Everyone usually knows what they do to keep their business going. Some even know how they do it, but few people know why they do what they do.
The truth is, most people are too busy “doing” to think about why they are doing it. Many club owners are working too hard for their results and, more importantly, need to concentrate on achieving more with less effort.
Now, club owners are making plans for the busy fall season and are focused on how to improve and grow their businesses. Most of the marketing in our industry is centered on the “what” part of our business. We talk about what a special offer or price should be to attract the most new members, what type of equipment we have or what type of programs we have. In many markets, these items do not differentiate one club from the next.
Club operators faced with competition, price wars and attrition must develop a new long-term strategy. It starts with determining why your company or organization exists and why that should be meaningful to customers and others in your community. Once you clarify this and believe it, the rest of the decisions about what to do, what to sell and how to do it become easier.
Not only will this simple act of focusing on why you operate the way you do make your business run better, but it also can make your employees happier and your customers more loyal. It can even turn your suppliers into partners. The most successful companies in the world understand why they exist, and they share that reason with everyone. This emotional connection, a relationship based on mutual allegiance to a cause, is part of our biology and is rooted in the part of our minds that controls decision making.
As a practical matter, if you understand how people make decisions, you can create alignment and mutual success. Everyone wants to be happy. Everyone wants to feel like they matter. If you start with asking why, everyone will win.
Your club's features may be replicated and commoditized, but no one can copy the kinship and confidence that your customers feel when doing business with you. This is because those feelings come from intangible values and beliefs that only you share with your customers.
To create such a kinship with customers, you must inspire them to act, rather than manipulating them. You can build trust when you target customers who understand and believe in your “why.” So, if getting repeat and word-of-mouth business is important to you, then use inspiration, not manipulation, to get the sale. Also, when you properly articulate your company's why to employees,it makes it easier for the employees tobelieve in what they are selling. When sales reps sound authentic, it builds trust and loyalty with customers.
It has been said that great leaders start with one simple yet critical call to action. By asking the burning question of why, and assuming the why is compelling to enough people, the leader is then responsible for producing desired results. Usually, this is a collaborative effort, requiring much planning.
Great leaders also are great communicators, capable of inspiring others to follow their path with a combination of understandable rhetoric and an unwavering sense of purpose. They are able to achieve superior results by engaging everyone to take the necessary action to help accomplish a shared mission.
Most importantly, leaders have to be competent enough to get things done. All rhetoric and no action leads to failure. If that happens, the inspiration is wasted, leaving the leader's followers to ask themselves why they placed their trust in this person. In the final analysis, great leaders are able to put everything together and do the right thing at the right time.
Some club owners are getting their why message out to their communities. They are inspiring success and a sense of belonging among members. There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or influence. Those who lead inspire us when we understand why. We follow those who lead not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead not for them, but for ourselves. We all want to be part of a group once we understand why.
Eddie Tock is a partner with REX Roundtables, which runs Mastermind roundtables for chief executives. He also is a sales and marketing consultant who has worked with more than 1,000 clubs since 1983. He can be reached at 845-736-0307.