Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bow Down Before the Shopper’s Power

It is 10:00 AM. The doors open at the Tobu Department Store in Tokyo, and as the shoppers enter, the neatly dressed salespersons are standing ramrod straight at their respective counters. Then as the first shoppers of the day pass, each salesperson bows gracefully.
     But as I watched, I didn’t see customers bowing back.
     It’s not as if the Japanese are shy about bowing. They bow toward trains arriving at stations. The children bow toward cars that have stopped so the children can cross the street. No, the dearth of reciprocal bowing wasn’t because of a lack of habit. Instead, it may have been due, in part, to the substantial time pressure under which many residents of Tokyo operate. The consumers looked more interested in spending their precious moments buying things.
     It also was an acknowledgement of power difference. The Tobu employees were bowing down before the power of the shopper to determine if the store would make a profit. The Tobu bowing ritual is a daily reminder. You’ve an opportunity to deliver that reminder in a different way each payday.
     Do you or one of your managers personally deliver the paychecks or direct deposit statements to your staff? Personal delivery provides the opportunity to recognize each employee as an individual contributor to the profitability of your business. Fully use this opportunity.
     Make mental and written notes of what your managers are doing well and how they can do even better. Your managers and supervisors should note the same regarding the employees they oversee. Then as the employee is handed the envelope with the paycheck inside, hook it to the performance with a comment or two individualized to that employee.
     I’m not suggesting this as a replacement for the daily coaching and the annual performance reviews you’ll be conducting. But getting paid is a time for celebration and rededication to boosting business profitability.
     It’s also a time to recognize where the profit comes from—customers who shop with you. No customers? There’s no reason to pull open the curtains at 10 AM.
     May I propose how to gift wrap each paycheck? In an envelope reading, “Here’s a thank you from our customers.” To keep top-of-mind awareness for the message, vary the color of the envelopes.
     I’ll leave it to you to decide if you’ll bow to each employee to acknowledge their power in your business success.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more:
Personally Deliver Paychecks

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