If You Build It, They Will Come

Some people can close their eyes and see every detail of what they want to create. I have a client like this. He and his wife were building their dream house on the water. And he could envision everything. He could close his eyes and see the entrance to the house – the type of wood in the trim of the foyer, the hardwood, rugs, and the paint on the walls. He could see what the first-time visitor would see when he or she walked through the door, what would greet that person each way he turned.

But it wasn’t just the building materials or the décor. My client could envision the lighting – both natural and placed; the views which would greet the visitor, and when the sense of openness or gradual confinement into a cozier, more comforting space.

Only when, walking through his dream house in his mind, my client could envision everything, and did he commission an architect.

Now I know. Some people would say, “Sure – that’s a dream home. Dreaming about it is what you’re supposed to do…if you’re lucky enough to get the chance to build it.”

But that’s not my point.

You see, for any business owner, the chance to build a dream house comes only as a result of already having built a world class company. The company comes first – then the house.

So the question is have you envisioned every detail of what you want to create in your business? Whether it is your company, your division, or your own portfolio of customers, have you taken the time to create the vision?

It’s harder than it sounds, and it is a never-ending, never-be-satisfied process.

  • How do customers reach you? Website? What do they see? Do they see answers to the question on their minds or just a brochure that features what you want to say?
  • What do they see when they visit your company? How are they greeted? What do they notice?
  • Are they left alone to wait? Have they been offered refreshment? Are their immediate needs addressed?
  • What in their first contact with your company does not have your fingerprints on it? What in their contact does not show your vision?

Stephen Fairley, of The Rainmaker Institute, calls it “micromanaging the client experience.” Every detail is analyzed, down to the second.

The question Fairley asks, as does Michael Gerber in E-Myth Mastery, is this:

“Does your vision for your company permeate every aspect of the customer experience?”

  • Starbucks,as Gerber points out, owns coffee. Other places may give you a “large,” but you can only get a Venti there. They changed the language. The smells, the names, the service – love it or hate it, you know you’re in a Starbucks…and you’d know it even if you close your eyes.
  • There’s a wonderful shop in Cockeysville called 5 Wacky Women. The owner, Aimee Smith, has done it. With every conversation, display, even the check out experience, you know you’re not in a retail chain. It’s the retail equivalent of a Girls’ Night In.

Can you do it? Can you bring the words on your brochure to life in the immediate and ongoing experience of your customers? 

Do that, and in time, you may get to build that dream house.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 at 4:00 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.