When I walk into a store, I always tell the salespeople, "Sell me something."
Especially when I love the store. At Samsonite, the luggage retailer, I expected superior service. My needs were basic. For my international flight, I needed a garment bag that I could carry onto the airplane.
The saleswoman was too busy talking with her girlfriend. She paid little attention to my needs, even when I told her to "Sell me something." When I found the garment bag by myself, I asked her about the dimensions to see if it would fit on the airplane as 'carry-on' luggage. Of course, I would never buy a carry-on bag that I couldn't 'carry-on' the airplane.
I needed to know the length, width, and height of the garment bag. That's all.
My saleswoman affirmed that the garment bag was ideal for a carry-on. She told me that she's been working there for 10 years and all of her customers loved the bag, especially as a carry-on. I fully believed her. After all, she's been with the company for 10 years.
Delighted, I bought the bag for a great price. As I walked down the mall, I went to another luggage store and listened to a woman give me an excellent sales pitch on her luggage. She complimented my current bag, but assured me that it wouldn't fit as a carry-on. Dumbfounded, I checked the facts online.
She was right!
On Amazon.com, it confirmed that my bag was too big. I went back to Samsonite and asked for a refund. The saleswoman argued with me and reluctantly gave my money back. Her girlfriend was grinning from a distance as she rocked back and forth in her seat with the attitude of an impatient chimpanzee at the zoo.
"Ma'am, do you have a tape measure?" I asked. She ought to check the size, I thought. "I don't carry that on me," she said. After 10 years of working with luggage, I thought she would. Neither did she have a pen when I had to sign the receipt to return the merchandise. Nonetheless, she still scoffed at me as I walked out of her store. Her girlfriend did laugh, too.
I believe this way of doing business is unacceptable.
From that experience, I'm honored to share with you seven truths every millionaire knows about business:
1. Know your numbers.
Every season, I buy suits. I know my size in every conceivable way. When I ask the salesman to "Sell me something," he better measure me and tell me exactly what size I am. If he comes out with something that is three sizes too big, I'm leaving immediately.
Surprisingly, a vast number of business people don't know their facts and figures. You must know your prices and dimensions of everything you offer. If you're branding yourself as an expert, you better have superior knowledge about your industry. It's easy to learn about everything that you offer. When information is present, feast on it, even when no one else is making proper use of it.
2. Know your tools.
I bought three dress shoes yesterday from a remarkable salesman. He offered me a "shoe-horn," which is an excellent tool to help you slip on your shoes. At fine restaurants, I receive immeasurable joy when the host "checks" my coat in the closet. I am also astonished when the server uses a "crumb-catcher" when I finish the courses before my main entree.
Many of us have the right tools available for our business. However, we need to learn how to use them with excellence. You don't have to know everything about your tool and its history; you just have to know how to use it. When you dazzle your clients with the tools which you've mastered, they will applaud you to the bank. Trust me, I'm a master of the microphone.
3. Know your time.
My personal trainer is stupendous when it comes to his time-management skills. Every time we train, he's always done exactly at 60 minutes, with precision. I'm often amazed at how he does it, especially since he keeps me so busy that I don't have the time to check the clock myself!
Those who know their time will be able to control their schedules. If you're always running late on the services that you offer, you don't have the right to increase your business. Conversely, those who master the clock will have the power to master serving all of their clients with the utmost diligence.
4. Know your energy.
As I prepared to eat my mouth-watering lobster, a clumsy server started to "sell me" on why he was the best server in the restaurant (he wanted me to come back to him on my next visit). As he continued his speech, while catching his breath, he told me why the other servers were slow and why he made the most money on his shift.
Verily, this man was deceiving himself in unprecedented ways. He thought that running back and forth kept him busy and earned him more money. However, the exact opposite was true. Despite being young, he ran out of steam each night because of his misdirected energy. This made him serve in a sloppy manner. Working harder will never beat working smarter.
5. Know your personnel.
I personally have an army of aides who help me do my work successfully. My editor, Maureen, is top-notch at what she does. If I handed her this article, which I did, she would flip it to me error-free within 24 hours. My lawyer, Chris, will get me an answer within a few hours if I ever needed his help. It only takes a few clicks or dials to know everything in the world.
Knowing your personnel can help you to create an impeccable business. If you have the right people aligned with your business model, you will be unstoppable. Every area in your business demands expertise and you must put the best people in place. Always pay your people top dollar if you can, lest they leave you unexpectedly.
6. Know your money.
Most "professionals" don't know what's in their bank accounts. They know within the thousands, but not centavos or few pesos. Everyone in our society gets charged with fees that they never even realize. As they go along with their lives, they're getting ridiculous fees from products and services that they rarely, if ever, utilize.
When you know your money, you'll grow your money. You should know exactly how much you earn, spend, and save. You must always seek to have a surplus at the end of every month. If you do, your profits will increase by incalculable measures. Knowing your financial affairs is the surest ways to become wealthy.
7. Know your customer.
I saved the best for last. Your real boss is your customer. They pay you. In fact, all the money that you will ever receive will come from other people, so you better take care of them. Ensuring that your customer is satisfied should be your highest priority.
You'll also want to go the extra mile when you can. Use people's names, over-deliver on your promises and understand their deepest, long-term needs. These are the simple elements that must be acknowledged if you want to succeed in business. No matter what industry you're in, knowing your customer is the best and most effective way to increase your business. Ask your customer.
Which of these truths do you need to learn more about in your business?
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.
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