Friday, October 11, 2013

Why can’t you do that?

Why can’t you do that?
The owner of a woman’s clothing store asked me, “What can we do to stand out from the competition?” She posed the question as if she were throwing down a challenge gauntlet.

She added that she had tried to think of something that would differentiate her store from others but had hit a dead end. “There’s nothing we can do.”

I looked at her and responded, “Hmm, let me think a moment.” Perhaps my pause was too long for her because she interjected, “See I told you, there’s nothing.” She actually looked pleased.

I then said, “Let me think out loud and play with this. My understanding is that shopping especially for clothes is different for women than it is for men. Men usually want to get in, buy what they came for and leave. Women treat shopping as an activity. They want to enjoy the experience. What could you do to enhance that experience? How about offering gourmet coffee?”

“Oh no, I can’t do that” she snapped.

“What do you mean you can’t? Perhaps what you really mean is, you won’t”

We discussed this a bit. Naturally her concern was about someone spilling coffee on a garment and possibly ruining it – or at the least creating cleaning charges and discounted merchandise.

Yes, those are real risks. The important question is, would the coffee service generate enough revenue to more that cover those associate costs? That would be easy to measure.

I don’t know if coffee was the right answer for her but it was curious to see how quickly she blocked my first suggestion. She wasn’t ready for change.

If you want to stand out then you need to do something that your competition won’t do. If you really want to differentiate yourself, start listing the common practices or rules of your industry. Then examine each for ways to break that rule or change the practice. Weigh the benefits against the risks. If you still can’t decide then flip a coin. What have you got to lose?

Every change carries a risk. If you want to change you must be willing to weigh and consider the risks, investment and return.

Also keep in mind that ignoring change or refusing to change also carries risks.

George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" Power Marketing on FaceBook Marketing Zoo on Twitter Share/Save/Bookmark

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