Customer Supremacy 

If you Google “the purpose of a business” you’ll find many statements about what a business is supposed to be about. One example says the primary purpose of a business is to “maximize profits for its owners or stakeholders while maintaining corporate social responsibility.”

I kind of like that one, I don’t disagree with any of it but there is a huge hole in that statement. 

The great business guru, Peter Drucker, fills that hole with his statement that “the purpose of a business is to create a customer.” I wholeheartedly agree with that but it’s an over simplification. Placing your sole focus on creating customers is not a sustainable business model, especially these days. 

If I were to answer the question, “what is the purpose of a business?” I’d say it is to create customers and nurture a sustainable and profitable relationship with those customers over a very long period of time. All this while adding real value to the communities where your business is conducted, be it in your neighborhood or around the world. 

There is a lot to that statement. The customer for instance is the final arbiter of whether or not the relationship is “profitable” for them. They determine whether or not the products or services they receive in return for what they have spent is of value. Ultimately the customer is the only one who gets a vote in this. 

Similarly, it is the communities where the business is conducted that get to decide whether or not the business is adding value to ALL members of the community. Even the members who may not be customers of that business. 

Customers are the center of every business. Every business. Up until very recently I would have thought this was common knowledge. But as is often the case I was wrong. 

In a recent conversation with a business person, a person very high up in their organization, it was explained to me that it’s possible for a business to “mature” to the point where they no longer need customers. In fact, they may be better off without them. 

I’m seldom at a loss for words but I was completely flummoxed by this statement. Rather than respond immediately I remained silent while I tried to digest what I just heard. I figured there must be something I missed, or I was misunderstanding what was said. 

Instead of replying I kept in mind one of Dale Carnegie’s principles that says “the only way to get the best of an argument is to void it.” I said I must have missed something and I asked for clarification. 

The statement was repeated almost exactly as it was said the first time. 

This is from a person positioned high enough within their organization to affect every decision where a customer is concerned. I’m not at all certain that they realize that the profits their company uses to stay in business come ONLY from the customers they claim not to need. Anybody else see a problem with that?

If you’re ever tempted to adopt the same philosophy you need to keep this most indisputable and basic fact in mind. When you lose your customers your business ceases to exist.

Let me repeat that…when you lose your customers your business ceases to exist. 

It doesn’t matter if your business is new, old, or as this person says, “mature,” without customers you have no business. 

Companies that lose sight of the supremacy of the customer will eventually lose those customers. No business can afford the mindset of “win some lose some” when it comes to customers. Every lost customer must be understood to be a significant failure on the part of the business. Every effort must be made to understand why that customer left and what can be done to prevent it from happening with another customer . 

The focus these days seems to be on CX Hubs, and something called “Customer Experiences” and a ton of other buzzwords going around. All of them seem intent on providing more cost effective customer service. All of them also seem to ignore the absolute supremacy of the customer when it comes to even keeping the business open. 

I’ll close this with another rather simplistic statement regarding customers…but one that happens to be true. “Businesses that take care of their customers will always have customers who care to do business with them.”

Never never never lose sight of that fact and your business will be around a long long time. 

On a another subject…I’m trying something new over on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than regular Twitter followers. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can perhaps help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may just be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

Why I’m Different Than You

I’m not different than just most of you. I’m different than every single person reading this post. Even if every person on the planet read this post I’d still be different than every other person reading this post. 

Just different. Not better. Not worse. Just different. 

You’re different too. Different than every other person on earth. Not better. Not worse. Just different. 

When we learn to appreciate those differences magical things can happen. Sadly, it took me longer to learn that than I wish it had. But as they say, better late than never. 

I did a Sales and Leadership class a couple of years ago, literally days before the pandemic started, with a group of sales professionals from around Asia and Indonesia. If I recall correctly there were Chinese, Vietnamese and Indonesians in the class. This group couldn’t have been more different from me if they were from another planet. 

I think, I hope, that I taught them a lot. But I know they taught me more than I taught them. I learned a lot about sales from them and I learned a lot more about leadership from them too. But there were two things in particular that I learned that still stand out. 

One was that the challenges they faced in selling were very much the same as anywhere else in the world. The buyer/seller relationship is incredibly important whatever culture you might be selling in. 

But the biggest thing I learned was that no matter how different people might be from me, those differences are nothing when compared with what we have in common. Yes, there are certainly cultural differences but those are differences based on where we happen to come from, they are not based on who we are. 

Most of the differences I have from other people are created from my “life lens.” I may have experienced everything that you have experienced but my upbringing, my environment, my family and friends will all shape my life lens. That’s how I view each experience. Unless you’re actually me, you couldn’t view every experience exactly as I have. 

The statement, “if I were you I’d feel exactly the same” is a very fair statement to make. If you had their life lens you would feel exactly as they do. But you have a difference lens based on your personal experiences than every other person on earth. You can have a very similar life lens, but not an identical one. 

Once you understand that, the differences between you and other people will matter a whole lot less. Once you understand that, you open yourself to learning about and seeing the world through the lens of other people. 

When you learn through the life lens of other people you begin to value those differences and the diversity that comes with them. You understand that even though there may be some significant differences we’re all vastly more similar than we are different. 

