Are we Delivering What we promise?
Updated: Oct 9, 2019
Is it really the internet? That’s the question this week. Is it really the internet that is driving customers away? There are so many factors at work. From political spats causing market uncertainty, natural disasters that keep peoples priorities elsewhere and an unstable economy working against us. Owning a business has never been for the faint of heart. Entrepreneurship is hard work and takes a willingness to look at opportunities when others look at problems. This includes when we may be part of the problem.
That might be a harsh statement to read. I get it! No one wants to think that they are a part of a problem, or adding to any problems, particularly in their business. Yet often when sales slump, or the traffic stops coming in the first question is not “what are we doing wrong or different than we were?” but rather, the thoughts seem to suddenly filter to outside sources. I’m no stranger to that same cycle. I recall thinking at times it must be the weather, it must be that the farmers are in the field. Funny thing was though, my competitors had people coming in the door that week. When I moved past thinking it must be everything around me, I would realize perhaps I hadn’t been posting on social lately, or sending out my weekly emails - I had let them slip through the cracks, from being too “busy”. I recently heard something when I was visiting my son a couple of weeks ago, the farmer and my dad were chatting and I heard them say something that was so simple yet so profound. “The only thing worse for business than having too much business is not having enough”. Here was two farmers just shooting the breeze and that hit me like a ton of bricks. So often in small businesses where the owners are “everyone” to the business. They are the sales person, the marketing team, the hire/fire person, the bathroom cleaner, the meeting attender, the person who holds it all together, so when we are in our busiest times of the year, rarely are we planting seeds for the quieter times.
There can be so many reasons as to why our sales dip, as I said, maybe we haven’t been consistently putting our message out, but maybe it’s something more. Maybe it’s something that we don’t see because we are there everyday. When is the last time you sent a mystery shopper through your business? When is the last time that you went through your business with mystery shopper eyes? We get so used to our surroundings that it often never occurs to us, that others may not be as attracted to our surroundings as they once were. I was at a training once, and the speaker said something that completed resonated with me, and has become part of a motto that I now use - “Our marketing is a promise we make to our clients and potential clients. Are you delivering on that promise?” What does this mean? It means that after we spend so much time working on crafting just the perfect brand, we create a stunning logo, we put out ads targeted to a perfect client, showcasing a beautiful showcase of products what are they met with, when they step inside the door? What is going to happen when they instead of finding a glamorous store are met with racks on racks of stunning clothing shoved in so tight that they can’t see what they are looking for. They are looking for a pet shop that promises the best in all things pet, yet they have a kennel in the middle of the room where they have rescue cats from a local humane society and the kennel hasn’t been cleaned in what looks like days, the odor catches the clients, and even elicits a cough. When is the last time you gave your store a paint job, or steam cleaned the carpets? We can get so “busy” in the day to day of being in business, that we often forget that others are only encountering us in brief moments, in small snippets of time. They don’t know the back story to that kennel. Maybe there had been five cats in that kennel, because four were already spoken for and had been picked up just a few moments before that new client walked in? Maybe you had a sewer back up, and the plumber is in the basement right at that moment fixing everything. A customer doesn’t know. But maybe, you’ve gotten comfortable in the surroundings, overwhelmed by the tasks that each day steals your attention, and things get added to the “I should get to that” list. We only have but a moment to capture the attention of a new customer (or an existing for that matter), are we ensuring each and every day that we have done everything that we can, to deliver on the promise that our marketing is making?