If you’re like me, you enjoy listening to good motivational speakers or reading notes and articles that contain good ideas or adaptable tips. Here, then, are a few I’ve collected from some sources known and some not. Perhaps there’s a gem or two in here for you today:
1) Always positive: If you want to build a strong customer following, always respond with an “I will” and not a wimpy “I’ll try.” Think about all the people who say, “I’ll try to get back to you tomorrow” and seldom do. Conversely, those who say, “I will have an answer for you by 5” usually follow through. Moreover, the right choice of words will help you get the job done, says George Walther, author of “50 Ways to Say What You Mean”
2) A kids’ playroom: If you visit Fields Jeep-Dodge in Glenview (Ill.) you’ll find a kids playroom with popcorn, an ice cream parlor and other amenities. The idea is you can’t talk seriously about selling a new car to parents when the bored kids are tugging to get out of there. Fields recognizes the family aspect of selling — like every boat dealership should do.
3) In a changing world: With the Internet, 24-hour cable news, social media and the pace of economic ups and downs, it could be easy for a dealership to lose its way. To keep the ship on course, double down on the purpose of the dealership — to provide a trouble-free family experience with every boat, every time. Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly emphasizes such a winning formula to all employees. Indeed, so there’s no mistake who’s most important, every employee’s paystub is signed: “Our Southwest Customers.”
4) Different thinking: Under the golden arches on Valentine’s Day last year, the idea of “I’m Lovin’ It” had new meaning at a Tampa, Fla., McDonald’s. A section was transformed into a sit-down restaurant complete with servers giving table service, refills, LED candles and flowers. Those making phone reservations also received a complimentary red rose. Meanwhile, a McDonald’s in Southport, N.C., is expected to be offering its fourth annual Valentine’s Dinner next week. Paramours enjoying McNuggets! Great idea. It can be fun, newsworthy and successful to try something different.
5) Win, if they vote: The recent upset in the presidential election magnifies that the single most important leverage point in any campaign is getting out the vote. If people who believe in you turn out, you win. This is true for every marine dealership, too. In truth, says popular author/blogger Seth Godin (www.sethgodin.com), your business probably doesn’t need as many new customers as you might think. “You will generate more impact if you reconnect with the people who already know and trust you,” he says. Good advice to be sure.
6) Add value or lose: You only have two choices: “Add value or stay home,” says author/speaker Howard E. Hyden (www.howardhyden.com). Whether the team member is in top management, sales, parts, service, or back room supplies, everyone must learn to stand in the customer’s shoes and see the dealership through the customer’s eyes. How do they see what you are providing and the way you provide it? Bottom line: All employees should view what they do from the customer’s perspective and should understand their need to directly contribute to the value that customer receives in every interaction.
7) The Super Bowl: Sunday night was a great show. And it reminded me of author and founder of Fast Company, William C. Taylor (www.williamctaylor.com) and his recent post in the Harvard Business Review suggesting the gridiron is a terrible metaphor for business and leaders who look to sports for ideas about their work will be sorely disappointed. Here’s why he contends making analogies between sports and business is wrong.
“The logic of competition and success is completely different,” Taylor says. In football, for example: “for one team to win (a championship), every other team must lose. The logic of business competition is nothing like this. The most successful companies, those that win big and create the most economic value, worry less about crushing the competition than about delighting and amazing their customers.
“Virtually every industry has room for plenty of different winners,” Taylor adds, “each of which is great at serving a distinct piece of the market or a certain set of customers.” For those in the marine industry, Taylor’s observation about less concern with the dealer down the street and more focused on building a great customer base is the path to “more economic value” (translation: dealership profits) .