July 29th 2016

“Don’t Miss”

Summer time and the living is easy:

When the heat is climbing, and your friends are talking about going to the lake, having a cold one on the patio, and keeping cool, it’s tough to concentrate on the day to day thrills of going into the office.  So how does one keep themselves focused, not to mention keeping your staff motivated?  I’ve seen the “melting ice cream” staff, and been there myself.   Keep in mind your customers are “feeling the heat” as well.   It’s all about providing something folks want, and making your customers smile.

Have you heard of Wall Drug?  How did a small stop on the road through the badlands of South Dakota become a global tourist attraction by offering parched travellers during the Great Depression a free glass of ice water?  Nowadays you wouldn’t look twice at an offer like that – but this little pharmacy put their talents to use, created some signs, and started pulling people off the highway.  And now, they see millions of folks stop into Wall, in the middle of no where, coming for souvenirs, photos and of course ice water.

Now jump to “The Home of Spock” with a well marketed affiliation to the Star Trek franchise.  It never ceases to amaze me how people light up with the thought of getting their photo with the Enterprise, or putting their hand into the one and only in the world hand print of Leonard Nimoy, the beloved Mr Spock.   We have what people want!  And they’re coming here from all over the world.

Now it’s your turn to shine! Make your customers smile – not just the folks you see on a regular basis, or the ones you have a personal relationship with – try for the total strangers.  Show them your pride in your town or village by asking if this is their first visit, then point out a “don’t miss” moment.  When they walk out your door, whether they’ve spent a little or a lot or nothing at all – make their day by offering a wave and a smile, a word of thanks, something to brighten their day!   Got air conditioning? A place to sit and rest a while? Friendliest staff, cleanest washrooms, free local information – these little touches can make a difference to customers.  Customers who can return, who can spread the word about your establishment, who can recommend you to friends.  For example: when we moved to Alberta, we were told many times that Vulcan was THE PLACE to come buy appliances and furniture.  Don’t miss checking that store out was the word!  (true story)

One excellent way to focus on the “don’t miss” moments is a short exercise.  Try this: write, in one or two sentences, the perfect “don’t miss” moment for your town, county or village.  For example:  “Welcome to Arrowwood!  Try an unforgettable lunch at Center Street Eatery.  Cross your fingers – it might be the day Bill has brisket on the menu. And don’t miss their bottomless cup of sun tea.”    Now you try it! Beautiful jewellery and a custom made cup of coffee?  Great bargains and those hard to find hardware items?  Car wash and ice cream for the whole crew while you wash?

When I have company, or VBDS hosts delegates from out of town, it’s so easy to show them what is outstanding in the area.  The challenge we all face is how to keep that enthusiasm up while the mercury climbs.  Turn up the fan, grab a popsicle and take a look around at the “don’t miss” moments you can offer folks!