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You’ll Never Have Enough Staff Until you _____ Enough Stuff.

Business Friends,

I’m taking the liberty to call all of you friends as some of you have taken the liberty to give me a new name when I checked out at your store. But before I tell you about that let’s begin at the beginning of my visit and work to the end.

As I shop this spring it is obvious that one of the biggest opportunities you have is to sell more stuff to the customers in your store right now. So what’s getting in the way of that?

Just the same as in previous years, I walk through stores from front to back and then back to the front and repeat the process. I am NEVER (okay, rarely) spoken to even though there are plenty of employees that I walk by as they are busy adding more stuff apparently for someone else who arrives after I leave to buy.

Instead of selling more of what you already have to customers already in your store, everyone is focused on adding more stuff that won’t be bought by the customers who are already there.

In my estimation, the lost opportunity from this lack of proper focus is in the 15-25% range. Can you really afford to miss that much? Are you confident that enough customers will keep on coming in to make up for what you’re missing now?

When you’re really busy you can’t have enough people to help every customer. I get that. Still, there is opportunity, but you’ll have to stop making it harder for the customers already in your store to shop. As I fight to get my cart through your stores I have to think that it might be better if you saved some room for me to get through to see more of less stuff. Think about it.

When I do manage to buy something and go to the checkout I am essentially ignored there too. The most recognition I get is to have my apparently new name printed on the receipt – “Cash Customer”. Since this is my last impression of your store, it is the most recent impression. If it is underwhelming I am highly unlikely to return soon, much less to excitedly tell friends why they should come to you.

So, what are you going to do about it?

Virtually Prepared for Spring

Bill Calkins

Bill Calkins

Virtually Prepared for Spring

Guest Article from Flourish, by Bill Calkins – Business Manager, Independent Garden Centers for Ball Horticultural Company

Right now, an entirely new gardener is walking into garden centers across North America. They know a little bit about plants, a lot about the stores they visit and have specific projects in mind. The plant knowledge might have come from family or friends, but some of it was no doubt gleaned from the Internet. They certainly spent a couple minutes online poking through local garden center websites and box store specials before hopping in the car. And they do not see gardening as a hobby – it’s functional, adding visual impact and value to their home landscape, balcony, patio, deck, etc, etc.

A Bigger Slice of Pie

Slice of Apple Pie

Get a Bigger Slice

So many businesses are trying so hard to be all things to all people these days. Do we just need to decide who we’re trying to serve? What would happen if we could confidently, and happily focus on one market segment? Could we be happy there if we did? Would our customers be happy if we did? Continue reading

Pile-up on Groupon, Coupons, Discounts

They're beginning to pile up

Fenderbender to 20 Car Pileup

You can see it coming as pundits line up to speak out against the excessive discounting being practiced by recession fighting sellers. A 20-car pile-up is about to happen.

People who wrote books and articles about aggressive promotional marketing to drive traffic and build business are seeking to stand out as they speak out against the avalanche of discount oriented advertising that they themselves promoted to fill up our mailboxes and the center of the Sunday paper. All of a sudden it seems that coupons, Groupons, freebies and discounts are ALL bad.

Casting those who provide mindless marketing services such as Groupon, and those who aggressively promote discounting as being stupid is just stupid. Companies that fabricate ridiculous offers that destroy their companies are probably destroying their companies in several other ways. Continue reading

Roll Your Sleeves Up – Higher

Roll Your Sleeves up HIGHER

"Let's Roll"

Are You Guys Ready? Let’s Roll

If you are waiting for the economy to improve for your company to do better stop waiting now.

The phrase “Let’s Roll” was made famous when it was spoken by Todd Beamer, passenger on flight 93 over an in-flight phone before the fatal crash in a Pennsylvania field on September 11, 2001. “Let’s Roll” can also serve as the battle cry of your company to overcome the market forces, excusitis, or whatever resistance you’re dealing with to make 2011 the best year it possibly can be. Continue reading

It’s Never Too Late to Look Back

Friends,

Someone recently said something to me that makes complete sense.

“You’re not marketing for business today or tomorrow.  You did that months and years ago. You’re marketing today for business months and years from now.”

Didn’t we leave a generation or two of potential gardeners out of our current picture?

There are a vast number of people who grew up in suburbia, or disengaged from gardening. Most of us got an interest in gardening from a parent, grandparent, or other relative. (Some of you ended up with the whole business from them!)

But most of our non garden industry friends were left behind and in turn their offshoots have also been left behind because their parents and grandparents didn’t turn them on to gardening. Continue reading

Don’t Follow Them, They’re Lost Too

  

 Don't follow me, I'm lost too!

Don't follow me, I'm lost too!

 

“Don’t follow me, I’m lost too.” 

It’s more than a bumper sticker. But not everyone who doesn’t know where they are going wears this bumper sticker. Think about it. 

We tend to assume that the ideas and trends others are following are the right direction. They and their ideas are talked about in the media, at conferences, and by salespeople who sell the stuff they sell. Sometimes those folks are just doing something they didn’t really think about, or that makes no good sense, financially or otherwise. But it is something different to talk about, write about, and follow. Continue reading

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