“’The customer is always right’ isn’t always right. Listening to my customer almost ruined me.” Patrick (not his real name) is a brilliant guy. He and I have been friends for almost 35 years. I’ve watched him start, grow and sell one company, and he’s about to exit from his second business. It’s going to be a monstrous event, well into nine figures. Since he lives in a different state, I am not going to have an official role in his exit, 但是作为朋友, we talk all the time about the process.
A few weeks ago, I asked Patrick if I could write a blog about his success story. I asked him to describe the pivot point that fueled his incredible growth. I don’t think I’ll ever forget what he said. “One of our founding core values was customer service, so in those early days, we’d do about anything a customer would ask. Once we had a customer, we wanted to over-serve them to make sure they stayed with us. But about ten years ago, we began to focus our service offering, which meant we began to say no to some of our customers. That made for some awkward conversations.于是我问, “帕特里克, I know you are a nationally-recognized authority in your area of service, so did you have to say no a lot?” “You have no idea,” he quickly replied. “Trying to serve every customer, when you know you should focus on just a few things, was one of the most dangerous periods of my business life.”
Patrick is now a frequent guest speaker at conferences around the world. To call him an industry expert would be an understatement. While it seems counterintuitive, by clinging to one of his early core values, “客户服务,” he came dangerously close to missing the significant opportunity that focus allowed him to pursue. And when I say focus, I mean having the courage to say “no” to some customers.
Patrick is in the process of setting up foundations that will receive a good part of the fortune he receives when he sells his company. He wants his money to be used for good for generations to come. I told Patrick I planned to share his story because his lesson of focus can also be used for a long, 长时间.
JIM CUMBEE is President of Tennessee Valley Group, Inc. a retainer-based business brokerage and transition mediation firm 在富兰克林,TN. Cumbee is an attorney and has an MBA from Harvard Business School. Jim is the author of 韦德体育app官网 Run, A Pro’s Guide to Selling a Business. http://www.亚马逊.com/韦德体育app官网-Pros-Guide-Selling-Business/dp/1599329239 . He has a wide range of corporate 和企业家ial experiences that make him one of the most sought-after business transition advisors in the state of Tennessee. The story above is true, but the names and fact patterns above have been changed to preserve the parties’ identities.