Thursday, March 24, 2011

Business lessons from the East

Australia Post’s David Mortimer as quoted in the financial review last year “if we are not quick, if we are not innovative, if we are not prepared to respond to fresh ideas, we won’t be around”.

A successful business today is innovative, resourceful, agile, connected and memorable. It is what keeps a business alive, fresh and in growth mode. However it also means that you are constantly evolving and changing which for many can be quiet challenging.

Growth of any business is dependent on culture, environment, standards, goals, accountability, technology, your relevance to the client, customer service and that wow experience that engages clients and creates raving fans for a lifetime.
Same or standout
Master Chef has been a massive success to the point where they now have a kids version. Interestingly there are a number of parallels between Master Chef and real estate.

The contestants all have the same ingredients, recipes, equipment and equal amount of time to cook their dish however what is created is vastly different in look, taste and presentation.

The same applies to our businesses. Consider the following:

• To our clients we all look the same, what sets us apart is our service delivery and how we make the client feel at the point of interaction

• From the customers prospective your business exists only to create value for them

• Clients are looking for an experience that engages them with your business

How are you standing out to your clients, are you providing the same or similar level of service as your competitors?

There is a hotel in Hong Kong called the Upper House. What makes this hotel a standout is they have given their team permission to delight their clients and create memorable experiences every opportunity they get. Check in is done in your room via an IPAD, you receive gifts when you depart with a handwritten thank you card, everything in the mini bar is included in the room rate; there are many stories I can tell however nothing was impossible.

Does your team have permission to delight your clients? Do they understand what that looks like?

Single focus at being the best

Does your business and the people who work in it have a single focus on being the worlds best at what they do? Too often we get distracted by our competitors, the market, other team members; if you are the best at what you do others will copy, your challenge is to stay focused and remain the best.

I was recently in Jaipur, India and I saw 4 shops next to each other each selling the same product, in fact one of them shared the same name. What fascinated me was that the customers still seemed to go to the first shop. It turned out that this was the original “Lassi Wala” (yogurt drink) and due to his success 3 other s had opened up in competition but were unable to provide the same tasteful drink, service and experience. He sold nothing else just lassi.

Do you have a single focus at being the best? When you have the best of something – service, team – people will flock to you.


What did we all do B.G (before Google)? Have you ever wondered why Google has had the immense success? One of the reasons is their ability to stay relevant and be a trusted advisor. When you do a search within milliseconds are number of solutions are provided to you that are relevant, we trust the information provided. Notice also cleverly placed marketing and advertising that may pop up depending on what you may be been researching recently?

How are you being relevant? Many of us will do letter box drops, door knocks, market in the local paper, do 10x10x20, send out recently sold/listed letters however the success rate from these activities can be quiet low. These are hit and miss activities as you don’t really know who is ready to sell, buy or rent, therefore your ability to be relevant is non-existent.

How do you become relevant?
Build your database, call your clients regularly, record the data, build a relationship, ask the right questions and when your clients are ready to move you will become relevant because they know you, like you and one would hope trust you.

Building a database from OFI attendance – current and past, past clients, your circle of influence is much easier and has a better return. The trick for most is have the discipline to make the calls, ask the questions, record the data, have performance measures, coaching and accountability in place to keep them on track.

When you walk down many small laneways in India where there are thousands of colourful stalls and many bargains to be had you occasionally come across a store that states – fixed price. These store owners will not bargain – why? They know and believe that their product and service is far superior. They will sell the benefits of the product, quality, value, their service, brand and they will not reduce the price. They may throw in additional items but the price will not change.

Do your people have the same belief as these stall holders? What can you throw in as a value add and not reduce your commission? How well do your teams sell the benefits, points of difference and the value you bring to the client?

Hope you enjoy the read