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As an entrepreneur , executive and employee this a primary lesson that I have learned for being successful. I call it the Rule of Three, and it stands as the root and foundation of my most successful things I have done in my career. The rule of three recognizes that we operate in a complex, and crowded world. We all have many options. In fact we live in a sea of options for the people we hire, the goods we consume, companies that we work with, and in most areas of choice in our economic and personal lives. Everything from what restaurants you visit, to what laptop computers you buy, where you decide to work, and in a thousand other ways it is a crowded marketplace with options in every direction as far as the eye can see.
And winning in a crowded world is necessary to success. Squeezed in a crowd of competitors, what are you as an individual or a company supposed to do to stand out?
Lot’s of things.
You build against the one yardstick that lifts you above the crowd – a measure that is applicable everywhere, in every situation. The Platinum Rule to remember this and live by it will make all of the difference for you in your life and career.
working_at_a_computer_small_2The Platinum Rule is the yardstick that measures the three levels of relationship you can build into personally and professionally – the full range of relationships from ‘in’ to ‘indespesible’, with an ocean of difference between them.
Customer Confidence Level #1: Just Another Capable Company – A customer looks at your business and decides you have the capacity and capability to do the desired work; your product meets a need. At this level you may be ‘in’ but you are far from guaranteed to profit at all or for long by the relationship. This is often the basis of one-time sales, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to qualify at this level. That, of course, means there’s lots of competition and little in the way of customer retention; there’s no basis of a long-lasting relationship. Repeat business is a best a matter of convenience for the customer because they have your phone number. As simple as this type of customer relationship seems, many companies spend their time below even this standard of confidence – they fail to manage their reputations online and through their service, hitting some and missing some of the opportunities before them. While being perceived as capable and worth consideration for hire is difficult enough to challenge most companies, it is a brief starting point to the real objective.
Customer Confidence Level #2: Standing Out Among Stand-Outs – A customer knows your company can do the work or produce the product, but they also have a trust that the service or product will fit their need extremely well. It’s a vote of confidence. However, there is still room for substitutes to enter the picture and create competition. Customer retention at this level is still a matter of convenience for the customer. Amongst the few providers that operate at this desirable level, most are content to stay here and don’t even know that there is better work to be done.
Customer Confidence Level #3: You Become An Indespensable Partner – This is the promised land. When your customer knows you can do the service or job, that it’s done exceptionally well, and the delivery is so good, so personalized, so exceptional that they believe that no one else in the market can provide the same experience. This is the level of true customer retention. At this level, your customer doesn’t think about going anywhere else because the service or product has become integral to his operation. This level of relationship is the one that produces and creates the big accounts that keep companies growing and becoming better. The magical transition from push to pull happens at this level – No longer are you trying to market your services to get business, the customer actively pulls you to them- and often will be concerned that they would be in a tight spot if they lost you as a provider. This is where the most successful executives and businesses hang out. This is a highly exclusive, gated neighborhood that few can gain access to. What companies or service providers operate at this level in your world?
Now, looking at your professional or company relationships, where do you find yourself amongst these three levels?
Many folks struggle just to get to the first level, as they fail to provide the full measure of expectations in their customers or have not managed their reputations well enough. Doing a quick inventory of your personal and business relationships, where do you operate on this continuum of successs? Who are you ’Indespensable’ for? The most valuable connections in life and business reside at this Third Level, the irreplacable. This is the neighborhood where the most successful businesses and executives live.
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