Knock Their Socks Off: Lessons from an Entrepreneur

700 453 David DeWolf

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to become distracted by big-company tactics. We want to “sell” our way out of a downturn or market ourselves to future growth. We like to excuse poor decisions due to lack of information and reporting. There’s always something that “mature” companies have that we don’t.

We like to remind ourselves these gaps exist. It makes us feel better to have an excuse ready to go.

In reality, only one thing really matters for business success: creating a “Wow!” experience for your customers. Customer service is everything.

I’ll never forget how 3Pillar won our first ever full-product lifecycle engagement.  We had significant experience in all aspects of the product lifecycle but had never been responsible for the entire lifecycle.  We were at a significant disadvantage to our competition.

We won because we “out-wowed” our competition. Instead of focusing on putting together a killer proposal, we offered the client an experience that was designed to bowl them over. We invited their senior executive team to our offices for a “workout session” to talk through what the future might hold for their product. This workout session gave their team the opportunity to see 3Pillar in action.

To create a “Wow!” experience, we thought through what it would take to knock their socks off. Here’s what we did:

Location, location, location.

At the time, our offices were in a shared executive suite where we could pay extra for perks like access to a state-of-the-art boardroom. We took advantage of the resources at our disposal and rented the shared boardroom for the day.

Welcome them by name.

We gave the receptionist a heads-up of our pending visitors and asked her to greet them by name.

Be prepared.

When our guests arrived they were brought into the boardroom. The room was prepared to the nines, with an agenda, a notepad, and nice pens at each seat. Participants’ names and the company logos were projected on the wall.

Share your plans.

The walls were lined with notepads so that we could collaborate together. One was populated with guidelines for the day and another was labeled as a parking lot for issues that we wanted to table. Others were prepared as templates for certain discussions we knew would happen.

Plan for food.

We had breakfast ready upon their arrival and lunch brought in right at noon. Both were simple and relatively cheap, but obviously orchestrated and thought out beforehand.

Respect their time.

We started right on time and held to our agenda. We drove the meeting with great confidence and wrapped the day up with very clear outcomes.

The core of every business is the product or service that you provide. Identify a few key prospects and knock their socks off.  This creates a “Wow!” experience. “Wow!” experiences build momentum, and they helped us win the first of what would become many full-product lifecycle engagements.