If everyone is doing them, are they still “best practices”?

One of those annoying catchphrases that the business “gurus” like to use today is “best practices.”


To read them, as a business owner, is usually like reading a list of common-sense ideas that any entrepreneur worthy of the title is probably doing anyhow. But catchy terms sell books and get subscribers, so we’re probably stuck with it for awhile…

“Best practices…”  Even typing the term makes me feel like I’m listening to fingernails on a chalkboard. 

How about this: Let’s talk about the practices that will truly separate you from others in your field. Call them “only practices” if you will.

If you have a retail company, imagine the manager calling every client they served that day to ensure they were happy? The same could be true of a service company – think of landscapers – many times, they do the work while owners aren’t home. Why not have a supervisor call all the homeowners or businesses that were taken care of that day just to check?

Two things would happen – first, any issues with staff would be quickly exposed and second, clients would be shocked to see how much the company cares about their experiences.

Years ago, long before software made it possible to keep and share detailed files or data about repeat customers, the Ritz-Carlton keep a dossier on every guest that had ever stayed in that particular unit. There was no formal structure to it, but in the course of interacting with guests, details were noted – food or drinks ordered, reason for the visit, the business or industry the guest was in, you name it. When you made a reservation again, they pulled out and reviewed your file and made it standard procedure that all involved – from the doorman to the night auditor – knew who you were.

If you ever stayed at the Ritz, you understand the level of service was leaps and bounds above any other hotel in that market. In reality, the Ritz is certainly a wonderful place to stay anywhere they have hotels, but a comfortable bed is still a comfortable bed and high speed internet is still high speed internet. Their “only practice” of making sure that every guest felt known and welcomed was light years ahead of the technology that could make it a common practice, but we both know, few hotels even try to reach such a level of service today with software available to help out.

Now, let’s extend out “only practices” into the sales field.

Imagine you sell high cost products – be they computer systems, cars, houses, or even training programs. When a salesman can’t close the deal today, what would the effect of the manager or owner of the company calling the prospect that afternoon or evening to apologize for not being able to handle the needs of the client?

Those of you who sell high end products are smiling, because you see where I’m going – that call sets up a conversation and an expert closer is paired with the client to make the deal work.

How many more cars do you sell? How many more houses? How many more IT systems?

How much larger is the gross income of the company as a result of this “only practice”?

As we start to close 2022 amid lots of worries in the financial markets, inflation, and a host of challenges throughout the world, I challenge you to take a long look at your industry and your own business and look for ways to buck the trends by creating such a powerful experience for your client that they cannot help but choose to do business with you.

I’d like to see you in a better tax bracket, myself!

Warm regards,

P.S. And I’d really love to hear of your own “only practices” that are letting you and your people stand out in your industry.  Let me and the team know!


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