Be Prepared: 5 Ways Being A Boy Scout Is Good For Business
November 12, 2012 Leave a comment
How is Baden-Powell’s Boy Scout motto Be Prepared relevant for business?
When I was a child and a Boy Scout, Be Prepared meant always having a dime in my pocket in case I had to make an emergency phone call. Now as a business person it means something very different. Now I believe Be Prepared means doing all I can to manage and exceed a clients’ expectations.
For me, Be Prepared includes:
- Setting out clear and definable objectives based on their expressed needs. I do this by conducting a thorough needs analysis with them. This helps me customize the training and materials to best meet their needs.
- Arriving (and being set-up), for meetings, corporate training and speaking events well in advance.
- Having back-ups of my presentation. If I’m driving (vs flying), I bring a back-up projector in case my clients’ projector or Video screen isn’t working.
- Using many of the Time Management techniques I teach – the ones that work best for my work and lifestyle.
- Being ready for meetings and phone calls – reading materials in advance… not when I’m driving on the Gardner Expressway. The confidence and knowledge you have when you communicate with customers is very important – and your client sees / feels it… or a lack of it.
What benefit does Be Prepared have for you?
I realize that because I’m prepared I get more done. I’m also less stressed and more creative and get more done. Perhaps you experience:
- Less stress
- Happy, more satisfied customers
- Less time and resources wasted
- Higher employee satisfaction
- Lower employee turnover
- Always being understood
- Better work / life balance
- Improved office collaboration
Imagine… what you might experience: ______________________________
Be Prepared… to make clients feel / know everything is being done to asset them and make them feel appreciated.
Example: Make them feel you’re giving them the service they paid for… the service you would like for yourself. Not in an overt “we’re bending over backwards” for you way – but in a polite – thoughtful I’m thinking of you way.
Be Prepared… to reply to people when you said you would – even if it’s to let them know you need more time.
Example: I was following up on an email I sent to someone on an important issue because I had not heard back from them… so – I followed up again. That time I received the following response: “I have sent a request to my VP for an update. When I hear from them I will update you, sorry for the delay…” Great, but if they had sent that message in the first place I would not have had to send 2 follow up messages – and they would not have had to waste their valuable time reading those 2 messages.
Be Prepared… in advance. Your experience will tell you what questions your customers or prospect customers may have. If you (or other members of your team), get the same question asked by many customers, save time by co-designing thoughtful, value added responses ahead of time which you can customize as you need. Note: customizing is an important part of this. Remember – every person is unique – every customer wants to feel unique.
Example: A local organization had a unique opportunity to participate in an event. As a result they received close to 1,000 email requesting more information about their service from prospect customers. Guess how many email had been responded to after 6 months? Sadly – not many. Their excuse was “We are so busy”. I don’t know bout you – but I would love to have 1,000 pre-qualified prospects asking me for info. If they had a few simple pre-designed message responses they could have began engaging these people immediately.
Be Prepared… know what you are empowered to do. If you are unclear – ask. When you (your employees), are empowered they can respond quickly and appropriately to a customer request. If they don’t now their boundaries – likely their common response will be ‘no’ or their action will be null. Often it’s the little things that make a difference… and being able to give people choices.
Don’t promise things you cannot or should not. That makes everyone look bad and increases stress internally. You can even ask your customers how you can exceed their expectations and build great brand value – value that will lead to future sales and referrals.
Example: I had a challenge with my mobile phone charges – I wasn’t receiving invoices. After a number of calls to them over a few months I finally found someone who confirmed their system was set for ‘No Mailed Invoice‘ (previous calls suggested I was getting invoices even though I wasn’t). It was a small thing but the lady sent me my last 6 (missing), invoices and over-rode their system so I did not get charged for them. Well done Rogers for empowering her – she didn’t have to go to a supervisor – she just did it.
It’s a long time since Baden-Powell initial Boy Scout call to Be Prepared which influenced generations after generations of youth and youth leaders – and it’s a far cry from me carrying around a dime (and a few other items), but those two words can help take you from good to great.
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