Entrepreneurship might seem like a race, but it sure is one without a finish line. Once you enter, it can be hard to find the horizon. And all the better for it because the joy is not in the destination but in the journey. Serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, and the CEO of Don Williams Global, Don Williams, attests to this. Since becoming an entrepreneur, he has been selling and exiting businesses and starting new ones that are changing the world. In this episode, he joins Michelle Seiler Tucker to share his amazing journey, beginning with how he started his first business with just $6,000 of working capital. Through it all, Don learned the value of asking for help, of letting experts in their field do what they do best, especially when you want to exit rich. He also shares some more of his success secrets—from delivering the WOW and knowing your customer acquisition costs to the big three that business owners need to know to maintain client loyalty. Full of wisdom and insights, this conversation will definitely give you some great golden nuggets to bump your business to the next level.
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Exit Rich Podcast With Don Williams
Don Williams has some interesting subjects now. For some of my favorites that we are going to talk about, there are going to be a lot of gold nuggets here. My special guest is Don Williams. He is the CEO of Don Williams Global. In addition to being a two times bestselling international author, one is here in the United States, and the other one is international. He is the author of the DIY Outbound Contact Center Toolbox and Romancing Your Customer: How to Attract, Retain, and Win-Back Customers for Unbelievable Loyalty and Profitability.
Here is my favorite thing because I have been preaching and teaching this for many years, but the creator of the WOW, WOW, WOW Experience. He is a serial entrepreneur who started his first business in 1986 with only $6,000 in working capital. That is extraordinary. Look at how much working capital it takes now to start a business, or maybe we didn’t know Don’s secret sauce.
Maybe Don should have waited until he had more money, but it worked out.
As entrepreneurs, we are good on our shoestring budget, aren’t we?
He has founded a dozen companies. We are going to get into some of those companies. His client list includes international and Fortune 500 clients. His passion is helping businesses develop and provide such exceptional customer, I call it clients experience, that their market must reward them with dominance. Don’t we all want market dominance? Yes, we all want market dominance. Welcome to the show, Don. It is a pleasure to have you on. Thank you so much. Thank you for your patience.
My pleasure, Michelle. Thank you so much for having me on the show. I’ve been looking forward to this. I will add one thing. We sent you the wrong stuff. I’m a four-time author.
You sent me an old bio.
The third book is Build Your Big Legacy, which is about intentional living. The fourth book is Gratitude: Stories From Our Hearts. Twenty-four additional authors helped me. We shared stories about the power of gratitude in our lives. I assure you, gratitude will bring power to your life too.
It is all about an attitude of gratitude. I have only done three books. I got a fourth one coming out. I see you and me in a race. I won’t say the finish line because there is no finish line in entrepreneurship. Is there?There really is no finish line in entrepreneurship. Click To Tweet
There’s not. You walk through a door, you can see the horizon, get to the horizon, and there is a new horizon. I’m learning more now. It will be 37 years in 2023 since I started my first company. I was in my mid-twenties when I started my first company. I didn’t know that I needed adequate capital. The capital that I had was $6,000. When I think back, I convinced a commercial building owner to finish out a brand-new space for me. He did not look at my financials. I signed a three-year lease. The day we opened the doors, if I recall, I had less than $100 left. I needed to sell something to somebody now. I was fortunate that my own companies and other companies helped win billions of dollars a business. Selling is a natural skill for me.
You said you went in and did a three-year lease. He didn’t look at your financials so you got lucky. The most important thing is you said, “I have to sell something now.” Les Brown always says, “Are you hungry? How hungry are you?” One of the problems with a lot of salespeople, and maybe even some business owners and entrepreneurs, is they are not hungry. You have to get hungry. You have to have that sense of urgency that, “If I don’t do this now, I’m not paying rent. I’m going to lose the space. My dreams of being in entrepreneurship are over.” You have to have that hunger. The other thing I wanted to say about one of your comments, it is not about reaching that finish line and seeing a new horizon. The joy is in a journey, not in the destination.
That horizon continues to reappear at a different spot. One thing I have found was successful entrepreneurs are almost all lifelong learners. They are insatiable learners. You almost can’t give them enough data. Who knows, with AI, maybe we are going to be the matrix to where I can go, “Teach me how to fly the helicopter.” They download it into your brain. I don’t know if that is going to happen.
That would be fabulous. I have been in M&A for many years now. I started when I was five. The biggest challenge in selling companies is getting that information out of that entrepreneur’s head because most owners work in their business, not on their business. I’m like, “If I could download all of that data, we don’t have to sell 60% or 70% of the company to keep the owner on.” I agree with you. Learning is the entrepreneur’s journey. If you are not hungry to learn, you are not going to be a successful entrepreneur.
If you are resistant to learning, that is a big challenge. That is hard to overcome. The simplest success system is this, ask for help, learn something new, and put it into action. These are three little steps. If things aren’t going the way you want them to in your business, ask for help. Go to an expert. If you are thinking about selling your business, Michelle is an expert in that field. Call an expert, learn something from the expert, and put it into action. It is simple, but many times people get locked into their own brains and heads. They are chewing on the same things month after month, year after year. They don’t make any progress because they don’t learn something new and act on it. It is not hard to be successful if you follow people who are already successful.The simplest success system is this: ask for help, learn something new, and put it into action. Click To Tweet
The most successful people surround themselves with people that are smarter than them.
