5 Secrets from a CEO
Warehouse1 has come a long way from its humble beginnings when I was selling warehouse equipment out of the back of my pickup. Was that really 30 years ago?!? Along the way, we’ve learned (often the hard way) how to grow a stable, sustainable and successful business. Are you thinking of taking your business to the next level? Here are some "not so secret" strategies we have successfully utilized to support WH1's growth. Contact me and let's talk about these concepts and ones you have used to add to our list! Let's grow together.
1. Always be learning. Spend your time learning about business, finance, your industry, your customers and their industry. Learn something every day and put it into action to improve your company, your people, your customer’s bottom line and your community.
2. Listen to the needs of your customers and your people. Listen for words like problem, requirement, opportunity, desire, dream, overwhelmed, survival, challenge, help and unhappy. Pay attention to the wants and needs you hear from them. We do a monthly survey call to recent customers and ask, “How did we do?”, “What could we do better?” and “Would you refer us?" Barnett Herzberg’s list of “things he knows” has the 3 magic questions front and center: What are we doing you like, what are we doing you don't like, and what can we do better. The responses we get are often surprising. They help us focus on how to improve and we actually act on them.
3. Referrals need to be the way we work every day. They need to be part of the process and part of our proactive strategy, not an afterthought. The power of referrals is magic. Do you know the percent of your customers that come from referrals? Ours is 78%. Educate and reward your salespeople and staff for referral business. Selling is about building, maintaining and nurturing customers into friends. Jeffrey Gitomer defines this eloquently: "All things being equal, people do business with their friends.....all things not being equal, people still do business with their friends!" Learn how to ask.
4. Network and connect. There are 1000's of business books written each year. Each of them has at least one chapter about the old style face to face and another about the new style of online networking and several more chapters on the new face of social networking. Networking is about creating bonds and sharing. It is about connecting to and connecting together people with common interests and objectives. It extends into every phase of your business and personal life. Implicit in networking is the understanding there will be giving back and reciprocal exchange. Hang out where the smart people you want to connect with hang out, on and offline. Get your elevator speech ready, practiced and perfected. Use it!
5. Goals. Set company goals and personal goals with your key people at the beginning of the year. Have one on one and group meetings to monitor and refine them throughout the year. Help each of them succeed and the company will succeed.