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Clients First: The Two Word Miracle by JoAnn Callaway, Joseph Callaway

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What Clients Want

Many businesses start out by seeing what their clients want. Entrepreneurs know that they must find a need and fill it. Then something happens. Companies become larger, and they reinvest that initial success in themselves, and they gradually lose track of their customers. Their businesses become all about them. Detroit automakers did this and gave away half their business to companies who listened to what people wanted. Airlines were so sure that people wanted assigned seats and slow connections that Southwest Airlines has profited from easy boarding and short hops. Honda hasn’t forgotten that its customers want economy and a car that keeps going for 100,000 miles or more. BMW hasn’t forgotten that its drivers want precision performance. While department store names piled up in the dustbin of history for their refusal to change their product mix, Sam Walton hooked his cash registers up to his warehouses to measure client preferences, and he never forgot that Walmart customers wanted the good things in life for less.

When Henry Ford invented the assembly line and produced his Model T, he was quoted as saying that folks could have any color they wanted . . . as long as it was black. It was a good joke and probably wouldn’t work today, but what he did do was fill a need for affordable transportation, which transformed this nation. Ford never forgot his customers. They wanted a dependable, low-price vehicle that they could repair themselves, and for the better part ...

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