You aren't alone. Or, at least you don't have to be.
I have traveled more over the last couple of weeks than I ever have at one time in my life. I have traveled to four cities to attend and present at four different conferences. While the travel itself can be tiring, I have finished more energized than ever before. And that energy is coming from the adrenaline flowing from being around such amazing people.
For all of the doom and gloom that surrounds our industry right now, I attended four similar, yet very different, conferences where I witnessed very positive outlooks. As different as the purposes of conferences may have been, the similarities among the attendees were the quality, professionalism, and commitment to success I found in the people I met.
The first conference was a bit of "coming home" party for me. It was the benefits discussion group of Intersure Partners (an association of independent agencies) meeting in Chicago. This is a group of agencies right in the bull's-eye of the industry turmoil: independent (multi-line) agencies who are struggling with their future role in the industry. Most are trying to figure out how to compete more effectively with the "big boys".
The second was a group of Canadian brokerages (that doesn't mean financial services, that's just their term for agencies). This is another discussion group of a consulting practice called iC3/Broker Performance Group, which also met in Chicago. This group of brokerages get together for financial analysis and to share and identify overall best practices.
The third conference took place in Scottsdale and was the "specialist" meeting for yet another network of agencies. However, the members of this particular network are more closely aligned, sharing a formal affiliation. The overriding concern I heard while talking to the attendees was to figure out what the future of their affiliation will look like moving forward.
The final conference brought me to San Diego and the Benefits Selling Expo, by far the largest and most diverse conference of the four. With some one thousand attendees representing everyone from mom and pop agencies to the national brokers; voluntary providers to core benefits; lead generators to technology providers, well, you get the idea. Here, the primary concern was the obvious, Healthcare Reform.
With the diversity of the audiences, you might think that I had to be prepared to deliver four entirely different messages in order to deliver value, right? Well I actually didn't. While I did tailor my message to each audience, 99% of the message was the same for each. And you know what? I received the same overwhelmingly positive response from each.
I don't say that as a pat on the back for myself at all. Rather, I point this out because, as an industry, we share similar, foundational challenges. And, with similar challenges, there are similar answers, answers that can become bigger and achieved faster when we are open to ideas from others.
So what was the core of my message?
The message is a kind of an in-your-face, wake-up-to-reality message. Rather than telling me I'm wrong or full of crap, every one of the groups embraced the message and seemed empowered to go take control of their future.
So, while I have always been optimistic for the future of our industry (at least for those of us willing to make the necessary changes), I have finished my mini-tour with a more positive outlook than ever before.
However, I wouldn't be so optimistic for those of you sitting there alone trying to figure out the answers for yourself. I just experienced four different conferences, each that clearly demonstrated the power of networking.
It is a challenging time for our industry. You can either retreat and try to figure it for yourself, or you can embrace your role as a part of the larger industry. If you aren't putting yourself in situations to learn from your peers, you can expect to be crushed by those who do.
Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt.
I had the great opportunity to attend, and speak at, the recent Employee Benefit Adviser Summit in Phoenix. For those of you who may not be familiar with this event, you really are missing out on a great opportunity. Not only do they bring together the agency/brokerage/consulting side of the industry, there is also a conference track for HR professionals.
Many of the benefits of attending these types of conferences are obvious: education, networking with your peers, realizing you're not alone in your challenges, personal/professional growth, gaining new perspectives, and bringing home actionable ideas. However, many of the most compelling reasons for attending may not be immediately obvious. They actually have very little to do with session topics but very much have to do with the opportunity to make new personal connections, learning from the perspective of others, and building relationships which last long after the conference is over.
Here are a few of the reasons I will continue to participate in these types of conferences and the EBA Summit in particular.
The Summit is put on by Employee Benefit Adviser magazine. For those of you who read the magazine on a regular basis, you will recognize the names Elizabeth Galentine (Editor-in-Chief), Brian Kalish (Managing Editor), and Marli Riggs (Associate Editor). As you might expect, these three dynamic professionals are very engaged in the conference. Connecting with "voices of the industry" is an opportunity not to be overlooked.
As a result of meeting Marli, Brian, and Elizabeth at last year's event, we have had the opportunity to contribute to both their print magazine as well as to their website content over this past year. That exposure has definitely helped us increase our brand recognition within the industry and helped introduce us to many people/organizations we likely would not have met otherwise. It is always flattering when one of the three is working on an article and contacts us for our opinion on the subject. Of course, the press that comes along with that is a nice additional benefit.