Once we understand all that we become less likely to judge other people and more likely, far more likely, to simply try to understand and appreciate them. 

On a another subject…I’m trying something new over on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than regular Twitter followers. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can perhaps help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may just be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

How Trust is Really Built

I’m not sure why but I’ve seen a ton of blog posts and various articles lately about building trust. Most of them are about particular words you either should or shouldn’t use if you want to build trust. 

Some of them talk about tone of voice or making eye contact when you want someone to know you’re being particularly truthful. I love that word combo “particularly truthful.”

Imagine someone writing about building trust and in the article seeming to indicate that sometimes you’re more truthful than others. When you want to convince someone you can be trusted then you should be “particularly truthful.” They don’t explain what you should be the rest of the time so I’m left to wonder about it. 

What surprises me about every single article and post I’ve read the last few weeks on building trust, and there have been many of them, is that not a single one of them talked about being trustworthy. The talk about using “trustable” words and phrases. A few even talked about behaving in a certain way to convince people you can be trusted. 

But not one said to build trust by actually being trustworthy. 

To me being trustworthy is saying exactly what you mean and doing exactly what you say. All the time. It’s about honoring your commitments, every commitment. All the time. 

When your words match your actions, even if not everyone agrees with them, you will be trusted. 

If you’re forced to use certain words for people to trust you then I’d have to say it’s possible you’re not trustworthy. If you have to behave in any other way than being your normal self then it’s very possible that people shouldn’t really trust you. 

If you want to be trusted then don’t say yes when you know your actions are going to show you meant no. Don’t commit to doing something today when you know darn well it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to do it today. 

Trust isn’t built on what we say, it’s built on what we do. There’s no need to read a bunch of articles on how to be trusted. All you need to do is be trustworthy. 

One other thing, if you’re wondering how you can tell if someone else can be trusted there is only one sure way to know. Trust them, they will quickly show you if your trust is deserved or not. 

On a another subject…I’m trying something new over on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than regular Twitter followers. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can perhaps help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may just be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help. 

Do Your Best…Because You Deserve It

We’ve all likely heard lots about the great resignation or great reshuffle or whatever you want to call it. I hear one of the reasons is that people seem to be searching for something better. Something that will keep them engaged. Someplace where they will matter.

Organizations that do a poor job of keeping their people engaged risk losing them. Or worse, they risk having them stay while remaining disengaged. You can find tons of articles about what companies and organizations should do to keep their people engaged. I don’t disagree with any of them. 

But I have a different idea. It’s pretty old fashioned. Some would say very outdated. More still would say it’s completely unwoke. But I don’t care, even if I’m the last person who thinks this way. 

The idea is that people who accept a paycheck from a company should figure out for themselves how to stay engaged. 

They should realize that accepting that paycheck obligates them to keep themselves engaged. Perhaps they need to accept responsibility for giving their very best effort even on the days they don’t feel like it. 

The very best companies with outstanding leadership are very intentional about working with their people to help them stay engaged and motivated. But most companies aren’t the best and many lack even mediocre leadership. 

If you’re in one of the companies not blessed with outstanding leadership and you’re waiting on your boss or leader to keep you engaged then you’re gonna be waiting a real long time. 

If you’re waiting for your company, boss, or anyone besides yourself to make you happy and feel fulfilled then I have bad news for you…or maybe it’s good news… you must develop the attitude of “If it’s to be then it’s up to me.” 

You have within you the power to keep yourself engaged. You have the absolute ability to motivate yourself. It’s great when you get some help along the way but don’t count on it. Stop looking out for the “stuff” that will keep you motivated and engaged. Start looking within because that’s the only guaranteed source of motivation. 

There would be far less movement of people in the workforce if more people accepted responsibility for their own results. Blaming someone else because you’re a crappy employee or poor team member is a sure sign of galactic irresponsibility. 

It is your responsibility to always give your best effort. It’s your responsibility not only for the company paying you. The fact is YOU deserve the satisfaction that comes with knowing you did your best. No matter what anyone else thinks. 

If you find yourself in a situation where it simply requires more effort than you can give to keep yourself motivated then you need to understand that it’s your responsibility to separate yourself from that situation. As soon as possible. 

If you continuously find yourself in those situations no matter where you’re working then perhaps changing jobs isn’t the change that’s needed. If you can’t determine what needs to change I’d suggest you consider investing in a mirror and looking there. 

On a completely different subject…I’m trying something new out over on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day,  people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than regular Twitter followers. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, I can’t promise it will last for a long time but I can promise the content will be helpful as long as it does.

No Meeting Fridays

I usually have a point of view about the things I write about. I’m not so sure about this topic. There seems to be an interesting concept gaining steam in the United States, actually around the world.

The concept is No Meeting Fridays. That means all business meetings are held on Monday thru Thursday. No exceptions. Not even lunch meetings on Friday. No Zoom meetings, no one on ones, no performance reviews, no conference calls. No meetings means no meetings. Period.

No meeting Fridays is about full “getting it done” productivity. No presentations to sit through, no PowerPoint to stare at. It’s about accomplishing as much as possible to finish the week exceptionally strong.

