Beginning Your 2012 With A Mindset Shift

Beginning Your 2012 With A Mindset Shift

January 5, 2012

“Most of the stress people experience comes from inappropriately managed commitments they make or accept.”
– David Allen

Are you “resolution-ed out”? Jimminy Cricket! I’ve received so many emails about New Year’s Resolutions, that I hereby resolve to ignore other people’s resolutions! But that doesn’t mean that it’s not a good idea to make a shift. In fact, now’s as good a time as any — probably better. Because too many business owners I see still have an “employee mindset” when it comes to running their businesses — and to serving their clients.

Sure, many wage-workers out there are glad to get the day off on federal holidays (like Monday of this week, during which I’m writing this — and especially since we business owners usually pay them for it!). But for the smart business owner, these holidays don’t have much meaning any more.It’s a knowledge-based economy, now–and you should structure your business so that you take days off when you WANT them. Not when Uncle Sam says you should.But where this gets interesting for YOU, is in how you position yourself (and even your staff) to your clients and prospects.

I go into more detail in my Strategy Note for the week, because it’s a critical point that many business owners I know just don’t get. I’ve written about this before, but I thought it timely, as we head into the new year.I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Mark Clark’s”Real World” Business Strategy

Avoiding The Wage Worker Mentality In Your Marketing and Sales Some say that you must ‘prove to your client that you’re willing to work harder, drive more miles, and bend over further than everyone else to earn his business.’And, at first glance it seems like foolishness to say that anything less than fantastic customer service is going to cut it in today’s marketplace.But here’s the problem: Most businesses try to communicate this way too soon, in the process of being way too eager to win the client’s business.So you end up chasing the prospect, saying ‘Call me any time, day or night, text me, here’s my home phone number.

Shoot, I’ll jump out of bed and come and see you in the middle of the night, because man, lemme tell ya, I’m eager to win your business!!’Of course, prospects know that after the contract has been agreed upon, they still end up dealing with a bunch of apathetic yo-yos in client service, and their work will STILL probably be late anyway – regardless of how eager the presentation.That’s why your enthusiasm doesn’t help you.

So here are some tips to fix this problem:

1) Don’t act so darn hungry to get the guy’s business.  Your client service people ARE busy, and they don’t have time to hold the hands of problem customers. Don’t be afraid to tell your prospects that they have to *qualify* to do business with you. It’s counterintuitive, but when the client finds out that you’re not drooling all over yourself to get his business, he’s going to respect you more.

2) *Guarantee* results to the client – with teeth.  Guarantee on-time delivery, specific levels of performance, with negative consequences for YOUR business if it doesn’t deliver the level of accuracy or quality you promised.  But you do not have to promise people the moon! You just have to keep the promises you DO make.This requires support from YOU, the business owner and on down. And most businesses don’t like to guarantee anything. (But when push comes to shove, you still have to deliver results anyway, right?

Giving a guarantee often just means clearly stating what’s already true.)If you aren’t willing to guarantee anything, why the heck not?  Why should your clients take all the risk after they’ve heard a bunch of empty promises?Even a modest guarantee can enormously empower your sales message.

Define what you can and can’t deliver, go to the mat to keep your promises, and draw the line right there.  Clients will be far more responsive and you won’t appear desperate.People are cynical, and they’ll only believe what you can prove. Put something on the line…and they’ll trust you MORE.