Your Business With New Eyes
By Debbie Allen, All Rights
improve your eyesight, start to look and think like a customer. ~ Debbie Allen
business image is like a symphony orchestra. No single instrument
determines an orchestraís success or failure. Likewise, the image you
project is not based on a single business card, brochure, or display, but
on the total impression created by all these things and more.
operate on a nonverbal, emotional level.
They immediately pre-sell or undermine your message.
They create a negative impression or positive feeling in your
customerís eyes and mind in a matter of seconds. Therefore, carefully
building your image will communicate your professionalism and attention to
detail as well as numerous other characteristics of your business.
messages can work against businesses as well, tearing down customersí
interest or confidence. No
doubt at some time in the past youíve visited a store or office and felt
so ill at ease that you didnít stay long.
Perhaps you observed other customers leaving quickly, often without
the other hand, you have probably also experienced a business in which you
felt good from the moment you entered. You noticed that customers seemed
to linger and enjoy themselves, and they carried purchases home with them
when they left.
as you have an opinion about these two businesses, everyone who does
business with you has an impression of your business.
They have a feeling about your professionalism, your products and
inventory, your marketing and sales approach, and your service.
These impressions may be conscious or subconscious, but they
equally affect how your customers use your business.
Creating a Positive Business Mood
Business today isnít just about buying. Itís about stimulating
the senses, taking people on adventures, involving them in exciting
experiences. Your businessís image--sights, sounds, and smells,
etc.--create a mood that encourages clients to either shop and recommend
your business to friends, or to run screaming for the door.
about a business that you love to visit.
What prompts you to go there?
And not only go there, but also drop some hard-earned cash?
Chances are this store appeals to many of your senses.
If you take a second, you will realize that you enjoy not only how
it looks, but how it sounds and smells as well. This mood setting is
what keeps customers in the store for longer.
Weldon, a professional speaker, taught me the importance of the little
things in business. He asks
his audience, ďHow many of you have ever been bitten by an elephant?Ē
No one raises a hand. Then
he asks, ďHow many of you have ever been bitten by a mosquito or an
gnat?Ē Everyone raises a hand. The
point is it is not the big things that hurt.
Itís a lot of little things that hurt our business.
This is so true when it comes to all of the details that make up
the impression of your business. Many
successful businesses are just ordinary businesses that know how to use
details to market extraordinarily.
are no longer comfortable shopping for products and services from
businesses that appear stuck in the past.
Their standards are higher, and they have too many other options.
If your business isnít attractive, well lit, welcoming, and
unique, you donít stand a chance.
the same time, retail competition is fierce and coming from every
direction. Now there are big
box corporate retail stores, large discounters becoming smarter at niche
marketing, airport shopping malls, and the Internet.
There is so much out there that customers are in retail overload.
retailers and other businesses to survive in this competitive market, they
must ďchange or Die.Ē This may be a strong message, but small
businesses are dying across the nation everyday.
They are becoming the Jurassic Park of our business future.
Businesses that have been around for years are closing their doors. Business was good for so many years that they got used
to doing business the same old way. But for a business to survive it must
change with the times. If you are not focusing on your core customer base
and embracing the latest technology you are headed down a dead-end
Marketing Is Like Eye Candy
You communicate much of your business image through visual marketing.
displays and unique marketing are like eye candy.
A great display will demand you customersí attention and get them
reaching for their wallets.
not just any display can do that; it must be creative and displayed with
form and style to attract the quick moving eye of the customer.
The display may show motion, strong color and/or an overall
accessorized package, but it must compel your customers to part with some
of their hard-earned cash.
is an example. Grocery shopping is one of my least favorite things to do;
yet a unique store can make me change my mind.
In Arizona there is a wonderful chain called AJís Fine Foods.
This company took a basic grocery store and turned it into a visual and
culinary delight. The stores
are beautifully designed throughout, have incredible floral departments,
and display the fruits and vegetables like art pieces.
Grocery shopping is suddenly an adventure and a delight.
example shows that no matter what type of business you are in, you can
make it a visual treat for your customers, whether inside a store or
through a marketing campaign.
for the Better
Many business owners become complacent with a certain level of success.
They accept things the way they are and donít consider examining
things so that they can change for the better.
