I love looking at food I don’t recognize and learn about other Â cultures through food. Â It is fascinating stuff I promise! Â The challenge is, unless you are really adventurous, it is tough to know what to buy. Yesterday I got to go to one of my favorite places in the world – the West Side Market. Â This year marks the 100th anniversary of the market opening so you can imagine how many people have been through it. Â There is a neat little store within the market in the back corner and it is usually completely jammed. You have to know what you want to venture in. Â Yesterday, we hit at exactly the right time because it was empty.
First, I got an opportunity to really look through the store and see what they had. Â That in and of itself was fun. Â Then, ordering cheese, I got to talk to the manager / owner. He was charming and gave us samples of several things as well as advice on ways to prepare the items we were buying. Â With his help, I was able to buy several things my family has never tried before and it became an experience – not just a shopping trip.
In the past, I have avoided this store because it was too busy to bother. Â Turns out they have some really unique items that are spectacular. Â I never would have known if we hadn’t been able to get there! Â So what’s the morale here? Â If you are a brick and mortar store, be sure people can easily get in and out. Â Make it inviting so people will try it out.
If you are like the rest of us and don’t have a place for people to visit, think about the messages you are sending. Â When people ask, “how’s business?” what is your answer? Â If you answer, “we are super-busy” you are saying exactly what that store used to say. Â No room! Â The other end of the spectrum is to say things are slow. Â But then you run the risk of the other person wondering what’s wrong with your business if they are seeing a big up-swing.
Instead, convey you are busy without being too busy for something new. Â “2012 has started well but there’s always room for more business” tells the person you are open and have something to offer. Â Leading with what you’ve been working on the most can also convey busy while giving an idea of what you have to offer. Â Just like the sales person gave us samples, sharing stories of what you are doing right now can cause the person to say, “I want that too!” and start turning into business.
If for some reason what you are doing for other clients isn’t something they need, you then have an opportunity to ask about their business. Â What has them busy? Â What challenges are they seeing? Â For example, at the sausage vendor, we discovered that Mondays are half price sausage day because he gets deliveries on Tuesdays. Â The trade off for the lower price is fewer options. Â By talking with him and finding that out, we now know not only can we buy sausage on Mondays cheaper, but the kinds my friend and I wanted were the ones he always has left on Mondays. Â Now, not only do we get what we want, but we are in-the-know on the specials. Â We feel cool and he sells more sausage. Win-win! Â By turning the tables we got great information. Â You can do the same by talking to your prospect about trends, changes, or what they are seeing on their end. Â These discussions can lead to ways to partner you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
So make sure you are easy to get to talk to, you have things to offer, and can ask questions to find out the “specials” and information others may not have. Â It is a great way to increase your business!