OPEN….by chance

I wasn’t going to write about my errand day last week.  The thoughts that went through my mind were:

No one will find this interesting.

Big Deal.

But I can’t get it out of my head because I realized

what I experienced is most likely happening everywhere.

And this experience is not a one time only situation.  It has occurred a few times in the last 3 months.

If you are a retail business that is in a mall or shopping center, your landlord has rules for you.

Rule #1:  Open for business on time.

If, however you are an independent business owner who leases a space in a quaint small town, there are really no “rules” so to speak, so if you open a half hour late, it’s no big deal.  Some might even find it reminds them of a boutique in Europe where the customers are always “wrong” and  the hours of operation vary on a daily basis.  It’s just their way.

Charming.

I bring all of this up because I woke up the other morning knowing I had many errands.  I had a lot on my “To Do” list and needed to get as early a start as possible.  I timed everything out based on what time the stores opened.  Most retail establishments open at 10:00 a.m.  so I left the house at 5 minutes before 10:00 and was happy that I would be able to get in and out early.  The two stores I wanted to shop in were not open at a little after 10:00.   As I walked to the cafe around the corner to get a cup of coffee while I waited for the 2 shops to open, I noticed there were other stores not open.  Had my watch stopped?  I got to the coffee shop and verified the time.  It was 10:20 a.m.

On my way back, I stopped to look in a different shop window at something that caught my eye….something that MIGHT be perfect  as a gift for someone who was on my “To Do” list.   I looked at my newly synchronized watch….It was 10:30 a.m. I looked further into the shop and saw some great gift ideas.  I saw a woman arranging some items in the store.  I feel certain she saw me looking in the window because she looked up from what she was doing when I appeared.   I went for the doorknob and just before my hand touched it, I noticed the “CLOSED” sign.  I saw the store hours posted on the door.

10 – 6

I looked at the woman, who by this time had turned her back.   I left with my coffee feeling very perplexed.

If you were the owner of this store, what would you have liked to have seen happen? I know I would have been happy if I had been greeted by this woman opening up the door and inviting me in.

I most likely would have purchased a gift for my friend and not bothered to have even entered the other stores that were not open before going to get coffee.

I know what some of you may be thinking….

Why doesn’t she just go to the mall or chain store that opens on time?

I have an aversion to the homogenized McShopping Centers and Malls.  I like supporting the Mom and Pop businesses whenever possible.   Only it wasn’t possible on this day.

What are the messages here?

Are business owners in such a funk that they can’t see that making an effort CAN make a difference in their sales?

Are they feeling like there is no hope?

Is the shop just a hobby?

Albeit more discerning of their spending, consumers ARE still out there.

This is especially the time to shine

and

be open on time,

not

by chance.

Testimonials
Sales coaching with Lee was such an enlightening experience! She has such a way of putting people at ease and setting them up for success. The entire team in my store is committed to developing the skills which we had been taught from the beginning. Lee's visit really brought the concepts of "Customer Friendly Buying" to life, so that each of us would take away from it just what we needed to. As a result of Lee's coaching, I am committed to the coaching of the consultants in order to continue to reinforce the principles taught and coached. Lee truly met each person on my team at their level and challenged them to stretch and move out of their comfort zone...I already can see them developing some good habits, especially in the icebreaking, conversational, and staying connected phases. Lee is truly an inspiration. ~ Jim C., Store Manager, Storehouse Furniture, Northeast District
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