Tuesday, January 30, 2007

 

Building your business with customer focus

I was asked yesterday to define the single most important factor in helping a business achieve phenomenal growth and success. I'm sure there are many answers to this question, but my answer typically comes down to the right people. If you can find, hire and motivate the right people, everything else is achievable.

But "the right people" means more than just hard workers, more than just type-A personalities, more than just a reputation for producing results. The right people have a deep-rooted passion for the success and satisfaction of their customers. Such passion and drive for customers, combined with the right mix of work ethic and focus, creates the best opportunity for success in any organization.

Mark Strother (pictured left with customer), a senior coach at HouseValues, epitomizes this customer passion and focus. Mark's job for the past five years, plain and simple, has been to make his customers successful. He spends every day on the phone (and occasionally in person) with his customers, teaching them what they need to do to accelerate their real estate careers.

Now, our entire organization is focused on making real estate agents more successful. But Mark embodies that better than anybody I know. He exudes passion for his job, and excitement for his customers. When one of his customers shares a success story, Mark's face lights up. He starts talking with his hands. He walks around the office bragging about the success of his customers. You'd think his daughter just made the Honor Roll. His customers are his family.

This customer passion is even more evident when Mark is on the road, working live with his customers. In Minneapolis, for example, Mark developed a state fair marketing strategy that helped one of his customer earn more than $50,000 dollars over the course of two fairs. You should see (via the power of YouTube) Mark and his customer talk together about this project. The video tells the story better than I can just how committed Mark is to his customers.

Mark is "the right people." Mark cares deeply for the success of his customers, and does whatever it takes to make them happy and successful. Better yet, his passion is infectious. Mark leads by example in his organization, and encourages others to care deeply about their customers as well.

Successful businesses, businesses with a reputation for customer centricity and intimacy, are built with people like Mark at the center.

Do you have people like this in your organization? If so, how are you helping them accelerate their impact on the business, and how are you helping their passion rub off on other employees?

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