When I was growing up — just before the Designated Hitter became a part of American League play — we used to say that the best American League teams could bunt…and all the National League teams could. Not surprisingly, at that time, the National League was also known as the better league.
For those not into baseball, or sports at all, please forgive the example. Though I must explain something very quickly; a bunt is a “small” move and not often used (perhaps once or twice a game). Yet, the team that can bunt is at a distinct advantage.
The point: little things so often make a big difference and help obtain big results. It’s the difference between the hotel employee responding to a “thank you” by saying, “no problem” while his counterpart at the Ritz Carlton says, “my pleasure.” And there’s an even bigger difference between the high schooler working part-time using the first or second response!
If you have a retail establishment is the floor kept clean? Or, is it kept so spotless that one could eat off it if one so desired? (Assuming one would ever so desire which, hopefully one wouldn’t!)
Harvey Mackay’s Famous “Mackay 66” — mentioned in his books, including his newest one, is perhaps the ultimate tool for learning everything you can about your customers. In our recent interview, he again stressed how important going the distance is in terms of details.
If you plan a client event, do you simply show them a nice time, or do you research every individual client’s desires to the point that the entire event is one value-based surprise of delight after another. My friend, Lou Imbriano, provides a glimpse of how-to in this post and goes into detail in his newest book, Winning The Customer.
Yes, you’ll get by, and can even do well, doing everything correctly. But, if you really, really want to separate yourself from the pack and achieve stratospheric success, then pay attention to detail; every detail, and communicate that through your actions.
Is this something you are able to do in your business? And, if so, how?
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Yes! Love the baseball analogy – small moves can makes a really big difference. Your post reminds us that we can manage the customer experience in remarkable ways by paying attention to the details. Looking forward to reading Lou’s book! Thank you Bob! You’ve hit the ball out of the park again. So enjoy your blog.
I love the baseball analogy. I love the idea of “Base kicking” when a player slightly edges the base closer to 2nd by kicking at it ,while standing on it..Every little bit counts. It’s all about those tiny slices of moving forward…..:0)
Hi Dondi. Your son, Tabor, being a former standout pitcher who is now a successful businessman and coaching younger players, it makes a lot of sense that the baseball analogy would hit home. Thank you.
And, of course, Patricia Rossi has a cat named “Bernie Williams” (former Yankee great outfielder) so we know she’d relate to it, as well. LOL. Seriously, great commentary and examples from you both. Thank you so much. And, as they say about baseball…it’s a “game of inches” so we know that – literally – the little things mean a lot!
Love this post and the bunting analogy is spot on! Someone (perhaps it was YOU?!) once said “Little things don’t make a big difference, little things make ALL the difference.” It was you, wasn’t it?
I use this in my business when I check in with my client a few days after our weekly call. Although they know they can always contact me before our next session, I think they really appreciate an email or a text or a quick phone call to see how they’re doing. It’s a “little thing”, but it makes a big, I mean all the difference.
As always, a post of universal applicability, and as it happens most pertinent to my current absorbtion in work – a particular passage in a Chopin Etude that has eluded me over a long life of work – finally I decide to “get down to it” – it is the pianistic equivalent of a blunt (good job of explaining that to those of us who are not “into” sports!)-
What I am working with in the Chopin is indeed a “small”move – passing by in nano seconds – but it is a move which will win the game.
I am planning to display my move on the final Friday of January live on TV as I guest on “OklahomaLive” – We’ll see/hear at that small moment whether I have the blunt down pat!
Lots of work to do on that teensy detail!
and an important p.s.
Thank you for keeping your blogposts brief. In #TodaysWorld LOL that is important!
First let me say that I am honored to be included in this post, especially with Harvey McKay, like you he is the real deal. Thank you.
It will be no surprise that I love sports references in general, but you have hit it out of the park with the bunt analogy. Quite often in on the diamond, gridiron or court the game is won because of one play that changes the outlook and momentum of the game. In business and in life the same principle is true. If you pay attention to the needs of your relationships; one slight gesture, one memorable moment or one precise action can solidify the relationship for the long haul. These small but powerful actions are game changers, just like an properly executed bunt at the approriate time in baseball.
Bob, thank you for your wisdom and always leading the way.
My very best,
Hi Linda, I love that saying but, no…t’was not I. Actually, I’m sure I’ve said it, but I didn’t say it first. 🙂 And, your example is an excellent one. Just one reason you are such a terrific coach!
Wayne, thank you for your excellent example of how it applies to a world far outside my knowledge base. I think YOUR explanation was excellent. And, best of great success to you on your upcoming television appearance on “OklahomaLive”…I have a feeling you’ll have the “bunt” down pat! (Please make sure and send us a link to your performance)
WOW! Reading these comments and replies. You have gathered an amazing group of commentors again. Such a fabuous crowd gathers here. Love dropping by.
