Are you tired of internet retailers selling the same products you offer at a lower price? Do you constantly say, “the internet is killing my business?” Are you angry and fed up with these internet guys “stealing” your customers?
If this sounds like you, STOP IT!
Before you light your torches, grab the pitchforks and start marching towards my door, hear me out.
The problem Has Always Existed
Before the internet, there were big box retailers who could buy large quantities and sell it at a lower price than you. That’s the way the free market works.
Building An Audience Regardless of Price
You could start a buying group or grow your company to obtain that buying power, but those options may not work for you at this time. You have to find creative ways to beat your competition in areas they don’t excel. That, my friends, is customer service.
Customer service is something that bigger companies can’t offer and scale. You need to focus on growing an audience and not just mass-marketing to customers based on price. If you’re trying to obtain new customers by being the cheapest, you’ve already lost.
Instead, focus on building a loyal group of customers. Customers that will buy from you no matter what. And even if they decide to buy something online, don’t get upset — it’s going to happen once in awhile.
I know everyone has a customer who comes in or calls your business every week — you know them by name, face or voice. This is your ideal customer and you should look to create more of them.
How To Create Loyal Customers
Meet Alice, a pool retail store manager and my personal mentor when I was getting started in the business. She was the queen of the store. She knew everything there was to know about pool care and did her best to help every customer personally. She was funny and engaging to everyone who walked into the store. Customers would walk up to me and ask for Alice — they didn’t want my help, they wanted hers.
Her approach to educating her customers was unique. She was mean. She was blunt (much like this article). So much so that customers nicknamed her The Pool Nazi.
She couldn’t go to the grocery store on her off days without a customer running up to her and asking pool questions. Customers would say to their friends and family, “got a pool? Go see Alice.” She was building an audience and crushing sales across all the other stores, and pricing had NOTHING to do with it.
Her customers trusted her and bought whatever she was selling. On the surface, she was tough and demanding, but inside she would never do anything to hurt her customers, including up-selling them products they didn’t need or making them wait. If she was busy, she would acknowledge them and say, “don’t you dare walk out that door. I didn’t forget about you, I’ll be right there.” Customers didn’t mind waiting because they knew they were getting an expert and they would be entertained in the process.
Hiring an Alice might be difficult, but training an Alice isn’t. Train an army of Alices — that’s how you dominate. She trained me to be her clone. I modeled myself after her and I started to grow an audience of customers who ask for me by name and would buy whatever I sold them.
Our growth exploded all with minimal advertising. Great customer service is a virus that spreads, and if you outdo your competition in this area, you will outdo them in sales — regardless of the internet or big box retailers.
- Stop bitching
- Train an army of Alices
- Watch your customer base grow