Think about it:
- When you’ve delivered a project for a client (or customer), you want them to say to themselves, “this work is much better than I expected”.
- When you tell someone about the service you offer, then quote your fee, you want them to say to themselves, “this quote is much better than I expected“.
- When someone experiences your customer service, you want them to say to themselves, “this service is much better than I expected“.
Much better than I expected
There’s some REAL power in those 5 words. They’re a sure sign that you’re exceeding expectations. And the most successful business owners strive to exceed expectations, with every interaction.
They know that by truly exceeding expectations, they’ll retain more clients. They know they’ll also receive highly valuable client referrals. And they know they’ll build an exceptional reputation, too.
The reason the majority of small businesses fail to achieve this, is that it presents the business owner with 2, tricky challenges. When you overcome them, you can benefit from all the advantages of exceeding the expectations of your clients and your marketplace. And that’s what I’m going to share with you today.
Let’s start by looking at those 2 challenges and how you can turn things around.
1. Almost every small business owner thinks they’re already exceeding expectations
They know how hard they work. They know how passionately they care about their clients. They then confuse their hard work and passion with delivering a remarkably good service.
Working hard doesn’t mean you’re exceeding expectations. After all, you can work darn hard, just delivering exactly what your client expects from you! That kind of hard work is merely meeting expectations. Not exceeding them.
How do you find out for sure, if you’re exceeding expectations?
Simple. Just look at the number of referrals your clients give you.
Some clients will stay with a service provider, just because it’s easier than finding a better provider. However, we know for certain that people regularly recommend exceptional services and products. They want their friends to know. That’s how word of mouth works.
So, when a business isn’t getting a regular stream of client referrals, it’s a sure sign that the business isn’t exceeding what their clients expect from them. And it’s a wake up call to put things right, to up their game, to go from average to remarkable.
At least it should be.
2. It’s harder to exceed expectations than to meet them
Even if a business owner knows they’re not exceeding expectations, it can be a challenge to figure out what they need to do, to turn things around. With the marketplace saturated with average small businesses, it can be tricky to get out of that mindset – to see what’s truly possible – to blow the lid off the service you provide.
Fear not! Here’s something I share with my clients, to help them overcome this challenge.
You can elevate your own expectations of what’s possible, by looking outside of your industry and beyond your competitors, for guidance and inspiration.
- Compare your customer service to Disney.
- Compare your product’s build quality to Rolex.
- Compare your design quality to Apple.
- Compare your distribution to Amazon.
Then, look for fresh ways to deliver your services, based on what you can learn from these examples of excellence. It takes a little effort, but it’s a proven way to exceed expectations. And I’ve seen it work dozens and dozens of times.
In my experience, it’s the first of those challenges that’s the toughest.
Even when some small business owners know they get very few referrals, they’ll still fail to accept it’s down to them.
- They’ll say their clients expect too much.
- They’ll blame their clients for being ungrateful.
- They’ll tell themselves their clients aren’t the kind who recommend others.
They’ll just hope ‘something’ changes and everyone will magically start recommending them. In short, they’ll refuse to accept responsibility. They’ll complain… but stay the same.
The second challenge is a little less tricky.
It means embracing the edges. And that feels riskier than staying in their comfort zone. But as any entrepreneur (I mean real entrepreneur) will tell you, the riskiest thing you can do is cling to the overcrowded middle ground.
The wonderful opportunity in front of you
Make no mistake, consistently exceeding expectations takes real commitment. And that’s why so few of your competitors will do it.
It’s also why this wonderful opportunity is open to you. It’s an opportunity to attract the best clients, to attract endless referrals, to retain your clients for longer and build an outstanding reputation.
So grab it with both hands my friend! And make it the cornerstone of your 2018 business development plan.