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Easy Sells


You frequently hear the phrase: “That’s what it’s all about.”  Usually it’s directed at meeting some significant challenge. What is it “all about” in small business? I can tell you: It must be easy!

Consumers are spoiled with numerous conveniences to make life easier, and products that do that sell like crazy. It’s enough to make grandma shake her head with a “why, I remember when we had to mail letters, walk to work, listen to a radio and share a phone line.” Now, we are too busy searching the internet for a Lazy-Boy recliner with Facebook access.

Grandma might say we have become lazy. Maybe. But people today tend to be more stressed so they demand more convenience. We call this marketing environment “high stress/high convenience.”

Today you can unlock your home standing in line at Kroger, view a baby’s diaper changes at day care, pay using only air, get a car that drives itself, buy a self-propelled vacuum, receive eyeglasses in an hour or work in your pajamas. Easy does it.

If conducting business with your company is in any way too time consuming, too inconvenient, or the least bit of a hassle, customers will walk and you will lose business. Tech advancements have reduced the public’s willingness to wait to our shortest time measurement —the seconds between the light turning green and the first horn honk. So be quick about it.

A small business owner has no choice but to cater to these high expectations. Answer the phone on first ring. Remove voice menus and forget about “please listen carefully as menu options have changed” messages. Return calls promptly. Write one-page contracts. Provide 24/7 communication. Have live people. Bill timely and accurately. Offer immediacy even if you charge more for it.

Which is good news for small businesses because you can charge more for any conveniences provided to customers. You pay 25 percent more for stuff at a convenience store. You pay more for any device or service that is faster than the one you have. So find ways to be quicker about things for customers, but also have an eye to increase your margins for doing so.  

Products must be easy to buy, too. “We deliver. We haul away the old one. We call you back. We do it online. One click. Call our drivers on their cell. We are on time. We answer the phone. We have drone delivery coming.” This is how you should be thinking. Make an effort to stay current with tech, even if you don’t want to, so you can understand how customers are doing things easier. This convenience technology spills over to all businesses in the form of higher expectations from the buying public.

Most advertising has the word ‘easy’ in it.  New industries are born just making something easier. For example, Netflix required you to only go to the mailbox while Blockbuster went out of business because they made us drive the block. Now, you don’t even have to go to the mailbox.

The car key is a great example of convenience technology and expectations. Once upon a time, you had a metal key. Then, a keypad was placed on the car’s door. Enter a code and you are in with keys already in the ignition. Then came the fob. No need to enter numbers or do anything except carry it. Now the Apple Watch requires just a wave at the car to get you in, saving priceless nanoseconds. The latest in fobs have a touch screen that allows you to operate the whole car.

So what’s the takeaway? Always think about your customer first and what processes or improvements you can put in place to make it easy to find, purchase and use your product or service. Even the smallest changes – like making sure you return all phone calls within a certain time period – can make a big difference.

Easy sells and sells. That’s what it’s all about.

Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systems, Inc. He has also owned a full-line Kawasaki dealership as well as a document shop. He used 30+ years of experience in owning a business to author two books, including: Going Out of Business by Design: Why 70% of Small Businesses Fail and Small Business Survival 101. He also has published 85 columns in The Memphis Daily News as the Small Business Advisor.           


Posted: 9/30/2015 7:30:00 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: big, business, customer, easy, ideas, pease, processes, service, small, tom




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SMALL BUSINESS
Your business may be small, but that doesn't mean that your impact can't be huge! The Greater Memphis Chamber's Small Business Council serves to encourage, support, recognize and be a resource to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Memphis area. Here, our talented panel of contributors will present big ideas that could make a huge difference to your small business. And don't be afraid to ask questions ... no matter how small.

CONTRIBUTORS
VOSS GRAHAM
Sales & Small Business Ownership
Voss W. Graham is CEO and Senior Business Advisor for InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. He is known by his clients as "a knowledgeable partner who helps our team achieve business growth." He provides practical experience as a small business owner for over 29 years, yet is often engaged with Fortune 500 companies in the development of their people and business strategies.

OBSIDIAN PUBLIC RELATIONS
Public Relations
Several professionals and strategists from the local Obsidian Public Relations firm provide excellent advice on everything from research to media relations to event planning. They believe that all companies, no matter how big or small the company or its budget, should have a public relations plan driving how they manage their relationships with key stakeholders. Public relations is an integral part of doing business the right way.

JOEL MYERS
Human Resources
Joel Myers is a career Human Resources professional, with over 40 years in the field including 26 years in consulting.

TOM PEASE
Small Business Advice
Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systems, Inc. He has also owned a full-line Kawasaki dealership as well as a document shop. He used 30+ years of experience in owning a business to author two books, including: Going Out of Business by Design: Why 70% of Small Businesses Fail and Small Business Survival 101. He also has published 85 columns in The Memphis Daily News as the Small Business Advisor.

LORI TURNER-WILSON
Marketing & Public Relations
Lori Turner-Wilson is CEO and Founder of RedRover Company, a sales development, marketing and PR consulting firm. Lori works with companies large and small, from start-ups to mature organizations, to help them improve the productivity of their sales force and the return on their marketing investment. Lori writes a weekly syndicated column for the Daily News, Memphis News, Nashville Ledger, and Desoto Times, among others, titled “Guerrilla Sales & Marketing,” for which she won a 2011 Summit International Award and 2012 International Communicator Award.

INFERNO
Design and Digital Strategy
Founded in 1999, inferno provides brand development, advertising, public relations, design and digital marketing services to clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Headquartered in Memphis with a satellite office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the award-winning firm produces results-driven work by passionately combining strategic thinking, creativity and culture to ensure the success of its clients. For more information, visit www.creativeinferno.com.

FISHER PHILLIPS LLP
Labor & Employment Law
Fisher Phillips attorneys are ready to help you take a stand: in court, with employees and unions, or with competitors. Fisher Phillips has the experience and resolve to back you up. That's why some of the savviest employers come to the firm to handle their toughest labor and employment cases. The firm has 350 attorneys in 32 offices, including Memphis. For more information, visit www.fisherphillips.com.

PARAGON BANK
Finance
Since its founding in 2005, Paragon Bank has maintained a solid focus on the community and customer service. For more than 10 years, Paragon has delivered innovative products and financial expertise, convenience, and a deep understanding of what both businesses and individuals need from a ban, in order to provide solutions that make a difference. In the areas of business or personal banking, lending options or wealth management, Paragon delivers cutting edge technology, an experienced team and the most service-oriented staff of any community bank.



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