Giving and Receiving
Now, let’s move forward with the story. These small business owners had to borrow money to start their business. Part of the borrowed money was to pay the entire seasonal rent upfront; part was used to start renovate the building so it was more attractive and welcoming; and part was used to buy the necessary supplies, rent a debit machine and to connect a phone line for the debit machine.
As I mentioned earlier, this small seasonal store focused on selling local crafts and not imported products. Part of the marketing strategy was to become known as a destination for purchasing all locally made products that differed from the other small businesses in the area. And, with each passing month, their reputation evolved without one penny spent on advertising. How did they do it?
There were several factors that help propel these small business owners forward toward their goal but the propulsion mechanism wasn’t simply more and more earnings without a special ingredient that played prominently in their business. This mechanism was comprised of three main features. The first feature was their dedication to their customers. It was a demonstration of not only great customer service but was more focused on relationship building. It didn’t matter to them if they realized that they would never see the customer again given that the customer lived in another province, or state or country. The focus was on people not on sales.
Were the owners only focused on developing relationships with those who bought? No. It didn’t matter. There is a lot more involved in running a successful business than just sales. The continuing demonstration of concern and caring about anyone who walked into their store highlighted the contact, not a sale. Many, many times, those store visitors (the non-buying ones) were the ones who not only came back and purchased an item, but also either brought family or friends with them, or recommended their store to others they met.
And, another factor that propelled them forward was their demonstrated caring and compassion for those people who weren’t interested in buying anything. In fact, some of these people never came back again, nor did they recommend the store to others. So, what was the dividend for the owners? What was the factor that propelled them forward despite a non-sale visitor? Why did the visitor come in the first place?