What do gymnastics and attraction have in common?
Two things. Learning gymnastics and attracting customers both depend on developing core skills. Those skills help both gymnasts and retailers shine in the face of strong competition.
What can retailers learn from gymnasts?
Competitive gymnasts are incredible to watch. They move their bodies with skill, strength and beauty. They appear to have incredible control and confidence in their abilities.
We want our businesses to look like a gymnast’s performance – beautiful, controlled and confident. We want to stand out from our competitors as the best.
How do gymnasts become so skilled?
One word. Practice.
Practice is what transforms a gawky seven year old school girl into a competitive gymnast. She doesn’t start out at a competitive level. She doesn’t attempt complex routines. First she masters basic skills. Before she does cartwheels on a beam, she learns to do cartwheels on the floor. She learns to walk along a beam that is only six inches high. She learns how to get on the beam. How to get off the beam. When she begins each skill, she is tentative. She wobbles on the beam. She looks a bit clumsy. She makes mistakes.
The coach gives feedback. She tries again. Correcting small mistakes. Each time she gets a little better until the skill is mastered. Once she learns all the small skills, she puts them all together. At each step, the coach supports and guides her. Soon, she can do a series of skills. One after the other. Now she can do cartwheels on the beam, four feet above the ground. Her movements are so smooth, they look effortless.
What does practice have to do with attracting customers?
Consistently attracting customers consistently requires a core set of skills. You need to have customers coming in day after day. Week after week. You need to practice many small skills over and over. When you put all those small skills together over time, you’ll find you’ve mastered techniques that bring customers in the door.
We don’t want to take time to practice those small skills.
We want to find some magic technique that will bring crowds of new people through the door tomorrow. Attracting loyal customers doesn’t work that way. Loyal customers are gained by building relationships and trust, one day at a time.
There are three basic skills you can practice to attract customers.
1. Make it easy for customers to shop.
Keep the store organized, uncluttered & accessible. Make it easy to find product information.
2. Keep the store looking fresh.
Make sure displays are changed regularly and stock is filled.
3. Stay in touch with customers.
Create events, send valuable information, talk to them in the store, go for coffee.
You might think these things are too basic. You might think you’re doing some, or all of them. But have you mastered them? Are you doing them so well that it looks effortless? Are you training like a gymnast?
Stores that are struggling to attract customers need more practice in at least one of these core sets skills. It’s one thing to know the skills, it’s another to master them.
To be competitive, keep practicing!
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