Robert Herjavec, business tycoon and star of hit TV shows Dragon's Den and Shark Tank, was the keynote speaker at this year's Ensemble Travel Group conference. Here are a few top quotes from his speech.


The difference between one business and another business is really customer service, experience and how you make your customer feel. At the end of the day, people won’t remember what you actually say to them; they’ll remember how you made them feel.


The sales people in our business who do really well do a great job of walking in and creating your customer experience; they tell a story and not just with words – with the way they dress, the way they show up, the things they say, how empathetic they are, how they follow-up…all those kinds of things. The people who don’t do as well really practice their script, and when they get in front of a customer, they find it more important to complete their script than to listen to the customer.


One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was, “When you get the order, stop talking.”


Our view is that the things that our really big competitors do well, we have to do as well as they do. I will never do project management better than IBM; I just won’t. My goal is not to be better at project management than IBM, my goal is to be as good as they are. But my goal is to have a greater customer experience, my goal is to be more responsive, and my goal is to make the customer feel more engaged and more loved – because at the end of the day, don’t we all just want more love in our life?


One thing we always told our people: if you smile on the phone, it comes through to the customer. If you’re miserable on the phone, it comes through to the customer. The one thing we always taught our people is “nobody really cares how you fell. Your job is to make the customer’s life better every day. We think if we don’t have customers, we don’t have a business. People will ask, “How do you feel today?” And I say, “I feel great!” or “Wonderful!” Ninety-eight per cent of the time, I’m pretty happy; two per cent of the time, I’ve had a crappy day just like everybody else in this room. Crap goes wrong… but on those poo-poo days, if a customer calls me up and goes, “How do you feel today?” You know what I say? “I’m wonderful.” Because if my only value is to be the source of joy to the person I’m talking to, that’s a big differentiator.


I’m a big believer that if you’re not growing, you’re dying… I don’t have a lot of competitors that I used to compete with because they are all dead. There aren’t a lot of people in my industry who have the luxury of staying the same. Don’t get me wrong. There are days I wake-up and say, “I love my business. I wish things could stay exactly as they are. It’s great!” But I know the minute I think that, there’s somebody else wanting to take us there.


Why don’t most people get to that next level (of success)? I’ve really thought about this; I’ve had a little bit of success and I try to do better every day, but I’m not one of those people who knows why I do it; I just kind of keep trying and some stuff works and I go with it, and some stuff doesn’t and I drop it. And in hindsight, I try to figure it out and I do it again. So the conclusion I’ve come to is that the thing that holds people back is risk. And people have a funny relationship with risk because risk is a really, really scary thing. Risk involves fear, risk involves rejection and most people would rather wait for opportunity to come to them than risk the fear and failure of rejection of going out to find it for themselves. I think every day, life gives a lot of opportunity but you need to go out and look for it; you can’t just wait for it… Don’t wait. It’s really up to you.


Didn't have a chance to see Robert's speech? Click here to watch a live stream on CT's Facebook page.


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