You are in New Orleans. I have clients there. I’m there regularly. I love that town. If I was at the Ritz Downtown and looking to go to one of the stores on Royal, one of the great antique stores, I knew how you got from the Ritz to one of those stores. If I put my feet in your footsteps, I get to the same place that you got. As entrepreneurs, we are creative. We are sometimes resistant to following advice. Sometimes we have to do it on our own. The easiest way is to put your feet in somebody’s footsteps that have already made that journey. You can’t show up anywhere else. If I follow your path, I get to where you got.
You get there much quicker.
I do, because you blazed the trail.
What was that first business you started with $6,000 worth of working capital? What are some of the companies that you have owned? Give them some insight into what you have done.
You already know that I have been an entrepreneur for many years. I started when I was five. My grandfather was a wheat farmer in Kansas. I drove a green John Deere tractor behind the combines that were cutting the wheat at harvest. I was eleven. When I tell people that, they are like, “Wow.” I was like, “It is a different world. I was able-bodied. There was work to be done. Back then, you did it.”
Back then, it was significant. Now I can’t get my twelve-year-old to pick his stop off the floor.
The rest of the story is I drove the pickup 9 miles from the house to the farm to get on the tractor. I learned two things on the first day. 1) Farming is hard work. When you eat, you should be saying, “I am grateful for farmers because it is hard work.” 2) I was never going to be a farmer. My first job is I took a sales job in college.
About 9 months in as a part-time salesperson, I became the number one salesperson in the United States out of 450 people. People would say, “Don, you are a great salesperson.” I don’t even know that I agree with that. I will say this, “People like to buy from me. I learned. Let them buy.” I became the top sales manager in the country and worked my way into a partnership with the owner, sweat equity, but he didn’t pay me as agreed so I left. I went and sold homes.
During my first month selling new construction homes, I sold seventeen houses, which is about a year’s worth, to everybody else. People like to buy from me and I let them. I don’t think you can make people buy. I think you can make it easy for people to buy. If you are trying to grow your business and you can call Michelle and exit your business, the number one thing is to do and grow that business. Let’s sell more of whatever you sell to whoever.
People don’t buy a product. People buy people.
The product servicer experience, to me, is a side benefit. They are buying the person and the experience they have with that person. You want it to be easy, fun, and fast. People don’t like hard, boring, and slow. That is the way you want to do it. My first company was accompanied by the name of Alliance. We are a wholesale buyer service, things like camping memberships. We sold memberships, where people could buy furniture, electronics, appliances, and floor coverings direct from the manufacturer and save a lot of money.
There is one still out there now. It is a wholesale club, but different than a Sam’s or a Costco. You pay $500, $1,000, or $2,500. DirectBuy is a wholesale buyer’s club truck. It cost about $2,500. You can buy furniture directly from the manufacturer. After I sold homes, I became a competitor to the gentleman who I had worked my way into ownership with. There is a rule. Treat everybody the way you would want to be treated. I went from 1 to 22 locations in a couple of years. No borrowed money and no partners. We did it the old-fashioned way. We sold our way to growth. We went and earned the money we needed.
Many people don’t do that. If they do that, they raise capital. It is still selling, but it is not selling your products or services. It is selling capital into your company.
It is, but it is expensive because to raise that capital, you have to give up part of your company. I don’t want to give up any of my company. We made our money and reinvested it. I sold that company many years ago. That was my first exit. I made some mistakes. I did some things right. I didn’t have Michelle. I didn’t ask for help. I didn’t learn something new and put it into action. I thought I knew everything. About everybody I know who has done an exit who didn’t use an expert will tell you the same thing. They left some money on the table. They could have done a better job if they had worked with an expert.
I got a good friend. He sold a company several years ago. He was concerned for his staff. It was part of the negotiation. You are going to keep the people on for X amount of time. To do that, he had to take a reduction in the purchase price of the company. It was over a $20 million exit. It was a good exit. He shared it with me later. Those key employees he was trying to take care of came to him and said, “Why didn’t you sell it and share some money with us? We would have gone and got another job.” He didn’t ask. There is another key there. Don’t make assumptions about what other people think. Ask them. They will tell you what is important to them. I started that company and built it to 22 locations. We were in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.
The exit wasn’t great for this company.
It was good.
Was that the $20 million exit?
That was not $20 million. It was good, but it would have been better had I had some professional help. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. That is all of us all the time. We don’t know what we don’t know. To me, it makes so much sense. I didn’t hire my first coach until I was in my 50s.
I never got a mentor until 2011.
We are an independent crowd. We are a little resistant to authority. We don’t ask for help. Those are traits of all entrepreneurs.
Why are you talking about me, Don?
