How do we actually turn your team into heroes? Heroes that are serving and giving their best, creating a better business, a better company – how do we do that? How do we create raving fans? We’re talking about the fans – the customers or clients knocking on your door wanting to work with you, and nobody else they’ve heard how great you are. The customers referring you, bringing you other people, and giving you recommendations. How do we create that so they keep coming back?
Listen to find out, and read the transcript below!
Hello and welcome to the business success show with me Mac Attram and as you know, at the business success show we like to give entrepreneurs small business owners like yourself hints, tips, insights, inspiration so you can run a better business and also have enjoy life which is very important and today I have the absolute pleasure to introduce Patti Mara and I let me tell you a little bit about Patti Mara, she’s an author, she’s the author of up solutions. Isn’t today’s turning your team into heroes and your customers into raving fans? Now when I read that about oh my goodness, I’ve got to speak to Patti, we need to get paid to be on the show.
So as we turn, actually turn your team into heroes, heroes, that they are serving and giving their best and you have a better business, a better company, how do we do that? And how do we get create raving fans? I’m talking about the fans. I’m talking about the customers or clients knocking on your door wanting to work with you, nobody else calling you because they’ve heard how great you are referring you bringing you other people giving you recommendations. How do we create that so they keep coming back? Time and time and time again. So without further ado, Patti Mara Patti, Welcome to the Business Success Show. Welcome.
Thank you, Mac. It’s a pleasure to be here. Absolutely. And I’m really excited to have this conversation here with you.
So can you tell us a little bit about your background in business and what you’ve been up to and what led you to publish the book UpSolutions.
Thank you. The book the book was definitely a 10 year labor of love.
And the some of what I’ve been doing with business owners, you know, there’s a pretty steady track. So my so my background. I’ve been a business coach for years. And I particularly work with brick and mortar businesses. So I think they’re the cornerstones of communities. I think they’re the businesses that all bring us out of this, you know, global crisis we’ve been in for two years. And you know, it just it just it’s, I can’t say that I necessarily, you know, graduated from university and this was the track, but it’s everything I did. I was pulled into doing retail training, and then evolved into first of all customer service and then customer experience.
Part of doing that is I find that most businesses are playing the wrong game of business. You know, they think what they sell their products or services is their business. My argument is that your business is actually the value you create with your customers, the outcomes you create solutions you provide. And your products and services are just the vehicle to deliver them.
So I launched a program called the profit generator in 2007. That was my first online program that was turning your customer experience into profit, and worked with over 200 different businesses. And that actually led me into working I spent 11 years pretty intensely working with pharmacy owners, independent pharmacies, especially in the States, because they’re so heavy there. It’s literally an unfair marketplace. And so if they think their businesses dispensing medication, they’re out of business.
If they think their business is being the Health Hub, whatever their focal point is, whoever their best customers are, you know, being the health hub for that those customers that link in the health care team that’s most accessible, and that’s how they’re building your business. You know, they’re very successful.
So that’s, that’s kind of what led me to to write the book both, you know, the profit generator and then working with pharmacy owners, but you know, putting all of that together is what went into UpSolutions.
Wow. So thank you for that. Hey, by the way, Patti’s coming in from Georgetown, Ontario, which is near Toronto, I must tell you that we should run to people asked me that quite quite a bit. Right.
Absolutely, you know, it’s funny, because you’ll find I use words, you know, uniquely in that a lot of the people that I work with have been in the state so sometimes I sound like I’m American, and sometimes I sound like I’m Canadian. We know everyone knows is Canadian, so that’s fantastic.
So how did you end up specializing, I presume you work with a lot of pharmacists, and I’ve read lots of testimonials from pharmacists saying how you’ve helped them which is great. But why, the other you said it, which was that if they think their business is just dispensing medicine, they’re missing a big chunk of make a lot of money on the table but they believe it’s our health how the health center where people can actually cure themselves and they get better then great, but why pharmacy is this the same principle apply to other bricks and mortar business or retail outlets?
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And I would say you know, the pressure that pharmacies were under in the late you know, 2008 2009 Is everyone is under now. It was just you know why pharmacy somebody heard me speak at a conference launching the profit generator said you need to come work with my audience. I ended up speaking at this conference the next couple years. I did profit generator program specifically for pharmacy owners. So that that was kind of the why and they were dealing with an incredible pressure on their business. So, you know, pharmacy, the backend.
We’re all dealing with commoditization, we’re all dealing with a global marketplace where most brick and mortar businesses were designed for local marketplace. But the reality is, even if you’re doing a good job reaching your local marketplace, you have to have a global focus because they’re looking on the internet before they decide to come and do business with you.