Our relationship with EBA continued to build at this year's conference, and we have some great opportunities for Benefits Growth Network, as well as for some of our friends, as a result.
Marli attended my session "Leading Your Clients and Your Agency to Exceptional Performance". Within a couple days of the conference she wrote a great article about my session and the ideas we are promoting.
Brian stopped me in the exhibit hall to discuss a feature they are working on which will focus on powerful "up and comers" (rising all-stars under the age of 40). Not only was I able to give him the names of a couple of worthy candidates, one was right there in the exhibit hall, and I was able to make an immediate introduction.
On the last day of the conference, Brian stopped me again along with one of our network members, Tanya Boyd of Tanya Boyd and Associates. This time he was working on a video project and was wanting to interview Tanya and myself on camera to get our perspectives on what industry challenges agencies will be facing over the next 12 months. While it wasn't something either of us had a chance to prepare for, Tanya immediately saw it for the opportunity it was and eagerly agreed to participate.
I promise you that Tanya's prospects/clients will find further confidence in her and her ability to help them as a result of this opportunity. Seeing her as a thought leader within the industry is what will fuel that confidence. To state the obvious, she wouldn't have had that opportunity if she didn't attend the conference or hadn't been willing to go "all in" when approached by Brian. By the way, watch for that video to be posted on the EBA website in the next couple of months.
The conference also offered me the opportunity to attend sessions led by some of the industry's thought leaders you see contributing to the magazine on a regular basis. People like Nelson Griswold, Jack Kwicien, Sam Fleet, and Robert Lieblein to name a few. Not only did I walk away with some new perspectives, it was a great opportunity to network with these session leaders.
It's amazing how opportunities seized tend to create more opportunities. Not only was I able to make introductions that created opportunities for others, I benefitted from the same.
And of course, there are the business growth opportunities that come from attending and participating in these conferences. After I spoke at last year's conference, I was tracked down in the hall by one of the young women, Jennifer Lencicum of Fickewirth and Associates, who sat in on my session. She loved our message, wanted to learn more about BGN, and, as a result, she and her firm are now members of BGN.
In Jennifer, we have had the pleasure of watching her, and her agency, achieve amazing results over the past year. She was back at this year's conference and this time she was joined by her agency's President as well as four other team members. By the way, Jennifer is the same young lady I mentioned above who I recommended as a "rising all star". Again, you think that will earn her credibility and confidence in the eyes of her prospects and clients? I guarantee it will!
Sure it takes an investment of time and money, but it's a small price to pay for the opportunity to grow, to grow your business and to grow as a professional. Don't base a decision to attend such an event based on what you think it will deliver to you. Instead base your decision on the opportunities you will be able to create for yourself through the connections, perspectives, and relationships to be built with other attendees. If you are willing to go "all in" like Tanya did, the return on your time and money invested will be huge!
I don't yet know the dates for next year's EBA Summit, but I was told it will be held in New Orleans. You can bet I will "save the date" as soon as I hear. I hope you will do the same. See you in 'Nawlins!
This is the third of 10 challenges for you to consider embracing to create a new year that is more productive for yourself as well as for those around you. I have borrowed ideas from a book I read last year, The First 90 Days: Critical Success Stories for New Leaders by Michael Watkins.
Read previous challenge articles:
First Challenge – Promote yourself
Second Challenge – Accelerate Your Learning
Arriving at your desired destination always has to start with a clear picture of where it is you are currently standing. If you don’t take the time, and allow yourself to be completely honest in clarifying your current situation, it is impossible to identify the right strategies to improve your circumstances, let alone achieve the ideal situation.
It is only with this honesty that you can clearly see both the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of you. This also provides you with the ability to clearly identify which resources and strategies will be required to achieve your new reality.
When we’re aware of what the typical challenges and opportunities are that often accompany a transition, it makes them much easier to recognize, and in turn, much easier to create a plan to either mitigate the impact or embrace the potential. Let’s take a look at what those areas are that we need to carefully evaluate when making a transition.
Once you are clear about where you are going, and just as clear about where you are now, the strategies required to connect those two points will become much more obvious. You will get “there” much faster by spending time analyzing “now”.
Photo by Stefan Erschwendner.
Today felt like a good day to share one of our favorite articles, which tells a great story about a 10 year old boy's focus and dedication to excellence. He's inspiring and motivating to us, and hope he is to you as well!
