Tuesday, February 25, 2014

People Do Business With People

A friend of mine is going through a change with her business. She opted out of a franchise agreement and is now going independent.

She had a momentary bout of panic when the franchise webpage listed her store as "closed". She wasn't closed. She was open. Just doing business under a different name. How were people going to find her?

After we discussed all the steps for getting the new name out (press releases, ads, new website, owning her Google Place, contacting her networks to update her info with them, emails, Facebook, Twitter, etc), I reminded her of one simple thing:

She was the same person doing the same business in the same location with the same Core Values and the same vision and mission.

None of that had changed. And by her own estimate, 90% of her customers did business with her, not the name on the sign. All the extra advertising and on-the-pavement sales she had planned for the transition would help her pick up that other 10% in no time at all. In fact, based on what we discussed, I expect she'll be at 110% within a couple months.

People do business with people.

You can do all the advertising you want, but if your people aren't performing, your business will suffer. Likewise, if your people are outstanding, you can overcome almost anything. It is your people that get customers to come back and bring their friends.

Put your money into your people and no matter what curve balls come your way, you'll knock 'em out of the park.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS Put more emphasis on hiring the right people to begin with. That makes the training easier. Yes, training. If your business relies on repeat and referral traffic, your training budget should far exceed your advertising budget.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Best Ways to Grow Your Facebook Reach

Everyone is buzzing about the Facebook Fraud.

Real or not, paying for FB to "promote" your page is not a smart way to grow your business.

You need FANS not "Likes". You want people who will engage and share. You want people who want to hear from you. You want people who want to see you succeed. You want people who will be your evangelists, bringing others to see you.

You cannot buy those people on Facebook. You have to earn them one at a time.

How?

Post Relevant Stuff: Tell them interesting information that is important in their lives. If you are a running shoe store, post information about training tips, upcoming events, injury prevention, etc. If you are a baby store, talk about safe sleeping, car seat installation, and potty-training. If you are an electronics store, post about innovations and upgrades and whether or not they are of value.

Post Shareworthy Stuff: Post things that no one else knows. Post things so cute and funny (while also relevant) that your current fans want others to see it. Post things that just beg to be shared. Share things to your page. If you found it Shareworthy, your fans will, too.

Post Engaging Stuff: Ask for opinions (and act on the results). Ask for thoughts and ideas. Naming contests, polls, and guessing games are engaging and fun.

Post Emotional Stuff: Speak to the heart of your customer. What is her desire in relation to your products? Sell toys? Speak to the growth and success of her child. Sell jewelry? Speak to the reaction on her face when she opens the box. Sell mattresses? Speak to the feelings of finally getting a good night's sleep.

Nostalgia is a strong emotion for businesses that have been around the block a few decades. Post stories and pics about the olden days (if you think FB is only for the younger crowd, post a pic from the 60's and get ready to be amazed).

Facebook, to truly be effective for your store, is not a numbers game. It is a message game. Win the message and you'll have all the numbers you want.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS The big question is, "How often should I post?" To be most effective you should post at least once a day, but only when you have the right message and something new to say.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Negotiating About Price

This article from RetailCustomerExperience.com should be required reading of anyone working indie retail.

We all get told at one point or another, "Your price is too high!"

This article gives you clear responses that that anyone can use to handle such a situation.

(Reader's Digest version for those lazy people who don't want to read a five minute article... ask the customer, "What would you like to give up?" and put the ball in their court for why your price may be higher. You quickly learn what is important to your customer and you open the door for a discussion that makes your customer more informed.)

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS You really should read the whole article because there are a few more steps that anyone on your staff can follow.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tired of Saying No?

Everyone wants a discount. Everyone wants a deal. They bombard you daily. Can you match this price? Can you give us this break?

You're tired of saying no. Me, too.

What if instead you started saying Yes?

Yes, I can do that. Yes, I can offer that. Yes, I can do something.

What would it take to say yes? Higher prices and margins? Support from your vendors? Lower expenses? Guts?

There are certain aspects of retail that lend themselves perfectly to saying yes. Food service is one. If you sell food, whether a sit-down restaurant in a fancy part of downtown or an ice cream stand on the boardwalk, you should set your prices high enough that you can say yes all day long to whatever gets asked.

Don't advertise that you say Yes. Just do it. Say Yes out of the generosity of your heart. You'll feel better (Yes always feels better than No). Your customers will feel better. They'll start telling everyone else about your generosity. New customers will flock to see you because of that generosity.

When you say Yes more than you say No you'll get more customers. Period.

Those of you selling non-consumable goods are tuning out. Stay with me. There is something you can do, too.

Generosity is contagious. You will be surprised what you can give when you start looking to give. Can you give free delivery? Free giftwrapping? Free extended warranty? Free balloons with your logo on it? Free assembly? Free tune-ups? Free shoe laces? Free yard stick? Free gift with purchase? Free information? Free instructions? Free tips? All of that should be built into your business from day one.

When someone asks for something, rather than tell them No, tell them what you can do. Say Yes. It feels better.

(Once again, though, don't advertise it. Just do it. Give, give, give, and let your customers advertise your generosity for you.)

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS Yeah, you might be thinking that you can't raise your prices enough to cover any generosity. I'm telling you that you can. The formula is in my first Freebie, the one that launched Phil's Forum Publishing LLC, and it is still as relevant and effective today as it was the day I wrote it. If you aren't using my Pricing for Profit tips, you're leaving money on the table and not giving yourself enough room to say Yes.

PPS Notice I did not say "match prices". You don't have to match prices to give generously. There are other valuable services you can offer. In fact, you don't have to give away anything. But if your current strategy isn't working or you are feeling beat up by the requests, this is another way to go. If you're in food service, this is one of the best ways to go.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

It's the Super Bowl! Don't be Boring!!

Tonight is the Super Bowl. Half of the talk will be about the game. Half of the talk will be about the advertising.

Everyone who spent the $4 million for a commercial to air tonight is hoping for one thing - Talk.

Good or bad.

Just talk about the ad. Please.

We will be talking about the best and the worst ads, which gets those companies what they really want - extra print and air time for their $4 million. Even the really bad ads, unless they are horribly offensive, will generate business for the companies who aired them, thanks to all the extra talk.

The worst thing any of the advertisers can do tonight is be boring, be plain, be somewhere in between the best and worst ads. $4 million and no talk. Sad.

The lesson here is simple. If you want people to talk about you, you cannot be boring, middle-of-the-road, play-it-safe. You have to get out there and do something that will get people to talk.

Watch the game (and ads) tonight. Watch the talk tomorrow. The ads most talked about will be the most emotional ones and the most surprising ones.

Can you be more emotional and more surprising in your business? It will get people talking.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS The emotional ads that resonate with your Core Values always get the best response. Always.