So but with pharmacy, especially in the States, it’s you know, candidates different, although they have challenges, but in the States, there’s some back end stuff that should be illegal in my opinion should be illegal, but they have to submit their patient data to their competitor. Right to Yeah, they’re called pharmacy benefit managers that are owned by insurance companies that are owned by the chains.
Oh, so so there’s some back end stuff and and so in US pharmacy owners have been dealing with just to stay afloat.
They’ve had to make significant changes and they kind of lead ahead of what businesses are dealing with today, you know, by five to 10 years.
Okay, well done. Obviously you’re teaching them and showing them and training them coaching them the better way to operate, which is great. So tell us something, UpSolutions, someone reading that. What’s the essence of what they get from your book of solutions?
So I’m going to say there’s two key pieces. One is to think differently about your business, to recognize that your business needs to be customer centric, in that you need to know who your customers are, what’s important to them. How do they want to consume what you do and what solutions do you provide? So the pivotal piece is really thinking about your business from a different perspective. And, you know, the challenge in that is that we kind of take for granted the value we bring in the value of why people want to do business with you.
Right so it’s easier to talk about a business, the product or services. So that’s the key piece is really to hold up a different framework to look at. If you have a business and you have customers you’re delivering value. Why did they choose you? And then how do you communicate that but the other piece in the book is engaging frontline team members. So I’ve got the UpSolution recipe. When you’ve gone through you know thinking business differently and customer who your best customers are customer communication, hearing the message not just the words really my best, you know, most important market research that we miss. And then there’s the UpSolution recipe, which is very simple applied observation based on experience. probing questions asking questions that guide someone through what information they need to consider to make an effective decision.
And then offering the solution the UpSolution. What’s the best solution for their needs based on what they said and why recommendation and then relationship development shifting from transactions to relationship. This is a one time so what else? Like how do you stay in communication? What does this person need that that would be a value for them and how do you stay in communication? So and then the rest of the book is all setting your team up to win that turning your team into heroes.
Everyone wants to feel like they’re winning. We show up every day. And we want to feel like we’re winning. So do you have the structure of it’s not complicated, but you have to have structure in your business, or else your teams spend most of their time guessing, which we don’t want. We don’t want it to mean they hits productivity hits and the other pieces if you haven’t set them up if if you’re not clear what your business is, your team are focused on the task they are order takers, but they should be solution providers – they are your brand ambassadors.
And so the importance of setting up your team to win so they know how to be that role. And then you know what I’ve seen in companies I’ve worked with Team retention is dramatically higher because they love working for a purposeful organization. And they know how to win and have where they fit in that organization. But you also see a dramatic increase in revenue per customer lifetime value of a customer new new referrals.
Because you’re really positioned as a solution provider, and it’s thinking different. Are you a product provider? Are you a problem solver? And it’s a pivotal shift in thinking.
Yes, what you’re saying makes absolute sense. And for those people listening in thinking, I’m still a bit confused. Because I’m an entrepreneur, I just I open up my outlet. I just want to sell these things that has Patti talking about up solutions and provide me becoming a problem solver and give them what they really need and what they just come in have clearly that’s what they need.
Then, are you saying sometimes that customer really doesn’t know? And you we we as entrepreneurs, our teams have to be able to ask the right questions, probe of a bit deeper and actually come up with a solution. that meets their needs rather than letting them try to find it themselves.
I always say that is exactly right. So it’s the rule of thumb is your customers don’t even know the questions to ask to make an effective buying decision.
Now I’m consciously aware of this. So when I go to buy something that I have no idea if I want to replace my furnace, or I want to buy my first big screen TV or whatever it is. I’m at least aware that I don’t know what I need to know. So my methodology is, you know, for replacing my furnace, I’d have three different companies come in, and I find when they come in and pitch me I’m finding out what information I make an effective decision.
Right, you know, but most people aren’t aware of that and most people don’t want to go through that.
The companies I am loyal to, they are my go to. I’ve given them a monopoly. They have my money and my attention because they so completely take care of my needs. I don’t shop around.
Yeah, so but those are the companies that are paying attention to not just what they sell, but how do they make my life easier? How do they make my life better? How does it whatever it is? One of my favorite examples is a local pet food store. It’s called Farm to Paw pet food boutique and it’s high end right they do raw food and only healthy kibble or dehydrated and but it’s a fun store too. There’s great toys and treats and pick bring your dogs in and you know all of that stuff. And it’s fun and they’ve done a great branding, but it’s not you know, you have to go beyond the brand into the experience. And so you know, the owner is a canine nutritionist they’re really there to help people with their pets. Right, you know, so that’s their audience isn’t everyone who owns a cat or a dog. It’s people that are passionate that their animals are part of the family and you want the best, best health outcomes for their family. Well, they’ve got this you know, raving fan community. Yeah. And that’s a different operation altogether to the standard Pet Shop.
