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FocalPoint Business Coaching Challenge of the Week: How to Drive Results for a Retail Business - continuted
September 8, 2010 — Anonymous
We held the Annual FocalPoint International Business Coaching Conference last week at the Grand Manchester Hyatt in San Diego.
This week’s FocalPoint Business Coaching challenge is a continuation of FocalPoint Business Coach Mike Alpert’s response to:
“How to drive meaningful results for a retail business.”
3. Leveraging Technology
Retail businesses have traditionally always done a ton of print advertising in newspapers and magazines along with direct mail. The reality today is that a tremendous number of people research and decide where to purchase goods and services using the Internet. In their book "Inbound Marketing", Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah present the thesis that businesses need to create content on the Internet (not just their website) so that they can be found when potential customers are looking for their particular product or service. Traditional methods of interruption based marketing such as TV, radio, print and direct mail are referred to as outbound marketing. In the HubSpot 2010 State of Inbound Marketing Report the average cost per lead was 60% lower in companies that were inbound marketing dominated versus outbound marketing dominated companies (see the graphic below).
The point of this is to say that as a coach you can help a retail business move their results by helping them take action in improving how easy it is for prospective customers to find them. If this world of Internet marketing and social media marketing is new to you then I encourage you to learn more about it. Hubspot.com and Inboundmarketing.com have some great resources to begin your journey. There are a ton of interesting marketing tools on the Internet, many of which are free and only require some time to be spent.
The first two things to do are to help the owner assess their local business directory listings and their website. A great tool for the local listings is GetListed.org. It will give you a percentage score of how complete the business listings are in five search engines - Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp and Best of the Web (BOTW). It has detailed instructions about how to claim each listing and increase your rankings.
For retail businesses there are additional opportunities to post specials, coupons and other promotions on each of the search engines. With regard to your client’s website a great tool is websitegrader.com. It will give you a score for your client’s website and steps to go through to improve it.
One last note on leveraging technology is to do this within the operations of the business as well. Specifically, help guide the owner to use his POS and other internal systems to feed the key metric information back. Sometimes there is too much effort involved for business owners to collect the key metric information and as a result their will not do it. Help them find ways to have their systems and staff feed them measurement information so that they can spend time understanding it rather than collecting it.
4. Creating Raving Fans
One of the most important aspects of a retail business is the customer experience.
In the book "Raving Fans" by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles show through story how to deliver a customer experience that creates "Raving Fans".
Does your retail business customer deliver an amazing customer experience? Do their customers write online reviews that sing the praises of the experience? If not, focus your coaching on the details of the customer experience. You should begin by going to the store yourself and seeing how the team treats customers. You can then help them see what people are saying about their business online and conduct a survey of customers to collect their feedback. It is then about taking action to train and set expectations of the staff and defining what they want the customer experience to be.
To model great customer experiences you can bring your business owner to some retail locations that have traditionally delivered great customer service. For a good list checkout Bloomberg Businessweek's 2010 Standouts in Customer Service Ranking. Take your client over to an Apple Store, Panera Bread, or Publix Super Market and let them experience how these companies treat their customers.
According to Baine & Company, companies can boost profits as much as 255% by retaining merely 5% more of their existing customers. Does your business owner need any more motivation to deliver a great customer experience?
Retail businesses have certainly taken a big hit during the economic downturn of the last two years. If you ascribe to the position that the current economy is the "new normal" then it is imperative that you as a coach help retail clients apply sound business management by looking at their metrics, identifying and focusing on their target customers, leveraging technology inside and out, and delivering a great customer experience. Go out there and move some needles in your retail clients!