Turn your customers into your salespeople!

by Halisi

The folks over at RestaurantMarketingblog wrote a 3-part series on questions restauranteurs should ask themselves to increase the effectiveness of their marketing.  The very first question struck me.  “What is your restaurant famous for?”  This is the key, folks.  No matter if you’re running a restaurant, a firm that provides services, a boutique or specialty store, or a non-profit you need to know, “what makes you so special”?

There’s a restaurant down the street from me that serves Italian and Mexican food…and they do neither exceptionally well.  Moreover, they’ve managed to stay in business for quite awhile.  This latest recession, however, has hurt them and I’ve heard they’re not doing so well, not surprising.  Folks are a lot more judicious with their spending cash during times like these.  What’s more, this change in thinking will stick with young adults perhaps throughout their entire lives.  Just as the generation that grew up during the Great Depression have a different outlook on expendable cash.  Consequently, you as a business owner, need to make sure that you have a niche that you do extraordinarily well and that you communicate that niche at every opportunity.

RetailMarketing-ShoppingThere’s a clothing store in Los Angeles  called CJ’s Elegance.  It has been in business since 1969 and is still going strong.  They only have one location.  They are known to have Neiman Marcus-quality customer service.  But unlike Neiman Marcus, they will make sure that your friend does not show up at the upcoming community event wearing the same thing as you.  They go beyond the call of duty with personal shopping and custom fitting.  These are services that you don’t find to often in today’s retail world.  CJ’s has been going strong with very little traditional advertising.  She promotes to her current customers, and her customers do the rest.

Last week I facilitated a strategic planning session for a new child care organization.  This isn’t an in-home child care business, but a major facility that, I imagine, spent 10s of thousands of dollars before they opened their doors.  When we got to the part of the session regarding competitive advantage they were stumped…but they didn’t know it.  The advantages they were listing were things that one would expect from any facility.  After more discussion about what the team actually did to create value for their two customers (parent & child) we discovered that they were creating a program and had totally underestimated its value in the marketplace.  Now they are refocusing more of their resources towards getting this new program up and running.  And they’re using this new program as a selling point to potential customers.  Because this program is unique and highly valued, parents will tout and help sell their facility.

So what are you famous for?  If you don’t know, then your customers won’t know.  In order for you to have your customers be your sales team you need to understand what makes you so special, and articulate that effectively every chance you get.  Soon your customers will be articulating it too.

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