This particular 10-year-old isn’t a sales professional, but he’s a professional nonetheless. I was at my son’s baseball game last night and witnessed something that was nothing short of amazing — on so many levels.
Our team plays a pretty competitive level of baseball. The boys are talented, but above all they have a passion for playing the game. Not one or two of them, but the whole team. From this passion, I witnessed something I am pretty sure I may never see again on a little league field.
It was late in the game, our team was on the field, there were two outs, and runners on second and third. The batter hit a long drive to left field (just to the center field side of where the left fielder was positioned). It was hit hard and, even though he was closest, I wasn’t sure the left fielder would be able to get to the ball. As I was watching him close in on the ball, out of nowhere the center fielder came into my view. At a dead sprint, with his back basically turned to the infield, he dove – in mid-air, completely stretched out – to catch the ball, landed hard (while still outstretched) and held on. He immediately jumped up, held up his glove to show he had the ball and did the most enthusiastic fist pump I have ever seen.
The whole scene was amazing. It was as athletic a play as you could ever witness. He was swarmed by his teammates and the parents went insane. I walked over to exchange high-fives with his dad and grandpa. As I was standing with them, I realized the lessons we should all learn from this 10-year-old professional: grandpa turned to dad and said, “I guess all of those hours in the yard of him making us hit him balls so he could practice diving catches finally paid off.”
Can you believe that?! The play wasn’t a fluke; he had practiced and prepared for that very moment. Despite the unbelievable odds against ever having the opportunity to make that play in a game situation, he practiced for it. Just in case.
Don’t be intimidated by opportunities - This was a play for the left fielder. Most center fielders would have never even moved towards the ball because it was so “unreachable.” Not this kid, he committed from the moment the ball left the bat.
What are your “unreachable” opportunities? Do you allow yourself to be intimidated from going after those “once-in-a-lifetime” accounts? Don’t sit and watch someone else attempt the play. Go after it from the moment you recognize the opportunity. You’ll never regret attempting the play, but there are many regrets that start with “If only I had tried to…”
Give it everything you’ve got – If he had hesitated at all, if he hadn’t run as fast as he could, if he wouldn’t have sacrificed himself by diving for the ball, he would have never made the play. Take any one of those out of the equation, and it would have still been a great effort, but he would have never made the out.
Selling opportunities don’t happen every day, and when they do, you have to do everything you can to close the deal. Use every resource, team member, center of influence, and strategy at your disposal. Great effort is commendable, but, at the end of the day, all that matters are your results.
Prepare for extreme situations – The chances of him ever having to make that play in a game situation were extreme, but it happened. It happened, and because he had already made that play dozens of times in his backyard, he was able to do so when it really counted.
How hard do you prepare for your opportunities? Do you wing it? Do you ask someone in the office to role-play with you and make them challenge you the way a real prospect will? Do you do research and learn what drives success of your prospect to the point of understanding of how you can contribute to their success? Do you so thoroughly prepare for your opportunities that you have already “closed the deal” a dozen times before you find yourself in the game situation? Not many do, and for those who don’t, can you/they really be called a professional?
In case you’re wondering if the play really made a difference in the outcome of the game...we won by one run. If he didn’t make the play, the runners on second and third would have scored and we would have lost. Yeah, it made a difference.
Final lesson – Practice the way you want to play the game because you will play the game the way you practice.
There are few true professionals in any field, but witnessing one (even a 10-year-old baseball player) in action is truly inspirational. It takes another level of commitment, and it takes preparing for scenarios that may never occur. But just think of how easy a routine grounder is if you have prepared to make diving catches.
This is a level of performance that may not be for everyone, it may not be for you, but then again, maybe you just need to recommit. Ask yourself every day you play or practice, “How badly do I really want it?”
Originally published on agencyfuel.zywave.com © Copyright 2010 Zywave, Inc.
Photo by Ed Garcia.
Regular readers have heard me talk about the changes coming to our industry. You know them as well as I do. You also know that they are going to force a fair amount of change on us if we are to overcome the challenges and survive.
I’ve also talked about the great opportunities out there for producers/agencies who successfully make the transition. My hope is that you desire those same opportunities and have made the commitment to make them happen.
When doing something that is new to you, you have to prepare yourself to make that commitment - not just one time, but every single day.
