Want to know what’s REALLY going on in our industry today? Here’s a free method you can use to find out exactly what’s happening without having to deal with the BS a vendor might feed you. JUST ASK!
Yep, it’s really that simple!
You maybe surprised at how candid these clerks and owners can be.
You can portray yourself as a customer or as a fellow business owner depending on the situation as you enter the location.
If it’s really busy in the store just lurk! Watch! Listen! Learn!
When appropriate, approach an employee and ask open-ended questions such as:
Would you like to own a business like this? If yes, why? If not, why not?
What’s your biggest problem right now?
What’s your greatest opportunity?
How did you get started in this?
Learn to ask a few questions and then just LISTEN! Don’t interrupt or butt-in. You’re not there to display your knowledge and virtues. You’re there to learn – to gain insight.
What products and services are being offered? Anything you should add to your arsenal?
What’s the condition of the location? Is it clean and orderly?
What about signage and lighting? Any ideas here YOU should implement?
Is it what we refer to as a “No” store? You know what I mean! Signs plastered all over the place saying “No” this and “No” that – as if management is LOOKING for any excuse “NOT” to do business with their customers.
And don’t forget to make it a goal to insist that not only you, but your entire team perform this task regularly and consistently.
Pay your employees to do this. And after doing this, take them to Starbucks, sit down with them and review their experience – Probe! As you discuss their findings and observations train them to get better at this in the future. Alert them that this research will be a continuing part of their job in the future.
We assign each of our employees and partners to perform this task once each month. We systematically map out our competitors and schedule our employees to visit a different competitor’s location.
It’s not uncommon for us to pay the fees for a $100 loan for our employee at a competitor. We reimburse our employee, pay for their time and make copies of all the loan documents, pamphlets, brochures, flyers, etc. they’re given.
So… get the idea? If you want to know what’s going on in your market, JUST ASK! GET OUT THERE!
And if you’re not yet in a niche you’ve been thinking about entering, VISIT those locations that are already in the space. Take scrap gold buying for example. You want to learn about this niche? Hit the road! Visit 10 stores today, ask a few open-ended questions, then SHUT-UP and LISTEN!
What do you think? Add a comment!