Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Dear Friends,

Be strategic when it comes to your business.

A strategy is a plan. It's a plan you create to achieve a desired result. Since everything you do produces a result, having a plan increases the probability that you'll achieve what you want, not by default, but by design.

A strategic plan is your first step because it names what you want and how to get it. Desired results come from a focused and dedicated attention to a carefully chosen direction.

Either you're planning your life or others are. And they are often misguided about what's right for you.

Our natural behavior is to ACT, not be acted upon.
We obviously don't like being, or playing, the victim.
But without a well thought out plan in any area of your life the likelihood is we will not accompolish what we are capable of. We will miss our potential. We will miss the target.

Planning applies to all 4 areas of our life.

For now we will keep this Tip to business. How does being stragetic help you in business?

Strategy provides one critical, over-arching benefit in obtaining referrals, FOCUS. If you have no business focus your referral results will be all over the map.

To get referrals, get good, no no, get great at what you do and get focused.

So here's the big question. What is your business focus?

There are 3 primary areas that any business can choose to focus on.
1. Customers
2. Technology
3. Innovation

When I say FOCUS, I mean an outward projection to the consumer that will get their attention to recognize you, or your product, and uniquely differentiate you from other competitors in ways
that benefit the consumer.

We as consumers know what a companies focus is, don't we? At the very least we may have a strong opinion of what we think it is.

When you think of Disney, what do they focus on?
When you think of Microsoft, what do they focus on?
When you think of WalMart, what is their focus?

Did you say?

Disney = Customer
Microsoft = Technology
WalMart = Innovation

Possibly not.

I know some of you thought WalMart with "falling prices" has a focus on the customer but their
primary focus is in their innovative distribution process which maximizes floor space and retail
dollars, and an inventory re-supply system that connects your in-store purchase of a pair of
shoes to Enzo the shoemaker in Italy, to the moment the point of sale is made. This process replaces the product without burdensome inventory issues and costly warehousing dollars. Retail innovation is their focus. The benefit is "lower prices," not their focus.

The point is, all successful businesses have a focus and they know it.

Do you know what your focus is?

Choosing one area as a primary focus doesn't mean the absence of the other two. Successful businesses and business people have a focus. Often successful individuals don't even know they have a primary focus - but they do.

Now, what is the best focus for you?

You are free to choose. No choice is a choice of mediocrity. Which primary focus would best serve
you in your referral business?

Technology focus is good. Information is critical in our financial industries. Innovation focus is better but it is copy-able by others and doesn't last long unless you're a WalMart or unless you are capable of inventing the next new, new thing.

Customer focus is best.

If you choose customer focus s where do you start?
Remember, we all move in the direction of our predominant thoughts. Once you choose to make a committment to your Customer Focus the old Eastern adage applies - "When the student is
ready, the teacher will appear."

To be more Customer focused learn to recognize the want and seek ways of fulfilling that want.
Design your service or product WITH customers, not FOR customers.

Read that again. Yes, it meant what you thought it meant. Your customers will tell you what they like and don't like, how they feel they were treated, what they liked about your service, why they would use you again and why they would refer you to their friends and family and why they wouldn't.

Your customers will give you all the information you need to continually improve upon your service and assist you in shaping their perception of you. All you have to do is ask them.

And it's free!

They are the best consultants any business can have.
Managing the customers perception is the real job of a customer focused individual.

Here is a few questions that will give you a clue to assess if you work in a Customer focused environment.

Does your manager, team leader, supervisor or owner ask you "How does the customer feel
about that?" or "What do you think the customer will want?" or "What could we do
to better improve our customer's perception of us?" or "Why don't we call the customer
and get their opinion?"

How much of your day is spent, or should I say, invested in thinking, talking, acting in ways that intentionally create a world class customer experience?
Intentionally? Purposefully?

Here are two questions you can ask of each customer.

The Gold Question - How do you feel you are being treated and what have you liked about
what we've done so far?

The Platinum Question - What one thing could we do to improve our service from your point of view?

That's it! It is that simple to get customer focused and find the wants.

So when you are at an office meeting and the BIG question comes up,"What are we doing to increase our customer service and customer experience to the level that our customers will not only return, but feel compelled to tell their friends, co-workers, family and neighbors about us?

Just ask your customers and they will tell you!

Thanks for spending 3 minutes with me...
The best is yet to be!

On Your Team
Jeffrey Stanton
Your Trusted Advisor For Life

One of the fastest ways to build a successful referral based business is by training. Now, with me, I like to invest significant time immersing myself in training, while some people prefer to take it in bite-size chunks. Whatever your preference is, now is the best time to contact me.

If you have found this tip useful, please share it with any friends, family, colleagues and associates who you think will be interested. Feel free to print it (with credit and subscription information) and continue to enjoy the tips. I am always grateful for any comments, criticisms or other feedback that you may have. Please send them to

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