Is your mission statement just hot air?
Published: July 22, 2011
Time posted: 7:06 am
Can you recite your mission statement?
Come on. You’ve seen it a hundred times, maybe a thousand times.
It’s some drivel about being No. 1, exceeding expectations and building shareholder value that contains other nonsensical words that mean nothing to anyone except the marketing people who dreamed it up one afternoon.
I often wonder if there is anyone actually in charge of implementing the mission statement. I think you could find such a person over at Disney World heading up the Fantasyland department.
Reality: Why is your mission statement always put in terms of you, rather than what you might do for others?
As a customer, or potential customer, I don’t really care about you unless you can do something of perceived value for me.
Which brings me to my prime question of the day, maybe of the decade: Is it a mission or a promise? And in the end, which is more powerful?
Several years ago I created a list of customer promises for my seminar company, my book publishing company and my online training company. The promises revolved around what would be done in favor of our customers. I would ask each of my employees to apply the promises in their daily interactions with customers.
And all of a sudden, I didn’t need a mission statement because the promises, when enacted, automatically created achievement, memorability, “wow” and loyalty.
Jeffrey Gitomer, Buy Gitomer and TrainOne customer promises and commitments:
•We will be friendly.
•We will be professional.
•We will provide the highest-quality products.
•We will provide the highest-quality training.
•We will do what we promise.
•We will keep you informed as we progress.
•We will keep our technology state-of-the-art.
•We will think long term in all our endeavors.
•We will be an expert resource for you.
•We will provide prompt service.
•We will maintain great attitudes toward service.
•We will earn your loyalty with quality and value.
•We will use creativity to differentiate and dominate.
•We will customize and personalize all enterprise training.
•We will increase your sales.
•We will cultivate relationships by paying attention to individual needs and interests.
•We will take as much pride in your business as you do.
•We will maintain our dedication to lifelong learning.
•We will recover memorably when an error occurs.
•We will respond in a heartbeat or faster.
•We will serve with a smile.
•We will serve memorably; service is an opportunity and a priority, not a job function.
•We will make providing you the best service our top priority.
•We will treat all customers the same: like gold.
•We will collaborate with you every step of the way.
•We will become an expert in your business to grow your business and ours.
•We will be your best partner.
•We will not just lead by example.
We will set a standard.
•We will always go the extra mile.
•We will kiss ass.
•We will practice what I preach.
One of the nicest compliments I receive is a single sentence: You walk your talk.
That’s the reaction of customers when they receive what we promise. We don’t tell them what the promises are. No one says, “We are going to be friendly.” Everyone is just genuinely friendly.
It’s taken me years to finally decide that these promises should be made public. The main reason I’m doing it is that service around the world is rapidly declining.
Big picture: All of these promises and commitments favor the customer, our relationship with them and what actions we have to take in order to earn their business, repeat business, loyalty, referrals and testimonials.
Note: None of these promises and commitments are “missions.” They’re all “actions.” They are all about what outcome the customer needs and is hoping for. In other words, what does the customer want after we take an action or they buy a product?
If your mission statement is all about you, get rid of it. Take this list of promises and commitments and revise them to suit your business, your employees and, especially, your customers. When you do, everyone will have a mission, not just the marketing department.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling.” President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs sales meetings and conducts Internet training on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com.