By Eric Demaree
I recently read an article by Joseph Anzalone of Asset Marketing Systems where he asked the question “What Sells?” To support his point of view, he refers to two airlines – United and Southwest.
Southwest may have the lowest fares, but it is not low fares alone that keeps them at the top of the airline industry. It is the totality of the experience they offer – fun, hip, friendly, sincere, smiling servants – and most important – they do a great job of getting us to where we want to go on time, with our bags waiting. They are in the service business.
You are in the service business too. Your customers are paying for an experience, not just a product, so you must do everything to enhance that experience and make it highly personal and memorable. These “lessons from the sky” as Joseph Anzalone puts it, can be applied to your businesses, every day.
At Carpet One Floor & Home our added value services – Healthier Living Installation System, The Beautiful Guarantee, EverGuard, Our Metal Warranties, Our Lead Management System, Our On-Line Marketing and Websites, Our University, and the best group of retailers in any industry, we truly have what we need to rise above all the competition.
We are truly unique and different, and when we execute flawlessly, letting every customer know what services we provide, we will “acquire and maintain” (and grow) our customer base.
Here is some advice that I have received from a variety of mentors and successful people over the course of my career. I hope you will take it to heart.
Everyone is unique and different – it is your responsibility to discover and understand what each customer values so you can make their shopping experience highly personal and memorable.
If you have something your competitor doesn’t (i.e. Healthier Living Installation System) focus on that. Offering authentic value-added services is the best way to make your competition irrelevant.
Never assume anything (you all know why). Probe, discuss and discover through an intelligently, well thought out conversation. Understand your customer first and then exceed their expectations by over promising and over delivering.
Don’t be afraid of new ideas and if you have a value added service, offer it. Don’t decide for your customers – let them decide. If you have a service concept that seems unusual, like Healthier Living Installation, offer it anyway.
Every point of contact must deliver flawlessly if you want to build a loyal base of life long customers. Every point of contact – your sales people, the way everyone answers the phone, the way you communicate through letters, emails, faxes, invoicing, marketing – the way your measurers work in the home, the way your installers address the customer – every point of contact is an opportunity to build a customer experience that is unique and powerful.
Ask yourself – – What do my customers and prospects really want? Perhaps, as Joseph Anzalone puts it, it’s just something different!
But I think it is much more. I think you have to deliver the unexpected and create for every customer what Robin Lewis says in his best selling book, The New Rules of Retail, “an experience so powerfully satisfying that it actually changes the consumer’s brain chemistry…and at the mere mention of the brand or product, it triggers an instant desire to get or go to that brand.” (Hmmm…I’m thinking In ‘N Out Burgers….)
Good Luck and Good Selling. Or rather, Good Serving.