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Who Votes? By Steve Dailey
Steve Dailey
Added on
Nov 1, 2014
small business management, customers vote
Article Subtitle
If you own, lead or manage a small business you MUST know this one rule of success

Article Article Intro

I was at a retail grocery store yesterday who appears to be making a run at competing with Whole Foods – the super-success story that started here in Austin and is now worldwide, multi-billion dollars and a marketplace thought leader not only in the grocery industry but human resources, marketing and customer service. This new store clearly has its work cut out to go against a monster like Whole Foods, but when you walk into their store, a lot is on the right track.

Article Content

But when the cash register rung my total due of just over $170 (a pretty soft total compared to most trips to an organic food market for me), and as I was getting ready to slide my card through the reader – the cashier notified me that I was over the “certain limit” allowed to process a card and he had to get a manager for approval. I thought it odd, since my amount was not that high, but didn’t react.

The manager was of course not immediately available so the cashier left his station and rushed to another register to put out an APB on the PA system for the manager. Still no response. The line behind me is growing and I ‘m beginning to get impatient. The cashier then spots the manager across the store, again leaves his station to rush over to get the manager’s attention – who finally sauntered over to swipe his secret card at the register and approve the transaction. It didn’t take. Apparently the wait had timed out the system. So again, the cashier alerted the manager as he was walking off, he bounced back, swiped again and we finally concluded the transaction with the line behind me now 6 deep.

On my way out I decided to suggest to the manager – in a friendly way – that their policy may need to be reviewed in that $170 seemed like a pretty routine amount at a store like that. He proceeded to explain to me why the policy existed with no apparent intent on passing along my suggestion. I simply said, “I understand that there may have been a reason for your original policy – but if you want to keep this customer’s loyalty, you may want pass along my concern. One more experience like today and I’ll be back at Whole Foods.”

If you own, lead or manage a small business know this one rule of success:

     Your customers vote, not you. They vote with their wallets, their opinions and their loyalty.

You can have all the reasons in the world for policies that don’t work for the customer – but they simply don’t count when it comes to keeping customers happy and coming back. Lock this in, teach it to your employees and reinforce it with action and responsiveness to how your customers are voting.

I’m pretty sure that Whole Foods figured this out already and that’s why a line 6 deep in their store is happily common but always a swift experience.

Coach Steve Dailey



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