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David, who owns a local corner deli/grocery shop just around the corner from my studio office is a very pleasant fellow.

Whenever I walk into his little store, he’s always chit chatting with his customers as if they are his friends.

After all, he’s been in business for over 10 years in our same neighborhood so most of the local residents consider David and his store part of the community.

1914I probably go into his store a few times a week to pick up a carton of milk or some bagels for the kids for the weekends.

When I’m in the store and David isn’t talking to customers, he’s often asking me about my business and how I continue to grow it with very little resistance.

I explain to him that it’s a combination of having a restless entrepreneurial mindset of never accepting the status quo and a total commitment to continually making changes to get better results.

Over the past year or so he has confided in me that he is frustrated with how much income his store is creating for himself and his family.

He desperately wants to generate more profits from his store.

Being a generous person and often being accused of having a soft heart, I could feel his frustration and I offered to give him some actionable advice that could immediately grow his business, take it to the next level and of course, create more profits for him and his family.

Here are the 10 marketing ideas I shared with him…

1. Start collecting the addresses of each customer who enters your store using a raffle for a give-away of a valuable prize (e.g. Dinner on the town, tickets to the Opera House, etc.). He’s never ever collected one address of a customer.

2. Raise your prices 10% immediately, it will be unlikely anyone would really care that you did and you’ll be earning more take-home profits right away.

3. In the awning of your store (it’s plain now without just the name of his shop on it), add a large photo of yourself with your name next to it, so it’s clearly visible from at least 100 feet away. “YOU are your business I told him, not the products in your business.” I explained that the close relationship that he has with his customers should be the primary message that is felt when people think of his store.

4. Create a monthly 4-page printed newsletter to send to his customers every month that shares more about him and his family, stories of his work in the community and a feature of his new specialty products he is bringing into the store each month.

5. Create a monthly promotional post-card campaign that goes out to a select group of customers with the promotion speaking to the nuances of each segment (e.g. Men, women, families, kids, men who exercise, women who are in mother’s groups, etc). The more you speak to individual needs, the stronger propensity of customers who are willing to listen.

6. Paint and redesign the inside of the store so it feels “high-end” to meet the level affluence of the neighborhood. (The store is pretty dingy with boxes laying around, it’s looks the same since the day it opened he told me), make it memorable and pleasant.

7. Create a protruding flag or sign that sticks out away from your store so when people drive by it, they can see your face as a reminder that they should feel comfortable visiting you at any time.

8. Turn the front of the store into a coffee/juice bar with stools on the sidewalk so you can create a new revenue stream of “to go” offerings that don’t require people who just want a drink.

9. Mail out coupons, not with discounts, but with value-add upsells like buy one get one free with an expiration date.

10. Create a monthly “event” in the store that brings people in just for the “event” (i.e. face painting for kids, make your own sandwich bar, etc.).

Those are the marketing tips I gave him over an approximate 12-month period.

Do you know how many he has implemented?

Only one.

He implemented #2, raising his prices.

I asked him how come he’s only done that one, and he said “Because it was the easiest”.

I was in the store last week and he shared with me his frustrations that he wasn’t bringing enough profit home to his family.

The exact same conversation we had a year ago, after I gave him the above (too many, pretty basic marketing tips) advice.

Turns out he just doesn’t want to do the “work” to make a better life for himself and he continues to remain in the same spot he’s always been.

Why do you think the majority of business owners don’t act when the perfect solution is put right in front of them?

Your comments are welcome below.

To your success,

Ari Galper

Ari Galper

Ari Galper is the world’s number one authority on trust-based selling and is the most sought-after sales conversion expert for Business Owners. His newest book, “Unlock The Sales Game”, has become an instant best-seller worldwide. Ari has been featured in CEO Magazine, Forbes, INC Magazine and the Australian Financial Review. He is considered a contrarian in the sales industry and in his book, everything you learned about selling will be turned upside down. No more chasing, no pressure, no closing.

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19 Comments

  1. Dave Schwartz

    I have been in business for 21 years and SOMEWHAT successful despite concentrating on products rather than marketing. 4 Years ago realized that I was doing it wrong. TALKED about changing things for over 3 years but took no action.

