When is the last time you looked at your business? No, not the numbers…the message. There are a lot of messages that we project to customers that are unintended because we are overwhelmed with too many things to take care of in 24 hours. How many of you have put a sign at the cash register that says, “No checks!” or “Payment Upfront”? It is that kind of negative message that makes customers think you don’t trust them or want them.
You want to be known as being a professional and then you put up a hand written sign that says, “All Sales Are Final”. If that doesn’t scream Go Away, I don’t know what would. OK, so I have another more extreme way of keeping customers out. Let them know you don’t want them in the first place.
Take a look at this picture. It can be hard to read the words on the window, but is says, “Hot People Wear Shorts”. Sorry, I used my phone to take the picture and I am not a photographer.
Can you see where the problem is? None of the mannequins are wearing shorts. Even the picture in the window has a guy in pants. This is typical of what we do. That desire to get everything done now gets us further behind because we tell customers we do not know what we are doing. Would you buy shorts where they think pants are the same as shorts? Probably not.
How about this wonderful image? I was driving around and saw a nice building with a dry cleaners in it. I would never drop off clothes here because the message they project is – Dirty = clean. (I blurred the name of the business. They aren’t all bad).
What are you telling your customers? It can be as simple as having the same signs up year after year. Follow Bulldog Rule #12 – Be aware of your entire business. Get out and look around. While you are out there, use the article, SWOT ‘Em to get a good understanding of the message that your competition is telling your customers. We do like to multi-task don’t we?
As much as I want to place the blame on the shoulders of the owner, I also want to take this opportunity to let you know I understand how this can happen. Being an owner is like getting trying to roll a million little balls in the same direction at the same time at the same speed. Bad things happen when you move too fast. It is the nature of business to move fast, but make sure you end up where you intended.
The best way to fix many of these problems is to get out of your business. Yes, get out! Go out to the parking lot and just stand there. Close your eyes and start thinking like a customer. Now open them and look. What would draw a customer’s eyes to your business? How do we look? What message do we send from just looking at the store? Often, the need to just get things done makes a potentially good message go bad.
Find the message you want to send and then stop, look, and read what your customers see. If you are not projecting the professional business you see in your head, make changes and make the message one you intend to send.
Bob Griffin – The Original Bulldog