Today we welcome back Malcolm Owens to Small Business Owner. Following some recent experiences and observations Malcolm is keen to share his insights with you and get your thoughts. Welcome back Malcolm.
Please do not complain to me about a tight market, poor sales, dwindling store traffic and reducing profits when the biggest problem in your business could be you.
How do small business operators expect to succeed and make money when, in some cases, it appears that they are doing absolutely everything possible to lose the sale?
Here’s a couple of examples.
Example 1. My passion and hobby is restoring classic cars. I contacted a specialist about replacing all of the rubber seals (doors, windows, headlights etc). This costs $1500+. I contacted them and asked if they have a ‘car pack’ for my type of car.
They emailed back a price list and said work it out and let us know. I asked them because I didn’t know what I wanted! If they had spent five minutes cutting and pasting a list and said ‘here’s what you need’ I would have given them my credit card details the same day.
It wasn’t about money. I would have paid what they asked. They deal with a specialist market and limited customers yet they were not prepared to do the bare minimum to secure a sale. I have 7 classic cars, surely I could be considered as a reasonable prospect?
Example 2. After Christmas my son had cash and wanted to buy a flat screen TV. We went off to a retailer offering ‘service, advice and the right price’. As one of the very few customers in the store that morning, we stood by the display and tried to catch the eye of one of the 10+ staff members. The first replied with ‘not my department’, the second was too busy taping up a box.
I went to the counter where two young men were sitting on the counter peacocking to the girl on the register. I asked for assistance and one rolled his eyes and dragged himself off the counter. I said don’t bother and left to purchase elsewhere.
For those of you that are doing a great job you can feel good that the competition is handing you their customers on a plate. For the rest I have no sympathy. Spending money on advertising is wasted if you are not prepared to do the basics correctly. Look at your business through the eyes of the customer and see what you need to improve. Most of it is easy, a better attitude and a smile, and the good news is it’s free.
What are you going to do today to ensure you don’t lose your customers?