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Chris LoCurto


March 31, 2011

I’m Sorry, Do I Know You?

March 31, 2011 | By | 3 Comments">3 Comments

In the restaurant business you always hear about how bad customers are. How they can be rude. How they don’t tip well. How they don’t even act like their waiter is standing right there. Some customers just give the rest of us a bad name.

My Favorite Parisian WaiterBut from time to time, waiters can do the same. In fact, one of the things that bugs me, is when waiters don’t spend time getting to know their regulars. There’s nothing like having the same waiter over and over again, and they never look at you, and they never remember who you are. “But Chris, they see so many people everyday!” Yes they do. And keep in mind, I’m talking about a place that you frequent. Not a place you go to a few times a year.

There is one place in particular where half of the staff knows who we are. But there’s this one guy (Ahhhh, the one guy thing.) who never remembers us. When he comes to the table, he never looks a single customer in the eyes and he always announces his name. I finally got to the point where I would call his name out before he got there, and he would still say what his name was.

Now I would normally think that there’s just something wrong with the one person. Except there’s one of those guys at another place that we go to regularly. Each time one of them serves us, I think, “What if my team was doing that to one of my customers!” I mean think about it, what if your sales person couldn’t tell you the name of any of the clients that he had worked with for a decent period of time. You would be concerned that you would lose that client, wouldn’t you?

The thing is, when six of your staff can remember me by name, job, even favorite type of music, you can back off of the one guy who can’t remember you if you danced on the tables singing you are my sunshine. But what if that’s the only person that I do business with? Then what? Studies show that you lose 68% of repeat business due to perceived indifference. In other words, they feel like your company doesn’t care about having, or even keeping them as a customer.

Therefore, it’s more important than ever to make sure your staff is doing everything they can to notice customers. Especially if they are repeat customers. Here are some things you can do:

  • Talk to them. Explain the importance of repeat business and how it makes it easier for you to pay a staff when you have customers. Let them know how word-of-mouth is the best form of marketing your fantastic product, or the best way to tell everyone else that you just don’t care about them enough to know their name.
  • Train them. Give them a pop quiz on the repeat customers that you already know. If they’ve worked with them at least twice, do they remember them? What can they tell you about that client that they should have picked up the first time? What are they doing to keep the information they’ve learned about the client, so it’s easily accessible next time?
  • Make it a group effort. Keep the whole team on their toes by pulling them together and discussing the clients that always return. What do you know about them? What makes them a good client and what can we do to make them a great client. Tell the team be on the lookout for returning customers, and be sure to inform everyone else so they can be prepared. Have the other team members say hi and call the client by name so they feel that the whole company feels they are a star.

These are just a few simple things that will help your team, but more importantly, help your customer feel like you really REALLY love their business.

Chris LoCurto


March 30, 2011

Wow You’re So Powerful!

March 30, 2011 | By | 3 Comments">3 Comments

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand the test of adversity, but if you really want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Abraham Lincoln

Image by George Eastman House via Flickr

All too often I’ve watched someone be placed in leadership, and then they become a mean control freak. Or someone who feels the only way to lead, is to knock people down. The worst, is watching them try to destroy people to get what they want. In all cases, I see what Lincoln was talking about.

If power causes you to treat people like trash, then in my mind, that’s what you character is made from. As a leader, you should be lifting your people up! You should be looking for opportunities to grow them, not knock them down. You should be focusing on how to take your people to the next level, not how to get them out of your way.

I can never say it enough, a leader’s job it to make their people successful, not the other way around! If you can’t see how you’re doing that, then you’re not. If you’ve received your leadership from stepping on people, then that is what you will breed in your team; people who treat people like pavement.

Spend some time today just focusing on what your leadership looks like. Are you the kind of person that people love… or fear? If they love you, they tell you. If they fear you, they appease you. Try and be truthful with yourself about which it actually is.

Chris LoCurto


March 29, 2011

Get That Thing Outta Here!

March 29, 2011 | By | 4 Comments">4 Comments

I’ve always heard the saying that good is the enemy of great. The thought that if you only focus on good, you’ll never experience what it’s like to do something over the top. Always shoot for and expect greatness!

The Passage of Time

Image by ToniVC via Flickr

However, I was listening to a military commander this past weekend discussing how long it took the White House to make a decision to take out Libya’s air defenses. In fact, he said that we were about 10 days too late. They spent so much time talking and trying to with the perfect plan.

Because of that, they had no surprise attack. They gave Gaddafi the opportunity to make a lot of decisions, and movements, that cost us more in time and money to complete the same plan we had 10 days earlier.

As he was talking, he dropped a line that resonated with me as an entrepreneur. He said, “Perfect is the enemy good enough.” Ain’t that the truth! (Sorry mom…I only used ain’t for effect.) You see we can spend an incredible amount of time trying to make something perfect, when what we really need to be focusing on is good enough.

Sometimes it just more important to get your product to market and let it fail a little, than to lose time trying to make sure that you have the right color bow for the packaging. Do you want excellence? Yes! Do you want it to be right? Absolutely! Do you want to miss your opportunity because someone else entered the market with you idea while you were shopping bows? Heck to the no! Ship it already.

