I got reminded of the joys of a smile when you walk into a shop the other day. In a fairly unglamorous inner city suburb I happened across an electrical wholesaler.
They’d apparently grown well over the past decade. They were once in the front room of a house. Now they were not only successfully inhabiting a proper shop, but they’d recently taken over the adjacent space. Despite bemoaning general economic climes, the owners were bubbling.
It turns out that their initial growth was founded on one central aim. To be the supplier of choice to any local of Indian descent. Regardless of the many subcontinental colours and creeds, they were determined not to pre-judge and sell to all.
One way of doing this involved keeping the masses in situ and happy during the hectic early morning collection period.
One owner’s wife was a demon bhaji chef. So they made space for plenty of free ‘while-you-wait’ bhajis.
The move was a roaring success.
When I found out about this, a former major chain manager in the same arena told me a similar tale. Faced with the conundrum of how to prevent large queues scuppering sales, he laid on free tea, toast and tabloids.
He found that this low cost initiative easily put on two grand in margin at the time (mid-Nineties).
It packed a huge impact on his trade figures.
Now. Solution sellers aren’t often confronted with how to keep people in-store when the tills are all busy. Yet we do have to deal with waiting times.
The lag between info sought and answers delivered. Delays from having to source third-party (especially technical) data. The sometimes interminable time it takes to get a Proposal out the door.
In which case, what’s your equivalent of a bhaji on a comfy chair?