Tis’ the season for discounts, one day sales, and all that other garbage to get you to BUY, BUY, BUY! As a small business owner, you may get caught in the trap of drastically reducing your prices to compete with the big guys. Or worse – stray away from your values, and start wishing everyone ‘Happy Holidays’ when you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah. Don’t be afraid of who you are, and don’t be afraid to stand for something.
As an owner myself, I used to be worried about how I was perceived by others. I was being a vanilla version of myself, when I’m actually quite salty, fiery, and sarcastic (imagine that as an ice cream flavour). I was trying to be too much to too many people. After awhile it became exhausting, and the real me started to show. Funny enough, when I started to become my authentic self – I started making more sales, and stronger connections. Yes, I turned off some people, but I found out that’s okay. You’re not going to please everyone. It’s better to lose a sale in the short term for longer term gain.
I recently was speaking with a Realtor, and he REGULARLY turns people down who are looking for his services. He has an initial meeting with them, he asks a few qualifying questions (hammers down their values, expectations, etc…) to see if he’d be a good fit. If he doesn’t feel there’s a connection, he says he’s not interested in working with them. While it could be easy money for him, he has come to realize the people he doesn’t connect with right-off-the-bat are generally a pain in the ass for him down the road. He passes on the short term gain to keep HIS values in check.
So how does this relate to the holidays?
Everyone is having sales, everyone is devaluing their product, and everyone is focusing on short term gain during the holidays. However, you’re a constant reader of my blog, and you’re different right, RIGHT? Here are some quick holiday tips for your small business:
1) Don’t have a sale. Everyone else is, but you’re not because you believe in your product or service, and you believe in the value of it. Even worse, don’t mark up your product, just so you can say you’re having a sale while keeping your margins in line.
2) Say, Merry Christmas if that’s your thing or Happy Hanukkah if that’s your thing or Happy Kwanzaa if that’s your thing. Don’t be afraid of who you are, especially during the holidays. I happen to observe both Hanukkah, and Christmas. Why? Because my wife likes gifts, and I have a very large nose.
3) Throw people out of your store who ask you if you have a sale on. I recently picked up a few shifts at a large retailer because I LOVE retail this time of year. Plus, it helps me gauge where the retail industry is at seeing as I coach a few retailers. I can’t tell you how many people approach me asking about sales. These people are not loyal to you or your business, they’re only looking for the cheapest deal. I would rather have 10 people pay full price for my product / service than 100 people who are interested in getting a deal on my product / service. Those 10 people are fans of mine, while the other 100 will come and go. I’m more concerned about my fans.
Funny anecdote (well, I think it’s funny) – I had tea (yes, tea as I don’t drink coffee) with a renovator just over a week ago, and he was telling me about a recent client of his. Like the Realtor above he asked a few qualifying questions to see if this guy would be a good fit for him, and his business. He picked up on a few things (the area where he lived, his car, and his meticulously organized home), so he knew this guy was going to be quite demanding. My reno friend didn’t mind as he actually enjoys working with demanding clients, as he expects the best from his team, and he knows he’ll be able to deliver a quality product / service. So knowing this soon to be client was going to be extra demanding he flat our said, “Having heard what you’ve said – I know you’re going to be a bit of a pain in the ass to work with, but that’s okay. I’ve handled, and exceeded the expectations of clients like you in the past. Knowing you’re going to be a pain, I’m going to charge you $5000 more for my teams time.”
$5000 MORE FOR BEING A PAIN IN THE ASS!
Guess what, the guy agreed he was going to be a pain, and was happy to pay the extra $5000. Turns out the client was a bit of a pain, and very meticulous when it came to the renovation, but the client appreciated the upfront honesty, and now he’s happy to refer people to my reno friend.
All in all, here’s my Santa-ly advice to you this holiday season: DON’T discount your product, BELIEVE in your product or service, and BELIEVE in yourself, and your values. You may lose some customers in the short term, but you will create LOYAL fans in the long run. Trust me, I’ve done it, I’ve seen other people do it, and I know you can too.
Love you (and Merry Christmas, and Happy Hanukkah!)
Jordan ‘The Guy with the Bow Tie’ Rycroft
Ps. If you throw someone out of your store who is asking for a discount – please send me a picture of you doing it. And don’t forget to post it where ever you can, to prove you, and your product are as valuable as the price tag.