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Are You Earning 5 Stars from Every Customer?

I’m sharing the story of Frank Ruta, who previously won a James Beard award, because of the lengths he went to in advance of opening his new restaurant. The Washington Post reported that to prepare, Ruta traveled to Paris and ate at many Michelin-starred restaurants.

His main takeaway? “Everyone in a Michelin-starred dining room can answer a question about the food or wine, even a junior kitchen member who runs food to the table.” Ruta continued “You really felt the power as soon as you walked in. ….the power of how confident, and how well they knew their job.”


The Intimate Connection between Customer Appreciation and Revenue Growth

No matter your business, your customers enthusiastically respond to being appreciated. They want a deep sense that you really are glad they buy from you; that their longevity is recognized and valued; and that every time they make another purchase, your appreciation of them deepens.

Which companies excel at appreciation? In my personal experience, American Express and AAA Mid-Atlantic are exemplars of appreciation. Not a time goes by when the person I’m speaking with doesn’t thank me for my many years of business. They know what I like and cater to my personal preferences.


You Know What You Need—or Do You?

I was designing a new business card and asked my mastermind group for specific text suggestions. Several sent their ideas. One asked me to send her an image or mock-up which she said would help her help me. My first thought wasn’t very charitable. “Why does she need to see the mock-up? I just want a few words.”

Since she was willing to help me, I sent her the mock-up. Within minutes she sent her suggestions, which involved a small adjustment to the design, and she was completely right. I’m excited about the new cards.


Personal Knowledge of Buyers Gives You the Edge

Does your company have 1000 customers? 750? 500? 250 or fewer? These numbers make for intimate relationships between the company and its buyers. You can be proud of making people’s lives better with your products and services. The absolutely best part of having a company with fewer than 1000 buyers is how easy it is to know them and customize for them.

You can know all of your buyers better and you can provide them with very personalized and highly valuable offerings. CEOs who are messaged to death about best practices and the resulting bland, conformist offerings, often ask me “Why would we go to all that trouble?”


Stop Incessant Interruptions to Increase Productivity

When a CEO or Owner is working with me to grow their business 15 or 20% or more, we work hard to flip their approach to everything. The overall flip of their mindset switches from paying a little bit of attention to a lot of things to paying a lot of attention to a few key contributors to dramatic growth.

Putting the company under the microscope and looking at it through the lens of each Focus Area brings many unexpected and previously hidden details to light.


One Year Plan to Maximize Best Buyer Revenue

I strongly advocate for deliberate and powerful efforts to keep your best buyers close to your company. This is called cultivating and nurturing (C & N).

What is a best buyer?

Best buyers are clients and customers who repeatedly buy your top level offerings. The specifics of what constitutes repeatedly differ from firm to firm and among industries.


Learn and Avoid a Similar Fate

“Without revenue there is nothing else.” Susan Trivers

My Singular Focus philosophy to business growth includes both the Focus Areas of accelerating topline revenue and maximizing revenue from your best buyers. You must have a going concern with many customers and clients before you can identify best buyers and maximize revenue from them.

The Shaw Bijou, an extraordinary restaurant concept in Washington DC, flipped that on its head and flopped. It closed after only 3 months.


Lack of Focus Costs you Money and More

You pretty much know what your buying experience will be when you walk into a Starbucks. The company has prospered over the years because of their consistency.

The Starbucks in my neighborhood usually exemplifies the entirety of the Starbucks brand. Knowledgeable, friendly and welcoming baristas, whose service meets your expectations. Even when the line is long, I’ll be in and out pretty quickly.


Re-Playing Success Breeds More Success

I’ve just finished reading Crunch TimeHow to Be Your Best When It matters Most by Rick Peterson and Judd Hoekstra. The big takeaway? The more you watch or think about your good performances, the better you will become. Conversely the more you watch or think about your mistakes, the more ingrained they will become, the less confidence you will have and the more pressure will arise to erode your effectiveness.

For years I’ve resisted clients who wanted to dwell on mistakes in every client presentation, every meeting and every customer call. I saw that constantly dwelling mistakes imprints those mistakes in their brains. They then focus on avoiding mistakes, but of course the more they think about their mistakes, the more they make the same ones. There is no room for them to focus on their best.