Creating Raving Fans – Define Customer Value

Recently I was at a presentation about creating raving fan customers. After mentioning that he is a raving fan of a rather unsuccessful local major league baseball team, the speaker asked the audience – who wanted customers that identified with their business the same way that raving fans dedicate themselves to their favorite teams? That question got me thinking about how a sports team with a multi-season losing record can earn and keep their extremely loyal fans. My conclusion is that, just like all businesses, the definition of the product of a sports team goes way beyond the obvious. In addition to win/lose record, their product includes: · Their history · Their records · Their players · Their managers and coaches · Their venue · Their customer service department (ticketing) · Their uniforms · The food and other amenities available at their venue · The overall atmosphere at their venue · And much, much more. The point is – are you on top of the complete definition of your product? Here is a hint; the definition of your product includes a lot of intangibles that reflect what your customers (clients, patients, team, vendors, etc.) value about their experience with your business, not simply the physical product or service you deliver. If you don’t know what your audiences value about your products or services, one way to find out is to ask them.  Many of their replies will surprise you.

A Great Business Quote From Ralph Nader

The Quote:

“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”

Which, of course leads to the question you should be asking yourself; Am I, and the systems in my business, division or area of responsibility focused on developing leaders?  If not, why not? Great, effective and admired leaders will tell you that one of the most gratifying aspects of leadership is developing and mentoring leaders.  Don’t know how to begin? Two good places to start are The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential by John C. Maxwell, and Instant Systems by Bradley Sugars, the founder of ActionCOACH.  After you read, talk with your mentor, advisor or coach to map out and follow your path to true leadership.

Become a subject expert on LinkedIn

When you answer specific questions under the Answers tab in LinkedIn, other users vote on your answers.  Given enough positive votes/comments, you can become an expert in the subject. Be careful to be subject selective and focused.

Great Quote From Jack Nicklaus

I was reading GolfWorld magazine the other day and saw the following quote from The Greatest Game of All: My Life In Golf by Jack Nicklaus and Herbert Warren Wind:
“How do slumps begin?  They begin from neglect, and neglect finally leads to a loss of confidence.  You can practice a lot but still be neglectful – neglectful of the fundamentals.  During a long stretch of poor golf I suffered through in the winter and spring of 1967, I tried to rouse my game by attempting to bring off increasingly complicated shots.  What I should have done was to back up, return to the fundamentals, and get one thing at a time under control.”
You might ask what this quote about golf has to do with business, but to me this speaks volumes about business.  When working on turnarounds before I joined ActionCOACH, I saw first-hand how much trouble a business can get into by ignoring the fundamentals and how troubles were magnified when those businesses tried to hit home runs to get out of trouble. Heroic measures rarely work.  Returning to fundamentals, returning to Action’s 5 Ways and 6 Steps will provide a solid foundation for any business to build (or rebuild) upon. If you are facing or are in a slump, return to business fundamentals.  Actually, even if your business is currently booming, never lose sight of the basics if you want to achieve long term success.

What, exactly is a business coach?

While on the golf course yesterday, one of my playing partners asked “What the heck is a business coach?”  He told me he had never heard of business coaching.  It turns out that I get this question a lot, so here is my answer:
  1. A Business Coach is an EDUCATOR – we identify our client’s business blind spots (we all have them) and educate them on things about business they didn’t know they didn’t know.
  2. Once we identify a business blind spot, we work with our client to prepare them to increase their knowledge so that they can either embrace new areas, or effectively delegate to their team.
  3. The subjects we deal in are, for the most part, the fundamentals of business upon which all successful businesses are built.
Before I was able to get to my final point, my playing partner asked “Isn’t coaching and consulting the same?”  That is a perfect lead in to the most important difference between consulting and coaching, and the primary factor that makes business coaching extremely effective:
  • Accountability – Just like a sports coach, we stand side by side with our clients to insure they use the education and stay focused on achieving their business goals.