Are you constantly chasing the next big thing?

Maybe that question’s not quite fair. Here’s a better one:

When you’re searching for ways to level up your company, where are you looking hardest?

And where are you investing the most?

Too many leaders strain and stare at the horizon for what’s going to change, hoping to leverage those changes.

Hence the allure of bright shiny objects.

This is one reason “lead generation” efforts frequently feature whatever is considered the latest and greatest tactics involving geo-targeting, retargeting, PURLS,“Big Data,” hyper-local, or whatever other buzzword you can think of.

And to be clear, none of this is necessarily bad.

But neither is it where your focus should be.

At least according to Jeff Bezos.

“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’

And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. … [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection.

It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, ‘Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,’ [or] ‘I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.’ Impossible.

And so the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”

This is about resource allocation. What are you REALLY busting your butt to improve?

Where are you spending research & development dollars? When you invest in new technology, what is the technology aimed at?

Jeff Bezos believes you should focus your efforts and invest your resources into bedrock customer desires that’ll never change.

So Amazon invested a lot of resources into developing:

  • 1-click ordering,
  • Customer review functionality,
  • “Search Inside” features,
  • Super-saver shipping,
  • Prime free 2-day shipping,
  • The Kindle E-reader

Because all of those features and products enhance the buyer experience around non-changing desires.

While some people would have felt that E-readers were a potential “next big thing,” and therefore worth investing in, that’s not how Amazon saw it.

In fact, E-readers were kind of a joke before the Kindle launched, with all of them failing miserably in the market place.

Amazon invested in them, not because they were new or sexy, but because they understood how e-readers could allow for instant delivery and significantly cheaper prices on books.

In other words, if the Kindle was successful, it would dramatically and exponentially improve crucial non-chancing customer desires.

But this post isn’t really about Amazon; it’s about you and your company.

How to Use This Insight to Fuel Faster Growth

What I’m saying is that instead of searching for the next bright shiny object, you focus on the bet-the-farm-on stuff that’s as regular as sunrise.

For service businesses, that means:

  • Customers will always want their calls answered immediately, by a human who sounds like them, and who actually knows enough to be responsive and to help solve their problem.
  • Customers will always want their immediate needs addressed faster and sooner rather than later.
  • Customers will always want you to service them when it’s convenient for them.
  • Customers will always prefer to feel in control and to fully understand their options, rather than feeling out of control, or confused.
  • Customers will always prefer to be comfortable with who’s coming into their homes.

These are the places you want to invest your resources, when it comes to taking your company to the next level.

Precisely because these are the customer desires that won’t change.

More pointedly, these are the areas that will determine whether you make the sale or not for any incoming prospect.

These are the areas that determine success.

I’m not saying that advertising and marketing efforts impact success.

But once great advertising has gotten the prospect to call you, and to prefer doing business with you than others, even at the point of knowingly and willingly paying a premium, then advertising’s job is over.

I can certainly craft you a powerful branding campaign that’ll do all that for you.

But no matter how good the campaign, it won’t make people call you back if you don’t answer their call or put them on hold for too long.

Nor can it make people voluntarily wait several days for service instead of calling someone else.

And if they do book you only to have a bad experience with your tech, then all the positive results of your advertising just evaporated, at least for that person, who’ll be sure to tell his social circle of his disappointment.

In other words, before you invest in the latest and greatest marketing trend to bring in more leads, it’s worth reviewing your phone records.

In fact, how long has it been since you last listened to a sampling of phone calls?

I’m not saying not to trust your staff. I’m saying you should trust but verify.

You could also go through this same process with the in-home experience.

Because sometimes, the best advertising investment you could make is in hiring and training your phone staff.

Or adding another tech or truck.

Don’t look for the next bright shiny object.

Bet on the sun rising tomorrow instead. That way it’ll never set on your expanding business empire.