In today’s world, business is moving faster than ever and technology has changed the way the game is played. Small, specialty retailers are held to standards created by Amazon , Uber and other convenience companies. This makes it tough when you are a small business that is built on service, one-to-one relationships and technical expertise. How can anyone keep up?
Believe it or not, there is more opportunity than ever before, but only for the few who are willing to rethink some of the basics.
If you want to grow profits and win in today’s economy, here are three things that you have to understand:
- Understand the Mindset of Today’s Consumer
If there is one thing that we know about today’s consumer, it’s that they want it easy. Amazon and Uber have trained us in this… Now, I don’t know if you have shopped around recently, but it’s really hard to buy a fireplace! A fireplace is a technical product that people buy every 20 years—this means that customers don’t buy them often enough to be good at it!
It would be wise to throw everything you have into making it as easy as possible to buy from you.
Lee Lefever talks about “the curse of knowledge” and every single one of us fights it. If you think about industry knowledge on a scale from 1-10, we operate on the high side the curve. So often, we get frustrated because customers, “just don’t get it,” when we explain our products; but the problem isn’t them—it’s us! When we try to make it simple for customers we take our 9-10 knowledge and maybe get it down to a 6-7. But customers buy at a 1 or a 2. The companies that can speak at a 1 or a 2 are the companies that will win. For more on this, make sure to check out “The Art of Explanation” and “Building a Storybrand”.
I assure you that your company loses more jobs to indecision than competition because people are confused out of buying your products.
If you want to make it easy, explain three things to every customer that walks in your door (and do it at a 1 or a 2):
- Why this particular product will solve their problem
- The steps that are needed to complete their project
- What they need to do to get started
Remember, your job is to make it so stupidly easy to buy from you that there is no excuse not to.
- Create a Game Plan for Your Team to Follow
Zig Ziglar is famous for saying, “if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time,” and without a game plan for your team, you are aiming at nothing. Is it any wonder that your people aren’t hitting the mark?
You can give them a mark to aim at by establishing some basic processes for your team to follow and goals for them to strive towards. Today’s customers have unbelievable power and one misstep by a team member will be broadcast to thousands through online reviews.
Most companies don’t clearly communicate expectations and processes to their team members, leading to frustration and burn out. Do you think you would sell more if your team members knew exactly what was expected of them and the exact steps they needed to follow to succeed? I think so.
Here are three things you need to craft a game plan for your team:
- Job Profile: Give them a written description of their Key Areas of Responsibility and what your expectations are in those areas
- Sales Process: Document the steps that you want them to take with a customer from when they walk in the door to after they have made the purchase.
- Scoreboard: Give your team a scoreboard (updated weekly) so they can see if they are winning or losing—hint, reward them when they win!
The stakes today are too high to do anything less. Dave Ramsey says, “to be unclear is to be unkind” and we should heed those words. Giving your team clarity like this will empower them to serve more customers and turn those customers into raving fans who tell all of their friends.
If you want this for your team, but don’t know where to start, check out the free eBook, “Roadmap to Success: 5 Executable Steps to Grow Your Company in the Changing Landscape”.
Download it for free at: www.itsfiretime.com/roadmap.
- Educate and Disrupt Yourself Constantly
We need to constantly be at work growing our knowledge base and questioning the status quo of our businesses. I would argue that the day we stop learning is the day we start dying. We have no excuse in today’s world because, with a few clicks on a computer, we can learn from the best thinkers in the world—and this doesn’t cost anything except for our time.
There are so many incredible mediums of learning that are out there: books, youtube videos, articles… But I would recommend podcasts above everything. Podcasts are free, they’re topical, and they can be easily shared with your team members. Companies used to pay tens of thousands of dollars to get the content that podcasts offer for free every day—it is super stupid to not take advantage of it.
If you want to start motivating your business with content from the best of our industry, you have to subscribe to the Fire Time Podcast (www.itsfiretime.com/podcast or Apple/Droid Podcast Apps) that launches on September 4th. This is a podcast by the hearth industry and for the hearth industry with every episode set up to give you the tools you need to win in today’s economy. Don’t get left behind by not taking advantage of this free resource. Be sure to subscribe after September 4th.
You can win in today’s economy if you understand these concepts. Customers want it easy, so you need to make it easy. Your team wants to win, but first they need a game plan. It is up to you to be out in front, learning and leading towards the unknown.
There is more opportunity out there than ever before and it is waiting for you to take it.