If you don’t care about your brand, why should I?September 28, 2010 - Author: Dan Vonderheide - Comments are closed
ATTENTION SMALL BUSINESS: You have an opportunity now that you’ve never had before and every day, several thousand dollars are going to The Big Guy because he understands that the customer experience goes way beyond the product. Your street sign, the way your store is cleaned and organized, THE PRESENTATION OF YOUR BATHROOM (obviously a sore point with me), the appearance and presentation of your representatives, and every interaction you have with a potential customer is so critical to converting business. This is how the “rich get richer”, no?
Having recently added a fifth mouth to feed to our home in the form of a son, the wife and I realized we were in the “can’t-deny-it-anymore-we-need-a-minivan” phase of life.
We had pretty specific ideas about what we’d like and what we could afford so I hopped online to research the aggregating sites and local dealership sites (at least the ones on the top of my mind thanks to consistent BRAND advertising) looking for options. I found plenty of options at dealerships from the Big Guy In Town to the Little Lot That Could.
Even with looking for vans online, when it came down to it there was no way to avoid the one-on-one interaction with the dealership guys. I was going to have to kick a few tires. So I spent about a week driving around the region on my lunch hour and after work going to these places that I’d seen as pixels on a screen. Pre-web, it’s most likely that I would have driven past many of these establishments to get to a dealership with an ad budget who had participated in the aforementioned brand advertising.
I understand that different businesses attract different demographics, but the fact is that the internet is a HUGE playing field leveler in a lot of large-ticket item categories (cars, homes, electronics, etc).
If a small business is content with the scraps of commerce, I suppose that’s their prerogative. But I have to assume that these guys didn’t go into business to be average and languish at the bottom of the heap.
If the exact van had been on the junky lot, I MIGHT have driven away in it. But the condition of some of these places made me want to hightail out to a place that I could trust to do the right thing for me. In all reality, these lots could very well have been the most honest guys in the business, but I never would have known because of the condition of their space.
We ended up at Big Shiny Dealership with a serviceable van, a couple bottles of complimentary soda, and some peace of mind that we weren’t taken advantage of. But that money could very well have gone to make a pretty solid difference for a small business owner – if they’d simply taken the time to care.