Listen to Your Customers
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”– Bill Gates
After WWII, a talented Italian Air Force mechanic named Ferruccio launched a tractor company. His company took off in the post-war boom. A gearhead at heart, he took some of his profits and started collecting cars. His favorite was a Ferrari 250 GT. But Ferruccio knew the car wasn’t perfect. Some of the parts were substandard, especially the clutch.
One day he approached Ferrari’s founder, Enzo Ferrari, with a proposal. Ferruccio shared how he could make the clutch on the 250 GT better. Enzo’s retort has become infamous. High on his reputation as the premier sports car manufacturer in the world, he dismissed Ferruccio, “Let me make cars, you stick to making tractors.”
Furious, Ferruccio launched a sports car company bearing his now iconic last name—Lamborghini. Because Enzo Ferrari couldn’t listen to a devoted customer, he birthed his biggest rival.
Maybe he believed Henry Ford’s famous adage, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Although this quote is often cited as a justification for (pardon the pun) keeping our blinders on, there is no evidence Ford ever uttered those words. Ford knew real innovation required going back to the drawing board. He did actually say: “Be ready to revise any system, scrap any method, abandon any theory, if the success of the job requires it.”
Great entrepreneurs balance their personal vision with customer feedback. It takes humility and accountability to see critical feedback as an opportunity to innovate. In fact, the most gut-punching feedback tends to hold the most truth.
TwentyPercenters who get the most listing and buyer leads build their offers on MOFIRs. They listen to their clients, identify a program to solve it, and then market that solution as widely as possible. Keller Williams got a few raised eyebrows when we partnered with Greg Hague’s 72SOLD. Yet, that MOFIR generated more than 23,000 listing leads in January alone! For years, we’ve highlighted Mike Hicks’ “The Promise” program that drives his 5-star service and endless client referrals. Both Greg and Mike identified common customer needs, solved them, and turned them into programs that deliver predictable customer outcomes. They also generate abundant leads. Packaging services into branded programs amplifies their appeal.
Don’t make the mistake of solely marketing your professionalism and personal service. Sarah Reynolds, who has also built an enormous business with MOFIRs, recently pointed out that professionalism and personal service are our clients’ “expectations” not our “ value proposition.” Our clients expect professional service, and they crave predictable results. Give them both.
When we’ve interviewed agents who build powerful MOFIRs, there is a common first step–listening to clients. When we can identify a pattern of common frustrations, we have the opportunity to build and market a program that solves it.
Enzo Ferrari’s mistake was not hearing legit feedback from a devoted customer. What Lamborghini needed was more than a prancing horse on the hood. He wanted every component of his beloved 250 GT to be made with precision and excellence. I’ll bet that lots of Ferrari owners had a similar frustration. Had Enzo been able to hear Ferruccio, maybe we’d see farmers sporting Lamborghini hats instead of John Deere.
One question to ponder in your thinking time: How can I embrace critical feedback as an opportunity to innovate?
Make an Impact!