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No one wants a Julia Roberts shopping experience

Yesterday I was walking down Main Beach Gold Coast (Tedder Ave) with my son and saw some lovely comfortable shoes in a pretty high end shoe shops. It had no eating or drinking sign in the window which is fair enough so I asked my son to stay outside with his food and had a quick look. I walked in and wandered around the shop. The shop assistant was in her mid 50’s and was dressed nicely but didn’t greet me. Infact she ignored me completely as I tried to make eye pretty-woman-shopping-scene-3contact. I found one shoe that looked my size (5, yes small) and after a quick look, asked her if I could try it on. She was very bothered by the question, still not making eye contact and asked if it was my size. It was in the specials section there was only one left and I said I wasn’t sure as it was a 36 (6) but sometimes I fit a 6. I tried it and it was too big. She didn’t offer any help or assistance. She only said she never gets in size 5. I said thank you and was glad there was no size 5 as aI wouldn’t have wanted to buy the shoes in that shop! It was such a poor experience. It really left me feeling crap, as if my size 5 feet were not normal. It wasn’t that the shoe shop didn’t have my size, it was the way the shop keeper made me feel. I was having a Julia Roberts experience. Had the shop assistant engaged with me in any form it would have left a greater impression and I may have recommended the shop but Instead I am venting to you about the lack of empathy the she showed.

By contrast our family went to the Tamberine Mountains just out of the Gold Coast for the day and I went into a lovely shop called KenshoandLove where I was greeted by a lovely shop owner Verina. She let me browse her beautiful bees wax scented candles and explained to me that bee’s wax was burnt longer and cleaner. I ended up buying some candles and then after trying them at home, ordered more online. It was largely due to the experience I had  with Verina and the candles which are devine.smallpom-2T

Every day on our holiday I see examples of small businesses missing opportunities to connect and add value and literally chase customers away with poor customer service. Now days it is not just the customer in the store but their tribe extending into the hundreds or thousands online. It is those little things that you do or don’t do that can make all the difference.

Acknowledging a trip advisor review, offering some free advice or extending a warm smile can go a long way. Learn how you can make your business more customer centric and build a list of loyal customers today. After all no one wants a Julia Roberts poor shopping experience.


IwatchThe iWatch is the latest addition to Apple’s product portfolio and it promises to be just as revolutionary as the iPhone was when it was introduced. Marketed as a the Apple Watch (but we will call it iWatch) for everyone and something you will want to wear every day because of its functionality and style. It comes in two sizes which is good as I have a small wrist, but probably the most transformational element is that it can allow payment by mobile, fitness and health functions and collection of data and all the scheduling that your phone did. You can also take quick calls and then transfer to your phone if you wish. With Samsung, Sony and others already gone down the smart watch path with limited success, Apple hopes to revolutionise this digital landscape to be adopted by the masses with their design, functionality and Apple Pay giving us the choice to pay with our iWatch in real time.

“There are also rumours that the iWatch will be able to connect to Apple’s bluetooth-powered location system iBeacon – a network of cheap transmitters that allows stores to locate Apple devices nearby and send targeted messages such as special offers or other incentives. As somebody interacts with iBeacon through their iWatch, or as they browse for products throughout their day, that data can be used by marketers within milliseconds to deliver highly relevant ads;” Digtial Marketing Hub, Dax Hamman states. Apple will now control the way we behave and interact in a new way. It will create a demand for new apps and functionality as we get use to this mobile experience and screen.

iwatch2“Mobile payment could be a massive development for marketers. If you are able to connect customers’ phones to their transactions, then you can connect their behavior online to their behavior in-store. This is the Holy Grail. Brands will be able to provide a truly seamless customer experience. You could walk into a store, be greeted by name, get more information from a human being on the same products you were looking at online, then purchase it with a wave of your phone. However, this won’t happen right away.” Incite, Mark Kersteen reports.

The new Apple Pay is more secure than paying by credit card with its security encryption. If we become more comfortable paying with our phones I can’t see why we wouldn’t go the next step to the watch. With Apple perfecting the iWatch they have been careful to think out the functionality and how this will transpire for customer behaviour benefits. The message is clear for us; we need to embrace mobile as one of the most important marketing platforms.

