Sunday, January 31, 2010

Personal Attention Does It Every Time.

It's hard for a restaurant that's not affiliated with a national chain to make it unless they have something very special. Quality of food and service are definitely the top contenders for gaining repeat customers.

But some of the best food I have ever had came from a restaurant where I never really felt comfortable or welcomed. But I have a place that I go to often and recommend to everyone where the food is mediocre but the ambiance and the attention is spectacular.

The owner of this Mexican restaurant always comes to the door to greet us. If he misses our entrance he will stop by the table to shake my hand. He treats us like we are his best customers and we really aren't. The bartenders and long-time staff do the same.

It's the owner and staff's personal attention that brings us back time and again and keeps us recommending this establishment to everyone coming into town to visit.

So business owners and professionals, single out your customers and learn their names. Take time to ask them about their family. You'll not only gain a friend but a loyal and appreciative customer.

Present Your Business in a Professional Manner

Walked into a local store the other day and the windows and walls were plastered with hand lettered (scribbled) signs and brochures. Specials on this and that all written in magic marker on regular sheets of paper.

How professional is that? It doesn't take a large budget to use your computer to do a simple sign layout and print it in color on your printer. Scribbled, hand-written signs indicate to your customers that you do not operate your business in a professional manner.

It cost very little to actually employ a graphics designer to help you put together attractive brochures and sale posters.

Business Hours Neet To Be Convient for Customers, Not Necessarily Employees.

When someone decides to go into any type of business venture we assume their motive is to serve the public successfully therefor creating profits, and making money. You cannot produce sales, income and profits unless people patronize your business and pay for your products and/or services.

Therefore if you would like to be successful, you should always set your business hours to meet the needs of your customers. The type of business and customer expectations usually demand when your enterprise is open and available to do business.

I know of too many small business that set their operating hours based on their and their employee's own convenience, therefor costing them business. If you are happy with status quo, that's fine. But don't ask how to improve your bottom line unless you are willing to make changes sometimes that may be inconvenient.

Advertising vs Marketing

A company I worked with recently was spending a good deal of money advertising their product in both print and direct mail. They were not getting the results they needed to justify the cost.

We put together a marketing program by bundling a few of their most popular products and creating a price leader for that particular bundle. We then created unique advertising promoting this particular bundle, placed the advertising where it would be seen by this company's target customers, trained the staff on responding to the responses for that bundle, AND initiated a system to track the responses and ad results.

We had created a marketing plan, not merely bought advertising.

Three Basic Reasons People Do Business With Youl

Price, convenience and perception are three basic reasons people do business with you. In a nutshell here is the breakdown of how it works.

People are usually looking for the best price on an item. that makes common sense. But sometimes convenience becomes more important. For example it's not worth the trouble to go to a supermarket for a loaf of "equal" bread even if it's cheaper. You will pay a certain amount more for the convenience of avoiding the supermarket.

The only time that price and convenience are outweighed is when a business has created a perception (true or not) that their products are superior and the price and lack of convenience may be justified. If their product(s) makes you feel good about using it, then you are willing to pay the premium. Examples being Mercedes or Lexus automobiles or something as simple as coffee from Starbucks as opposed to coffee from the corner gas station.

Where does your business fit in? If you are like many small business persons, you really don't fit in any of these. In order to increase your business, you need to decide which category you should position your business in and price your product(s) accordingly.

People and Business that offer a Service Could Take a Few Lessons, too!

We've talked about business that sell products and have storefronts and all the things they could do to improve their business and their customer's impressions of them. Most of the same principles hold true for people and business that sell only service. Such as real estate agents, mortgage brokers,advertising and insurance agents, etc.

Try these basic concepts on your website to help your business grow:
1. Be sure your website is easy to navigate and contact information readily accessible - don't make the customer search for a way to contact you
2. Put email addresses with every agent along with telephone numbers - some folks like to email, not call
3. Be sure your web pages load quickly, even on slower connections - most people are not going to sit and wait for a fancy multi-media page to load when they are seeking information
4. Check your own website often and from varied locations and computers to confirm how it loads and looks to others. The message you may be trying to get across may not be making it to your potential customers.

Take Care of Your Customers For Sure - But What About Your Employees?

Taking care of the customer is certainly one way to ensure repeat business, and customer referrals. But taking care of your employees is the way to ensure your business can continue to take care of your customers.

I've met too many business owners in my career that used employees as a necessary evil. People they must pay as little as possible to achieve the business owner's ultimate goals. And the real shame is that many employees of small business enjoy what they do to the extent that they put up with the ill-treatment given them by the owners.

With a very few exceptions all the investments I have ever made in people for my business have created returns many times over. There are always some bad apples that tend to make you a little shy of trusting employees too much, but overall my experience over 30 years has been over-the-top positive.

I found that if I respect and share with the people responsible for my business success, they will work hard to be sure my business is successful.

Take care of your employees and MOST of time, with your good supervision, they will take care of your customer and YOU!

RiverSouth Marketing

You've Got A Friend - In Business

Cross promotion is where two or more businesses agree to promote each others different products. This is a good way to build your business and to help other business owners build theirs.

But I like to use the term "relationship building" when your business success is helped along by others you tend to do business with. For example, if you get to know your banker and he provides good service for you, you will tell your friends and business associates about him and possibly create new business for the banker.

That also works in reverse; if you build a relationship with your banker and he knows and understands your business AND feels a connection with you he will probably be one of the best promoters of your enterprise in town. This is also true of your accountant, insurance agent, etc.

Build relationship on a personal level with others in the business world and those relationships can be a vital part of your businesses success and prosperity.

RiverSouth Marketing