You and another 5 million entrepreneurs out there. The thing is if you are going to do an exit and you don’t get a pro, that is crazy. If you want to grow your company and sales, it is not your core skillset, and you don’t hire a pro, that is crazy. One of my clients in 2022 was a big client. I consult with him, which means I talk to him. That is my main deliverable. I talk to him, but I know things he doesn’t know and I know people he doesn’t know. He came to me with an operational problem. In 30 minutes, I gave him a solution that brought $3.6 million to his top line. It is a high-margin service of $2.4 million to his bottom line in 30 minutes. His fee with me is over $200,000 a year. Do you think he cares?
If I had a $3.6 million result, of course not.
$2.4 million in his pocket, bottom line.
Some people would say, “I’m still paying too much because they tend to get greedy.” For the most successful entrepreneurs, they are going to be like, “I spend that money any day.” We have the Road to Exit Rich program. It is the same thing. When we get businesses ready, Exit Rich based upon our 6 P method. We are helping them decrease costs, increase profits, and increase revenues. None of them complain.
You got to be a psychologist. I’m working with one company where the husband, wife, daughter, and dad were fighting. She would not give him anything he asked for, KPIs, and all this stuff. She was in a high-end position in the company. They go, “She wants to do training.” I go, “Figure out the source. Why does she want to do training?” Mom takes her out, have a couple of margaritas with her daughter, and figures it out.
We ended up moving her to training because she was getting a divorce. She has kids. She wants attention for all these minutes. She is training in this industrial environment. Now she has trained her predecessor. Her dad gets everything. He wants another daughter and dad again. You got to be a psychologist.
In my consulting practice, people say, “What is the system?” I’m like, “The system assesses, recommends, and helps you execute.” It is always custom because companies and people are different. What I look for is, what are the smallest changes I can make. The reason I look for the smallest changes is that changes are hard for people. That is a human thing. I look for the little changes that will make a big difference.
That made a big difference in our company. What I tell people is, “Be comfortable with being uncomfortable because only in that uncomfortability is when you grow.”
Start scared and do it ugly.
Get a mentor so you don’t have to be scared and do it ugly all the time.
Here are my thoughts on comfort zone. You like your comfort zone because it is comfortable. I like my chair because it is comfortable. If I get out of my comfort zone, my comfort zone grows. If I get out of my comfort zone again, it grows. At this point in my life, I’m trying to run out of my comfort zone every day because the further you get out of your comfort zone, the more your comfort zone grows.The further you get out of your comfort zone, the more your comfort zone grows. Click To Tweet
What do you think was the one thing? I don’t know if you have ever read the book The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. What is the one thing that you think contributed to the success of your business and your client’s business?
I am a people person. I don’t care what business. You may think you sell car batteries. You are in the people business. You are not in the car battery business. This is my makeup, but my mission is to help people who help people. I like helping people. That feeds my spirit. I like helping people who are helping other people. Some of that is nonprofit. I have nonprofit clients, but I enjoy helping business owners whose product service experience makes the world better. Your business change people’s lives. I love that. You are good for the buyer and the seller. I like to work with companies where they are making a difference. Early on, I realized it was all about people.
I thought you were going to say that your secret sauce or that one bang is creating the triple WOW experience for clients because that is important. I have been talking about this for years. Dr. Nido Qubein, who is a good friend of mine and the President of High Point University, has a Director of Wow and a Director of Unwow. Every wow will move you up that branding ladder from wow absence to brand advocacy, where people are telling everybody, “You must do business with Don Williams and Seller Tucker.” Every unwow will bring you back down that ladder from brand advocacy to brand absence.
We have a Director of Wow and a Director of Unwow. We have a book. We have a notebook for the Director of Wow and a notebook for Unwow. When somebody in the company does something to increase client service and it was a wow experience for our client, that goes in that book. When somebody messed up, didn’t schedule something properly, and created an unwow, that goes in the book for training purposes. That is how I treat my clients. Let’s dive into your secret sauce.
This is not a little magic wand. This is a big magic wand. If you want to bring big magic to your business, you have to deliver the wow. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best, wow starts at 11 and goes on to infinity. Here is a short story. A couple of years ago, we had a theft in one of our companies. Somebody steals some checks. He fills them out and forges my signature. We don’t find it until the accountant reconciles the bank account the following month. We call the bank and say, “We got to close the account. We had a theft.” They are fine. They are like, “You going to fill out a police report?” I’m like, “It is theft. It is against the law. It is wrong. Yes, we are going to fill out a police report.” The bank says, “Would you give us a copy of it?” I’m like, “Okay.”
Two months later, I was in the bank. I only go to a bank maybe once a year. I’m fortunate I have people who do that. I’m in the lobby of that bank and the head teller says, “Mr. Williams, I have your money.” I was like, “What money? That money that was stolen?” She was like, “Yes, I have it for you.” I’m like, “You guys didn’t make a mistake. We didn’t secure a box of checks. Somebody got into the stack, stole some, and forged them.” She said, “I know, but we are returning your money.” I’m like, “Do you understand? I never said it was your fault. It was my fault.” They made good on it anyway. That is a wow.
