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Small Businesses Can Sell the Black Friday Way

black_fridayHere we are … it’s Black Friday – the day when, historically, retailers get into the black. So they’re hoping that people shop, shop, shop.

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marylynnBlack Friday has almost become a sporting event. I just don’t enjoy shopping that much so it’s not for me. But plenty of people sure do enjoy trying to find that irresistible bargain.

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georgeI don’t like standing in line for anything but I especially don’t like doing it to spend money! Crowds are great – at a concert or a ball game!

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In honor of Black Friday, we want to talk about merchandising in your business. We’ll discuss four lessons you can learn from retailers about selling your wares.

Price check in Lane 123
If you’re a true retailer – you buy goods at wholesale and resell them – it’s easy to determine your cost.

If you’re a service business, it’s more difficult. But you have to know how much anything you sell costs or you risk charging too little. A lot of small business owners fail for this very reason. 

Attention K-Mart Shoppers. There’s a blue light special on …
K-Mart had scrapped this program. They brought it back earlier this year.

Surprise your good customers with a special deal now and then. We heard about a car dealer who would occasionally pick a customer whose car was getting serviced and give them their service that day for free. It created tremendous goodwill.

It would be a customer who had bought the car from him and did all their service with him. In other words, a customer on whom he made a lot of money. Occasionally giving them free service was just a small rebate.

But it paid dividends to the car dealer as well – he got a lot of word of mouth advertising.

Manager on duty to the front of the store please
The front of the store makes us think about the psychology of buyers. Have you ever noticed how most grocery stores have a fairly similar layout?

Research shows that most people walk into a store and turn to the right. So what do you want to put in the front of the store on the right side?

High margin items, of course!

In a grocery store, you notice the milk and eggs are usually in the back – nowhere near the bread. They want you to walk through the whole store so you see more things you might buy on impulse.

Every business has customers who behave in similar ways. Get to understand how you can naturally show your customers more of your products and services.

Clean up in aisle 5
Just about every business that handles inventory ends up with some slow moving items. You need to clean them out so you can get new inventory in that will turn faster so you make more money.

The mistake some small business owners make is being afraid to discount an item – especially for lower than cost. But the sooner you get an item that isn’t selling off your shelf, the better.

Another version of this is displaying a discounted item with a full-priced item. Think about it …

How many times do you see a skirt that’s on sale displayed with a full-priced top?

You like the combination so you buy it. You may be able to do the same type of thing in your business.

Retailers have become pretty sophisticated at discounting items to draw people to their store. They know the law of averages means these people will buy a lot more than just the sale items. Find the lures to bring in your customers and you’ll be a bigg success!

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Please join us next time when we’ll look at the only three ways to get more done. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Are You Fishing for Customers in the Wrong Hole?

“If you want to catch a trout, don’t fish in a herring barrel.” – Ann Landers

George said he’s been fishing at times when he would have been happy to catch any fish at all. He’s even had times when his friend a few feet away was catching all kinds of fish.

So he found out what his friend was using – what bait or lure – and changed his, but he still didn’t catch any fish. He concluded he was fishing in the wrong hole.
 


Fishing for business
Sometimes we experience the same thing when we’re fishing for business. We’re putting our line out but we don’t get any bites.

It may be that the customers aren’t where we’re fishing – they’re in another hole!

For example, maybe your customers are primarily shopping for your product or service online and you’re only marketing offline or vice versa.

People don’t use the internet for that

George remembers having a debate with one of his business managers. This happened to be a plumbing business. They were discussing how to allocate advertising dollars between various media. George thought they needed a bigger online presence. His manager insisted that customers wouldn’t go online if they had a plumbing emergency.

After surveying calls that came in, the manager reported back to George that an overwhelming majority of the people who had called with a plumbing emergency during that time period had found them via the internet.

Sometimes we think we know where our customers are, but our perceptions are clouded by our own biases. Fortunately, there’s a way to find out for sure.

Today’s bigg action item – survey your customers.

Find out how they learn about new things. The odds are your future customers are probably a lot like your current customers.

How one car dealer did it

One example of this is a car dealer. He had the employee who pulled the customer’s car into the service bay record what radio station was playing. He analyzed this information to determine which radio stations to use.

Is there some way in your business to naturally find out what media your customers use? If there is, develop a system to track the information so you know in which hole to cast your line.

Work with your direct mail supplier

Here’s another example from George’s service businesses. His mailing service was able to take his customer lists and ping the national databases to see where their existing customers fit in. Then they had a good profile of the people to target with future advertising – target people who are similar to your existing customers.

Survey them directly

You may just have a survey form that your customers fill out. Offer them some incentive to take the time to complete your survey. It may be a product or service you offer that’s relatively inexpensive …

… or cut a deal with another merchant – maybe even work a trade – to offer an incentive to your customers (e.g. movies, dessert, or gas)!

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