Buffini & Company Blog

How to Succeed in an Ever-Changing Industry

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The world is changing quickly, and no industry has experienced as much upheaval as retail. Companies, including former giants of the industry, such as Sears and Kmart, make headlines with announcements of store closures around the country. Many pin the blame on the rise of online shopping; however, the root of the problem is likely deeper than that—many companies stop connecting with their customers after they reach their zenith, and many customers simply walk away. What can real estate learn from the mistakes of former retail giants?

Connect with your clients

According to Mason Ludlow, the companies who continue to listen to their customers will succeed and those who don’t won’t. He knows a thing or two about the topic; he began his long and storied retail career as a trainee at S.S. Kresge, a retail chain that eventually became Kmart.

Mason quickly rose through the ranks of the company over his 25-year tenure, holding managerial and other leadership positions, until becoming the Director of Store Planning and Development. What’s one of the reasons he feels the company is no longer at the height of success it once was? “I believe we quit talking to our customer and thought we knew the answer,” he tells Dermot Buffini in the latest episode of “It’s a Good Life.”

Listening to customers is essential, regardless of your industry. Often, when we achieve high levels of success, we begin to think we know it all. We become more reluctant to check in with our clients to hear what they need, or worse, we become too busy! This is a terrible mistake; one that not only impacts the business but also our relationships.

It’s essential to continue to check in with your clients, listen for their needs and look for ways to “wow” them with service. The real estate market is always changing; however, the more you can meet the needs of your clients, the more resilient your business will be, no matter what happens.

Help your team succeed

Mason is a people person; one of his favorite parts of working at Kmart was connecting with people – customers and employees alike. What was his management style? Wandering around! Instead of being holed up in an office all day, he’d walk the floor, talking to employees and customers. This gave him insight into everyone’s changing needs.

Additionally, he wasn’t afraid to involve people with more experience or expertise when he was facing a challenge. Since he started at the bottom of the corporate ladder and had experienced each of the positions, he could train new people more effectively, setting the pace for each position. This motivated people to move beyond what they thought they could accomplish and complemented Kmart’s corporate culture of teamwork.

Whether your team is large or small, take steps to teach them to achieve their potential and win. Connect with them often to learn what you can do to help them become more effective. Your team will appreciate the interest. As a result, you’ll build your relationship with them and keep them motivated to succeed.

Get a coach

A coach can help you stay motivated to succeed and tap into your full potential. Visit buffiniandcompany.com/ccs to sign up for your complimentary coaching session.

For more great insight and advice, listen to “The Life & Times of a Traveling Businessman – an Interview with Mason Ludlow,” episode #116 of “It’s a Good Life.” Click here to listen.

Buffini & Company

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