    Then I met a man who understood that “marketing is everything – probably much like you. I decided to take action!

    Emptied out my meager savings and hired him to both “do for me” and to “tell me what to do.”

    It was the smartest thing I ever did. Now I market “information products” ABOUT my industry instead of products WITHIN my industry.

    Why didn’t I take action before? Mostly being short-sighted, I think. The bottom line is that even in your example, that is a LOT of things to do. Those of us who are small business owners have our TIME stretched really tight. The thought of stretching it any tighter by actually DOING MORE is not considered as an option.

    To anyone ready this, I would say, BITE THE BULLET! Commit to doing JUST A LITTLE MORE EACH MONTH. The return in just a few months will be phenomenal. In my case, we are 7 months into the program and have literally DOUBLED our gross revenue and PROFIT!

    And most of all, spend some money. Do not try to do it all yourself. You need guidance and resources to outsource the workload to.

    Reno, NV

  2. Larry Alex

    As a business consultant, I see what many have said here as obstacles:
    1. Fear of change
    2. Don’t want to leave the “comfort zone”
    3. Owner will be embarrassed if the strategy (whatever it is) doesn’t work straight away.
    4. Too many ideas at once. Give ’em a quick win as a confidence builder.
    5. Do it for me. Oh, wait, I’ll only pay you for the ideas that work out.

    What’s the answer? Every case is different. I tend to mix and match everything from slow implementation, taking all responsibility so the owner can “save face”, to working on contingency if I am positive the improvement will be truly significant.

    Finally, the 1 in 1,000 case: we were hired, presented our financial and marketing ideas and the owner intentionally did the exact opposite to prove us wrong. He paid us a substantial fee to feed his ego. He failed. We were not happy, he was not happy,. If you’re a consultant, avoid these situations at all costs; there are so many Owners/CEOs who really want and appreciate the help!

    San Diego, CA

  3. Stephen Whiteley

    As others have alluded to, the real story is the one inside us. Growing ourselves is both the biggest challenge and the biggest joy. A little bit better each day is the answer.

    Ottawa, ON Canada

  4. Tom Sikorski

    Thanks for a VERY insightful article! I agree with the comment that many times we hesitate to try new strategies because we have been disappointed with the shortfall of other “solutions.” What else is there but the CHANCE to increase the probability that things just might go more our way?

    I just saw the movie “The Kings Speech.” If you think you are stubborn about change or may be afraid of inadequacy, WATCH THE LEAD IN THIS MOVIE! You may just see yourself resisting the process that builds the foundation for greatness. Like King George VI listen to the faith and love of those who see you for the person you can be IF you are willing to RISK and WORK for it.

    Atlanta, Georgia USA

  5. Daniel M.

    Ari,

    Thanks for the tips. How much do I owe you? I just got those for free!? No way…

    These articles are priceless…thanks!

    Regards,

    Daniel

    Riverside, CA

  6. Kurt Johansen

    Ari, Great tips. Monthly newsletters (Tip #4) are certainly worthwhile but I find many businesses don’t have the funds to produce. However, once I show them how to achieve the same with email marketing at a fraction of the cost – then the monthly newsletter becomes a fortnightly/weekly sales letter and then the money comes in. PS: I’m a great fan of your buddy.

    Adelaide SA

  7. Ron Mileham

    Come on you so called entrepreneurs. See the problem here! He doesn’t want to do it himself, but would he pay someone to take it all on board and fix it for him – possibly!

    Sell the lead to a fixer / doer if you don’t want to do it yourself, whilst you supply the ideas and marketing expertise. Split the profits.

    There are literraly tens of thousands of SMEs who need help to raise their profile and profits. If they can’t or wont do it themselves, WE must find a way.

    Melbourne, Australia

  8. Kym Heffernan

    Hi Ari, Great topic and what you say is so true. Guess his (like many people’s) desire to want to change and make more money is outweighed by his being too comfortable “just getting by”. So we take the easy option (like just doing one strategy) rather than stepping outside our comfort zone and testing new strategies. Sometimes even when the new strategies work we stop using them! I believe no matter whether new strategies do or don’t work we need to persist and keep implementing, testing and readjusting to succeed. Thanks again for the topic.

