So many people are always thinking about “what’s next” or “what’s new.” Everyone likes to think about how to get bigger, better, stronger, especially from a business perspective. Where will the growth come from? How do I reach new potential customers or clients?
I was at a party on Saturday night, and the event was catered. There was a young guy who was running the raw bar, and had been hired by the main caterer. He has a fledgling business, and parties like this one were a big deal for him. But he made a classic mistake that many business owners and leaders, large and small make every single day.
When I spoke to him early in the evening, he was very eager to tell me about his business, and all the other things that can do, above and beyond what he was doing for this party. He was really focused on me and our conversation, which on the surface, seems like a good thing. The problem was, the party had begun, and there were people waiting to be served. And he was very slow to serve them because I was asking questions, and he seemed to think I could be his next customer. He was sacrificing the current customer in his hopeful search for his next customer.
And then later in the night, as the evening was winding down, but the party was still on, he had stepped away from the raw bar and left it in the hands of his overwhelmed and undertrained assistant (who I am pretty sure was his girlfriend). He was off to the side on his phone, speaking loudly, about some other event he had going on the next night. If you were standing at the raw bar, you could clearly hear him, and it was mildly inappropriate. Again, his mind was not on the execution for the current customer. He was already focused on the next customer.
But what he missed completely was that the current customer could be the next customer also. The host of that party, and that caterer, could easily send lots more business his way. His best growth prospects were standing right in front of him, but he didn’t see it. In his obsession for the next customer, he ignored his current customer. And no one at that event will likely ever refer him or his company to anyone else. The experience was too mediocre.
Look at the customers you already have, and take excellent care of them. Not only will you solidify the relationship to build a base of business, but those current customers can be your best source of new business as they refer you to others.
Keep your eye on the ball, people. Communicate and execute well for the people who have already hired you. They are the most important thing in your business life.
Have a great day.