The Single Biggest Mistake You Can Make!

What is the single biggest mistake you can make? I used to go to seminars about retail advertising and when they would start talking about target markets my eyes would glaze over.  “I sell kid’s clothes and gifts.  Everyone knows a kid.  Therefore, everyone is my customer,” I would think.In one way that is true.  But obviously at some level, I knew that not EVERYONE that knew a child was my customer.   In an effort to reach as many customers as possible I would send out advertising and marketing messages in a broad way.  What a waste.  It seriously almost cost me my store!

In one way that is true.  But obviously at some level, I knew that not EVERYONE that knew a child was my customer.   In an effort to reach as many customers as possible I would send out advertising and marketing messages in a broad way.  What a waste.  It seriously almost cost me my store!

It was the single biggest mistake I ever made.  I wasted so much money, time and effort sending out messages to people who could have cared less.  Really.  Thousands of dollars wasted and hundreds of hours spent creating ads when I could have been spending that time (and money!) with my family.  Completely wasted.

It is the single biggest mistake that I see failing stores make!  They spend energy and time trying to compete with others.  Rather they should be standing strong in how they are DIFFERENT!  And I am not talking about better customer service.  That doesn’t make you different.  EVERYONE thinks they offer better customer service.

It is imperative to determine what your difference and your message is.

Don’t you just love the vibrant beautiful colors of fall? It fascinates me how you can see a row of the same type of trees yet they all will display different colors of leaves. At first the color distinctions appear small….after all, they are all still the same kind of tree. But as you walk up to them and stand under them and look into the leaves, you see that the difference is actually great. The colors vary from red to yellow to green. And within those colors there are variations and gradations of colors. Upon the closest inspection, you can find more than one color on one leaf!

I have learned that the same is true for stores. At a distance, all stores selling women’s clothing are just that – stores that sell clothes for women. Toy stores all look like stores that sell toys. WRONG. Absolutely 100% wrong. If you buy into this line of thinking you are making the SINGLE BIGGEST MISTAKE you can make in your business.

What are the exact colors of your leaves and how are you different from the other tree that looks like you? THERE IS A DIFFERENCE. Make no mistake about this. You are different from other stores that sell the same type of inventory and carry the same vendors. What is your message?

Look at 2 toy stores. Both sell toys from the same vendors. But upon closer inspection, differences become clear. One sells cloth diapers, Japanese alphabet blocks and books about creating family traditions. That toy store’s message is much more about ‘raising up the whole child’ than just selling toys. The other store stocks significantly more games and puzzles and focuses on game nights. Their message is about ‘creating events that make memories’. These two differing messages should be articulated in their own way. Also, the owners will find their ideal customers in slightly different places.

One women’s clothing store is about the newest and hottest trends while the other takes those trends and edits them for their more conservative customer. The way these two stores buy and their social media messages are very different.

One kid’s clothing store is about European fashion and the other is a neighborhood store. The neighborhood store will likely carry some European lines, but they will carry different accessories and gifts for sure. The neighborhood store will list local happenings – that wouldn’t be a focus in the other store at all. Nor should it be. The European store customer has different interests while in that store. While they are in that store, they want to be surrounded by all things European and don’t want to know about a local fundraiser event. In fact it would likely distract them.

While a customer is in your store, you want to be sure that EVERYTHING tells your message.

Once you define your message clearly, it becomes so powerful. It becomes much easier to see who your ideal customers are. Then, it becomes simple to look for them. My clients have found that the more clear they are about their message and how they are different from other stores, the more that their ideal customers find them.

Assignment:

Here are a few ways to begin to clarify your message. Ask yourself these questions:

What do you love about your store? What are you passionate about?

How are you different from other stores like yours? Think about it in these areas: In inventory, in presentation, in demonstrating product, in treating the customer (not that you have superior customer service – everyone thinks that about their own store)

What would your customers do anything and pay anything for – as it relates to what you do?

What BENEFIT – not feature – do you offer them? For example, that toy store with the games could say that they offer a spectacular selection of games – but take that one step further…..what does that offer a customer? A chance to make a memory with their family, perhaps?

Your message is not a snappy slogan. Think about it in these terms:

    • It IS about the OUTCOME of what happens when customers shop with you.
    • It IS about the FEELING that they get when working with you.
    • It IS about the EXPERIENCE about being in your store.
    • It IS about WHY people are really buying from you.
    • DON’T MAKE THIS SINGLE BIGGEST MISTAKE IN YOUR BUSINESS.

This is exactly the kind of information covered in great detail in the RETAILMavens Profit System. You get the precise step-by-step instructions to determine your ideal customer once and for all.

Here is what Terry Myers, Founder & CEO of Kaleidoscope Toys said about the module that covered this topic:

I loved the fact that Cathy not only gave good precise info, but a plan of action to go with it.

I just completed everything. It was like someone plugged in my battery charger. I am so pumped right now but not overwhelmed!

I loved the fact that Cathy not only gave good precise info, but a plan of action to go with it. Her explanation of OTB was great. The sessions on financial reports took awhile to soak in but since you could listen to the recorded sessions over and over, I was able to have that ah-hah moment and it all fell into place. There was one session on ‘Who Is Your Customer’ that I had all my employees watch. I could see light bulbs going off during the employee meeting and have seen a change in their selling habits. I would highly recommend this to both newbies and old-timers. Go get jump-started!”

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