What does your A-game look like? You know. When you’re kicking butt and taking names in your business. That place where you don’t even think about your competition. They can’t touch you. Your customers are ecstatic. They’re lining up to be part of your raving fans’ club.
Sure, you get a lot of credit for just showing up. You get a bonus for being on time. But you’ve still got to deliver the goods. Punctuality will get your customer’s attention. Now that they are watching you step into the batter’s box and show your stuff. You’ve got to bring your A-game if you hope to succeed as an entrepreneur in a small business.
Give Them More Than Expected
I hope your customers have high expectations. I hope your own expectations are even higher. Here’s the secret to impressing the socks of your customers. Set their expectations high. Then give them even more.
The common expression is “under-promise and over-deliver.” The thing is, “under-promise” sounds like a cop-out. It sounds like you’re giving yourself a wide margin of safety. You need to think high expectations and higher performance if you’re truly bringing your A-game.
I devote a chapter of my book explaining why bringing your A-game is vital as an entrepreneur. The following is an excerpt from that chapter:
The Spice Monger
I buy spices from our local farmer’s market. Tables overflow with bags full of every spice imaginable. Each bag contains a small scoop, planted deep, handle up. My mouth waters as I wait. The mingled fragrances bring to mind hearty plates of savory food. The spice monger charges anywhere from one to two dollars per scoop, depending on the spice.
But when you place your order, he puts a scoop and a half in your bag. Understand that the posted price is a fantastic deal: less than half the price of buying from the grocery store. But he still gives more than he promises.
That extra half-scoop is what draws me back to his table instead of visiting the other spice monger down the aisle. Now I’m sure his price covers the scoop-and-a-half I get. But the price per scoop sets an expectation for me. So I always feel as if I’m getting extra, even though it’s his standard procedure.
Do it on Purpose
This is important. Bringing your A-game isn’t something you want to do by accident. Think about how you interact with your customers, from their first contact with you clear up until you’ve delivered the goods. Be like the spice monger. Create a plan and a system to set your customer’s level of expectation and then deliver more than you promise.
When I say, “create a plan,” I don’t mean to just think about it and keep it in your head. Get a piece of paper, or go to your stack of napkins. Write your ideas down. Getting your ideas out of your head and onto something else will bring out stuff you never knew was in there.
Make an outline or draw circles, lines and arrows, whatever works best for you. Just make the time to put together a concrete plan for how you can serve your customers with excellence. This should be part of your business plan.
Make Your Plan
- Write down what your customers expect from your business.
- Write down what they hope they get from your business.
- List what they would be surprised to get.
- Find something that would make them ecstatic.
Use the example of the spice monger. Your customer will come with set expectations – I need spices. You set up additional expectations – the price is posted. You deliver more than I expect – an extra half-scoop.
Accept the Challenge
How does this translate into your business? That’s your challenge. Yes, it seems like a simple thing you can just work out as you go. But don’t leave it to chance. Sit down and develop your A-game strategy on purpose. Your A-game won’t happen by accident.
Oh, by the way, this isn’t a one-and-done exercise. Keep tweaking and look for ways to make your A-game better.
Make a point to dazzle your customers. Ecstatic customers talk about you. Satisfied customers don’t.
Please consider sharing this article with your friends who might need encouragement to keep their A-game sharp.