Do you know the judge from American Idol, Britain’s Got Talent or X Factor?
Many people just hate Simon and his comments because they are intense and straight forward. He’s not shy to destroy the dreams of an individual within five seconds.
People might not like him, but there is a reason why he’s acting this way: He knows exactly what the audience is willing to pay for. He’s not looking for some handsome artist he personally likes. His only purpose is to find an artist the audience will fall in love with and buy records from.
That’s the skill you need for your business!
You need honest feedback before you produce and sell your stuff. I am not talking about a nice, polite and friendly review. I am talking about a brutally honest verification of your ideas.
Doing a reality check before selling gives you the edge and avoids both customer frustration and business failure.
The only problem is this: Inventing a product, or developing an idea or a service is like having a baby. We will protect it with our lives! For us it’s the most beautiful child we’ve ever seen, no matter how ugly it might be. This behaviour is great for your kid, but it can destroy a business. If you love your products too much, you won’t notice their lack of competitiveness.
Taking the bad for the good
That’s why you need a ‘Simon Cowell’ kind of person for your business!
He is one of the masterminds of the music business. He never compromises. He wants to win the battle for the audience’s attention, their affection, and their wallet. And he succeeds.
But, whether you like him or not, you can benefit from his success by following some of his rules:
- Be honest with yourself
Have a look at your product or service and ask yourself if it’s really that great. There are and always will be points where it can be better. Look at it as if it’s the product from your hardest competitor. Be brutally honest with yourself. There is always room for improvement!
To win in a competitive market you have to be honest with yourself, otherwise you will not survive. And remember, if you aren’t honest with yourself, your clients will be. They will show it to you by not buying!
- Be sales oriented
Being sales oriented does not mean pushing your clients towards a sale. It’s about looking at what the customer really needs, what he likes, and what he is willing to pay for eventually.
The money is the key point!
If Simon hears a great voice but he knows that the audience will not buy the music, he will not promote him. This might stop some great artists from getting promoted, but he’s rather missing one opportunity than wasting his time with a lame duck.
Get a sense of what your clients are starving for and what they are willing to pay for. If they like it, but it doesn’t make them open their wallet, you have to get back into “honesty mode” and figure out what you’re doing wrong.
This is a warning: I don’t want you just to go for the money. That’s short-term oriented and no business works that way in the long term. I’m talking about products and services the customers are willing to pay for. If people like your product, but they are not willing to pay for it, it’s worthless. Period.
- Extend your comfort zone
Make it your mission to become better every single day.
Success is not a goal you can achieve and after that you relax! It’s a journey that never ends. A beautiful journey, because you can learn and improve your products every day.
This requires a “let’s try it” attitude instead of an “I never did that before – let’s stop” behaviour.
If Simon sees a raw diamond, he starts making it a precious one. His support is not only affection! He shows affection, but he also tells them where they need to excel. If they are not making any progress, he pushes them to try harder – because it is a very competitive business. Of course you need to work smart, but working hard at the same time is always a key ingredient in any successful business.
Sometimes extending the comfort zone requires us to do things we never did before. Things we’re scared of, or where we see our weaknesses. But you only become better by doing it, even if it feels horrible in the beginning. In the end you will love the result and make jokes about the problems you had to deal with on your way.
You can only run the Comrades marathon if you start running. And then you extend the distance you feel comfortable with. It’s just that easy.
Now it’s up to you! Find your own Simon Cowell, improve your products beyond the customer expectations, turn your customers into raving fans and extend your capabilities every single day.
And don’t forget to enjoy the journey!