Back in my construction days, I learned an important lesson about properly serving customers.
We’d have interactions with homeowners who wanted things done a certain way, but I confess. I didn’t always understand what they meant.
As the vendor, you have a responsibility to establish clarity both in your own mind and in the minds of your clients.
The less attention you pay to the picture you’re painting in the customer’s mind, the more you leave yourself vulnerable to misunderstanding or negligence.
I’ll tell you something all my team knows: I don’t like leaving things unsaid or undone.
The less you’re willing to share with people about how you interpret their statements, the more you leave yourself prone to producing something they don’t want.
I found this to be equally true in the mastermind business. That’s why I only work with about 150 men. You have to learn to pass on people who have the money, but refuse to pay attention to the details of their lives.
We don’t skip anything in the Iron Sharpens Iron Mastermind. If you struggle to grasp this concept, I’d recommend you apply and let yourself be sharpened.
Luck of the Draw
I don’t believe in luck when it comes to getting as close as you can to a customer’s desired outcome.
If it could be drawn, photographed, sketched or imagined verbally, we knew what we needed (and what we needed to charge) to make it happen.
The more specific someone was, the more I’d write down and ask them to look at what I’d written. We created Excel spreadsheets - checklists - and I had very clear conversations with subcontractors to ensure those conditions were agreed upon and met.
This solidified our reputation among target clients, who were looking for just that kind of professionalism and willing to pay a premium to get it.
We detailed out in writing, subject to their initials, every single inch of the home that could possibly be left to guesswork.
Some clients might find this process annoying. But if you begin with this route, you can always offer them the option of initialing the “I don’t care” column about the carpet color! (No one ever did.)
We also required them to provide as many photos or drawings as possible, which we’d attach to our written estimates.
The results are entirely predictable when the expectations are knowable, visible and clearly agreed on and spelled out: happy clients and lots of referrals.
We’ve carried that thoroughness into the business of online mastermind groups. As any good coach or mentor would tell you, “What gets checked, gets done.”
What do Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and newcomers like Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson all have in common?
They all can be trusted to do heavy amounts of boring research. When other quarterbacks have checked out to the club or relax in the hot tub, these men can be found doing one thing and one thing only: watching footage of their opponents. Over and over again.
The 87% success rate of franchise businesses follows a similar pattern. Franchisors take enormous amounts of “guess work” out of running a business. That’s why they can charge you ongoing fees for licensing of their business model.
It’s very hard to fail in a franchise if you follow all of the checklists they provide.
For that matter, we’ve made it difficult to fail in setting up a business mastermind, using our newest offering: The Mastermind Playbook. I encourage you to take a look at it if you’re pursuing your own mastermind group.
You may not be cut out to play professional football or run a franchise, but you can learn a lot about running a business by observing how pro quarterbacks and franchisers do what they do.
Another area of that construction business that began to require checklists of its own was hiring employees.
We subcontracted 100% of the labor - hired it out to other contractors, if you’re unfamiliar with the term. So we only hired superintendents and administrative staff on a permanent basis.
I figured out, however, that once the company achieved a certain benchmark of income, I had the green light to recruit another superintendent.
That made our company’s growth systematic and adaptive. Because we were so thorough, our clients became our biggest and best advertisers. For the most part, we were able to keep pace with the demand.
Calculating the current revenue of your business against the likelihood you’ll need to increase payroll is a pickle for many employers. I recommend you enlist a business coach and get an extra set of eyes on your projections.
No matter which way you lean on this, you’ll do well to create, revisit and revise checklists for a lot of categories in your business.
Checking It Twice
Speaking of lists, it’s Christmas next week! If Santa Claus has a list he checks twice, I don’t see how it could hurt you.
A very merry Christmas, then, to your and your family from all of us at View From the Top.