When Sam Walton was alive, he was notorious for “showing up” unexpectedly in his stores to talk with his customers. He’d wander the aisles and talk to associates… in the later days these unsuspecting associates weren’t even aware that they were talking to their boss… and the founder of the largest retail company in the world.
Sam Walton enjoyed knowing his associates and his customers in a personal way. It’s a trait shared by other successful business men and women throughout history.
The 247 Wall Street blog talks about CEOs Who Don’t Get Out Often Enough, And Some Who Do
The hallmark of some of the most successful companies over the last fifty years is that the CEOs spent a great deal of their time with customers and company locations around the work. Probably the two most famous travelers were Willard Marriott and Sam Walton. At one point, Walton visited hundreds of stores a year. If these CEO wanted to know how they were doing with the consumers who spent money with them, they did not have to check with anyone else in management.
The post goes on to list 9 CEO’s who are apparently ‘out of touch’ with their customers. Of course, the measurement tool used is the price of the company’s stock, which if you think about it is a GREAT indicator of how “in touch” management is with the “people”.
They also list CEO’s who are doing a great job. Amongst their list is James Sinegal of CostCo (COST).
He isn’t just in the stores. After a fashion, he is the stores. He started the company in 1983. According to the company, he tries to visit every one of the CostCo stores at least once a year. He gets the gold metal for CEOs who spend time in the field.
I work with business owners who have fewer than 20 employees. Because of the nature of that business, it’s hard for the business owner to get “isolated” from their customers. To you who are toiling in the “trenches” take heart!!! Your connection with your customers is essential to your success.
Several of my clients are doing everything in their power to REMOVE the connection with their customers. I get it… because sometimes I LONG for a barrier between my clients and me. However, when I get in those moods… I try to shake it off… because when I start looking at it from the CLIENT’S point of view, I inevitably get great insight into how I can make my services more VALUABLE to my clients.
If you don’t already, get to know your customers. When you know your customers, you can craft compelling message which enable you to get more customers just like them!