In a vacuum, running a successful business should be easy.
Choose a good location, sell your product or service at a value driven price, know how to manage inventory with regard to quality and quantity, offer impeccable service, and know how to get the word out to customers who are most likely to want and/or need what you have to sell. While you may think these things are intuitively obvious, you may want to think again.
To begin with, try to remember why you started your business in the first place. Hopefully, it was not just to make money. Now, consider businesses that consistently outperform their competition. Some obvious examples of this are Outback Steakhouse, Costco, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Apple and Home Depot. What do you think these companies have in common that your business might be lacking? Unquestionably, it is that these businesses exceed customer expectations throughout the entire sales process. People like to shop at stores that make them feel good. They like to go to websites that are easy to navigate. When you look at Costco, they sell everything from cereal to caskets. In addition, everything is returnable with no questions asked, unless, of course, the casket is occupied upon its return!
A happy, knowledgeable sales staff leads to happy, informed shoppers. Happy shoppers lead, in turn, to a happy sales staff, especially if they work on bonuses or commissions. So, how do you get the ball rolling onto the cycle of success?
- Secret shop your store to see how your customers are treated by your sales staff. Then, ask your sales staff to describe your customers’ demographics. Of particular interest is what they came in to purchase, and what they were looking for that you do not carry.
- Secret shop your competition. Compare everything including merchandise, sales expertise, loss leaders and return policies. Don’t forget, online purchasing is continuing to grow by leaps and bounds. Consider what you need to do to compete with your cmpetition both online and in your store.
- Pay your employees well. Costco pays its employees more than twice the national minimum wage. They have one of the highest rates of employee retention and the lowest amount of stolen inventory.
- From a simple pat on the back to meaningful bonuses when employees exceed expectations, people really appreciate it when their hard work and commitment are being noticed and rewarded.
There is nothing in this newsletter that’s groundbreaking.
Still, I guarantee that running your business to exceed expectations will also increase customer loyalty, and then, overall sales. So my simple, free advice for you is to take a few minutes from a routine day where you spend most of your time putting out fires to think of what you need to do to simply make customers happy to shop in your store.
If you want specialized help and find out about how direct mail is the first step in making your business exceed your customers’ expectations, please visit us…