If you are thinking like this, you could be threatening your
big guys arenít all that smart. It
amazes me how some very large corporate stores donít have a clue about
what they are doing wrong in their customersí eyes. Many large
corporations that have been in business for years are losing ground and
losing millions. The problem
is, these corporations didnít change, they just stayed the same.
They got along well for years without a strong brand identity, but
now times have changed. New competition moved in with a fresh approach and an image
that was focused to their customer base, which makes them stand out in the
crowd. Now those old
department stores, hardware stores, bookstores, and travel agencies are
scrambling to stay alive. They
are closing locations and cutting back on staff, which is only making
matters worse. They should
have opened their eyes and ears to their customers years ago.
good example of a corporation that woke up and changed for the better is
Gap/Banana Republic. Back in the 80s their customer focus was much
different than it is today. They
made a concerted effort to rediscover their customer core.
Then they made changes that reflect a different mood inside the
stores. Banana Republic, for
example, originally used old jeeps in their stores to create a safari
theme. Although interesting
and unique for a while, this focus made their niche and market too small.
Banana Republic recently revamped, eliminating the safari
accouterments and bringing in a more sophisticated appearance and product
Republic and Gap both updated their image to capture a whole new
generation of buyers. The Gap
now sells to a much larger audience of customers, including the offspring
of current customers with BabyGap and GapKids.
The same corporation owns Old Navy.
This store has a strong focus on servicing their customers and has
keyed into their wants, needs, and concerns in a big way.
Companies such as this are clearly on the cutting edge of the
retail market today.
these stores illustrate, the driving force in business today is that the
customer is demanding to have it their way.
They may not be getting the same personal service they once got,
but they have taught smart businesses to offer a way to let the customers
serve themselves. For example
customers are shopping on the Internet, having packages delivered to their
homes. Customers are not walking into banks and service stations as often,
now that they can use ATM machines and self‑service gas pumps.
Credit cards use is at an all time high because they make it easy
to just swipe and go.
is changing at an alarming rate. Are
you changing your business to keep up or are you falling behind? Making a
change to improve in your customersí eyes may be as simple as taking
down dirty worn out signs or as detailed as re-vamping the entire image of
your business with a strong brand identity.
If you want to stay in business today you must never stop
Is the Key to Creating Your New Vision
your business at a stand still, not moving to the next level of success?
Have you lost loyal customers over the past year?
Do customers walk through your business without making a purchase?
Donít blame it on the weather, the location, or the economy. Take a look
at your business from the outside-in.
Strive to see it with new eyes--your customersí eyes.
Re-evaluate all the details that create your overall image. Open
your eyes and be honest with yourself. It may be that your business needs
a serious mood makeover. It
may take some drastic and painful changes to turn your business around.
Sometimes we have to plow into that brick wall before we can see
what is right in front of our noses.
is just not that easy today; you must try harder. Business is changing by
the speed of light. You must
make changes faster and work smarter than ever before to survive in the
growing competitive marketplace.
Research shows that
over 70% of all buying decisions in mass merchandise outlets are made at
the point-of-purchase. You
never get a second chance to make a first impression!
The Top 20 Ways To Boost Your Business
prepared to Ötake ACTION and make CHANGES to get
your business through your customerís eyes.
attention to details and show your best all the time.
consistent with all marketing materials.
your business card with a strong logo and quality card stock.
all other marketing materials in a cohesive manner.
fax, e-mail, and web site to your business card and stationery.
matching forms, envelopes, etc.
a unique brand identity with a catch praise that is recognizable.
a separate phone line for your fax, credit card orders and Internet.
your telephone and listening skills.
professional signage; never use a sloppy handwritten sign.
four-color postcards or direct mail pieces to potential customers.
the latest technology and get your company up to speed.
an effective website, keep it up to date and never stop improving it.
copy anyone - be unique and creative.
products professionally and make them visually exciting.
consultants to improve your company and take it to the next level.
like a pro - join at least two professional organizations
and support others, it comes back ten times over.
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Bio: Debbie Allen is one of the worldís
leading authorities on sales and marketing. She is the author of five
books including Confessions of
Shameless Self Promoters and
Skyrocketing Sales. Debbie
has helped thousands of people around the world attract customers like
crazy with her innovative, no-cost marketing strategies and secrets to
sales success. Her expertise has been featured in
Selling Power and
Sales & Marketing Excellence.
Sign up for her FREE 6-week e-Course
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