Here are a few things to focus on when launching a product:

  • Get something out so you can be seen. Any blogger who’s been writing consistently for some time will tell you that the beginning is the toughest part. When you sit down to write your first post, you will have a tendency to spend days trying to make the first one perfect. The problem? You don’t have any readers yet! The only thing you should be focusing on is learning how to write and what it takes to get in a grove.
  • Don’t over-estimate your quality. While you can spend a ton of time making sure you have created a great product, you will soon find out where you messed up. Inevitably one of your customers, (Most likely a loyal one. They’re really the only ones who care to say something.) will send you a 3 page letter on all of the areas that you can improve your product. Hey, you can look at that person as being hateful or helpful. It’s up to you.
  • Expect the 2.0 version. One thing that Apple has done well is launch a product with the understanding that the public will love it, but they’ll love the next version even more. This way they have actually conditioned us to understand that the first blush will probably have some flaws. But since we’re too impatient, Apple’s just helping us out to have the product that much sooner. *wink wink*

Do all that you can to make your product the best that it can be, so in turn you can be great! But don’t spend so much time that you lose the opportunity…or for that matter, the stomach to launch.

Chris LoCurto


March 28, 2011

You In Or You Out?

March 28, 2011 | By | 2 Comments">2 Comments

Josh Levitt left a comment on “How To Get An Interview” that lead me to write this post.

I do a lot of speaking to around the country on both our financial message and our business message. When speaking on the financial message, many times I will get someone who comes up to me to tell me that they can’t get their pastor involved.

They say that they’ve tried everything they could think of but the pastor just won’t budge. It’s not because they’re against it, they just don’t think they need to be a part of it. They have people running it and it’s not necessary for them to get involved. Or, they feel they’re just too busy.

When they ask what should they do, I always answer the same way. In Josh’s comment, he had the same great idea:

“…I used a similar approach to help get some leaders at our church “on board” with Financial Peace University. It’s been a little bit of a struggle to get leadership support. Even though we’ve had FPU for about two years now, there is little promotion allowed and never any mention from stage on Sunday. The church is somewhat typical in the fact that we don’t like to talk about money often.

My wife and I decided to give our leadership team and their spouse tickets to the Live Event a few weeks ago (KC). It got their attention. They loved the event, and I anticipate that it will lead to more support of FPU.”

If a Live Event isn’t a possibility, I tell them to get into a FPU class. Either way, as you can see with Josh’s comment, they will be on fire for helping their people get the help they need. The problem is, you gotta get them there. Leadership MUST be involved! It’s the same with any initiative that you are trying to accomplish where  you are. If leadership isn’t behind it completely, it will fail.

Why? There’s a certain amount of energy that leaders bring that the team feeds off of. When it’s there, things just get done! People get involved! A pastor in Florida had 400 families signed up for FPU. He got up that Sunday and announced he and his wife would be taking the class, 1000 people signed up that day!

When a team is trying to complete a project, but there’s no energy from leadership, it falls to the wayside. Why? Because it appears that nobody really cares if it happens or not. And the worst stance a leader can take is the, “I’m delegating that, so I’m going to leave them alone to accomplish it.” Seriously?! That’s your plan? It will fail. You have to at least inspect what you expect. And if you’re not there to make sure that person is being successful, then you can’t be surprised when they’re not.

As a leader, realize that your team operates off of your energy. Get in there and make it happen! Ask what they need from you. Ask if they have all the information they need. And ask if there’s anything you can do to make them successful.

Chris LoCurto


March 25, 2011

Leadership Spotlight: Jack Galloway

March 25, 2011 | By | 7 Comments">7 Comments

The Leadership Spotlight continues this week with Jack Galloway. Jack started the Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) program for Dave 10 years ago.

He still leads the program today, orchestrating the department’s activities to support goals Dave and his leadership team have established. Jack also manages the 28 team members who operate the ELP program day-in and day-out to give Dave’s fans and the ELPs a great experience. His team refers approximately 20,000 Dave Ramsey fans to ELPs each month.

CLo: What is your role in leadership?

JG: VP of Strategic Alliances.  I spend my time coordinating what our 30-person team is doing with what the company as a whole is doing.

CLo: What is the best advice you’ve ever received about leadership?

JG: John Maxwell said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Now more than ever, I am working on people skills and communication skills. Everything rises and falls on your ability to communicate effectively with people. Specifically, this includes being a really, really, really good listener, being able to read nonverbal cues, casting a vision, resolving conflicts in person, knowing what’s going on in people’s lives, knowing people’s strengths and weaknesses, and being smart enough to see communication problems before they happen.

CLo: What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

JG: Poor communication skills. The things I mentioned above are very difficult to teach. People seem to either have those abilities or they don’t. Few things can frustrate a leader as much as knowing how to grow a business but not being able to create a winning team attitude.

CLo: How do you continue to improve yourself as a leader?

JG: By realizing how much I still have to learn. A leader who doesn’t see the importance of improving is a leader on his way out.

CLo: How do you invest in others?

JG: By spending time with them in person. Time spent creates trust, familiarity and consistency.

CLo: What was the last book you read?

JG: Barbarians To Bureaucrats: Corporate Life Cycle Strategies.