You can’t avoid it. In business or in life.
But you CAN learn how to embrace the unexpected, unpredictable, sure-to-happen events to enable significant growth.
You see, it’s how you respond to change that makes all the difference in whether your business will stagnate, regress or grow.
Are you ready to play with the big guys and put some skin in the game? Get ready to grab a hold of challenges with a can-do attitude!
The Challenges Will Come
Recently, we confronted a business challenge that was not our fault.
One of the major services we provide to clients is Twitter management.
We cover everything – growth, posting, engagement – and we build your brand, presence, and tribe. And it turns Twitter into a sales machine. (Read what and how here)
We also deliver measurable, easy-to-read reports, so clients know every step of the way exactly what we do for them.
Facing a Problem Head-On
As do many marketing and design companies, we rely on a third-party software to implement strategies and ideas.
During the last few months, Twitter experienced internal problems that affected functionality on our third-party platforms.
There were times that Twitter’s operational capabilities were so bad, we couldn’t do anything about it. So, what happens when your software malfunctions or doesn’t work like you need it to?
Who is to blame?
What do you tell your clients when the results don’t match previous performance?
You say, “YES.” And your team says, “YES.”
Finding The Solution
Don’t play the blame game. Ever.
To grow and succeed in business, blaming it on other people or systems won’t help. So don’t do it.
Sure, sometimes you really don’t have anything to do with the problem. How could you be responsible for issues that Twitter is having?
You still have a responsibility to your clients.
They trust you. They’ve committed to working with you and paying you. They’re not paying Twitter!
You owe it to them to say “YES” to the problem. Yes, we did experience difficulties, but we have found a way around it.
Yes, your results are not on par with what we normally deliver, but here’s what we’re going to do for you: offer additional services free of charge in the months to come.
Essentially, seizing growth opportunities during challenging times means confessing the situation, but with confidence.
It means saying, YES, things went downhill, but we have your back.
Seizing The Opportunity In A Difficult Situation
Challenges serve as excellent fuel for growth and improvement – if you have the right attitude and company culture.
Here are five steps you can implement to learn and grow from the difficulties you encounter:
1. Create a “YES” attitude in your company
Attitude plays a huge role in life’s successes, yet most of us have never received training in it.
The good news is, not only you can learn to have a positive attitude, but you can learn how to have a YES Attitude.
Things WILL happen in life that aren’t in our control.
But we can control it by how we think and react to the problem.
So the next time difficulty arises, train your team to see an opportunity for improvement.
Teach them to say “No problem!” when they’re up against a rock. Train them to say, “I’m sure we can find a way to make it work.” Or “We’re on it!”
Do not fall into a pattern of saying “No” or “We can’t do that.”
Fix the problem, over-deliver and delight your clients — blow their socks off.
If you haven’t read Jeffrey Gitomer’s smash hit on attitude, “Little Yellow Book of YES! Attitude,” read it now. And give a copy to everyone on your team.
His “Yes! Attitude” training will change your life.
(We love it so much, we hired one of his certified advisors to teach our team recently)
2. Think in YES’s, Not in NO’s
When something comes up – an issue with a client, a problem with software, or questions you don’t know how to answer during the call – work on it.
Instead of a door-shutting “NO,” offer a solution in the moment or after you find the answer.
Gather with your team to brainstorm solutions, or meet with a CEO. If you don’t know, learn. Improve yourself, enhance your expertise and come back with a solution.
Follow these “YES steps” when dealing with clients:
- Acknowledge a client’s needs or problem. Show that you truly understand the issue. Listen.
- Don’t direct them to someone else. Research the problem and get back to them. You’re their person and point of contact, so make things easy for them.
- Identify data sources and provide an answer. Explain how you found the solution, which builds credibility and an even stronger relationship. You’ll come off as a true problem-solver.
- Follow up. Give them a call, or send an email. Check that everything is well and taken care of.
Don’t make your clients feel disappointed, ignored or angry. Create the feeling that you have their back. Find what is the issue, and make it work.
Be the company you’d want to work with.
3. Be Creative
Creativity is usually mistaken for being artistic. That’s why many people say no to it.
But that’s not what creativity is about.
Being creative means approaching a situation or problem from another perspective. Very simply, it means being thoughtful, expressive, or imaginative.
If you are not born with it, train the creative muscle.
- Work on solving issues in an innovative manner.
- Change your perspective or strategy.
- Use a fresh approach.
- Engage your team.
- Acquire ideas.
- Forget about egos and titles – work together on making it happen.
It’s not exactly thinking outside the box. It’s more like forgetting about the box altogether. Create synergy amongst your team and it will push your business through the roof.
4. Be Honest
Don’t try to trick your clients and prospects.
Reputation, integrity, and ethics are far more important than any amount of money – big or small – that you might lose if you come clean.
Talk to your client and explain what happened. Then, offer a solution.
Treat clients exactly how you would want to be treated by the companies in whom you put your trust.
Saying things are not going as planned is not easy, but it is the right thing. People respect that and will value you and your business more for it.
What if they don’t? Then it may be time to evaluate if you should be working with them at all, as you do not share same core values. (Ever hear of Chihuahua client’s? You should.)
This is the response we got from our dear client, Melvyn, after we emailed him explaining the problem with Twitter (and offering a solution!):
Our team was over the moon.
5. Keep Your Word
Offering a solution and having positive attitude is absolutely crucial to your success.
But it’s worth nothing if you don’t live up to your word.
Once you commit to doing something, keep your word:
- Offering an additional service? Do it.
- Providing a discount? Do it.
- Whatever it was – Do it!
It’s up to you to keep the terms of service. Even if the source of the problem is outside of your realm of responsibility, realize that it is YOU who is failing to provide the promised results.
You saved your relationship with the client because you took responsibility, your team thought creatively, you were honest with the client and you provided a solution.
Don’t do unnecessary damage by not following through. Can you perceive the effect of not fulfilling what you said you will do? Total damage. Loss of trust. The end of the relationship.
How do you deal with issues that arise? Share your ideas and strategies in the comment section! 🙂