We flew Emirates to Thailand. They sent a driver to pick us up at the house. They fed us on demand. Before I even sat down, the flight attendant came up to me and said, “Mr. Williams.” I have not sat down. To this day, I do not know how she knew who I was. She said, “Would you like to see a wine list?” I fly a million miles a year. I’m always someplace other than here. I don’t know how she did it. I love American Airlines. That is who I fly the most. I live in Dallas, Fort Worth. The wine choice on American Airlines is typically red or white. That is it. You want red. You want white. At Emirate, I order a fourteen-year-old French Bordeaux. I’m blown away.
Who are you talking about right now? American Airlines is moving down the ladder.
I fly American Airlines a lot. They have improved in the last several years. In the news regularly, United does something where they drag somebody off a plane.
They are having big issues now.
Not only do they not deliver the wow, but they also are not even behaving with decency sometimes. You cannot recover from that. Your brand cannot recover from that. I think this. In my companies, I want to hear my customers say the word. When I do workshops, I want to hear them say, “Wow, that was amazing.” I want people to go on Google and give me a five-star review after they are done. I want somebody reading to go on Google and give me a five-star review and say, “I saw Don Williams with Michelle. That was amazing.” I want to deliver at that level.
I will give you a wow story of my own. I was on a flight in California, my husband and I. I was speaking at an event. The company sent a limo for me. I get there and go, “I forgot my business card.” This was several years ago. I go, “What am I going to do?” He goes, “No problem.” I said, “What do you mean?” He goes, “Email me the file for the card. I will go to a printer that we use. I will print them out. How many do you need?” I said, “I need at least 250 to 300.” He says, “I will bring him to the hotel the next morning or to the event.” He bought me 500 and didn’t charge me a penny.
Let me give a wow in your hometown. My wife and I are flying to New Orleans. I’m working on my presentation. It is going to be at 7:00 the next morning. I’m working on it. When we got to the gate, as we were landing, the flight attendant was like, “You put it up.” I slam my laptop. I put it in the back seat. I have a Zoom call that starts. We are still on the plane. I’m getting my wife and my luggage. I’m on the Zoom call. We get all the way to the hotel downtown. It is the Hyatt, which is a big high-rise downtown. I get up to the room. I got to finish the presentation. I left my laptop in the back seat on American Airlines.
I’m trying to call and get ahold of somebody. No airline is easy to get on the phone. I do finally get ahold of somebody. I’m online and my wife is on the phone. We are like, “Your best bet is to go back to the airport because if it hits lost and found, it goes to Omaha. You will never see it again.” Back downstairs, I catch an Uber. I was like, “I’m going to the airport.” He’s like, “You got no luggage, and you got nothing.” I tell him my story. He rolls his eyes. I was like, “I’m a man of faith. I believe it is going to be there. I can use a little of your faith too. It is a big ask.”
We get to the airport and he was like, “I’m waiting on you. I want to hear if you got it.” I go to the ticket counter and I tell them my story. They are like, “Go down. Carousel eight is where our lost and found is. I go in there. There are two ladies. They are bored to death. I tell them my story. They are like, “We had one turned in. If your password will turn it on, it is yours.” It was mine. I go back to my Uber driver, knowing of his faith because he sees my laptop.
I get back to the hotel. They are doing remodeling. The lobby is on the eleventh floor. I was like, “I got this presentation tomorrow. I got to print 15 copies of a 20-page booklet in full color. Where is the business center?” She tells me, “We don’t have a business center.” At this point, I could have cried. It is 7:00 at night. I’m like, “Where is a FedEx Kinkos? I got to have it.” That is going to cost me $2 a page. It is going to cost me $600 to get it done.
The manager comes out and says, “Can I help you?” I was, “I need to know where FedEx Kinkos is.” He was like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “I got to print 300 pages in full color.” He says, “I will print it for you on the executive printer.” I’m like, “That is nice, but do you understand it is 300 pages, and it is full color?” He was like, “I will take care of it, Mr. Williams.” What a wow experience. If you want to see some world-class hospitality, go to New Orleans. They got it everywhere.
Which hotel was that?
It was the Hyatt downtown, a block or two out of the quarter.
We have a couple of Hyatt.
For those experiences, customers will talk about it forever. They become evangelists. I told the Emirate story. I spoke three times. I told it at one of the events. Somebody came up to me afterward and said, “Do you get paid by the Emirates?” I was like, “No. That wasn’t a commercial. That is a true story. It really happens.” If a company delivers a real wow, they have earned the right for somebody to tell other people about it. Customer service overall is horrible.
If you go to social media companies like Facebook, you can’t get ahold of anyone. I remember one time I was charged an extraordinary amount of money. I’m like, “Is there a number? How do I get in touch with somebody?” Luckily, I had somebody who used to work for me who went to work at Facebook. I could call him directly and he could pick out the problem. I wanted to give a wow story. This is important because you said customer service is terrible. I agree with you 1,000%.
It is even worse since COVID.
