Written By Don Archer Connect with him on Facebook
Sometimes I think I’m asking all the wrong questions.
Let me start with this.
The guy that fills our soda machine is a busy man. There’s no water in the water slot and there’s 4 slots filled with the same type of soda. He’s got many things going on and our soda machine is just a side line for him so we let it go. We fill our refrigerator with water from the local grocery and don’t give it a second thought.
The other day he came in asking if he could place a snack vending machine in our break room and I politely declined using the excuse that we already have one. That got me to thinking about how I treat my customers. Do I try to go above and beyond to service them or do I provide the bare minimum and then ask for more business?
I’m just like you…Whether you own your business, would like to one day or you work for someone else our questions go something like this: How can I make more money? Or, how can I get more customers?
That’s what you want isn’t it, more money?
That’s why you do what you do right?
No one’s disputing the fact that you love what you do but I’m just guessing you probably wouldn’t do it if you didn’t get paid. We’re asking those questions because we want a better life and more money helps to make that happen. I’m not here to discuss the morality of the quest for money I’m talking about the effectiveness of the questions we’re asking to get it.
We always act in our own self-interest. We’ve been doing so since we took our first breath outside the womb. We cried because we were hungry- and were fed. When we got a little older we learned to politely ask for more pie- and got more pie. We’ve become conditioned to take care of ourselves first. It’s human nature to lookout for yourself first. Because a well-healed and well-fed you can take care of those around you right?
Well what if I told you that thinking like that is the exact opposite of how we should think?
I’ve heard it said that to succeed in business you should “Think in terms of the interests of others”. And at times in my life I believe I’ve practiced that maxim. Unfortunately, like so many mottos and adages I’ve tried to live my life by over the years, it just…kind of faded away after a while…and I went back to putting my wants back in the pole position.
Thinking in terms of the interests of others is a good start but it still misses the mark and if that’s the only thing you do you’re short changing everyone on both sides of the exchange. People aren’t stupid they know when you’re blowing sunshine up their skirt. They know when a salesman fakes interest in their lives in an attempt to make the sale.
“Didn’t we go to separate high schools together?”
More than thinking in terms of their interests you should care about their needs. I know it’s hard to do with everything else you’ve got going on but when you truly care about your customers’ concerns and put them above your needs, while taking time to fix their problems, your relationships will grow. When you care about their needs above your own you’ll both be taken care of.
How can I serve my customers better? What do my customers want? How can I make what I do more transparent to my customers so that they feel comfortable using my services? These are the questions that build your business.
And in that vein I’m going to make what I do more visible. In the coming weeks I’ll be releasing more detailed information about both of my business, the towing business and my website, and some pieces of my personal life. As the weeks and months unfold I ask that you participate and let me know if you like what you’re seeing or if you hate it and wish I’d stop.
On another note I’m kicking around the idea of starting a podcast all about towing. Let me know if you think it’s a good idea and particularly if you’d listen.