May 8/15, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 24
By Lisbeth Calandrino
When you first opened your business you most likely did everything by the book. You took your time completing tasks to make sure everything ran properly. Fast forward a year or two and the corners of that book were probably cut to save time and money.
Why do we take risky shortcuts in business, and where do these shortcuts usually happen? Do we only “fess up” when we are caught?
Here are five areas where we should stop taking shortcuts:
1. We pretend that social media doesn’t matter. I recently spoke at the Chicago Floorcovering Association’s product show. Most of the attendees were aware of social media and looking to learn new tips that would improve their relationships with their customers. For the “smart” businesses, there is no more pretending that putting up a social media site is all you have to do to have a successful site. You need a social media marketing strategy so you know what you want to achieve.
At the show, the audience shared some great experiences they had with social media and their customers. Social media matters if you are interested in building important connections with your customers.
2. Do you show a customer a cheaper product because you think she can’t afford the one she wants? How many times have we prejudged a customer because she didn’t look like she had enough money? The more experience we have, the more likely we are to prejudge.
Prejudging gives us a shortcut. Sometimes we are right and other times we’re wrong. For example, you are in the supermarket and there are four lines to the cashier. You decide to take the shorter one because you think it’s the quicker line. All of a sudden you notice the customer in front of you has about $500 worth of groceries. In this instance you assumed wrong; you’re now in the longer line.
3. We don’t believe in warranties so we don’t explain them to the customer. I cannot tell you how many times sales people have said, “Warranties don’t really matter, and they’re all lies.” As a certified carpet inspector, when we look at a complaint we look at the manufacturer’s warranty to see if the customer has followed the specified guidelines. If she hasn’t, the claim can be denied.
4. How many things do you put off until tomorrow? This is something we’ve all done. Putting things off only makes them worse, especially if we think it is going to make the other person unhappy or angry. While we’re antagonizing, our blood pressure soars and our stomach rumbles. Over the years, procrastinating only escalates the problem. When we put something unpleasant off we’re saying, “I can’t do it or I don’t want to do it.” This doesn’t raise your self-esteem—it just makes you feel more helpless. How about making a list and tackling those tough problems? In fact, make a list for the year and get at it. If you’re like most people, you probably have a list a mile long with things left over from last year.
5. Do you spend your time preserving the status quo? Nietzsche called this “amour fati”—loving one’s fate. In his final book Nietzche wrote, “One wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity.”
Taking shortcuts might seem like a quick fix, but it can ultimately hurt your business. Avoid the pitfalls and prosper.
Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.