Most business owners don’t think about creating wow experiences. It is an unusual concept to them. It is something they have never heard of. Common sense is not common anymore. You can’t go out and create a wow experience without knowing. It is common sense. They are saying, “I will put this in 300 pages. It is good faith. It is trying to do the right thing. My limo driver did. He went out of his way to print those cards.” He paid for them. He never asked to get paid. You have to understand your customers and clients to create those wows.
Dr. Nido Qubein, when he has students come in, the first thing they ask is, “What are your favorite drinks, snacks, books, and hobbies?” There are times when no matter how hard you try, you are going to mess up. Somebody in the organization is going to mess up that wow experience. You got to try to turn out unwow into wow. I’m good friends with him. He says, “If the shower was broken, they couldn’t take a shower, and they had to go to class.” He has a director of wow and a director of unwow. The director of unwow went to the student’s file and said, “They like M&Ms, Doritos, and Pepsi.” He created this huge basket with a note that says, “We are sorry for your inconvenience. Please forgive us. Your shower is fixed.”
The other thing he did, I thought, was fascinating, and the boys will be boys. The boys were speaking women’s stuff. I don’t know what that stuff was, but you can use your imagination. They were stealing their stuff. For one, he looked at it and said, “We will fix it up.” He put a little control or GPS to tell the students when the washer has stopped, they can run there and put them in the dryer. When the dryer stops, they can get their stuff. It buzzes their phone. It says, “You can get your laundry now.” He has a director of wow, interviewing these people upfront. Even his employees said, “What do you like?” The director of unwow said, “There are mistakes made.” I think it is huge.
I want to emphasize the two points you made. One, the business that left their customer unfulfilled came and said, “I’m so sorry.” People will forgive you if you stand up and take the bullets in the chest. We screwed up. I don’t know why. I don’t know how I wish I could undo it. All I can say is I’m sorry. Almost every time, your customer will be like, “It is okay. It is not a big deal.”
Many times, they don’t want to say sorry, Don. They want to argue and say, “Look at this.”
They are gone forever.
What is your customer acquisition cost? Every business owner reading now should be asking themselves, “What is your customer acquisition cost?” It is much less expensive to keep a happy client than they go out there and try to find new clients. We all know that in business. Why do you think customer service is bad? I feel like I’m an expert in this industry. I’m like, “Here is another bad client. You should be doing this.” It drives me crazy. Why do you think people don’t focus on creating wows? How do we fix it? I know you are fixing it one business at a time.
We fixed one business owner at a time. We have a new training app that is coming out in 2023 that we are going to fix it. We are going to help people in a big way. It is the old 20/60/20 rule. If I was running a sales crew of 10 sales reps, I have 2 of them that are champs.
It is the 80/20 rule.
That is the 20/60/20 rule. The 20% are studs and champs. They make it happen. The 20% on the bottom are chumps. They are duds, not studs. They are champs and chumps.
The other one wants a high salary and low commission. The champs want a low salary and higher commissions.
If they are a stud, they want the commission. The 60% in the middle are that. If you look at business across America, I would tell you that probably 20% makes it an important part of their business to deliver a great experience or that wow. Twenty percent flat don’t care.
They wonder why their business is terrible.
The 60% in the middle are in the middle. I can remember a mobile phone company. It was several years ago. I had a dispute with them. I was in the right. They were in the wrong. Look at your phone bills. There are all kinds of stuff like that.
Why is that?
I don’t know, but I don’t want to say. There was a dispute. I was in the right and they were wrong. I was like, “I have been with you a long time. I hate to leave.” The customer service person said, “Would you like me to disconnect your service?”
That is poor leadership.
That is horrible. I won’t name them because I’m over being angry about it. Here is another one. One of my businesses is the call center business. We do outbound, cold call, and business-to-business lead generation. It works for everything. We had a problem. We had no power and no phone service. It was like somebody cut the line. I got people that are handling it. After two days, I’m like, “Who do I get to call? Who do I get to shoot? What are we going to do here?”
I get somebody on the phone. He is telling me it is going to take however long it is going to take. I’m like, “I want to know your name.” He says, “No, I’m not giving you my name.” He is a supervisor. I’m like, “My name is Don Williams. You should write that down.” When I hung up with him, this was the version of AT&T, but at that time, it was Southwestern Bell. Before that, it was AT&T. I call Southwestern Bell’s home office, which is in San Antonio, Texas. I do not call the 800 number. I call a 210 number. I call the local phone line and I get an answer.
Luckily, you found one because a lot of times, you can’t even find local numbers.
Yes, but if you look, you can find one. They answer the phone and I say, “My name is Don Williams. I’m an unhappy customer. I want to speak to Ed Kilpatrick.” He is the CEO of Southwestern Bell. I’m not yelling and screaming, but there is a certain edge and purpose to my voice. She asked me if I hold one second. I do. He does not come in the line. Maryanne comes in the line and she says, “I’m his personal assistant. Would you give me the opportunity to fix whatever the problem is?” I’m like, “Sure.” I tell her the problem.