    Sydney

  9. Tony Kan

    Many of your ideas that you put forward require him to challenge his perception of himself. Its those insecurities that are going to stop him.

    I know one business owner who had a performance management problem. The consultant he hired suggested putting a dashboard on the board room whiteboard to monitor activity weekly. Once the guy left he said “No one is going to tell me what to do!” What do you think his insecurity was?

    In the same way your cafe owner has to fight his inner demons before he can see his way clear to implementing your ideas. What if “putting himself out there” by using his own picture makes him cringe? Who knows what his insecurity is?

    I guess this is what you are talking about when you discuss discovering a potential client’s “truth.”

    We each have to find courage to face up to our own.

    Interestingly, I note that on a recent episode of “Criminal Minds” they say that entrepreneurs share characteristics with psychopaths, they just channel them differently:

    * An inflated sense of self importance
    * Narcissism
    * A lack of remorse
    * Deceptive

    Ugh!

    Christchurch, New Zealand

  10. Peter Hagerty

    Your article on this point was excellent and I for one recognize your good spirited offerings to the owner of this shop and empathize with you about it falling on deaf ears.

    🙂

    Sydney

  11. Tony Filippone

    Ari, I have been reading your articles and they all make alot of since. I think one problem is that as business owners we have all tried so many ideas that did not pan out the way we had hoped and it gets to you when you put alot of effort into something and don’t get the results that you hoped for. Sometimes what we need is a coach to give us one easy to implement idea at a time so that we don’t get overwhelmed and give up. The problem there is many of us are too cheap to invest in a coach or the training we need and again we have been burned by coaching and training that did not really help that much. How do you convince yourself to invest your time money and energy into something that you are not certain will work. I think that is your business owners true chalange.

    Rockford Illinois

  12. Viktor Barta

    Because we deal with the affluent high end of our industry, I also often have these conversations with competitive business owners that aspire to be more successful and ask how we manager to get into that market – they have been trying for years with no success

    So I walk them through some of the steps to transform their business to get to that point.

    Having done this at least a dozen times… Unfortunately my conclusion on the matter is when all is said and done they want success to fall into their lap out of sheer luck and not through any effort or change.

    They convince themselves that good fortune will come to them eventually and that is how it must have happened for us.

    Definition of Insanity – doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result!

    Sunshine Coast, Australia

  13. Jeremy

    Just getting the business owners to admit their pains is a huge step. And then having them “open” their minds to this whole internet/web thing can be like explaining the stock market to my 4 year old.

    Edmonds, Wa

  14. Chester Cutinha

    Thanks for this Ari. Touched a nerve with me. Many of us claim we want our results to change, but we do not alter our actions to impact that change. 🙂

    Perth, Australia

  15. James Lauffer

    Far too many small business owners are frozen by their fears. They spend their time paralyzed by their fears. Faced with a new idea, they hesitate to try it because they fear it won’t work for them and will only prove the hopelessness of their circumstances. Worse yet, many don’t take action because they fear success, which would contradict the negative, victimized image they hold of themselves. They fear success that will demonstrate they have been wrong about themselves and their circumstances. All of us have trouble moving beyond our self-imposed comfort zones.

    Santa Clarita, CA

  16. Dave Goodwin

    Everyone wants success but doesn’t want to change to get it. The only constant in life IS change.I’m doing whatever it takes!

    Stettler, AB, CANADA

  17. Dave Krasner

    Ari, I have had your program for many years!! the problem with implementing ideas especially as a small business owner is the attitude “I do not have enough time”, but really it comes down to managing time effectively. when your day is planned you also need to add for eventualities and client fires, that may disrupt you when you wear all the Hats, now get to work!! thanks for all your advice over the years!

    New Orleans

  18. Marcus Lineas

    Excellent story and you’re point is well made, success is only available to the enterprenuer who isn’t afraid to change.

    San Diego, CA

  19. Lynn Armstrong

    Love your tips, they’re great and thank goodness you are available to us Aussies now. Unlock The Game should replace all corporate sales training programs…you’re an inspiration!

    Brisbane, Australia

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