Article is courtesy of Jose Gracia with GivetoGetMarketing.com
My wife, Maria and daughter, Amanda and I live in Watertown, Wisconsin. It's a small rural town with the charm of Mayberry.
This is a story of two small, competing jewelry stores in our town. They are both located on our historic main street in buildings from the mid to late 1800s.
From the outside there's nothing that distinguishes one from the other. But once you get inside and begin to experience the service, you instantly discover that one understands the Give to Get philosophy, and the other -- does not.
When we first arrived in Watertown we had to get Maria's engagement ring reappraised for insurance purposes. So we promptly stopped by Jewelry Store A to ask about an appraisal.
Keep in mind that the Watertown Main Street businesses have experienced the same problems Main Street stores across the country have. Walmart and the other big, high volume, low- price chain stores have lured away the bulk of their past customers.
You would think that those Main Street businesses that are still struggling to survive would be acutely aware of how important it is to treat every prospect and customer who walks in their door as though they were visiting dignitaries. Some do...some don't.
Jewelry Store A treated us like we were invisible
As Maria and I walked through the front door of Jewelry Store A we could see the owner and his salesperson talking at the back of the store. They looked up and saw us as we walked in. They didn't say 'Hello,' or even acknowledge us.
We stood at the counter for a good five minutes while they ignored us. Maria and I were already seething at their rudeness.
Finally the salesperson walked over and asked how she could help us. No smile. No 'How are you today?' Just an indifferent, how dare you interrupt me, 'How can I help you?'
We showed her the ring and explained that we needed an appraisal. With that, she walked back to speak with the owner.
Then it happened. He looked at us with an expression that said, 'I'm too busy for this nonsense.' He then looked at the salesperson and shook his head in exasperation. He then spoke a few words to her, turned around and sat back down at his desk.
The salesperson returned and said, 'Well...Mr. Big (not his real name) says that he is 'very' busy. But if you'd like to leave your ring here, he may be able to get to it in about two or three weeks.'
Maria and I looked at each other in disbelief.
'I don't think so,' I said. 'Thanks anyway.'
We turned and walked out of Jewelry Store A. We have never returned. And we have never forgotten the poor treatment we received. And every time we drive or walk by their business, I mentally shake my head at their marketing ignorance.
Jewelry Store B treated us like we were V.I.P.s
Luckily, Jewelry Store B was just a few stores away. So off we went.
What a difference!
Before we even got through the front door we were greeted with a big smile and hello by the salesperson. We explained what we needed and with a smile she said, 'No problem. Let me check to see how soon we can have it for you.'
A minute later the owner came from the back office, extended his hand and introduced himself. When he learned that we were new to the area he began to tell us a bit about the area and the history of his family business. I'm a history buff, and love to know about things like this.
I can't tell you how good they made us feel. They made us feel like guests, not pests.
While he went to the back room to check his schedule, the salesperson took Maria's ring and said, 'While you're waiting let me clean your ring for you.'
Can you imagine? Most jewelry stores charge you $10 to clean your ring. She offered to do it as a special 'welcome to the community.'
While we waited, Maria and I had a chance to look around and saw some very nice pieces on display. Her birthday was coming up and she pointed out a few ear rings and necklaces that she found appealing. Guess where I bought her birthday present?
The owner returned and said he could have the appraisal by Friday -- 3 days away. Wow!
The salesperson had finished cleaning Maria's ring and made a special point of telling her how beautiful her ring was. That gave them another 100 points.
We thanked them for their excellent service, they provided us with a few business cards and a brochure and we were on our way.
As I said, we have never returned to store A, and we never will. However, we have returned often to Store B, and have made substantial purchases over the past few years.
If anyone asks us for the name of a good jewelry store, guess which one we refer? And you can bet we will also share our bad experience about store A.
There's always room for improvement
Now, does this mean that Store B was a perfect marketer? No, we all have room for improvement. For instance, Store B didn't follow up with us via direct mail or email even though we are now good customers.
Sure they advertised in the local newspaper and Yellow Pages, but they could have been bringing back their regular customers more often and for bigger purchases if they understood the power of follow-up 'reminders.' They could have guaranteed that their business went to the top of our mental decision ladder any time they chose. Especially for holidays and special occasions.
Well, I'm happy to say that since that day when Maria and I first met the owner of Store B, I have passed on some of this advice to him, and he is now following up via email with his customers on a regular basis!
Obviously, he is a business owner who understands the need for continuous improvement.
I think all in all, Store B is doing a great job of marketing their business. Within the first 60-seconds they made us feel important--like invited guests. They gave us their time and attention without regard to whether we would add to their bottom line or not. By doing that they turned us into loyal customers. And, now, they're even following up with us via email every month or so. That's the way to grow.
I hope the point of this Give to Get story stays with you and becomes a permanent foundational philosophy of your business. How you and your employees treat each new prospect and past customer will almost always determine who they will be buying from now and in the future.
Article is courtesy of Jose Gracia with GivetoGetMarketing.com