No, the customer is not always right (especially in digital marketing and sales coaching, trust me), and no, there aren’t magical words that will make your sales skyrocket, or some step-by-step template that will guarantee your business becomes a success.
But there is a lot of sage business advice out there. In fact, here are a few of my favorite business quotes:
Are you sensing a theme yet? Yes, my single most important rule in business isn’t about your customers nearly as much as it is about your management. After all, management is the driver of the bus, the captain of the ship, and the pilot of the plane, right?
But if my business rule is about management, but isn’t about customers – then what is it about?
Let me say this again just to make sure it truly sinks in – treat your employees how you want them to treat your customers.
The JSL management team truly believes that if we treat our employees with respect, listen to them, engage with them, and educate them, then they will do the same for our clients. And because managers cannot be everywhere with every client in every meeting at all times, we need to be able to delegate to our team and trust that they are treating our clients as well as we would.
How do we do that? Now, here is a subject that can be broken down into a simple step-by-step template.
Educate Your Employees (So They Will Educate Your Clients)
If you actively encourage your employees to seek out knowledge, to be forever learners in their field, and to have ‘fail-spaces’ where they can try new things (AKA learning spaces instead of only performing spaces) then you will have a workforce that can explain the value of your business’ services to potential clients, answer questions to current clients, and learn from mistakes with past clients.
Now, you can educate your employees in a number of ways – from compensating them for continued education classes or even new degrees, to encouraging them to have training seminars and hours set aside in their quarterly, monthly, or weekly schedules. But it is also important to cultivate a culture of learning, growing, trying, and adapting.
When you learn something new in your field, share it with your team (and encourage them to do the same with you and others). We should all be sharing our new discoveries in our fields or areas of expertise, because if we’re constantly learning, then we’ll constantly be able to improve our practices and services – which directly helps our customers, reputation, and therefore, sales.
Listen to Your Employees (So They Will Listen to Your Clients)
This one is big – listen to your employees.
Maybe they are on the ground floor and you are in a high-rise. Maybe they deal day-to-day with clients and you haven’t had a meeting with a client in years. Maybe they know the pitfalls of the product because they work in customer service, and you rarely use the product, if at all. All these scenarios mean that your employees know better than you do in certain areas.
But even if they don’t know better, listening doesn’t hurt. Listening shows them, first, that they can share their opinions, and second, that they are valued.
Now, do you want an employee who feels undervalued helping your client through the sales flywheel, or do you want one who feels heard, valued, and appreciated helping that client? It’s an easy choice, and an easy solution.
If you treat your team with respect, they will treat your clients with respect. If you listen to your team, you might learn something – and you will, in turn, teach them to listen to your clients. And, lastly, if you make your team feel valued and heard, then they will make your clients feel valued and heard.
Lead by example, but not just the example of how to treat your clients – lead by treating your team how you want to be treated, how they want to be treated, and how your clients want to be treated.
It Really Isn’t Rocket Science, Is It?
Sometimes your employees need a little help, whether that be with scheduling, practice, education, or something else related to their skills. And helping your employees is good for your entire business in the long run. It might take some of your time now, and I know that management’s time is scarce and valuable – but think of the message it sends your workforce when you listen to them or when you make time in meetings for someone to share what they’ve learned.
In management, you want to motivate your company and your employees to always try to be better, to provide better services, better products, or better customer care. One of the best ways I’ve found to do this is by encouraging your team to always reach, learn, try, and speak.
In some ways, this goes back to the JSL company culture, but in other ways, it speaks to a new kind of management style. And that is a management style where you lead by example and show your workforce exactly how they should treat clients, regardless of how much contact you actually have with the clients.
Whether you are a team of 6 or 600, this business rule stands true – treat your employees how you want them to treat your customers; educate them, listen to them, and then let them improve your business and care for your clients with the confidence and skills you’ve given them.