These final lessons will help you to be a better leader in your business.
Before I begin, let me say that the Charleston store we visited had only opened two days prior to our visit. This doesn’t excuse anything I will share with you. But it helps to explain a portion of it.
The shop is exactly what its name implies: A small shop that stocks about two dozen large-sized metal containers of olive oils, balsamic vinegar, and specialty items such as white and black truffle oil.
You can also find other foods like gourmet chef mixes, stuffed olives, and peppers, as well as sea salts.
The store is on King Street. It’s the main commercial street in Charleston. We walked past it twice while looking for it.
What needs to change?
You’ve likely already noticed that once you start to like “our” marketing, it is difficult to look at an advertisement, a sales letter, or an entire company and not see five to six areas that could be improved immediately. These are things we would quickly call “low-hanging fruits.”
Lorie and I were in the shop, so we took turns walking around, sort of like “dueling banjos.”
These are the five ideas that we shared with staff members at the office, but not in any particular order.
1. Half-Position-You can buy a full-sized or half-size of any product, but half-portion bottles have yet to arrive, so they can only sell the full size. We (and others) weren’t able to buy as many varieties. We suggested that you use the full-portion bottles halfway and sell them at half price.
2. This should have been obvious. There were many varieties, and it was difficult to choose which one to buy. Most people would purchase a single bottle to save the trouble of choosing one.
3.Give us our Daily Bread.
4. What’s for dinner?-Anyone who buys unique flavored olive oils likes to eat. People who enjoy cooking are also known for their love of eating. Why not offer cooking classes where you can prepare the same recipes using the ingredients that are available in the grocery store? The classes would cost people money, but they’d also pay more to purchase the ingredients to make the recipes at home.
5. Build the List-Nowhere in the sales process did anyone attempt to obtain our contact information. You have heard me repeat this many times, and I will repeat it: The only thing that you can replace is your relationship with customers. If you don’t communicate with your customers regularly, it’s impossible to even begin building that relationship. Without their contact information, you won’t be able to do this. Get e-mail addresses so you can send out a monthly newsletter, invites to cooking classes, weekend getaways, or even an invitation for an “olive oil club of the month” to allow customers from far away to earn revenue each month.
Get up and take charge!
These five ideas were actually embraced by the staff at the store, including the manager. This is a practice that I avoid due to its predictable results.
They then informed me that they could not implement one single one of their ideas because they had to first check with the owner.
Unfortunate. It’s unfortunate. They could have implemented the following suggestions immediately: (1) Sell half-filled jars at the correct price; (2) Test the buy-2-get-1-free deal and measure its results; (3) Go out and buy some bread; (4) Start collecting contact information.
This is largely down to staff training. Let your employees know how flexible they are in being innovative and reward those who contribute to the company’s success.