What is it that you are trying to sell?
Every business is selling something – products or services, or both.
If you believe that the product or service is all that matters, then all of the businesses that invest in clean and bright showrooms, nice furnishings, and that sort of thing are wasting their resources. Really, I can’t imagine that many would think that.
The things mentioned, like a clean and bright showroom, are meant to convey an image to the potential customers. Design details like color and open spaces is used similarly. These are background for the sale, but they obviously matter.
If these things are so obviously important, think about how you are conveying information to the customers. Does word of mouth leave the customer with enough? Is the sales person covering the concerns of the customer related to your product or service in a way that the customer can relate to and draw comfort from? Is the customer even engaging a sales person when they come to your place of business?
In a large way you are probably missing the opportunity to engage with some, or many, of your customers. Some are interested in buying, but they don’t want to get involved with businesses that don’t care about them. Some just need better information to move them to buy.
There needs to be a smattering of details about your business that lets them know your values and lets them know about the specifics of products. Let them leave with something in their hand. Something to read and contemplate over coffee the next morning. Close the sale quickly if that’s possible, but also give the customer something to learn about you and your team, something to make them feel like they’ve made the right decision to buy from you. Something that will make them come back again and again.
Some of this can be done with paper based information, but more effective will be a digital presentation either from the web, or even on a thumbdrive. Giving the customers more than expected is just plain smart. How can you use these thoughts in your own business?
Business owners and managers often make the mistake of seeking an ideal marketing or advertisement plan that is unrealistic for their business because of cost or complexity.
Sometimes simple ideas, simple repetition of basic principled efforts work best.
So what foundation does your business have? Usually there are certain things about the business that are known and appreciated; dependability for example.
What do potential customers think of your business? Do they even know that you exist at the moment? Do they have a sense of what you stand for? Your principles and your intentions? What have you told them? What can they see?
What can be changed to create a better image, more visibility, and a better understanding of the positive attributes of the products and services you offer?
Think about it. Make notes and discuss the ideas with your associates. What you think is basic and well understood about your business may not register with the customers. They need to be told about it and then told again another time and in a different manner. It’s your job to make these concepts, ideas, and principles clear.
You know… Small business has a nice advantage as compared to the big mega-conglomerate businesses. The small business can stay true to it’s original purpose.
Recently I’ve been watching the big guys: Apple and Volkswagen, just to name two for example, stumbling in various ways. Today the FBI is arresting managers at VW for their deliberate fraud in disabling the emission systems on their diesel engine models for better performance. As regards Apple the harm isn’t that severe, but they’ve wandered from the idea of providing simple solutions. It isn’t easy anymore to use the products they sell. The more complex they make the products, the harder it is to use routinely. Maybe I’ll write something more complete about that another time. The point is that they can’t stop. They have to produce a new something to cause the market to swoon and buy. Success at any cost.
So I have become disillusioned with regard to some of my favorite companies. They just haven’t been able to maintain their personalities as they’ve grown to oversized proportions.
Some of the problem is their need to appease stockholders. Some is because they sell worldwide and have to deal with governments throughout the world. They are required to compromise their values to appease many authorities. But I think that the main issue is the need for growth combined with outsized profit expectations. Continue reading “Business Ethics – Small Business Wins”