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“Master the contents of Endless Referrals and you will practically GUARANTEE your future success.”

~ Tom Hopkins, Author, Master the Art of Selling

The Small Stuff Worth Sweating

June 12th, 2014 by Bob Burg

Attention To Detail Bob BurgYears ago a little book authored by the late, Dr. Richard Carlson entitled, Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff provided some much-needed wisdom for those of us whose sense of peace of mind and happiness were continually disturbed by life’s little inconveniences.

And, in that context, the phrase itself is certainly valid.

Many are familiar with the term, First-World Problems. Yes, your hotdog bun splitting at the bottom while you’re enjoying a baseball game is indeed “small stuff.” :-) So are most of what we allow to annoy us and sometimes even ruin our day.

However, there is also a time to absolutely sweat the small stuff…because doing so can make a significant difference in your results.

In our Go-Giver book series, John David Mann and I suggest Attention as one of the five “Elements of Value” that serves as a differentiator. While this includes attention to one’s prospective client in terms of listening to what they are saying (and, sometimes, not saying), allowing us to better understand their needs, it covers another area, as well.

Attention to detail means also learning as much as you can about them as individuals. This creates the environment for you to cultivate the “know, like and trust” relationship so often the difference-maker in today’s commodity-based sales environment. In this case, paying attention to the “small stuff” provides you with a distinct advantage over your competitors.

One of my favorite examples of this is business legend (and, self-proclaimed “envelope-salesman”) Harvey Mackay. In Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, his first of seven New York Times bestsellers, the Founder and Chairman of the enormously-successful MackayMitchell Envelope Company introduced us to his now-famous Mackay 66 — a customer profile helping his salespeople to really “know the customer” – the individual who would make the buying decision.

Please understand; Mr. Mackay’s company sold envelopes! If ever a product could be considered a commodity, here it is. After all, there’s only so much possible differentiation in a product like this.

However, there’s lots of possible differentiation in the person selling that product. When you focus your attention on them; on knowing everything you can about what’s important to them, it allows you to effectively communicate your additional value.

And, that’s where sweating the small stuff…make a huge difference!

How do you sweat the small stuff in a way that communicates your value?

10 Responses to “The Small Stuff Worth Sweating”
  1. Doug Wagner said at 3:10 pm on

    Great point Bob. There is indeed a huge difference between not being “worried” about little problems and conscious “dealing” with the little details so that your entire customer experience is superb.

    Knowing what client care about is also very important.

    Start with something. Make it good enough to deliver value that exceeds payment. Then measure and improve until you are the best in the market. The little improvements eventually start compounding over time until you are leaping.

  2. Great Post, awesome, valid, Key points… in giving the client a detailed intake form prior to conversations that will go to establishing the relationship and doing our research, vetting, due diligence, we now have information about our clients, and now when our clients start to talk we ask questions based on our intake to get more information and sit back and LISTEN, take further notes and then we then can tell our client how we plan on solving their problem with their collaboration by doing this with our team in providing the….and map out whatever the plan is.

  3. Bob Burg said at 3:25 pm on

    Doug: Love that first paragraph. Summarized the post perfectly! Thank you for sharing that!

  4. Bob Burg said at 3:26 pm on

    Carly: Thank you. It all works together, doesn’t it? Thank you for sharing with us!

  5. Matt said at 8:13 am on

    Great post Bob!

  6. Bob Burg said at 8:26 am on

    Matt: Thank you. Very appreciated!

  7. Bob- I think I’ve read almost all the books you’ve mentioned including those written by Harvey Mackay. None had anything to do with my occupation but all had EVERYTHING to do with my success. As you say, it’s the little things that matter and make the biggest difference over time. Thanks for the reminder. Sharing this post with my team!

  8. Bob Burg said at 12:18 pm on

    Mitch: Thank you for your feedback. I love how you put that: “None had anything to do with my occupation but all had EVERYTHING to do with my success.” (Hmm, a future MJ block post?) :-). Of course, in your primary business as an attorney, the little things are – by their very nature – often that which make the difference in the verdict. Thank you again for sharing your wisdom with us!

  9. Debbie Dickerson said at 12:44 pm on

    Super blog! Most companies focus on their clients obvious big needs, but it is your attention to their small ones that will make them repeat clients! These needs are the ones the client thinks about when your competitors come in with a lower bid!

  10. Bob Burg said at 1:05 pm on

    Debbie: Thank you for your feedback, and for sharing such profound wisdom with us. You make a GREAT point!

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