Thank God For a Good Recession: 7 No-Fail Strategies to Pull Ahead During Tough Times (Part Two of a Two-Part Series)

By Roxanne Emmerich

4. Run A Tight Ship

Someone’s late for a meeting. Nobody calls the person on it. Next week, three people are late. That’s no coincidence. Eventually, there won’t be a meeting in the entire organization that starts within 15 minutes of the scheduled time. You have checklists required to make sure people are in compliance. Somebody skips it saying, “Gosh, I was busy, so I didn’t do it.” Suddenly nobody is doing checklists and your organization resembles the “friendly zoo.”

What’s wrong? When everybody knows the rules, but you don’t hold each other accountable, organizations naturally become rule-free and loose. If you look at every successful organization, you’ll see groups in which team members respectfully call out other team members whenever service standards are compromised, deadlines are missed, or an honor code is violated. Struggling organizations have folks who just want to be “nice.” They let it all go—which means, of course, that others will let THEM go when they mess up. Now the whole group is letting it all go, and in no time flat, you’re back to blaming the economy.

It is not management’s job alone to call people on their “stuff,” it is the role of every person within the organization. Only by doing so can you have any hope of progression. Repeating yesterday will NOT create different results. Management’s job is to make sure every person is offering constructive feedback and pushing each other to greatness.

5) Love Your Top 100 List—and Let Them Know It

While 80 percent of profits come from the top 20 percent of customers, why wouldn’t you create a rock-solid “contact every month” plan for your top 100 prospective and current customers? Not only will those customers appreciate your constant information sharing, small gifts, and special invitations, they will buy more from you, “sneeze” about you to others, and become evangelists with their friends. What better way to bring in more profitable accounts than to recruit your profitable accounts to be on your “sales team?”

6) Teach Your Employees the Discipline of Winning Behaviors

Do your employees have the disciplines and skills to compete against your toughest competitors? From knowing how to flip a customer from a conversation of price to one of value—your Unique Selling Proposition—and how to cross sell other products discretely and effectively. Winners of the Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award benchmarked that for every dollar invested in training their people, they received a 30-1 return. When one manager remarked that he didn’t train his people because they might leave, he didn’t think of the worse nightmare—what if they aren’t trained… and they stay? Now, that’s a scary thought.

7) Love Your Customers and Show It

Now, more than ever, it’s vital to retain your customers and find new ways to meet their needs. And the number-one way to do this is to show them in tangible and intangible ways that you really care about them. A great way to do this is to organize and launch a “We Love Our Customers” program—it’s fun, it’s easy and it’s also a fantastic way to connect on an emotional level with people. Research proves that customer loyalty can only be created when an emotional connection is established. So make loving customers everyone’s job! Get your team together to brainstorm new ways to show you care. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

• Have at least three people say, “See you tomorrow.” Or “Thanks for coming today” as each customer leaves, making them feel welcome

• High-five customers when they have a breakthrough like making a buying decision or come to a revelation—customers are people too. They want fun.

• Send notes to clients and call them often.

• Set standards for all customer service touch points and make sure to measure and celebrate results

• Have a few standards that are outrageously better than expected.

Have fun, collaborate, and use your imagination. Love your customers and your community and they will love you back!

And a ‘One More’ Bonus… Understand that the Game Is about Winning Hearts…

…those of your employees and your customers. People buy for emotional reasons, and you must start first by winning over the hearts of your employees. Once your employees believe you are the best and the ONLY choice for your current and prospective customers, they will quickly win over your customers hearts.

Roxanne Emmerich’s Thank God It’s Monday!—How to Create a Workplace You and Your Customers Love climbed to #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list and made the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists—all in the first week of its release. Roxanne is renowned for her ability to transform “ho-hum” workplaces into dynamic, results-oriented, “bring-it-on” cultures. Listen to the free 60-second audio with teammates each Monday to clean up the craziness in your workplace and focus on getting massive results. Sign up today at ©MMIV Leadership Press Avenue, LLC. All rights reserved, including translation. No reproduction or duplication, whole or in part, in any form or by any means without written permission from Leadership Press Avenue, LLC. Material provided under license, for internal use only pursuant to the terms and conditions of the license agreement.

By Adam

March 09, 2011