So in order for me to give you a better understanding of this story and how it all boils down to business culture and marketing regardless of how big or small your business is, I will need to give you a rundown of my wardrobe. Due to the agency’s black and yellow branding, more than a quarter of my wardrobe looks like a bee painted it. I have numerous jackets, suit dresses, coats, scarves and all sorts of other dry cleanable items. Dry cleaner galore – hive style. For authenticity purposes, you can view a snippet of my wardrobe below.
So two days ago, I found myself in an annoying situation – I couldn’t find a clean jacket to wear to Melbourne’s flagship marketing event – Small Business Big Marketing. Although this problem might seem quite small and insignificant to most people, I wanted this problem solved. So – I grabbed all the stuff that I needed dry cleaned and chucked it in a large dress bag, I had in mind to get one little black jacket dry cleaned for the next day, the rest could wait.
Around noon my large dress bag in hand I go to the local shopping centre which has a main dry cleaner and I open up my bag in front of the owner explaining that I need this little jacket dry cleaned if possible for tomorrow. I knew that this might not be possible and I was prepared to move to plan B (more shopping) if required.
I go up to the counter and explain my issue and the response is “No I can’t help you, I need to fit this in within the plans of my business and this doesn’t fit in till Friday afternoon... may be.” I will not elaborate on the rudeness of the exchange but I’d rather point out something that fascinated me: I had another 12 items or so in this large bag – it was clear that I dry clean a lot and that satisfying me or at least being friendly and approachable might mean some repeat business which dry cleaners thrive on.
What provoked this reaction (which led to a negative business outcome) and how can these mistakes be avoided?
1. Ego – Many businesses are bottom line focused or process focused rather than customer focused, the ‘they need us’ mentality. Too many business owners make their business about them and how they feel. Nowadays the business which will succeed and thrive will be the business which is entirely customer focused. Customers and their needs come first and solutions are created accordingly – we are here to solve a problem. What happens if we don’t? There is a myriad of choice out there for customers to pick from.
2. Blinkers – I call them the ‘business blinkers’ – the inability to pick up customer cues and see how much additional business you can get from a client because you are so focused on your own feelings during the exchange. This business owner was focused on the one jacket and didn’t pick up that I had many more items to dry clean – at $10.00 an item – that’s $120.00 of dry cleaning every fortnight. Understanding your sales process is a key component of your business success. You want to understand how and why your customer shops, when they will need you, where do they go before and after transacting with you and ultimately – use that information to solve their problem and build a long term relationship in view of repeat business.
My story ended with me going to a store and grabbing yet another jacket and many other items – which are also to be dry cleaned – so should I say that my local dry cleaner has a thing or two to learn about marketing? Marketing is everything you do and everything you don’t do – from branding to customer service. I hope that my dry cleaning adventure illustrated the importance of this statement, have a think about it next time you have this one go at landing a new client.
Would you like to know how you can improve your approach? Get in touch with me and I will be glad to help.