WinFieldUnited is a huge and dynamic player in the world of agribusiness. A leader in crop protection and sustainability, they are one of my all-time favorite clients — and, I’m humbled to count several of their leaders as friends.
One of them is Doug Brunt. His title is Senior Vice President of Agriculture Customers for Land O’Lakes, the parent company of WinFieldUnited. Doug and I go way back — he remembers a speech I gave in the 1980’s to a farm cooperative in central Indiana where he had just started working, fresh out of college at Purdue.
Today, I had the privilege of addressing a large group of the WinFieldUnited team at an event in Chicago — but, it was what Doug said in his presentation to the group after my speech that had the most significant impact.
“It’s not hard to predict in this highly competitive and rapidly changing marketplace,” he said, “that our best customers are going to be harder to please in the future than they are today.”
Then, pausing for effect — as any great speaker should do — Doug added,
“…and that is wonderful!”
(I’ve got to admit — I did a bit of a double take! I immediately thought, “Who wants customers that are harder to please?”)
Then, Doug explained his reasoning:
If a company is already your best customer — and they become harder to please — who is in the best position to thrill them?
Logically — it should be YOU. And, that should make them an even better customer than they are today.
If they’re one of your best customers:
- You should know and understand them more deeply than your competition.
- You should be able to plan more strategically how to help and serve them than your competition.
- You should be better equipped to leverage your products and services to become their partner in achieving their organizational goals and objectives.
- And, you should know exactly what they desire, so you can deliver an Ultimate Customer Experience ® — while your competition is still playing the game of mere “customer service.”
However, it also means that as your customer enhances their operation and demands more of you — then you have to improve your performance and the delivery of the customer experience to maintain and expand upon your positioning with them.
Most of us don’t want our customers to become more demanding than they already are.
Distinctive organizations and professionals welcome it. They know that more demanding customers are both a wonderful opportunity — and a major impediment to your competition.
What we must do is what the late, great Jim Rohn said:
“Don’t wish it was easier. Wish you were better.”