First, Help Others to Be Successful

As president of the Charlotte chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, I often hear members tell me they became entrepreneurs because they wanted to control their own destinies.

Although we may not have a lot of control over global economic forces, we do have a tremendous amount of control over our own circle of influence, including customers, vendors and colleagues.

Success for all of us will be determined by the success of our customers. How can you help your customers to be more successful?

Consider the following:

  • Sales referrals. Who do you know who could benefit from being introduced to your clients’ services and, therefore, help them generate more revenue?
  • Vendor referrals. What vendors could you introduce to your clients to help them save money?
  • Expertise. What “expert” employees within your company could you share with your clients to show them how to create greater efficiencies?
  • Customer introductions. Which of your customers should be introduced to each other to accomplish some of their goals?
  • Network introductions. Which members of your personal network should be introduced to your clients?

I’ve started implementing these ideas with my own circle of influence. For example, two of my top 20 accounts sell to the same industry but are not competitors. I have introduced their sales managers, giving them an opportunity to access each other’s clients.

I have another customer that has a huge field-service force. The company had inefficient route schedules that were costing it a lot of overtime and fuel. I let the customer “borrow” the services of my scheduler to create more efficient delivery zones.

We can’t control the economy at large, but we can have an impact on the success of the people around us. So give some thought to how you could leverage your circle of influence to help your customers save money and make more money. Everything you do to make them stronger will make you stronger. The ways you can help your clients is limited only by your imagination.

Laurie Leonard is president of Suite 1000, a business answering service and customer-service call center, and the 2008-09 president of the Charlotte chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

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Published in the Charlotte Business Journal in November 2008.

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