Like a New Year’s resolution, it’s not what happens on January 1 that matters nearly as much as it is what happens the other 364 days. Let’s take a look at what I mean and how you can make it happen consistently.
Start by identifying your goal and be prepared to continually recommit to that goal. Now comes the hard part, and it is here where your previous successes are likely to become an obstacle.
Chances are you are as successful as you are because you have an unbelievable amount of willpower. Unfortunately, there is a natural limit as to how far you can get on pure willpower.
To move beyond that limit requires self-discipline.
When I first thought about these two driving forces, the line was blurry, at best. Upon further thought, here is how I now see the difference.
If your goal were to lose 20 pounds, willpower would help you walk past that plate of donuts. Self-discipline would have you walking past them every single time. Willpower would have you getting up at 5:00 a.m. on January 2 to get to the gym. Self-discipline would have you getting up for the gym every day that follows.
If your goal were to grow your book of business, willpower would have you stopping to plan out your week in advance. Self-discipline would have you planning out every week in advance. Willpower would have you getting your pipeline full with great opportunities. Self-discipline would have you maintaining your pipeline at that full level.
Again, I am certain you have a large amount of willpower, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that it will sustain your next level of success. Willpower can help you get anything accomplished once. Once is relatively easy, but it isn’t enough. Don’t let your ability to do anything once provide you a false sense of security.
Self-discipline isn’t natural for most of us and, left to our own devices, we won’t maintain it over time. Therefore, it is important to recognize that part of creating self-discipline starts with structure and, perhaps most importantly of all, includes making yourself voluntarily accountable to someone else. Without the support that comes with accountability, your likelihood of staying on track is minimal - at best.
Use the following five steps as a model to help you achieve the changes you desire.
The challenges we’re facing in the benefits industry are not necessarily easy to overcome, but they are infinitely doable with the right plan, focus and self-discipline. You just have to ask yourself, “How badly do I want it?”
Photo by Eric E Castro
When you are working with people or businesses in a service capacity, the client is paying you to be an advisor and watch their back. And really, they want you to perform that role. Sometimes it can be a little intimidating to approach someone with what may feel like unsolicited advice, but if you’re an advisor, that’s what you’re being paid to do.
It might be more comfortable to get permission at the beginning of the relationship to do this – set the table that you’ll be looking out for them and bringing suggestions from time to time. This not only prepares them to expect it, but it gives you some built-in accountability to be actively looking out for your clients.
There are many ways to follow client activities, and Internet tools make it very easy to not only keep an eye on their activity, but on their industry and local marketplace, as well.
If you’re familiar with their business operations and vision, and you’re actively watching them in the local news, following their online activity, or noting what’s going on in their industry, then you’ll very likely run into some information where it makes sense to proactively contact them.
If you’ve got solid business ideas and concerns that they need to consider, then by all means, talk to them. Don’t wait until disaster strikes and then say, “Yeah, I wondered if that might be an issue for you.” Take a proactive approach to the relationship and know that you’ve got their best interests in mind, plus a more distant perspective, which can always be beneficial.
When I hire someone in a service capacity, I usually start off the relationship asking her for advice on how I can improve and then directly open the door for her to proactively contact me with ideas. Which means I’m readily putting myself out there as being willing to take advice, be a repeat buyer, and a potential referral source or center of influence. I find that it’s the rare person who takes me up on this offer.
Happy, delighted, successful current clients are a direct link to new clients and more revenue. There are so many resources at our fingertips to keep an eye on what businesses are doing that watching and offering a little help along the way just makes good business sense.
Photo by Laughlin Elkind.
Okay, producers, I’ll tell you right now, many of you won’t like this message.
Producers tend to think of themselves as very entrepreneurial. However, that self-description may not always be accurate. An entrepreneur is someone who takes a great deal of risk for a great deal of potential reward. While it’s true that most producers only “eat what they kill” because they work purely on commissions, it is most often the agency that takes the real risk that allows for that level of reward.
It’s the agency that invests in the infrastructure, support staff, computer systems, value-added services, etc. that allows the producer to go out and sell. If a producer doesn’t sell, she/he loses out on the additional revenue they would have received. However, when a producer doesn’t sell, it’s the agency that bears the financial burden of underutilized resources.
Now don’t get me wrong; providing the resources that allow a producer to go out and sell is the agency’s primary responsibility. That is the risk they take to allow for their own reward.
