The Excellence Standard
by Michael Feeley
How important are your business relationships and the standard of excellence you offer and what is also offered to you?
Think about your mechanic, banker, website designer, hair stylist, gardener, personal shopper or real estate agent.
Why do you count on them?
Because you trust them and because you love the service they give you.
They’re there for you when you need them. They show up and solve your problems with excellent service that makes you happy. You feel confident and cared for.
What do you think about this?
You call a company and connect with someone. You like how they talk to you, treat you with well and when it comes time to buy their product, to meet them and move forward, all of a sudden they’re out of the picture and you’re dealing with someone completely new.
It’s infuriating. You’ve been shuffled around. Bounced to the next sales step.
It happens all the time. You get it. You know how it works. But – you don’t much like it.
It’s no way to run a business. No way to work with people. No way to have integrity.
I’m talking about service
Customer service and life service; giving another person what they deserve, not just in business but daily life.
Here’s how Gandhi talked about what people deserve. Service based on respect:
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises.
He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him.
He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it.
He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it.
We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
Show up. Commit. Be fully present for your clients. Not just on the phone but in person. Either it matters or it doesn’t. You create excellence or mediocrity.
For years I was in sales – customer service and business development – for an international travel corporation and also as a recruiter, finding people jobs in New York City. I built solid relationships with all my clients because it mattered to me. People trusted me. Counted on me. I treated them with respect. They liked what I offered them. I gave them more than asked for or expected. Not because it was in my contract but because I wanted. They deserved my best and, they remained clients for years.
I always found it insulting and insincere as a sales person to, ‘schmooze, groom and flip a perspective client’. I never did it. That’s who I am. It’s how I live my life. How I show up.
I remember when we sold our home in New York. We went with a top real estate company because they had the name and all the major listings. We met our agent. She showed up in an important car, beautifully dressed, so friendly and warm. We thought we had struck gold and after signing the contract we didn’t see her again – her ‘assistants’ took over – and we couldn’t even get a call back from her when we wanted to talk. Careless care is what she offered. We quit that factory and found a wonderful person who really cared about us and our home. She worked hard and sold our home in a very tough market.
See what I’m talking about. Work with excellence. Keep your promises. Show up. Have empathy and genuine care. Just follow through and don’t hand people off because you’re greedy and lazy and focused only on the money you’ll make from the sale. You might be a very good poker player, the best there is but it doesn’t mean you should win the game without showing up and playing.
Which example works for you?
‘Hi. I’m the lead sales person for ‘Fly by Night Realty’. I’m here to assess your home, stick a price on it, get a signed contract and then… sooner or later you’ll meet the people who will be doing all the leg work, because I’m out of the picture. That’s how it works.’
‘Hi. I’m Michael and this is my partner Albert of ‘Saba Island Properties.’ We’re here to talk with you about your home, to see if we can be useful and if we can work together. We love our work and it’s just the two of us. We will be with you for the entire process. Giving you our support 100%’.
Here’s how Bernie Madoff showed up with excellence and we all know how successful he was:
‘The nature of any human being, certainly anyone on Wall Street, is…
‘the better deal you give the customer, the worse deal it is for you’.
John Adams eloquently expressed it like this:
‘If we do not layout ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?‘
Excellence matters. It’s something you can practice all the time in all you do. Showing up in life – for yourself and also others – is important. It’s crucial for your good name professionally and personally.