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Leadership Lessons from Bruce Springsteen

May 21, 2012
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Musically, I grew up with the likes of Green Day, Weezer and Jimmy Eat World, but my all-time favorite act is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Now “The Boss” is some 35 years my senior, but his music is powerful, inspiring and extremely well-written, which can’t be said about a lot of music these days.So just what does Bruce Springsteen have to do with carpet cleaning?



Musically, I grew up with the likes of Green Day, Weezer and Jimmy Eat World, but my all-time favorite act is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Now “The Boss” is some 35 years my senior, but his music is powerful, inspiring and extremely well-written, which can’t be said about a lot of music these days. Over  the years I’ve collected all Bruce’s records, seen his concerts and geeked out on various Springsteen trivia (did you know guitarist Steven Van Zandt got his acting chops in the 1985 flick American Flyers, some 14 years before he starred on “The Sopranos?”).

So just what in the heck does Bruce Springsteen have to do with carpet cleaning? Well, I recently stumbled across a piece in Forbes detailing how various lessons in leadership can be taken away from Springsteen’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame music career. And these lessons can be applied to owners of carpet cleaning and restoration businesses in terms of how they deal with their clients and how they handle their staff. Let’s take a look at a couple of points:


Give Your Customers More Than What They Expect: I remember the first time I went to a Springsteen show, I expected him to stroll out, rip through his greatest hits and be done in 90 minutes, like what most of today’s acts do. Instead he played for 3+ hours, mixing his classics with forgotten favorites with a few new songs sprinkled in here and there, all with a contagious enthusiasm the entire night. He goes full-board like this every show, never cheating the audience out of their money’s worth. As a business owner, think to yourself, are you giving your customers a “Springsteen-like performance,” in terms of their expectations. Now, this isn’t to say you have to clean their home for 3+ hours, but this can be accomplished in other ways such as being polite, explaining to your customers exactly what you did and why you did it and working hard to do more than just a routine job. That’s a key to repeat customers.


Be Opportunistic: In the middle of every Springsteen show, he’ll peer over the signs in the crowd which are often packed with song requests. He’ll usually take a few and launch into a medley of the requests with the E Street Band. Not only is this a crowd-pleaser, but it gives the band a chance to play something that they haven’t in years or play something that they haven’t, ever. As a business owner, you should be just as opportunistic. Find out what your customers want beyond what you currently offer and consider adding those services to appease them (and make more money off of them), whether it be duct cleaning, rug washing, leather care, restoration, etc.


Make Them Repeat Customers: It’s said that after 1975’s Born to Run album (which often comes up in conversation of “best record of all-time”) that Springsteen could do just about anything musically he wanted to do for the rest of his life. That was his big break, as the record was received both commercially and critically. As a business owner, you should be looking for your big break with your clients, so that you can boost the amount of repeat customers you serve. Wow your customers, make them regulars and chances are you’ll be getting called out for more services than what you originally provided. All it takes is one well-done job to have someone hooked for life, as The Boss can certainly attest to.

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