However, the producer has a responsibility as well. That responsibility is to continue to create revenue; to help provide rewards for both themselves and the agency. It isn’t fair (or acceptable) for a producer to decide that she/he is satisfied with their book of business and that they don’t want/need to produce any longer. At the very least, they can’t expect to make that decision with the assumption that there won’t be consequences.
Like all businesses, agencies have to work off of a budget that is designed to produce an acceptable return. Budgets focus largely on two things: revenue and expenses. Regardless of what happens to revenue, expenses continue to rise. If they are rising faster than revenue, then you erode profit – pretty straightforward. Yes, I point out the agency profit because it is the agency that bears the burden of the infrastructure. If the agency can’t do well financially, then it is only a matter of time before the individuals within the agency aren’t able to do well, either. Again, pretty straightforward.
Producers are the engines that drive revenue. Doing so is their primary responsibility. Another part of that responsibility is to help protect revenue that has already been created (retaining clients). However, doing so cannot become a distraction to generating new revenue. Ensuring it doesn’t become a distraction and that there is a strong support team in place is another of the agency’s primary responsibilities.
The talents and skills producers have are rare. What they do on a daily basis scares the hell out of most people. The thought of knocking on doors and facing rejection is paralyzing to many. That’s why producers are paid so well. However, with those talents and skills comes the responsibility to use them. If producers aren’t using those talents and skills, the agency gets cheated, their family gets cheated, potential clients get cheated — and the producer gets cheated.
There is one more group who gets cheated that I want to focus on separately – the team. The very people producers depend on to help take care of their clients depend on them in return. Chances are that their salaries, bonuses, and most other opportunities depend on the producer and her/his continued production of new revenue. When the producer plateaus, so does the team.
There is only one way that producers can stop writing additional revenue and still meet their responsibility. If it’s not adding to the revenue side, then it has to be helping on the expense side. This means making the current book of business more profitable by increasing the revenue-per-relationship. To do so, it still means writing new business, but it could be writing one large account to replace many smaller ones. For the agency, the same revenue generated by fewer accounts becomes more profitable by requiring fewer resources. For the producer, the upside is that income is maintained, but overall workload is greatly reduced through the reduction of the workload required by too many small accounts.
Yes, producers, you have a great responsibility, but along with that responsibility comes an unbelievable upside. You are provided a terrific opportunity to earn a great income, have great work/life balance and have an overall enviable lifestyle. These opportunities aren’t an entitlement; they are the reward for you accepting and meeting your responsibility.
If you choose not to meet your responsibility, or if you convince yourself that by having gotten your book to $X you have already met your responsibility, or if you decide to leave it up to other producers to produce new revenue, don’t be surprised if the agency has to change the rules on you a bit. If you truly are an entrepreneur, you’ll understand that if your revenues don’t grow, your expenses will have to be adjusted.
By continually meeting your responsibility, you can earn unbelievable rewards. You just have to ask yourself, “How badly do I really want it?”
Photo by Mike Love.
You’ve all heard the story of the twin boys with such extreme personalities (one a complete pessimist and the other a complete optimist) that their mom took them to a psychiatrist.
The psychiatrist first wanted to visit with the pessimist and took him into a room filled wall to wall with new toys. Immediately, the little boy burst into tears. When the psychiatrist asked why, he explained,
“Oh, I just know that if I played with them they would all break.”
More than a little disappointed with the reaction, the psychiatrist turned his attention to the optimist. Instead of a room full of toys, he was taken to a room full of horse crap. The boy squealed with delight, climbed to the top of the heap and immediately started digging. When the psychiatrist asked him why, he exclaimed,
“Are you kidding me?! With this much crap in here, there has to be a pony somewhere!”
Producers and agencies go out and get new toys all the time - the next solution or value-added service that they think will make their job easy, and them happy. Then they get their new toys home and seem afraid to take them out of the box and play with them.
“Oh, I don’t really know how to play with it yet. Something might go wrong, so I can’t take it out of the box.” The thought of reading the directions never seems to cross their mind and they turn their attention back to their old toy box. It doesn’t make any sense!
And then I see other producers who walk into the room full of crap called healthcare reform and squeal like the little boy digging for his pony. They understand that when that much crap is dropped on the marketplace there are opportunities in there somewhere. And you know what? I promise you that they will be the ones to find them, even if they have to create them.