Ten minutes later, the supervisor, who wouldn’t give me his name, called me to apologize. Three trucks are showing up. It turned out it was something simple. There is a phone service from my building to the central office. It is how the wired phone service works. To keep the signal strong, sometimes in the middle, there is a piece of technology called a repeater. It takes the signal, bumps it up, and passes it on. It was fire-ant infested. That was the ultimate problem. It might have taken them a week to get it. That location is out of business. I got 100 people that are sent home. It is not their, mine, or my client’s fault. I need some good service. If you get bad service, it is important you tell whoever gave it to you, “This is bad service.”
From a business owner’s and entrepreneur’s perspective, is that because the employee doesn’t care and is doing a terrible job, or is it in leadership?
It starts at the top.
Sometimes you can start at the top. If you give all the training and leadership, you get a bad egg.
If you do, you need to replace the egg.
You got to reboil that egg.
Companies, where it is a priority, do a good job.
You said 60% fell at delivering that wow experience, which, to me, is high.
I think 20% are delivering the wow, 20% are anti-wow, and there is 60% in the middle.
What can business owners do? What is your recommendation? What tips do you have for business owners? It is all about retaining clients. Happy clients, happy life. Happy business, happy employees. What are your recommendations or some stats? Do you have some tips that business owners can take?
It is always the big three. Ask for help, learn something new, and act on it. Get somebody. Buy this book, Romancing Your Customer. It is $19.99. Every penny above the publishing cost goes to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
In my first book, Sell Your Business For More Than It’s Worth, a big percentage went to St. Jude’s.
We cover the publishing cost, but what would be our profit? Anything that you are not is not a natural skill for you. If accounting is not a natural skill to grow a big company, you have to have solid accounting practices.
Most entrepreneurs need good accounting. You got to have those checks and balances. You talked about your experience. Hire the experts. Hire people that are smarter than you. Get yourself a good mentor and do your due diligence. There are a lot of people out there who say they are great mentors, but they haven’t had success themselves.
One of the things that help is, in twenty seconds, you can do a little due diligence on every potential partner vendor. All you have to do is go look at their Google reviews and LinkedIn recommendations. They can’t fake it. If you want to know a good restaurant in New Orleans, there are full of good restaurants and the most unbelievable food anywhere, people go to Yelp because you can’t fake it. Six thousand Yelp recommendations, 5,900 of them are phenomenal. A hundred of them are not. A hundred times, people had a bad experience. You can’t fake that. If somebody has got 25 five-star Google reviews, they are doing a good job. If they got 25 one-star Google reviews, I assure you, they are doing a bad job, and people will talk.
I’m on my lots of unwow experiences. I keep saying, “I go put something up.” I will give you an unwow because I haven’t given you a wow. Do I say the name or do I not say a name that is involved?
No. Let’s take the high roads.
In Sarasota, I will say that much, we were having a business meeting after a conference that I was speaking at. I thought I had left my phone up there because I couldn’t find it anywhere. I need my phone. If you lose your phone, it is like losing your arm, hand, body, and mind. I went to the manager at the front desk. She says, “We are sorry. We lock it all up at 11:00.” I said, “Can you get security to unlock it so I can look?” She was like, “No, we don’t do that.” I was like, “Why not?” She was like, “It is our policy.” I said, “It is my phone. I have a daughter. She calls me. I need to have my phone if there is an emergency.” She was like, “We don’t do that.” I said, “Can’t you make an acceptance one time?” She was like, “No, we don’t do that.” She became rude.
She never followed up with me to say, “We will follow up with you in the morning as soon as it is unlocked.” She never did that. Luckily, my client grabbed my phone and put it in her bag. That is a horrible unwow. You can’t make an exception and unlock the door. You got to ask yourself, “Is that a corporate policy or is the employee being difficult?” In that case, it was an employee issue.
That is why I recommend if you get exceptional service, tell somebody. If you get horrible service, tell somebody. Companies can’t get better if you are silently mad or frustrated. I not only want to be romancing my customer. I want to be romanced as a customer. I fly a lot. I fly American most of the time. I’m fortunate that I get to sit in upfront most of the time.
It is funny to me how the flight attendants, male or female, are in first class. They have a certain amount of seniority. They are going through and taking drink or dinner orders. The passenger looks straight ahead, never even looks at them, and acknowledges them as a person, “I will have white wine. I will have the chicken.” When the flight attendant comes to me, I’m always going to turn, look them dead in the eye, and give them the biggest smile I can. They got their name badge, but I’m always going to ask, “What is your name?” They are going to tell me. I’m going to be like, “Hi Sally, my name is Don. I’m thrilled to be here.”
If you do that, here is what you will find for the 2 or 3 hours or however long that flight is, the other passengers will ignore the flight attendant. I gave her ten seconds of attention, but it was ten good seconds. I will get this red carpet, white glove, Rolls-Royce service, and the other passengers will get adequate service. People wonder, “Why did I get good services?” It is a good business to do good. It’s good business to be good.It's good business to do good. It's good business to be good. So if you want great service, it's got to go both ways a thousand percent. Click To Tweet
It has got to go both ways. It has a high four flight attendants. They have many customers treating them terribly. They put up with a lot. That is a great tip.
