HOW do you attract new customers? And once you have them, how do you keep them?
Sam Geist has written a book about it: "Why Should Someone Do Business With You ... Rather Than Someone Else?" Published by Addington & Wentworth Inc, it was his first book, and it reached No. 1 on The Financial Post's Best-Selling Business Book list.
For his general session on Friday, March 2, from 10 to 11:45 am, he has truncated the title (to "Why Should Someone Do Business With You?") and undoubtedly the amount of material he'll cover.
But the message remains the same.
"As a speaker and facilitator, my role is to motivate, to stimulate, to challenge, to ask questions, to search for answers," he says. "I always ask, `Why should someone do business with you ... rather than someone else?' It's the toughest question I know - one that every organization must ask every day, and must answer honestly.
"In today's highly competitive business environment, monologuing about our quality, our service, our operations, and our staff is out. We must ask and answer what it is about our quality, service, operations, and staff that makes us different, makes us special, makes us better, makes someone want to do business with us, rather than someone else. Questions inspire thought. Answers motivate action. And doing it, rather than just talking about it, is what it's all about."
He says that answering this tough question requires an observant eye, an innovative mind, and a lot of accurate information.
His fast-paced program will begin with the vital information/acquisition process. Facts will be presented, questions asked, specific "action" techniques and strategies outlined, and clear, relevant examples discussed.
Participants will be encouraged to search for new perspectives, discover new possibilities, and find new answers - the primary objective being to maximize their resources.
By the end of the program, the must-deal-with areas of business life will have been effectively discussed - the effects of marketplace trends, developing memorable marketing strategies, providing advantageous service, maximizing staff productivity, and demonstrating effective leadership.
He will show participants how to identify trends, maximize their possibilities, and minimize their risks; develop strategies and techniques to increase customers' awareness; utilize specific techniques to turn staff into ambassadors, not assassins; and build effective communication avenues between staff and management, and customers and suppliers.
"It all comes down to realizing that business, like life, is acted on or reacted to," he says. "Which you do depends on what you do."
He believes that his strategies will ensure that exceptional service is rendered in the territory that really counts: "the three feet between you and your customer." Geist will show how to take advantage of the fact that "service" is really your only profit center. It occupies no shelf space, needs no inventory, and is never stale-dated.
He says that since the bottom line in every business is profitability, you must capitalize on the ramifications of this equation: front line = bottom line.
"The purpose of every business, large and small, is to get and keep customers," he says. "To do it well. To do it every day. It is the ongoing responsibility of everyone in the organization to ask the question and to search out the answers ... and to ensure those answers are clearly evident to their customers. Every business must do this to create customer loyalty and to ensure their own business longevity. After all, a business without customers ... isn't."
For 13 years, Geist - a former owner/operator of a national sporting goods chain and now president of Geist & Associates Inc in Markham, Ontario - has distinguished himself as a professional speaker, consultant, and facilitator to a diverse group of organizations across North and South America.
His recent audiences include IBM Corporation, Canon, 3M, RE/Max Corporation, Microsoft, American Express, McDonald's Corporation, Toys R Us, National Sporting Goods Association, General Motors, Subway World Franchise Systems, and Choice Hotels.