Want to improve the operation of your business? One simple tip is to listen to and watch what other business owners are doing.
This simple piece of advice can save you a great deal of time, effort and money. It can help you from going down a path that others have tried and found unsuccessful.
This is not to say that you follow everything you see or hear. The other owner might be on a wrong path as well. Or the path that person is taking may fit with what you are trying to accomplish in your business plan. Or the path may be one that was trending in the past but now there is something that works even better.
Yet, there are gems of information to be mined from the thoughts and ideas of others.
Recently I had the opportunity to ask some business owners to give me one piece of advice they would offer to a business owner. Some of the responses I got were:
- The customer may not always be right but they are always the customer
- Need to be knowledgeable about your products and excited
- Be sincere
- Smile and be interested in their needs so you can meet them
- Connect with your customer
- Listen to your customer
- Listen to what customers actually want and not what you think they want
- Be personable and genuine
- Have samples – food, candle aromas, sprays
- Identify what makes you unique
- Positive attitude
- Create engaging displays
- Greet each customer with eye contact and a smile
- Love your product
Notice the similarity among the answers. Several talk about listening to and understanding the customer. The first tip, “the customer may not always be right but they are always the customer” is a good reminder that you want people to keep coming back. Thus it might be in your best interest to give a little even when you don’t feel you should. Think about the lifetime value of the customer. It often isn’t a one time purchase they are making. Plus happy customers become your ambassadors. That one person might become your greatest marketing asset.
A summary of these tips would also encourage you to be friendly, knowledgeable, and upbeat. We all have bad days but you need to learn how to not let it affect your interactions with the customers. Plus you also see several comments about having effective visual displays and engaging marketing, your silent salesperson.
One great thing about learning from others is how it fits perfectly with building your networks. Asking people for one or two tips gets them talking and helps you begin a relationship.
Another plus with this type of learning is the cost is little or nothing except for your time. And wanting to learn also encourages you to attend some of the networking opportunities that you might otherwise pass on.
One final note to offer is to remember to be prepared to also be willing to share your own tips and ideas. This deepens a relationship such that future conversations become deeper and offer even more in-depth ideas.
Bottom line – When looking for advice on how to improve your business, learn from the experts, those business owners just like you.
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