One of the immediate benefits to this that I see is an opportunity to turn off the “always on” mentality that comes with the typical business meeting environment. There’s no need to look a certain way or sound a certain way, no need to fight to be noticed. 

I like that part of No Meeting Fridays. 

I’m not sure it’s practical. It is a fact that an awful lot of business meetings are unproductive, no matter the day of the week. If you’re working someplace that has a good meeting strategy, one that requires agendas and objectives for meetings, then your meetings will be productive. If your company carefully considers who should be in meetings, so no unnecessary participants are included, then your meetings will be even more productive. Even on Fridays.

If your company is a “let’s get a meeting on the calendar” with a Willy Nilly approach to meetings then you would be better off having a No Meeting On Any Day that Ends in “Y” policy. 

So what do you think about No Meeting Fridays? The idea has merit so long as people have the discipline to actually make use of the “meeting free” time to get stuff done. If it’s only a day to coast into the weekend then I’d be dead set against it. 

What about you? 

On a completely different subject…I’m trying something new out over on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day,  people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing the kind of things I tweet and blog about. But the best part is I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than regular followers. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, I can’t promise it will last for a long time but I can promise the content will be helpful as long as it does.

Good Habits, Bad Habits

Do you have any habits? Let me help you with the answer to that question. Yes, you do have habits. If you’re a normal person you have both good habits and bad habits. 

It has been said that people create their own futures. That is not exactly accurate. What people create are habits and those habits create their futures. 

Just so we’re all on the same page a habit is a routine behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously. The American Journal of Psychology defined a “habit, from the standpoint of psychology, as more or less a fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.”

So basically a habit is stuff we do repeatedly, most often without even thinking about it. 

But I’m going to ask you to stop doing anything without thinking about it for a week. Think about EVERYTHING you do. Take note of everything you do during each day of the week and track it on paper or in your phone. At the end of each day honestly look at everything you did that day and ask yourself six questions. Why did you do it? Did it need to be done? Was a productive? Did it add value to my life? Add value to the lives of the people around me? Did it benefit my employer in any way?

Be honest with your answers or don’t bother doing this exercise. 

How many of the things you do each day do you do without even thinking? How many do you do simply because you’ve “always done them?” How many of them are you struggling to assign any value or benefit to? 

How many of them would you define as good habits vs bad habits? Remember the honest part. 

Now, which of the bad habits are you willing to part with? I’ve been told that cracking open a Diet Coke at 4:30AM is a bad habit. Mind you, this is being told to me by people drinking their 4th cup of coffee which they apparently consider to be a health drink. It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s a bad habit or not, the Diet Coke ain’t going anywhere. 

If you choose to hang onto a bad habit that’s fine, but you need to be aware that you’re doing it. You also need to be aware that the more bad habits you hang onto the less room you have in your life for good habits. 

The bottom line here is this…think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. That’s hard to do all the time but very successful people make a point to do it at least now and then. I’m willing to bet it’s entirely possible you’ve haven’t done it in a long long time.

So do it now!

Is a Lie Always a Lie?

So you’re in sales and the company you work for has been caught in an apparent lie. So now what?

My first recommendation is to take a breath. It’s amazing how much breathing helps in almost every situation. One way it helps is to give you time to think. There are are few things in particular that you should be thinking about. 

First, was the “apparent” lie really a lie. It could just be a misunderstanding born of poor communication. When additional facts are understood the “lie” may not be a lie at all. When you’re shocked by something you find hard to believe get as many facts as possible before labeling any information a lie. 

If it turns out that it was in fact a lie then you need to determine whether it was a lie created by malice or a lie created by incompetence. Neither is good but somehow, at least for me, I find it better to be lied to by an incompetent person than a truly deceitful one. Determining if it was a lie that came from incompetence or malice may come down to a gut call. Trust your gut, always trust your gut. Those instincts or that intuition are developed from your life experiences. If you can keep your emotions in check then your instincts are very often correct. 

If you decide that the lie is more of a mistake caused by incompetence then you have to decide if it’s a “one off” kind of lie or if a pattern of incompetence causes this kind of thing to happen often. Remember, if you’re representing this company in the marketplace your reputation is on the line as well and to your customers, a lie is a lie is a lie. They don’t really care where it came from. 

If you decide that the lie was a pure intentionally fabricated misstatement then you have some tough choices to make. You have to determine if you’re willing to work for that kind of organization and the kind of people who run it. You also have to understand that supporting the lie, either by ignoring it or worse, repeating it, makes you a liar as well. The only thing I’ll say about that is if you’re lying to get business then you may make some money but you’ll never be a success. 

And the lies will be exposed eventually, they ALWAYS are. 

Let’s not forgot about the what may be the worst lie of all, the “half-truth” lie. Have you ever watched a movie or TV show with courtroom scenes? Remember the oath that witnesses must swear to? They swear to not just tell the truth but to tell the “whole truth.” 

Lord Tennyson said, “That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies. That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright; but a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.” 

Professional salespeople tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If you’re not doing that then you fail at the first test of professional selling, and that’s the test the matters most.