Right Patti, thanks for that. Thanks for the insights there. How do you convince if that’s the right word a reluctant entrepreneur, who just doesn’t get it initially? And maybe afterwards they get it but I’m sure you’ve been through experience where you pitch them or pitch slides or going through and they just can’t see it. How do you convince them? I don’t think that’s the right word to change their mind as to hey, let’s test this. Let’s see what Patti says actually works here.
So, a couple things. One of the things first of all the company that I actually work with already have great teams because the owner values and appreciates and invest in their teams.
I really only work with companies with great teams, because they’re the ones that hire me to come in to work with their teams. Great. It’s a it’s a funny piece. So you know, I’ve had people say to me, Oh, you really need to go work with this company. They’re not interested because they don’t see the value of their team and they’re not paying attention to the cost of not seeing the value of their team.
So whether you like it or no don’t like it, if you have frontline team members in your business, they are your brand ambassadors. So the question is what’s the brand their ambassador to right? Is it what you want? Or not? Right. So I would come back to I would ask the question around team retention. First to start off with and then I would say, you know, because my you know, my argument is your frontline team are the most important profit driver in your business. So how much money are you leaving on the table by not setting your team up to win since they’re the ones that are interacting with your clients or customers?
Right, right, right, right. Wow. Okay, good. So you start from the team, the effectiveness of the team, and are you setting them up to win? Okay, great. So, Patti, we’re talking about raving fans.
How does a company create raving fans we all want raving fans we want repeat business? We want those people who are shouting over the roof about how great we are as a business. We want them to be telling their friends and family. We want them to keep coming back and buy from us and loyal to us. How do you create that?
Fabulous, well, my argument would be you start with your team. First of all, I’d say you start with understanding what your business is. Right so that you know how you stand apart and everything’s consistent with that. The next piece is you set up your team to win so they understand the value that how are they a problem solver. You know, most team members don’t want to sell, most people, even salespeople, you know, they don’t really want to sell right so. So if instead you set your team up to be your job is to be a problem solver and you’re the expert compared to your customers, anyone who’s worked in a company for three months or more are the expert credit customers for so. So your job is really just to find out what people need and help them make a great decision. That’s your job. I mean, that’s an empowering, right, right. So the moment you do that in the moment you turn your team and the problem solvers, the heroes to your customers. This is where you create raving fans.
I’m a raving fan for that farm to Farm to Paw, so I tell everyone but I mean that’s 25 minute drive for me to go to their store and yet all my neighbors drive there, that’s a raving fan.
Yeah, absolutely. So it you know, they haven’t done anything different to me other than I feel like they’re the best. You know, out there and I love shopping in the store and I feel like I get great you know, great food and great advice with my animals. So so that’s a really good I would say the only caveat I would add to that. And this is part of my piece when you said your team when is your team also need to know how to deal with when something goes wrong.
The customer has a complaint or they’re not happy with something or did something didn’t go as expected. They need to know how to deal with that. An interesting statistic I’ve come up against is that most raving fans for a company are not that everything went well, but instead something went wrong and how the team handle that turn them into a raving fan. So recognize and most companies do a horrible job and literally if you want a market differentiator have your team understand how to deal with conflict or challenge or complaints because if they do it well completely change your game, because most companies do such a horrible job.
Oh, well. Good point. Very good point. Thanks Patti. Patti, one of the things I’ll read you say is future forward your business.
What do you mean by that future forward your business as well?
We’re in a unique period of time, right? We’ve had two years of a global crisis and as challenging and upside down as it’s been, it’s also a huge opportunity. So, crisis interrupts all patterns.
One of the things as challenging as it’s been, it’s caused businesses to relook at structure, standard operating practices, you know, how they organize their business all needs to be reviewed, even how you interact with your customers. So I have to tell you, how customers want to consume and buy from companies has completely changed. We want everything to come to our house, even if it’s a local business.
So local, I deal with a lot of locally owned brick and mortar businesses. They unique every business has to be a hybrid business right now. Every business so I read an article early and in like 2020 sometime 2020 that Shopify has been one of the big like zoom has been one of the big you know, companies have taken over during the crisis. And Shopify is another one Shopify specifically is geared to helping brick and mortar businesses add an online store, right simplifying that because it was quite complicated.
So I read an article with the president of Shopify that the impact of the pandemic was to forward their business plan by 10 years. Their market reach by 10 years.
Yes. So when I talk about future forward I think we need to be looking at where do we see our business in five years and 10 years and use that really clear vision of what are we doing? What are we known for, you know, how are we operating? Who are we working with? And and use that then to say, How does our How does, how does our business need to be structured today? What does my team need to look like today?