I couldn’t imagine being a flight attendant. You do three flights a day. They fly from Dallas, Fort Worth, to New Orleans. They fly back to Dallas to New Orleans. There are 300 people on the plane. Every day I work, I see 1,000 people walk on and walk off my silver tube and I’m going to do it for many years, I can’t imagine. There is no way I could do that. If you have empathy for people, you will realize that everybody is fighting a battle somewhere in their life and it costs you a thing to be nice. It will pay big dividends.
What are your three tips to the entrepreneurs, home entrepreneurs, and business owners reading to gain and maintain customer loyalty? Clients are loyal anymore unless you create that wow experience and do what you say you’re going to do, but certainly, underpromise and overdeliver and create that wow experience. What are your three big tips for business owners to be able to maintain client loyalty and clients because there are many businesses losing clients?
There is another big hotel in the city that provides terrible service by the bartender. First, she said, “You all are cut off.” I don’t know why. We had two drinks. She charges for drinks we never have, $70 for one hamburger we ordered. The management team was like, “She is a great employee. Nothing is going to happen to her.” She is ripping us and everybody off. This is great for corporate, management, and entrepreneurs to learn. What are those three massive tips?
Other than hiring Don Williams at Don Williams Global, which is always a good idea. Let me say this. 1) Decide that you are going to deliver experiences on the level of wow. It will not happen accidentally. You have to make a decision, “We are going to do a better job.” You got to be intentional. 2) The glasses, the perspective, and how you see things, you have to quit seeing things from your perspective. You have to see things from the customer’s perspective. It is the only perspective that matters. It doesn’t matter what you think.
It only matters what they think. Steve Jobs knew this well. He told all those brilliant programmers that brought inventions to the world that nobody had ever done. He said, “We start with the user experience, and we work backward to the technology.” Most companies do it the other way around. They start with technology and work with the user experience. 1) Decide you are going to do the wow. 2) See everything from the customer’s point of view. 3) Ask a lot of questions.
Dr. Nido Qubein at High Point University has a program where they ask these students all these questions so they know what a wow is, what to do when there is unwow, and how they satisfy.
You think you know what people think. Here is a funny thing about humans. Humans think they are right almost all the time. The reality is humans, me, are wrong far more often than I’m right but I always think I’m right. The only way I can know if I’m doing it right in my customer experience with you is to ask you, “Did you like that? Is that good? What can I do better?”
That’s why customer service is important.
If you send a 42-question survey, they are not going to do it. I want to know two things based on your experience now. On a scale of 1 to 10, what is it? Would you come back on a scale of 1 to 10?
Will you tell other people to do business with us?
If they have exceptional experiences, they will tell their friends, send referrals, stay longer, and spend more. It is almost nirvana for a company to have great customer service. The big consulting houses, Bain, Deloitte, and McKinsey, will all tell you that if you do one thing in your business, you go from delivering okay experiences to exceptional experiences. It is worth up to 20% upline and growth. If you are a $2 million company, it is worth up to $2.4 million. You didn’t spend any money and didn’t change anything. You started doing things from the customer’s point of view.
Any other last-minute tips before we get into how people can find you?
I got a bunch of tips. Go buy the book. We will send some money to St. Jude.
What book is that you want them to buy?
I want them to buy all. Romancing Your Customer talks about customer experience. The reason I use that title is that I see the customer’s journey. We know about the customer journey. It is like a romantic journey. Marketing is a little bit like dating. When I say I do, it is a little bit like signing a contract with the customer. Move into customer service, which is marriage. I got to take care of the culture. My family, I got to romance them. The hardest person to romance is always yourself. If you are empty, you cannot fill other people.The hardest person to romance is always yourself. But if you're empty, you cannot fill other people. Click To Tweet
For years, psychologists have told mothers, “You got to take care of yourself. You can’t take care care of those kids, your husband, and your family if you don’t take care of yourself.” It is the same thing in a company. If you are ragged out, burned out, and exhausted, you can’t deliver what that wow. Herb Kelleher was the Founder of Southwest Airlines. He said, “The customer is not always right.” They always pay the bill. We got to keep that in perspective, but they’re not always right. We know that.
I think they are. Somebody else’s perception is our reality. Whether they are right or wrong, it is the reality.
Herb said, “I’m going to take care of my employees. My employees are going to take care of my customers.” That is the truth. They have had a little problem here.
It is not an employee issue. It is a computer issue because they didn’t listen to the experts. The customers and the experts kept telling them, “Your systems are wrong. You are going to have to invest money in this and update it.” That is why I call it the 6 Ps. I keep all these balls in a row. You got to make sure you have the right people, products, and services you are offering that are on the way up. It is an Amazon or another Blockbuster that is about to go out of business. You also got to make sure your processes are all buttoned up. You got to make sure you have proprietary access because proprietary is what drives multiple. You got to have patrons and profits. Profit is a lot. You won’t have profits unless you operate on all the other five Ps.
It is a chain. If any link is broken, it doesn’t work.
