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13 Ways to Serve Better, Waste Less, and Sell More in 2013

You've got 12 months--365 days and nights--to make 2013 a better year than  2012.  Like they say, if you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got. So what's gotta change in the way you execute to make that happen? Maybe a little or maybe a lot, but we've got 13 key ways guaranteed to help you serve better, sell more, and waste less. Here they are, read em and reap:       

1. Make hiring THE Most Important Decision. Compete first for talent, then for customers. This year, stop merely “believing” that. This year do something about it. Hire people one level above the caliber of your current team members. Why spend all your time turning below-average employees into average ones? Give a lot, expect a lot, and if you don't get it, prune.
2.  Get brilliant at the basics. Walt Disney said it best: “There is no magic to magic, it’s all in the details.” getting the Fundamentals right matters most to your VIPS (Very Important Pocketbooks). Never get bored with the basics and never underestimate the importance of the mundane. The "little things" really are the Big Things. The key fundamentals are Focus, Build Strong Teams, Serve Better, Sell More, Waste Less, Out-Teach the Competition, Lead Smart, Always Be Marketing and Execute
3. Make ONE improvement each week in your business. Continuous improvement builds higher sales, happier teams and repeat business. Paint a wall, refine a system, minimize a cost, develop an under-performing team member. Don’t wake up a year from today and be 52 improvements behind.

4. Make Pre-Shift Meetings Mandatory not Optional. To maximize the likelihood of attaining your targets, take your Big Things and make them in to Smaller Things. For example, every annual or quarterly goal should be broken down to a shift goal.. If you don’t share clear and sensible goals every single shift with your team members they’ll presume you don’t have any goals. Then they’ll substitute their own. Yikes. Get aligned or you'll fall behind
5. Drop the blinders. Re-discover your workplace through the eyes of the customer. Correct inconsistencies and customer-frustrating policies or processes. Don't rush through your day without modeling the way. If you walk past a problem you have approved it.

6. Make a difference where it makes a difference. Focus first on the things that matter most and stop wasting time on the things that don’t. What matters? If it makes the customer happy, moves the business forward and keeps the team engaged and having fun, it matters. If it doesn’t, it don’t.
7. Actions speak louder than words. Results should be measured by what takes place on the floor and not by what is discussed in a meeting. Knowing is not enough. We must apply. Willing is not enough. We must do.
8. Treat the cause, not the symptom. Fact: 90% of service or selling problems are caused by ineffective or broken systems, not indifferent people. Examine the process before you blame the people.
9. Strike while the iron is hot. If you want to do something positive in your business, do it now while you’re motivated to change. The fact is that Ideas are forever, but inspiration has an expiration date.
10. Exert constant, gentle pressure daily to improve. Teach everyone something new every day. Shoot for 1% improvement every shift. 
11.  Teach why before you stress what and how. Teach your team how to think instead of simply what to do. If you’d like them to improve their sales, show them how low the profit margin is in your business and why sales and service is the ink that signs their paycheck. The best leaders don't tell you what to do, they show you how it's done. They show you where to look, not what to see.
12.  Sharpen the saw. Stay abreast of new ideas in leadership, people management and customer service. You can’t have payphone skills in a smartphone world. Buy a copy of our bestseller Fundamentals at Amazon or right here at the Sullivision store and study/learn the best practices of high-performing leaders across successful international brands.
13. Never practice on the customer.  Every dollar you spend on training and developing your team is an investment in the future of your company and its customers. The more you spend on training the less you spend on advertising. Besides, if you don’t spend all your time training, you’ll be spending all your time training.  
Bottom line? The defining factor for success is never resources; it’s resourcefulness. Well done is better than well-said. Get going. 
Jim Sullivan is the CEO of Sullivision.com. Companies using their products or services include Walt Disney, Panera Bread, Starbucks, Sam's Club, Jiffy Lube, Target, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Chili's, Subway, Coca-Cola and American Express. See our Store for all of our DVDs, Books, Posters and Apps.