Sales through Service- Issue Number 16 – Inflexibility


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Part 18 in a series of articles from Sales through Service: How to make customers want to buy again and again and again (because you’re so ‘great’!) by Guy Arnold


Issue Number 16 – Inflexibility

Many businesses suffer from inflexibility because things have worked OK in the past

This can be the inflexibility of business leaders and managers, because they have been taught how to do things in a certain way. Or they may not have been taught how to manage a business at all, or not kept up with the massive changes in consumer behaviour and their ability to make or break the business overnight (and how to deal with this effectively), and so are terrified … and display that terror in inflexibility. 

Inflexibility of staff, because everyone hates change and people feel increasingly vulnerable in an ever changing, competitive world, so people dig their heels in, blame others, act like victims and do silly things like working to rule, or striking and such like. 

Inflexibility of systems, because they haven’t been filtered through the customer’s real needs, and developed inch by inch.

Inflexibility of customers, because they don’t trust the business and the business doesn’t add real value to them.

  • Customer Focused Mission: the clearer this is, the more flexible everyone and everything can be around it. 
  • Customer’s real needs: the clearer these are, and the more empowered your people are to meet and exceed them; the more flexible they can be around designing systems and processes to make sure they deliver as well as possible on them. 
  • Go the Extra Inch®: if you have this process in your business, inflexibility isn’t a threat, it’s an opportunity for growth by identifying areas of threat and uncertainty, around which people can help each other and drive continual flexibility, innovation and progress. 
  • Measure: if you put clear, simple, empowering measures in place, you can encourage flexibility and innovation without fearing failure: if you fail, you learn and grow, and if you don’t fail, you learn and grow and do more of it.

So, accept the fact that inflexibility is a normal reaction to challenge and threat, and that’s absolutely fine and understandable. It isn’t however, sensible or profitable.  And, left unchecked will destroy you.

So what is the answer to inflexibility?   Counter intuition of course!


                  Next time- Issue number 17- Variable or Disrupted Supply Chains

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Guy Arnold
Guy is the author of 'Great or Poor' ( ) … a simple and effective system for delivery of consistent and continually improving customer experiences, 'Go the Extra Inch' the effective way to empower your people, and 'Sales through Service' ( ) how to sell more through repeat business, referrals, round sales and reputation (the 4 R's). Guy helps Organisations large and small to systematically make more sales for lower costs, through 4 simple principles.


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