Often people blame the economy as to why business is slow. This is a convenient excuse many entrepreneurs mindlessly use rather than admit it could very well be their own fault.
Poor revenues may have nothing to do with the economy, but rather one’s attitude and how potential clients and customers are treated.
Yesterday was the first time I visited Charleston, South Carolina. What an amazing city. So much to see and do. Of course, no visit to the area would be complete without a visit to Historic Market Street.
What struck me the most in the Market was the contrast between vendors. Not so much in what they were selling, but their level of interest in potential buyers walking by their concession.
Some were eager to answer questions while others sat on their backside reading the newspaper or talking on their cell phones without so much as a glance up at those who obviously were interested in their products.
The booths that were the busiest were those where the vendor (or their employee) took a genuine interest in tourists and locals alike.
One young man really captured our interest as we approached the booth he was working in. Although cooking is not one of my favorite pass times Antwan’s enthusiasm and willingness to spend time with us made me WANT to spend money on various items he showed us.
By the time we were done we bought several types of soup, gumbo mixes and spice items.
I had so much fun I even tipped Antwan a few dollars. His eyes opened wide with delight.
“Thank you ma’am,” he said with a big smile.
One woman gave us a demonstration of how her acupuncture massager would relieve the stress most commonly built up in one’s back and shoulders. She spent a good five minutes or so explaining why people tend to get stressed, added in free batteries with our purchase as well as a laminated chart of the various pressure points to target for stress relief.
She didn’t have to ask twice for the sale. I was definitely sold.
Contrast that with a woman talking on her phone rather than get off her butt to answer any questions about her purses. Or the woman reading the newspaper rather than show me the blankets and scarves I was picking up to feel.
From the open air market we strolled over to a shop that sold children and pet clothes and toys. The clerk took such interest in us we ended up getting shirts for two of our nephews and a shirt for Chance, our Pit Bull.
In a matter of an hour we easily dropped a few hundred dollars on a little something here, a little something there.
How often do you hear others say business is slow? Upon closer examination it could be that it’s not that business is slow, but their level of customer concern is sorely lacking.
More times than not there is a very simple explanation for why one business will do great while another struggles.
With every shop we spent money with we felt like they wanted our business. The shop owners and clerks took a genuine interest in us. They answered our questions. Never once did we feel like they could care less.
While those that missed a great opportunity obviously felt reading the newspaper and checking their phone was far more important in that moment than foot traffic in their shop.
So the next time you hear someone say, “business is slow” dig deeper into the reasons why. You may be surprised at what you discover.
What do you most enjoy when you are shopping? What do you least enjoy? comments welcome.
Kathleen so true!.. it’s really annoying. I went into a high end chocolate store to buy a gift and the girl was sitting on the counter chewing gum! Aurghhhh. I’d also add that even if you aren’t extroverted, or outgoing, there are ways to connect when you are responsible for selling that will be comfortable. (an excuse I hear is I’m introverted)
Agreed Michelle. It can serve a store owner to send in secret shoppers to see how patrons are treated. In some cases, the owners will be pleasantly surprised. In other cases, likely shocked.
Hi Kathleen. I LOVE – LOVE – LOVE Charleston; in fact every summer when we visit there (and Folly Beach) we think of ways to eventually move there. I agree SO MUCH with the message in this blog post that I wanted to take a minute to let you know how much I agree. And it doesn’t matter where you are; lazy people as well as pleasant outgoing people in all cities. Thanks for making this point!
You are so right Cathy. Regardless of location and/or industry there is good and bad.