That’s going to move that to a future focus, future forward for your business. And part of the impact of crisis interrupts all patterns is that every business needs to look at how do I need to use emerging technology create a better experience, to reach my customers, to simplify the back end, to streamline and, and you reduce overhead, whatever that is, and literally question everything with the future focus of your business.
Well, and you help business owners and their teams actually implement these things as well. Right?
Absolutely. I have a business accelerator blueprint program, which is for business owners and the UpSolution team engagement training. The team engagement training came, it was kind of an accidental piece because whenever I work with a business owner, you have to you know, have to work with the team, or the owner, you know, gives us clarity on the direction of focus on their business and how they create value. The team have to understand how to deliver that, create an aligned experience or your back to transactions, right? So what what really has taken office is team engagement training.
Because the moment your team is aware of the importance of their role and how they do it and that they’re brand ambassadors and shifted the focus from task to result and shift from you know, understanding the difference between it’s not your fault, but it may still be your problem. Being able to look at the business from the customer’s perspective, pay attention to the experience that they’re delivering, and really be positioned as the brand ambassadors is when you’ve set them up to win.
You know what I love about this conversation we’re having right now is this that if you have a bricks and mortar business, and you think I’m selling products, I sell this product, people come and buy this product, you are going to get left behind. What I’m hearing Patti say is that you’ve got to get your team to realize that they are problem solvers. So people come in into the retail store or whatever it is, the shop, for me to get into conversation. Get engaged with the clients, customers, listen to what they’re saying. And actually give them what they want and need because they may not know and it starts from the top and it proliferates itself right away through the whole team. And we create a culture where it reaches the customers and they can not wait to come back to be served by you. So you may be selling a product, but actually, you need to now provide a service to the client. I love that. I mean, that’s a great way of looking at it.
You could also say services need to be turned into a product.
Right. Yeah, so tell me about that.
One of the clients I work with has a carpet cleaning and restoration business. And they are I like to say what I realization I hit at the end of last year is who I tend to work with like one on one as a coach, or with my programs or Small Giants. They’re companies that become the go to, they’re the standard in their community. So that’s true of this, this carpet cleaning and restoration business. And so they’re they’re selling a service but really that service can be commoditized they need to turn that into a product what people are buying our healthy, healthier homes, maintaining the value in the home, we you know, what are the outcomes that they’re providing the fact that they you know, they’re more expensive but they all have their technicians are actually specialists. They’ve all been through trainings, textile training, delivery, they do things then you go above and beyond to take care of the homeowner and the home and how they take care of the home while they’re doing their service. And you know, it’s it’s a complete, but if they just say that they’re a carpet cleaner, they’re gonna you know, compared to renting a machine in the grocery store.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I get it. That’s fantastic. I would love that conversation. Now. For those people who are interested in learning more or contacting you. What’s the best way for them to reach out to you?
Thanks. Mac, I would say my website, which is Patti mara.com. which has all the links if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, please do and, but we’ve created a special podcast resource page for your listeners. And there’s a link there to more information about the book and where you can buy pretty much any online book seller you can buy the book, and also something tool that I created called the touchpoint scorecard. And this is an interesting tool because what it does is it really allows you to think through your business from your customers perspective and simple things each time. Are you creating an experience that’s allowed aligned with the value of your business? For example, one of my favorite things to talk about is a receipt.
Okay, when you buy something you leave with a receipt. Yeah, does that receipt, reinforce the value you just got.
You know, there’s information that has to be on but it’s the last thing people leave with. It should reinforce what’s unique about you.
Oh, absolutely. I love that. Yeah.
So it’s a great it’s a really good tool to use with your team because your team again, if the frontline team members, they will bring a unique perspective because they’re having conversations day to day with customers.
The link is pattimara.com/businesssuccessshow.
Okay, so you’ve heard it from Patti, pattimara.com/businesssuccessshow, get all the resources and get it to make a difference to you, your team and what you do. Reach out to Patti, Patti, before we finish up any last words anything you want to add, before we wrap up here.
Thank you, but first, first of all, I want to say thank you. It was this was a great conversation. I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly. So thank you for having me on the business success, success show. I think for everyone, we are in a unique period of time. And I think we’ve been dealing with a lot of challenge on so many levels, you know, emotionally, socially, health wise business. I mean, we’ve been dealing with a lot of challenge and because of the crisis, we’re in a unique period of time. This is both probably the best time in history to start a business. And it is the best time in history to position your business for success by understanding your marketplace and what they need.
Well, there you go. There’s nothing else I need to say. So in a crisis, there is major opportunities, some great time to take advantage of that opportunity and get ready for the next level. So Patti, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your time, your energy and your insights and your wisdom. And bring in all these tips and strategies to us. Reach out to Patti and let her help you, Patti, thank you until we meet again. Thank you. Thank you, and thank you again.