Lou, thank you so much for stopping by. And, thank you for your excellent example we could link to. Of course, as you know, your book is a favorite of mine, and it has some of the best business-building advice I’ve ever read. Actually, you, Harvey, Patricia and Dondi have all authored some of my favorite books that I recommend often. I love your commentary above in that so often it is that one play – executed correctly – that totally changes the momentum and leads to victory. How often it is that we see that. And you know that it isn’t luck…it’s by design and after a LOT of practice. Thanks again, Lou!
Dondi, it’s amazing, isn’t it? I’m so blessed. And thank YOU for always being such a positive addition…both to my blog posts and, especially to my life!
Following you is the BEST way to stretch our mind, learn new points of view and discover new talents & mentors!
As Harvey says: “Little things don’t mean a lot. They mean everything!”.
Simple details like remembering a person’s name after you met them or really reaching out and take the time and effort to explain, for example, the Go-Giver concept to a newbie like me… It can be a little thing to you, but it meant everything to me.
Thank you Bob!
Bruno, and you saying that means everything to me! Thank you, my friend!
Since I am a big baseball fan, I loved your analogy to bunting. It got me thinking though. There are a lot of other places that use the same line of thought. I particularity like NYC’s broken window theory. Fix the broken windows, graffiti, etc and it will lower crime overall. The little stuff does matter.
Great point, Mike. Absolutely! Thank you for sharing with us.
As always, love your post and perspective! This concept has been, for me, a cornerstone of all your teachings – and due to that, it has become a cornerstone of what I work to bring to all my life interactions – business, personal and everything in between! I recently was given one of the greatest gifts of my life – one of my musical mentors pulled me on stage, while i was in New Orleans last week, to play with him and a few other legends who have absolutely changed my life ( think of hopping on the field to play some ball with some of baseball’s living legends and you’ll get the idea :)) And all of this transpired because of the little details and gestures I engaged in towards him and his wife in the preceeing months – which were all simple tokens of appreciation/transparency/love for all he has given me and the musical world. But these moments/gestures/tokens created such a bond between us that he wanted to share something as precious with me. And what a gift it was! Anyway, it just reinforced for me how all these little “bunts”, that are so easy to let slide by, but if instead you always go the little extra, always add value, always look for ways to connect and show love/appreciation, you might just find yourself grinning from ear to ear like I was a few nights ago, basking in the beauty of this thing called life. 🙂
Thanks for being a major part of why that night happened!
Sean, that is awesome. Thank you for sharing that with us. And, congratulations; sounds like it was an extremely special event for you. By the way, you painted an excellent picture for me by relating it to being asked to join a bunch of legendary baseball payers on the field to play. I totally got it! 🙂 Again, thank you. And, your comments above would make an excellent blog post in and of itself. I hope you’ll post it as a blog so that many others can benefit from your experience.
Wow Bob, great article! There must have been something in the air last week as my restoration and mitigation blog, Any Major Dude Will Tell You (link below), also had the subject of the importance of “small” ideas you can implement that will greatly impress a customer. Why these simple yet important things are overlooked is a mystery.
Bob! Thanks so much for the kind words! One of these days I might just get into some of this blogging action. 🙂
Also, looking at my schedule…would love to go to The Go-Giver retreat! I’m gonna see what kind of magic I can pull off schedule wise.
Have a great day!
Awesome, Sean; both regarding your blog and the retreat. I hope it works out for you to attend. If so, we’ll look forward to seeing you there!
Great post Bob! I use to have to work hard at remembering to use the details I knew about people. I knew great things about them but I would forget to incorporate it into making their experiences more valuable. And it isn’t because I didn’t care, I would just simply forget or just wouldn’t think about it for some reason. Since having been coached by you over the past year I have gotten much better at remembering the little things and I can see the changes in my relationships with my clients. The little things make all the difference 🙂
Another thought provoking blog…thank you!
The small gestures do speak loudly. Years ago we were taught to always wipe our feet 3 times before entering a home on a service or sales call. And once inside either remove our shoes or put on booties over our boots/shoes. That overt gesture of respect – whether commented on or not by the customer/prospect – always set the table for a positive experience.
20 years later, I still teach that to my sales and service people.
Christie, thank you. What a great compliment to know that some of my thoughts have made a difference. On the other hand, knowing you as I do, it’s difficult to think of you as ever having not given full attention to something like that. You are so good at it!
Rich, very cool. That’s an excellent way to communicate respect. I love it!
As always, a vivid picture to illustrate your point @BobBurg. The analogy is fitting, and if only business owners (of all types) would consider its value. It is my three P’s to growth. There is Power in paying close attention to the little details because it means you listen well. There is Profit in fine-tuning your attention to the details for every client and customer. And there is Possibility for future referrals in tying it all together.
Thank you for the reminder.
Thank you, Tammy. And I love your three P’s to growth. Makes perfect sense!