Are the “New Rules for Success” Really New?
For awhile now, I’ve been reading articles and posts about how, in this new economic climate, all the rules for succeeding have changed and if you don’t change with them you will be left behind. In fact, today, I read two very well-written pieces about this same subject and finally said to myself, “Enough!”
The rules haven’t changed. What it took to be truly successful during good times are the same things you’ll need to do during this challenging economic period we’re in. The only difference is: In good times the people that weren’t following the rules were able to slide by. Now, they will be sliding off a cliff.
In one piece I read the author states, “There’s been a fundamental shift in the way people buy everything, including the B2B marketplace. Your old business model may no longer be relevant. Make no assumptions. Know current customer needs – not 2008 or 2009 or even last month’s customer needs.”
He’s right. But let me ask you this: when was it NOT a rule to know your customers’ current needs? Even in boom times that was a major key to success. If you just started doing that because the economy tanked, I’ll bet you’re digging yourself out of one hell of a deep hole.
If this concept is so new, how come I wrote an article about it in 2007, BEFORE the economy went into recession? It’s called, “Know Your Clients Businesses Backwards and Forwards.”
In the other article I read, the author makes numerous great points but acts like nobody was doing these things until the economy went into the toilet. One of the things he wrote was, “Here is another rule no longer valid today. If you continue to compete against your competition and match them point for point, you are going to lose. The only way to sell value today is to create new outcomes that go beyond what your competition is delivering. If all you do is match your competitor’s offerings, how does that separate you from the competition? All it does is commoditize you.”
Ok, tell me, when, in the history of the world, could you ever be successful by just being “as good as,” your competition? You ALWAYS had to be better to be great! In fact, I wrote an article on that same thing WAYYYYYY back in 2005 when the economy was ROLLING, titled, “Just as Good is Never Good Enough.”
Why would anyone, in good times or bad, leave their current supplier for a competitor who is only “Just as good?” But again, the truly successful have been doing this since the dawn of time. The only people who weren’t doing it were the mediocre and the bottom of the barrel. The difference being, at times, the mediocre and the lousy could do business by accident; but no more. In fact, “Doing business by accident,” was a thing of the past BEFORE the recession hit. Don’t believe me, here’s an article I wrote in July of 2008 titled, “Doing Business by Accident is Over.” DUH!!
Another comment the author made was, “Today, customers don’t want to hear book reports on your features. They want to know how your product is going to help them produce the results they are after.” Huh? What kind of boob would sell features and not solutions, regardless of the economy? Every successful person I’ve ever met has operated on this one theory: Understand who the customer is and what they truly want.
Look, I know one thing: in my 24+ years in business the ONLY thing my clients want out of dealing with me is: Increased sales! And EVERYTHING I do must lead in that direction, whether it’s the boom years of the 90′s or 2010. Listen to a podcast I recorded back in ancient times, 2005, titled, “Delivering Memorable Customer Service.” It explains the true wants of customers and the mistakes so many companies make as they get stuck on process and not on providing solutions.
I’m not trying to pat myself on the back here and look like some sort of prophet. Heck, I didn’t make this stuff up. Successful people having been doing this for centuries. Every successful person I know or have met operates exactly this way, during good times and bad. I guess that’s why the economy doesn’t seem to affect them as much as it affects the average person.