I have yet to win the California Lottery, since I’ve only bought three or four tickets over its lifetime. I just never believed it made sense to spend hard-earned money on something with such incredibly poor odds. I would rather put my resources to work in a way that gives me some control and that means taking positive steps to build a successful business.
Yes, I heard what our president said about “you didn’t build your business if you own one,” but I strongly disagree. I grew up in an era when we were taught that people could accomplish virtually anything they wanted to if they put forth the necessary effort. I didn’t always agree with that, but time has proven me wrong.
Certainly, there are more obstacles today than ever, but that does not mean they cannot be overcome. Doing that always begins with a positive attitude. That is one thing we can control in life – our attitude. A positive attitude is the key to ideas and solutions, and anything else blinds us to them. The little girl with nothing to sell but lemons learned that a long time ago when she decided to make lemonade. Whether this is a fable or a real story I don’t know, but the point is clear. The battle really begins in our minds and we should not be whipped by the negatives it can conjure up if we don’t work on the positives.
Build a great reputation in the communities and the markets you serve and then use it. Regardless of how long you’ve been in business you have a reputation and hopefully it’s a good one. If not, get busy changing it. If it’s a good one, ask your customers for testimonials. If customers won’t provide one, then maybe you need to do some soul searching and find out why.
Honest feedback from clients may be one of your greatest assets. It will take some courage to find out what they really think and not be defensive about your product or service. When you get the testimonials use them to seal the deal. I suggest to my prospect after a solution presentation that they not take my word for anything, but instead ask my customers what they think. A genuine third-party testimonial from a current customer is far more powerful than anything you can say about yourself.
Honor and reward the customers who are giving you repeat business. Take the time to thank them and mean it when you do. The smallest note or expression of thanks can reap huge rewards. Even better is a personal phone call or visit just to say thanks. Especially in the age of electronic communications there is nothing that builds a bond and trust between companies and people than personal contact. When you take the time to do this and are sincere, it really says “I care” in the strongest of ways.
Focus on your customers and how to help them in other ways than just selling them a product or a service. Learn something about their business and the challenges they face. Learn who their prospects are and how to identify someone who is one. What kind of resources do they use and do you know a trusted supplier or vendor you might be able to direct to him or her. Refer them to prospects or vice versa. Even better introduce the prospect to them. Refer them to resources that have the potential to help with their challenges. I have found in my business that what goes around comes around. Help your customers and watch how that comes back to you.
Become an encourager rather than a co-whiner. I know it isn’t easy since misery loves company, but both parties lose if that is where it stops. Develop a habit of being generally upbeat and someone who is welcomed as a friend and acquaintance. Turn conversations into searches for positive solutions. At the end of the day we’ll be glad to see Mr. Negative leave and are better for it. Truly successful people learn to find positive solutions to problems, which is the biggest reason they are successful. They see what can be and find a way to move beyond what is.
Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are probably right. Choose wisely and you may find the lotto ticket to your own success.