I want everybody to get in touch with you because you got some great golden nuggets and a tremendous amount of experience helping people build out a loyal client base. Keep building that lifetime client. You are not constantly on the hamster wheel marketing because it is much more expensive to replace a customer than it used to be.
It is expensive. Everybody knows it is much easier to bump the business you do with a current client than it is to go win a new client.
First of all, I want to thank you for being on the show. You dropped a bunch of golden nuggets. How can our readers reach out to you? Give them a ten-second commercial about everything you do and how they can get ahold of you.
My company is Don Williams Global. My website is DonWilliamsGlobal.com. That is the simplest. I got a lot of websites. I help people with one-on-one consulting and group consulting. It is mastermind style. Here is something coming up. If you want to build your authority, write a book. What is the root word of authority? Author. On March 23rd and 24th, 2023, in Dallas, Texas, I’m doing a 3-time Author seminar. You will be an author of three books. Two co-authors with me. One your own book over two days. I guarantee you it will be the most fun you have had all year. That workshop is coming up. We are going to do it with twenty people. You can see about it at DonWilliamsGlobal.com/3x-Author.
In 2 days, you can be a 3-time author. Michelle will tell you, “It is better to be an author than not an author. Better to be a 2-time author than a 1-time author. Better to be a 3-time than a 2.” I’m working on books 5 and 6. Nothing establishes authority like being an author. Less than 1% of the world will ever write a book. It puts you in rare air. The perfect book to write is a book about what you do in your business.
Forget the business card. The business card doesn’t sell anything. The book is your business card. In 2011, I wrote my first book, and it completely changed my business because what I do is a best-kept secret. Sellers are not going out there and saying, “She sold my business.” A lot of times, buyers buy 80% of the business. They still have equity in the company. They are not going to go out there and say, “Michelle sold my business.” Buyers are not going to go out there and say, “I bought this business through Michelle.” They don’t want people to know the company has been sold. A lot of times, it was like, “We formed a partnership.” We were the best-kept secret. We were making a tremendous amount of money for our clients.
We were getting referrals, but nobody knew who we were and what we do. We also have the Road to Exit Rich program, where we help build businesses to sell. The only way to get that message out there or the most effective way was to write a book. It completely increased my visibility. It gave me huge credibility. It was my number one lead generator. I always suggest going to an expert like Don on doing this. I wrote my first book with somebody else, not with someone else. Somebody else gave me guidelines but I ended up doing my own thing. I write my books in six weeks. I have friends. I’m like, “I’m writing my book.” They were like, “Several years ago, you started.” You got to get a timeframe, stick to it, and be disciplined.
I like what you said because unless you are going to write Harry Potter or 50 Shades of Gray, you are not going to make money on a book. You make your money through clients, credibility, and lead gen. That is how you get an ROI, but you got to have a clear objective and path to able to get that ROI. The best way to do it is to work with somebody like Don Williams.
I’m coming up to Dallas. Come see me, 3-time Author, for two days and one big fun time. I guarantee it.
Everybody, go to Dallas, but if you want to go food, come see me in New Orleans. Dallas has good food too. I used to live in Dallas.
I’m there regularly. Next time I’m in town, we will have a liquid refreshment or dinner.
Don, thank you again so much for coming to the show. Most importantly, I would like to thank all my readers and followers. I was consistent with Exit Rich. I did take a hiatus. I know Don was rescheduling a couple of times. My husband passed away on November 11th, 2022, unexpectedly. That is the reason why the show took a hiatus.
I want to thank all of my guests for their patients in us rescheduling and all my readers and followers because we haven’t had a show out since the beginning of November 2022. I want to say that. If you love this episode, which I know you do, Zig Ziglar used to say, “If you are not fired up, your matches are wet.” Go out there and share this content with your friends, coworkers, fellow entrepreneurs, and everybody in your circle of influence. Make sure you subscribe to the show. Tune in next episode. Thank you so much, Don, for the golden nuggets.
- Don Williams Global
- DIY Outbound Contact Center Toolbox
- Romancing Your Customer: How to Attract, Retain, and Win-Back Customers for Unbelievable Loyalty and Profitability
- Build Your Big Legacy
- Gratitude: Stories From Our Hearts
- The ONE Thing
- Sell Your Business For More Than It’s Worth
About Don Williams
Don Williams Global is a company dedicated the changing business around the globe one WOW customer experience at a time.
Don Williams is the CEO of Don Williams Global, in addition to being the a 2-Time #1 Best Selling & #1 Best Selling International Author of the Do It Yourself Contact Center Tool Box (2015) and Romancing your Customer – How to Attract, Retain and Win-Back Customers for Unbelievable Loyalty and Profitability (2017) and the creator of the “WOW, WOW, WOW Experience”.
Don is a serial entrepreneur who started his first business in 1986 with capital totaling $6,000.00. Today Don has founded a dozen companies. Don’s client list includes International and Fortune 500 clients from A to Z. Don’s passion is helping businesses develop and provide such exceptional customer experiences that their market must reward them with dominance.
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