200 5-Star Reviews, and charging more than competition!

Two Contrasts yesterday…which one are you?

I had great sessions with a couple clients yesterday. Both have important lessons to share.

Client 1:

Let’s call him ‘John’. When I started supporting him two years ago he charged $270 per call out. Yesterday he said it’s up to $675. He’s gone from around $300K/yr to $1.3m and I’m supporting him to reach $12-15m/yr.

Is this about just getting more dollars for nothing? Absolutely not!

He’s had the state manager of Google come and visit him because he has over 200 five star reviews!

John is obsessed, and I literally mean obsessed, about customer service and delivering 110%.

Making the customer happy is repeatedly encouraged and enforced with his team on a daily basis. His team are measured on 5 star reviews they get.

What is even more interesting is that his competitors always assumed he was beating them on price and that was why he was getting 5star reviews. There has been feedback they are really getting annoyed and scratching their heads now they know it’s not price! LOL

Client 2:

This client is helping import a new product from China that sells for $15K-25K.

This is around 30-40% cheaper than the competition and they are excited about this and guess what?

The price difference is their main selling point. They are pushing how much cheaper it is. And getting excited about this fact.

I had to burst their bubble. I see this quite a bit. A startup gets the idea that they can bring in a product far cheaper than the current suppliers.

Where’s the bubble?

The new startup has very low overheads.

In this case no factory or real fulltime staff. No marketing budget. No warehousing costs. No warranty repairs yet.

The competitor on the other hand has figured out that to pay wages, pay overheads, stay in business through the slow months, etc etc…they need to charge that 30-40% more. Make sense?

The other issue I have with undercutting the market is that it lowers price expectations with customers. It ruins it for everyone and costs us jobs.

Hence we are seeing so many stores close in Australia and jobs lost. We think about ourselves only and want cheaper cheaper cheaper, but lose sight of the real costs of this to others including the environment.

Where’s Your Thermostat Set At?

Where’s your thermostat set at?
We ALL have a thermostat.
Our thermostats are set at levels that keep us ‘comfortable’.
Comfortable with a certain level of effort, risk, potential for rejection, wealth, love…
And guess what? Your thermostat in business is dictating your level of business success.
To achieve a higher level of success, we need to push into an area of uncomfortableness by setting our thermostat higher.
It is a universal law that none of us can avoid. And I’ll give a few examples below…
Next time you are doing something important for growth in your business, notice where your thermostat is set at.
You can determine your thermostat setting by noticing the little voice in your head that says, “that’s enough, I’ll stop here”.
It’s like the foot on the accelerator in your business vehicle. You push it only as far as you are comfortable or as far as societal rules, or family programming dictate is ‘acceptable’.
In fact its a combo of what you are doing with the accelerator (how fast you go), steering wheel (where you take the business), gear lever (maximum speed achievable in the gear you have chosen).
What can you do? Just turn your thermostat up by 10%…(more if you wish!)
> Instead of contacting 10 potential new clients today, contact 11.
> Instead of quoting a job for $X, quote it at $X+10% with option for wonderful extras you wouldn’t normally bother to suggest.
> Instead of leaving a networking event as soon as it is finished, hang round for 10 mins longer.
> Instead of writing 10 blogs this month, do 11.
> Instead of sending out 100 thank you cards, send out 110.
I’m sure you get the picture.
The key is to recognise that to get something different, we have a thermostat keeping us comfy and sometimes we need to turn it up a notch. 🙂

Business improvement – turning around what isn’t working.

Don’t forget big improvements don’t need big budgets or heaps of time.

In fact it is often the small things that have the biggest impact. And the difference between a hugely successful business and an average business is often the little things.

If you are frustrated with something not working, please don’t ignore it because you feel it is too hard to too big.

It may be…but it may not be. 🙂

This week a client of mine had implemented a whiteboard system for tracking projects. It made the invisible visible – everyone could see where projects were up to and where attention needed to be directed. It worked really well for a few months and made a massive reduction in the number of projects delayed in starting. This was essential to boost revenue each month.

But on my monthly meeting with them this week the board was empty. Shock horror!

The person in charge was finding it was taking time to transfer data from the computer to the board.

This is a red flag. And opportunity. Whenever I see cracks appearing in a ‘system’, i.e. a member of staff not doing something, I know there is a deeper cause. I don’t just blame the person.
In this case it was literally taking way too much time to transfer data from the computer to the board and keep updating the board.

The solution is really simple and they will replace the white board with a very large inexpensive screen on the wall and connect it to the computer spreadsheet.

The first solution, the whiteboard, was a major improvement but it then proved less ideal.
The key I want to highlight in this example is:

– Never stop improving and finding better ways to do things. Especially when staff stop doing something or don’t complete something as they should – rather than blame them, examine the process/system including their understanding of it and their training. Note: some staff can be reluctant to criticise a process the boss has implemented so it can be hard to get honest feedback! And you get inaccurate info about it so do your best to help them feel comfortable being honest.

– If the first solution doesn’t work, don’t be wedded to it, change it or drop it!