Making a good first impression
Making a good first impression – I think first impressions in the retail world have a whole different meaning. To start, it involves the store associate forcibly greeting all patrons and ambushing them with a series of qualifying questions. Believe it or not, sometimes people are really just there to look around. I mean, can you imagine every person saying they bought at least one thing in every store they walked in? This is why sales managers can ease up on pressuring employees to sale. A smarter tactic would be to actually make a viable impact on the person’s shopping experience without selling them anything. If you give a first time shopper discount, that person will likely come and pay full price next time. Doing it the latter way makes the consumer feel like you have skin in the game.
Showcase your product knowledge
Showcase your product knowledge – There’s nothing worse than a salesman that can’t explain the product. When I try to order food from a place that does not speak English, it always sucks that the owner there didn’t think to hire one freaking person that can at least translate. The food at these places is always so phenomenal, but good luck trying to order something new if you don’t know how to say it in their language. Asking questions will frustrate you as they will always go for what other people usually pick.
Do what your competitors won’t do
Do what your competitors won’t do – The most annoying thing I see small gas stations are still doing is this $3.00 minimum crap for all card transactions. I mean, why even have $1 items in your store if you are going to have such a stupid rule? Stores do this because the merchant charges them a small marginal for all card transactions, therefore the fee essentially gets passed on to the customer. You will notice the big gas stations like Wawa and Racetrac do not have this policy. This is why every morning, out of protest, I walk right by that store to Wawa and make all my below $3 purchases. Don’t think you are going to win in today’s climate by screwing your customers. The consumer knows when they are being screwed, but most never complain, they just don’t come back.
I told a good buddy of mine who runs a business that complaints are outliers. He wanted me to explain this in more detail, so I did. I said, “When you hear a complaint they are like roaches, where there is one there is probably another even though you can’t see it. It’s not always the things that people say to you directly that should worry you, it’s what they won’t say to you directly that should concern you.” My buddy at the time was delivering a poor service, but just couldn’t see why his clientele was diminishing. The quality of the product mediocre at best, the prices were ridiculous. To make matters worst, his competition was miles away and his clients still chose to make the journey. These are all red flags that many self-absorbed entrepreneurs can’t wrap their heads around.
Adapt to adversity
Adapt to adversity – The pandemic put a lot of businesses, particularly the small ones, in a very situation. It literally felt like the government was inadvertently sabotaging businesses by limiting their capacity. It doesn’t help that a war and inflation followed soon after COVID-19. What was more surprising than the back to back fiascos was the ingenuity of small business owners adapting to the new normal conditions. Places that didn’t deliver, now deliver. Places that didn’t accommodate for outdoor seating, now offered this is as a premium service. Businesses that required you be in an office now fully accept their workers working from home. An old buddy of many started a portable tire service business. We all remember the little makeshift screens to block COVID-19 droplets showing up in every business. All these adaptations propelled us to where we are today, which is basically a good in-between. We know COVID-19 is in the rearview, but we have no clue what pop up on the dashboard at this moment. It is important to be flexible as business and make the proper pivots to put in the best position.
Read the customer’s mind
Read the customer’s mind – This sounds like a Jedi mind trick, but it can be achieved on even the smallest scale. Big companies use technology and data to predict your next transactional action. They do this by studying your digital footprint online, almost like a hunter follows the poop to find their prey. Well, this can be achieved without money or technology. For instance, a while a back ago, I found myself working at a small corner store as a part-time gig. It took me about 2 weeks to memorize the prices of each item, which was necessary because our store did not have a bar scanner. A couple of weeks go by, and I begin to familiarize myself with the regulars and the items they buy. I got so good at it that it was almost like I was reading their minds, when the truth is, we are all creatures of habit.
In a small store like the one I worked at, you knew who your smokers were, and you know who your drinkers were. You knew what time each regular would show up and the amount they would spend. If all that can be done with pure human intuition, then ANY person with a business and a brain can figure out to read their customer’s mind. I just went through how it can be achieved the old school way, but today we all have so much more tools to track this Information more efficiently. Heck, you still have small amusement parks that still use the little clickers to keep track of how many guests enter an attraction. Simply, it can be done.