Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Lost Opportunity

I understand that sometimes we let opportunities slip thru our fingers. Most of us are doing more, gone are the days of a personal assistant, now we do our own research, typing, etc.

However if you let your marketing slip by the wayside, eventually your whole business can slip away.

This week I had lunch with a friend at a popular Irish restaurant. Actually, this was our second choice because the place we originally were going to is now closed at lunch time. The economy? or a lack of marketing? I guess the later.

So we went across the parking lot and went into this restaurant that I had not visited in about 3 years. We each ordered something off their express lunch menu and the food was fair.

Midway through our lunch I noticed several items that were lost opportunities. After we left I jotted down a few more. Here's a partial list:

-Waitress was forgetful with our very simple drink order, Water & Diet Pepsi. She had to ask twice.

-Music was too loud to have a pleasant conversation with someone seated across the table from me.

-Music selection did not enhance the atmosphere of an Irish restaurant. Instead of Irish music, they played some boring, generic top 40.

-Music was probably chosen for the workers and the volume turned up to keep them awake?

-Body piercings in un-natural places that looked painful, such as eye-brows, nose, lips. This is Middle America, not the coast.

-Mediocre attitude from waitress, like we were interrupting her "smoke break". Never made any food suggestions, not a people person.

-Food was presented on a very plain plate. A spring of parsley could have make it look more appealing. (This was pointed out by my friend who was in the restaurant business.)

-Bright sunlight in the bar area magnified that the place needed a good cleaning. Here's a tip, lower the lights until you scrub the place down.

-No suggestive selling. Even McDonald's will ask if you want fries with that.

Okay, there's more but first because this is the Holiday season, now is the time to push gift cards, etc. So on that theme, I continue:

-No table tents, promoting ANYTHING for the holidays. If you can't afford theme, I know how you can get them at no out of pocket cost.

-No mention of anything holiday related on the menu, by the waitress, zip, zero, nada.

Some of the best marketing you can do is to those that are already your customers. Coffee Shops in our area started this with a free punch card to reward frequent visitors. Others do it now.

So you tell your staff to do suggestive selling and they refuse. Reward them. Cut them in on some of the action.

I noticed this recently at a drug store. The cashier was very bold about it, and asked everyone that he rang up if they would help him reach a sales goal and buy a candy bar that was half price. (He probably sold Boy Scout Popcorn door to door in his younger days).

He was going to be rewarded and he was bold and honest in his approach. He even took a candy bar from the display and held it in front of you as he asked.

Okay, what about your business?

How many lost opportunities to earn money do you have?

Need some help finding them? Contact me at for help.

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