When it comes to separating your business from the competitors, I like the concept of being in the “POLE POSITION”—ie, the best starting position. I’ll give you two examples—one from personal experience and one I read about.

Several Valentine’s Days ago, my wife and I decided to go out to eat at the last minute. We knew that no matter where we went, there’d be a long wait. The restaurant that was in the “pole position” that night was Outback Steakhouse. Good food. The price is reasonable. The atmosphere is fun. Good service. Most importantly that night, we knew they’d “under promise and over deliver” when it came to how long we’d have to wait for a table. Sure enough, they said it’d be 90 minutes and it turned out to be 45. Outback  had earned pole position for any time we are in a hurry.

Then there’s the story about Nordstrom and perfume.  A harried business man hurried into  Nordstrom store in a big mall at 6:00 PM and headed for the  perfume counter. He asked for a specific brand, explaining that it was his anniversary, he was meeting his wife for dinner in an hour and he had not shopped yet.  The Nordstrom service practitioner told him they did not carry that specific perfume but if he could come back in 20 minutes she’d have it for him. He said okay and headed for the florist and the candy store. She grabbed a fellow worker and asked her to watch both counters for a few minutes. That lady was glad to help. She then ran to the other end of the mall to Macy’s, whom she knew carried the brand, purchased it, ran back, and wrapped it just as the man arrived with candy and flowers. The customer as most pleased—and RELEIVED. Nordstrom employees had used teamwork—and broken a rule or two—to accomplish this!

Who was in POLE POSITION that night? You guessed it—the store with the reputation for outstanding service.

Ladies and Gentlemen, START YOUR ENGINES! Put your company in POLE POSITION with outstanding service—like Outback and Nordstrom!