Don’t tell me “I can’t”, “It won’t work in my market.”, “People here only buy relationships.”, “blah, blah, blah”. Because that, my friends, truly is a bunch of crap!
Sometimes we address situations as they come to us, maybe look out ahead for challenges or opportunities, or we might just move out of the way and hope to avoid having to deal with any changes which might come along.
I live in a smallish town with a relatively short stretch of freeway running through it that has 7 exits and most have poorly designed on and off ramps. We have fairly light traffic most of the time, and the accepted freeway driving here is that if someone is going to merge onto the freeway, we move to the other lane.
In thinking about teaching driving to my teen, it struck me recently how we don’t merge here. In Seattle with lots of traffic, sure - of course you merge with cars coming onto the freeway. Moving to the next lane is not a logical option. You slow down or speed up, but you allow the new car to enter the flow.
This took me to thinking about facing new or potentially challenging situations. How do you respond? Do you address them with your knowledge and skills or simply move out of the way and pretend that the something new or the potential problem just doesn’t exist?
If you’re continually avoiding anything potentially uncomfortable, then when do you ever actually learn how to drive with traffic? The city becomes a scary place because you don’t know how to deal with anything other than easy and simplistic circumstances. What a limiting proposition.
When you stay in the lane and work with the entering cars, you might have to use a bit of strategy and cooperation, but it’s amazing how beautifully the system works.
Now, you can certainly stay in the small town with the hopes of avoiding anything daunting. But sometimes, the big city comes to the small town whether you want it to or not.
Do any relevant situations come to mind for you as you read through this?
Photo by Chris Phan.
"Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn't good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create Raving Fans." This is the advice given to a new Area Manager in Ken Blanchard’s book, “Raving Fans”.
It’s sad, but true. Our expectations of most business/customer service interactions have been set at a ridiculously low level. In fact, most of the time we have come to consider such interactions good if they just manage to avoid being bad. Unfortunately, too many businesses have taken comfort in the fact that mediocrity is the new good.
However, I hope good isn’t good enough for you and your business. If that’s true, then you have a huge opportunity to create your own raving fans.
I recently went on a spring break trip to DC with my 13-year-old son and had the opportunity to experience exceptional service and become a raving fan.
Before I left, I went to Mapquest for directions to the hotel. While I knew the hotel, Residence Inn Arlington Capital View, had opened the week before, it never crossed my mind that the new hotel may not have been in the Mapquest database. After entering the address, I received very detailed directions - unfortunately, when I made the final turn onto a residential street, it was obvious that they were very detailed directions to the wrong location. Mapquest had picked a street by a similar name, but one that was nowhere near my hotel.
Being a guy, my first instinct was to just drive around a bit assuming I would find the correct street, but I soon gave into the heavy sighs of my son and stopped and asked for directions. I knew I was in trouble when they guy at the service station had no idea of where I was trying to go, much less how I could actually get there.
I got back in the car and used the only other option I had; I called the hotel hoping that they would tell me, “Oh, you’re just around the corner, go 3 blocks, turn right and you’ll be right here.”
No such luck.
I told them my location, the roads I took to get there, and David (the desk clerk at the hotel) had no real idea of where I was. He suggested that I drive and tell him cross streets, landmarks, etc. After a few blocks, he started to get an idea of where I was, but it was 5 zip codes away from the hotel.
He easily could have given me a few “next steps” and told me to call him back when I reached a certain point. Honestly, I would have considered that to be “good” service. Instead, he insisted on staying on the phone with me, even through the heavy DC traffic and the long waits at stoplights. For half an hour, he gave me turn-by-turn directions all the way up to the front door of the hotel.
What could have been a terrible start to a trip, turned out to be a great experience. When we walked into the lobby and David greeted us at the door, I felt as though I was meeting an old friend. Every time I saw David during our stay, I was struck by a connection that I felt to him and his hotel.
Because expectations have come to be so low, I would have been satisfied with much less of an effort from David. However, what he delivered was exceptional and I can tell you, he created a raving fan.
When he answered the phone that afternoon, he had no idea who was on the other end of the line or what they needed. I’m sure he had no idea that the call would occupy the next half hour of his day. However, he was prepared to deliver exceptional service and make me feel that he was actually honored to be able to help me in a time of need.
What about you and your employees - are you prepared to deliver exceptional service at any moment? Are you creating raving fans or are you only creating customers who are merely satisfied?
To borrow from another author, Jim Collins, don’t let good be the enemy of your great.