A friend of mine likes to say that he has all of the answers, but unfortunately they are to the wrong questions. Which is unfortunate for him, but by answering the right questions you can make a positive impact on your staff, store, and results.
Here are seven questions whose answers could potentially dramatically improve your business and sales results.
1. What two or three things, that if everyone on your team could or would do better, will have a direct impact on your sales results?
Why ask this question: Sometimes what we’re currently focusing aren’t always the areas that will have the biggest impact. I once asked a client this question and he quickly identified a number of things that would raise his stores’ average sale and conversion rate.
2. What words would your employees use to describe you?
Why ask this question: Go ahead and write down those words before I explain why. I’ll wait. Okay, ready? How many of those words relate to improving the staff and results? I often hear words like “fair” and “fun” or “serious.” Two good words, but I also like to hear “leader” and “high expectations” and “great teacher.”
3. Your biggest competitor builds a brand new store right next door to you. Why would customers walk into your store? And you can’t say “service.” Your answer needs to be more specific than that.
Why ask this question: We need to not only know what differentiates our store from our competitors, but we also need to make sure there is a noticeable difference. Using the word “service” is to be avoided because it is too generic.
4. A follow-up to the previous question. What could you do better, or differently, to make sure the customers don’t walk into the other store first?
Why ask this question: Because the answer is something you should or could be doing right now to grow you business.
5. What two or three things have you’ve talked about doing, but have yet to find the time? What would be the impact on your customer, staff, and/or results if you made the time?
Why ask this question: Most retailers I know have a lot of ideas and a lot of good intentions. They just struggle to find or make the time to get to them. But many of these things are really important, and if the owner/manager got to them they’ll make a difference. Sometimes you just have to move things like these to the top of the list and get them done!
6. What words would like your customers to use to describe your store? Cute? Fun? Knowledgeable staff? Interesting? Unique products? Go ahead and write them down. Next, review your Facebook and Twitter posts, newsletters, and other marketing materials. How many times do you reinforce those perspectives in your posts, articles, and materials?
Why ask this question: There is often a disconnect between what we want customers to think about our store and what we tell them. Many discover that they reinforce the product element, but nothing else. If that’s the case with you, start communicating other elements about what makes your store interesting and unique.
This next question applies more to owners of independent stores, but is still a good question managers might ask themselves as well.
7. Let’s hope this never happens, but suppose something terrible happens and you are unable to work, or even communicate, for 90 days. What’s going to happen to your store or company? Who would step in? And most important, what would they not know that is vital to keeping the store running?
Your answer: Most stores and companies don’t have a back-up plan. As a result, if something happens to the owner the business might well come to a screeching halt. A little bit of proactive planning and training now could save the company should the unthinkable ever happen.
So let me ask, what answers offer you the most opportunity?
Doug Fleener, a proven retail and customer experience expert and consultant, helps companies dramatically improve their customer experience and their results. Visit the Dynamic Experiences Group website, or call Doug at 866-535-6331 to discuss how he can help you create an extraordinary experience and results.