Having been making frequent personal/business trips to Lebanon for the past year or so, I have been contemplating the idea of purchasing a vehicle instead of going with a car rental every time I visit my home country. So, on my last trip, it has been suggested to me to go check out and consider a specific popular brand, as they have just come up with a new model that would perfectly fit my needs.
Living in Mount Lebanon, it was recommended to me to go to visit a particular dealership as it is on my way to Beirut. Driving down that newly beautiful re-constructed highway from Mount-Lebanon, on a beautiful sunny September day, the drive was breathtaking. And there it was; that marvelously looking dealership on the side of the highway, just overlooking the entire area, perfectly located off the highway. Pulling into that dealership and parking my car in front of that building surely reinforced my positive first impression indeed.
However, and unfortunately, that positive first impression quickly faded away as soon as I entered that dealership. My initial positive impression turned into a sequence of one negative setback after another, with no initial greeting whatsoever, no salesperson approaching me to find out what it is exactly that I am looking for, no one bothering to come forward and explain the benefits of the various features of the chosen model that I took a seat in, nobody offering me a test drive, or even any of the related steps that would be expected in a process that go along with shopping for a vehicle. What made the experience even worse is the shock that I encountered when I personally approached some young presumably “Sales Consultant” to find out more about my preferred vehicle. The responses from that “Sales Consultant” were so quick and brief; I felt guilty for taking so much of their time.
As I was walking out of that particular dealership, and without being escorted, I was reflecting on the bad experience I had just gone through. This is where a very simple concept known as “The 3Ps of Success” came to mind.
The first ‘P’ representing the ‘Product’ (or Service), is obviously the very first requirement for the success of any company, organization, institution, business, or whatever you want to call it. Without a solidly striking product or service, it will be challenging to succeed in this ever evolutionary competitive world we live in. And, not surprisingly, this dealership had that product that is seen by most as a ‘jackpot’. However, we have to carefully watch out. Having such a strikingly solid product or service is not the only requirement for success, especially for the long run.
The second ‘P’ that needs to be seriously taken into consideration is the ‘P’ of Processes. Having well designed, easy to follow, clear processes in place for each and every business transaction taking place, is as critical as having the right product. In the case of that dealership, following ‘their’ core sales process, as one of the processes, making sure that all the steps from genuinely greeting a customer, to finding out what exactly customers are looking for, to making sure the benefits of most features which their particular customer can relate to are addressed, to having the customer test drive the vehicle and really have a good feel of it, to offering various price and financing options to make the customer feel comfortable with payment plans, and so on and so forth, is as much a critical requirement as the product itself. It’s all about building that unique trustworthy relationship along the process, that truly makes that ‘Sales Consultant’ a consultant who is after the customer’s interests, rather than being perceived as another pushy sales person, who is only after a quick buck.
The third and most important ‘P’, in my view, for the success of any organization, and especially to maintaining that ongoing long term success, is the ‘P’ for ‘People’, in other words, the people representing the company. For me, employees, all the way from the very top managers, down to those who hold the honorable duties as cleaners, are the assets of any organization. Each and every one of us, as employees of a particular company, are true representatives of our organization. We are the human façade of that dealership. Our behaviors with each other and with customers, our smiles, our mindsets, and most importantly our attitudes, are what guarantee ongoing success. We are the ones who can either make or break a company. We are the ones who glorify that brand image which companies work so hard in developing and portraying. Products can be easily imitated, so they are short lived. Processes can be easily copied, so they too are short lived. But having the right people with the right positive attitudes is the backbone of any organization. I quote here Maya Angelou (1928-2014) who says: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
So please, always keep in mind the importance of the balanced 3Ps, especially when it comes to the humanistic side of business. If you happen to be an employee, as much as it is the duty of your company to invest in you and train you on various skills, your company can only do so much. They can only plant the seed of attitude in you. It would still be your responsibility and your duty to nurture that seed in you, to develop into a better person. If you happen to be a decision maker of a certain company on the other hand, please don’t ever forget to invest in your people by continuously developing them. If you really want to build your business, build your people first, and they will build your business.