Thoughts for the Small Business Owner, Both Online and Physical Locations

In the early 80’s, a company hired me to turn around a couple of their locations that were not profitable. And, as they where starting to franchise their services, train those new franchisees. One document included in the new hire packet opened with a lesson called “The smiling customer”. The story is about a person visiting a business that has employees spending their time chatting amongst themselves. Employees that are short and coming across scripted and impersonal. The customer continues to smile through it all, not complaining so the owner doesn’t ‘see’ the disappointed customer. The story ends with the customer getting the last laugh as the business owner spends and spends on coupons trying to get customers in the door. A small business must be 1% better at 100 things, mind the small things as they add up.

When it comes to marketing, there are two areas I always push. Think at least three months in the future and be where you shouldn’t me. There will always be marketing of you and your business that you need to do just-in-time, like keeping daily tweets going out. I’m talking more about holiday and seasonal promotions. Almost no print media think beyond the next month unless your buying a year long campaign so they wont come to you until the month before. That little amount of notice wont give you time to ramp up to get a full impact of your dollars spent. A plan is a good thing. Get a calendar, look ahead, then count backward for when things need to happen so everything is in place on the selected promotion day.

Do this even before you open your doors for the first time. Get involved with what is going on around your area, get the word out that your coming. Show up at events and talk with people. Get them connecting you to the business your opening early on. When you open, hopefully you will be too busy to start making friends in the area so get ahead of it.

Shifting from brick locations to online product sales –

When Apple launched the iTunes App Store, predictably, the developers we were working with for Newton and Palm software thought there was no longer a need for marketing.

Continue reading Thoughts for the Small Business Owner, Both Online and Physical Locations

someone is selling – someone is buying

In every situation, someone is making a sale. Even when it’s a mutually agreeable solution – at a point in the negotiation, someone is selling.

I was reminded of this as I ate breakfast this morning. My puppy sat and stared at me. She always asks for the sale. She is always ready for me to speak first. Since, who speaks first looses the advantage. A lot of classes will say that whomever speaks first ‘looses’. I don’t believe they have lost, but they have lost the upper hand.

In the case of my pup, she introduces her request for me to give her what she wants by sitting close and staring me down. She will push just a little by scooting forward just a bit or licking her lips. If she whines, she has lost the advantage because she has forced my hand to correct her. If she just stays on me with her poor puppy look (lowering the ears and tipping the head is a pretty good emotional play she can use without speaking) she might get me to do something.

I can tell her to go away. She will look down for a bit, maybe even walk away. But, she wont give up. No, this isn’t because we have fed her from the table before. It is because she wants something and is motivated to force an action out of us. She is hoping that we will go with what she wants. If we push her away, we have spoken and she has an objection to handle. She may react with a come back sad look or like I said before, she will round the table and come back at another attempt. She knows her options in advance.

In a puppy’s case, she may not have a full plan in mind but she has it in her head what she may do to get to where she wants to be in the end. Lessons learned… go in knowing what you want to be in the end. Plan on a lesser, what your willing to give up, throw always, in case things get tough. Plan, even if for a few minutes in the shower or the elevator… think who your selling to and why they may object to joining you in being a happy client. Maybe have someone else through objections at you. To make a sale, you must be able to handle every objection as smoothly and thoughtfully as possible.

With a plan in your head, you can access your pitch quickly without hesitation. Allowing a short elevator ride with someone that you just met and appear to need what you have becomes a possible sale. You have seconds to handle objections, know what they may be going in. Lowering your ears is handling the objection, whining looses the sale.