already very good at doing, we won’t be able to keep people away. Our best customers often become our best marketers. Better is the gateway to becoming successful — and bigger.
Content is king no matter the type of your business. Many companies and organizations are focused solely on growth. I was a church minister for many years, and every committee was focused on counting the numbers of attendees and contributors. It is the same for convention planners. They focus most of their attention on how many people they can put in the seats at meetings and activities.
Executives budget to hire sports figures, former astronauts and other celebrities as keynote speakers that they think people want to hear to get a crowd to just show up. It works in the short term, but if the speaker’s message doesn’t translate to how attendees can grow their businesses, it tends to fall on deaf ears.
People walk away saying, “That was great. Now what do I do? I’m not a professional baseball player, NASA scientist or movie star.”
If people see value in what you do, they will keep coming back for more.
Truett Cathey, founder of fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, held meetings with his top advisors and management. He noticed in one meeting that they were discussing how the company could grow. Ideas were being tossed around and enthusiasm was very high. Their goal was to do whatever it took to make Chick-fil-A bigger. Calmly, Truett said, “Don’t worry about getting bigger. When we get better, our customers will make us bigger.”
And they did just that by providing the best and fastest customer service in the fast-food industry.
To get bigger, you must get better — at everything, but particularly at your focus in business. Mercedes Benz seized the luxury car market by campaigning on the safety of their cars. And statistics show that their automobiles are very safe. They attracted a high-dollar market of people who not only wanted to drive a very expensive automobile but also wanted to stay alive while doing it.
If you sell propane gas or products, find the greatest need your customers have by asking great questions and then being the best at it in your community. If you manage a company, decide today that you will be the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse of propane stores.
My favorite example is a propane company I worked with in the Carolinas. The company had an engineer named Darrell who was the most requested person to drop a line, repair a tank or deliver an item to customers. The store wasn’t selling propane; they were selling Darrell and his services. He met customer needs and was a pleasure to be around. What is your main business and target market? What are you known for doing well by both your customers and your competitors? What do your customers or clients want, and how can you be better than everyone else at doing it?
Focus on Strengths
I’m admittedly not a good golfer. But there is one thing I know I can do better than most golfers: I can putt — very well and accurately. Several years ago, I played in a tournament for a corporate retreat. As the visiting speaker, I was placed on a team with the sound tech guy for the retreat, the corporate attorney and a guy named Ralph. (Ralph wasn’t very clear about his role at the company.) It was a “best ball” tournament, which means the best ball hit among the four members for each shot was played for the team score.
One of us could drive great, another could hit very long and accurately from the fairway, and Ralph was a superb chipper. And you know what I did. We spent the afternoon encouraging each other. We not only never “bogeyed” (shot over par) but we won the tournament! We found what we were each good at and emphasized our strengths.
John Maxwell, an American author, speaker and pastor, says you should work on your strengths to be successful, not your weaknesses. He says, “Focusing on weaknesses instead of strengths is like having a handful of coins — a few made of pure gold and the rest of tarnished copper — and setting aside the gold coins to spend all your time cleaning and shining the copper ones in the hopes of making them look more valuable. No matter how long you spend on them, they will never be worth what the gold ones are. Go with your greatest assets; don’t waste your time.”
If you work on your weaknesses, your strengths will be left wanting while you attempt to be better at something you may never improve at doing. John Wooden, legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach, would mark the court where his players made their best shots at practices. He then designed plays so players would get the ball at the places they were best at shooting from.
If you are in sales, find out why people like your product, service or company and sell those best products or practices to them. Find out what method of selling works best for you and practice that until you can beat anyone at that skill.
For example, Mike is a terrific inside salesperson. Even when he was fighting cancer, he outsold every salesperson in his company by working the phone and internet from his home office. Brian, on the other hand, likes to meet with people in the comfort of their offices, and he regularly makes and surpasses his company’s sales goals. If you tried to make Brian sell from a phone and computer, he would be lousy at it. People buy from him because he meets them on their turf.
Consequently, if you tried to make Mike sell by visiting clients … well, he wouldn’t do it! Each salesperson knows their strengths and uses them to excel.
Find what you are good at doing and exploit the daylights out of that skill to make your clients happy. If you improve on what you do, major on those strengths. Practice what you are very good at doing and you won’t be able to keep people away. As a result, your customers will make you bigger. Isn’t that simple?
Focusing on and building your strengths while adding value to people will always give you satisfied clients. That will turn into more sales, more attendees, more participants and, of course, more people who are happy.
Your best prospects are happy, satisfied, loyal and frequent customers and clients. When people are happy and satisfied with your sales, your product, your service and your company, word will travel fast. Get your happy customers to work for you by providing the best experience possible in doing business with you. They will tell others, and you will be the latest trend or movement in your industry or community.
If you exceed people’s needs and expectations, you won’t be able to stop them from telling others about it.
Most people will agree that the best form of advertising is word of mouth. They will also tell you that it is the least expensive form. Your sales, business or association will grow at unbelievable rates as people come on board. Excitement breeds excitement.
If you add value to people’s lives, they will help you get what you want. If you run a trade association, find out what your members like most about membership and help them get more of that for their membership. If you sell propane products or parts, find out what customers want the most from a dealer and then deliver it on time, with a smile and maybe even with some advice on how to improve their lives on a cold winter’s day.
Do you have a plan in place to improve yourself, your service delivery, your sales approach, your care and your company/organization? Why not? Start now on putting one together and in place to get better.
People are attracted to us when we put them first, make their experience special and value them above ourselves. You can start doing this now.
With the next customer, client or job you are on, listen for what the other person wants the most and deliver to them in a way that they will be talking about to everyone they meet. Enjoy meeting needs and adding value like nobody else.