This piece was originally published on Entrepreneur.
When you win the Super Bowl, in life or in business, you cannot ever win again if you do not immediately go back to training — you must stay hungry, win or lose, success or failure. Whether the Panthers or the Broncos win the Super Bowl this year if they stop training they will never win another Super Bowl. Success requires constant attention and the moment you stop hunting for it, it will escape you. You must approach the creation of success as a must-have obligation, do-or-die mission, gotta-have-it, hungry-dog-on-the-back-of-a-meat-truck mentality.
Let your customers know you are hungry. Don’t act like you don’t need their business. There is an old saying that tells people to “fake it ’til you make it.” Well, this doesn’t apply here! Instead, you want to “act hungry to make sure you don’t end up hungry.”
I challenge you today to do two things:
1. You must change your mindset.
No one likes people who act like they are better than others and never act so important you don’t need people’s business. If you didn’t need their business you wouldn’t be in business. Everyone appreciates someone who goes the extra mile and really shows others that he or she wants, needs, and values others’ business. You will never create a powerful, solvent, prosperous, and abundant economy with an attitude of arrogance.
In almost every seminar I conduct, someone will say to me, “I’m afraid I might seem weak if I act like I want the business too much.” My response is always the same: “The biggest mistake you can make is not to act like you’re hungry for the business!” Let’s face it: You need clients more than they need you in any economy. An attitude of, “they need me more than I need them” always fails; treat your customers as though they’re more valuable than you and your company—because they are.
Every moment of every day act like your life depends on every transaction. And if you have to tell someone that you really want his or her business, well then, you probably aren’t acting hungry enough! Acting hungry means that you’re aggressively ambitious or competitive. Perhaps it stems from a need to overcome poverty or past defeats or it is because your desire to succeed is so great. Regardless of your position in life, if you want to stay on top, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to earn more business—during good times and bad.
2. Take massive action.
What you did last year means nothing in the market today. History is laden with companies that were number one in their field but who only exist nowadays between the pages of books. Sears and Kmart are two perfect examples of these. Both dominated their fields at one time, but their arrogance cost them their positions—and now they’re struggling in the market.
Spend all your time, energy, creativity, and resources in advancing your goals and getting so far ahead of the pack that you seize your competitors’ business along the way. The real world of business is the most brutal battlefield in the world; it will not tolerate conceit or people who are living in the past. Customers don’t value excuses, timing, reasons, ratings, yesterday, position; they only value results. If you want to create your own economy, you have to know what you are dealing with. You must be willing to do what others won’t do—and even take actions that you might deem “unreasonable” at activity levels that seem “obsessive”.
Any absence of effort is likely due to a lack of awareness, an abundance of arrogance, or a combination of the two. Be useful, courteous, accessible, humble, and now more than ever, willing to go the extra mile.
Surpass any and all expectations, act like you really want someone’s business—and do whatever you can to earn it. If you give your clients genuine reasons to like you, demonstrate an authentic willingness to do anything for them, are consistently helpful, and never quit, they will want to do business with you, whatever your business is. Remember that the only way to increase appointments is to increase the number of people to whom you speak—and then amplify the reasons why they should make time for you.
Personally, any time someone who serves me continues to exhibit that hungry desire to do anything humanly possible to earn my business, I find every reason possible to support him or her. I stick with that person as long as he or she keeps exhibiting that kind of hungry attitude, and I don’t think I am unique this way. Most people want to be taken care of and paid attention to, and they crave this type of service from people because it is lacking in our culture.
You must show great appreciation and gratitude for every opportunity you get. Be willing to bend over backward, sideways—even do handstands, if necessary—to let people know that you’ll do whatever it takes to earn their business. Don’t let yesterday’s successes give you a false sense of security and make you feel like you don’t need success today and tomorrow. You must have your attention on the future to create one.
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Always, always, always demonstrate your hunger and desire to grow your business by displaying how service-oriented and interested you are in your clients on a daily basis. Follow up relentlessly and do anything you can (ethically and professionally, of course) in order to obtain someone’s business. Be hungry!