There are many ways to damage your public image, and quite honestly, we’ve all been guilty of one of them at some point.
Before I carry on here, you might see some points that don’t directly relate to selling someone a product or service. In order to look at this list in the proper light, one must understand the descriptive definition of marketing as given in the Hubbard Administrative Technology:
“Probably some marketing failures result from a false datum that to market is synonymous with directly selling to the customer. That is a wrong concept and woefully incomplete.
“Marketing includes all actions from before the beginning of the production right on through to its use by the customer and its word-of-mouth promotion by the public.”1
—L. Ron Hubbard
OK, here we go.
Typos in promotional pieces: We’ve spotted many a time our own missed typos; too eager to send out a promotion piece without final proofing and before you know it your customers are asking if you really want them to “ax in the questionnaire” – Yes, it’s minor, but still embarrassing! (It should’ve read “Fax in the questionnaire.”)
Poor customer service: Ever hire a new employee and skipped or shortened their apprenticeship time before starting their production? If you have, you’ve probably experienced something like this; they just hung up on a prospective client because they got flustered and didn’t know what to say! AAAHHH PULL MY HAIR OUT! Ensure all staff know to always handle people in a manner that maintains your company’s image and reputation.
Not delivering as fully as promised: Your online promotion promised a 10% discount if purchased by the end of the month. Unfortunately, you forgot to program your online store to make these calculations so anyone buying online is really being asked to pay full price, creating a hint of distrust with your company.
Pushy salespersons: I don’t know anyone who enjoys the pushy salesperson including the salespeople themselves! Don’t cramp and push people to sell your products; instead teach your team to sell by instilling confidence and trust with the buyer and demonstrate the “high value” of your products.
Your positioning is way off: You sell cars using the slogan “We’re cheap just like you!” Hmmm…that really implies that your cars are of no value AND that your clients are stingy as well! Pretty bad mistake to make. You really need to put some thought around how your slogan positions your company in the eyes of the buyer. “Very used cars” vs. “slightly used” – you can see that one communicates a car used beyond its useful potential, while the other communicates one in decently good condition. Pay attention to the fine details on this and try to survey your slogans ahead. You need to see the real communication to your buyers BEFORE implementing your new promotion.
Poor signage: Is your company’s name and address in good shape and easily seen by a driver? Having to crane one’s neck or slow to a stop to find an address or place of business is not too pleasant to those driving behind you. It could make or break your day in some instances! Make them large enough and easy to read.
Unkempt premises: Your place of business should feel clean, comfortable and friendly. Check all those nooks and crannies! Check the air temperature with your clients from time to time. Make sure the clients feel welcome! (And every once in a while enter from the view that you’ve never been there before, and then scrutinize the place. This is sometimes quite the eye-opener!)
Staff presentation: How your employees present themselves reflects directly on you and your company and speaks loads about you. If your staff display unsightly dress or hygiene, or a disorderly work space, the general “vibe” instantly becomes “let me leave now!” Nothing about your staff or quarters should distract the public or their decision to partake in your services.
In a nutshell, EVERYTHING about your company, its premises, promotion, employees, etc. is a direct representation of you and how you conduct business and these things may be quite detrimental to your bottom line.
Use the above as a checklist and add your own thoughts to it. What would you like to see or experience when entering another business? In fact, it’s best to go do this… Walk into various local businesses and look for such things and how one might improve upon this type of marketing.
It’s actually time well spent.
1. From an article by L. Ron Hubbard of 4 September, 1979 entitled, “More on Marketing Basics.”