Kickstarter’s backed new product Glance shows that watches are part of our lives it is how we integrate them into making them more useful, turning your existing watch into a smart watch. For those who don’t want to part with the $400 for the new iWatch then this might be a nice option. “Today better than 60 percent of 18-34 year olds get the time from their phones.  This space has, of late, been home to Fitbits and Pebbles and the like but, for most people, a watch hasn’t been a must-have accessory.Apple made watches cool again and new buyers of watches who may or may not have worn watches in the past will be its biggest customers.” Tech Crunch John Biggs

It will be interesting to watch the early adopters latch onto this new Apple product and in the months ahead we will see how it transpires. My prediction is we will embrace it like the other iProducts if it makes our lives easier and more interesting and fun. It will only be a matter of time before we see mass adoption and this will be the tipping point for retail and B2B comms and interactions.




By 2016, Gen X and Gen Y will also hold the majority of buying power in the economy and exert greater influence over the purchasing decisions of others. In Australia they are already over 40% of the population. Growing up surrounded by digital technologies, these generations are frequently seen as early adopters and innovators of the latest technological advances. They are a driving force behind a major shift in the way today’s consumers engage with brands and the decision-making process they follow prior to making a purchase.

The characteristics of our generations is changing as much as they world is. It took 38 years for TV to reach 50 Million people, just 7 years for the internet and 3 years of Facebook! The access to information and the communication platforms we now have at our fingertips has created a tipping point that places the consumer at the centre. We are all communicating via social media, and blending this with technology and every day activities.



Forrester research found that 54% of peoples’ buying behaviour is directly influenced by what others say about a brand, and 60% of customers would change their purchase decision in response to negative feedback from within their social network. Put simply, social media now trumps traditional marketing when it comes to driving the buying behaviour of customers.

According to Harvard Business Review  rather  than narrowing our choice of brand/product from an initially larger group, today’s we  undertake an iterative buying approach whereby they start with a narrow set of brands based on our knowledge and experience of a category or sector, then through their networks, seek additional scanSwiperecommendations and solutions, widening the decision making funnel. Based on the strength of these recommendations, we then refines the number of options under consideration until a purchase decision is made. Post purchase, we use their networks to seek reassurance on their purchase decision which then drives future buying intentions. If we have a bad experience we use those same social media channels to voice our disappointment publicly. These negative inter nations with companies are now being conducted in front of our family and friends and the way companies respond or don’t has ramifications for their brand. This can earn them loyalty by responding to a poor experience or fuel discontent by removing negative feedback or taking no action.

vodafoneAs the new customer we expect a multichannel experience to be seamless. We don’t can about the engagement, store, online, twitter or Facebook, we expect to the experience to be the same. We also expect a great level of engagement and interaction. Companies that are aware of the changes in customer expectations, modes of preferred communication and look for opportunity to engage in real time and delight are winning brand loyalty. Leading companies recognise the value of real time engagement not only for the existing customer but future customers who look to these sign posts when choosing who to engage with.

Apple stores use mobile Point of Sale terminals to add the convenience of ‘click to pay’ to their physical shopping experience and provide customers with an email receipt from the POS terminal. It is moving from “your call is important to us, to giving you the tools to resolve any issue on the phone or online.

Smart companies understand that they way we communicate, shop and engage has changed and that they are transforming the way they engage and service us accordingly.



The old sales approach will cost you business

Yesterday I was walking home from the post office and I saw a new Physio place that had opened up. I had really bad lower back pain and so decided to pop in an grab a card. I went into the reception area and there was no one so I grabbed a card. I was looking for a female name as I feel more comfortable with a female when a guy, let’s call him David came out. He stood very close to me and asked if he could help. I was aware that he had another person in his room and I was in a rush and said I was going to make an appointment but I would just grab a card. At that point he said, “Hold on a minute, I won’t be long.”

imagesHe then went back to his client. This put me in a hard spot. 1. I didn’t want to wait but felt rude to leave. 2. I was wondering the sort of service he was giving his client with me waiting. I decided at that point this was not the Physio for me. I got up to leave and shut the front door as quietly as I could. He came out and ran after me.”I was just finishing up.” I said that I had to go. He then proceeded to tell me when he was available and his partner and could he make an appointment for me. I said I would ring. He asked me for my name, which I gave him.

This whole situation seemed like fire ambulance chasing. I felt uncomfortable and I won’t go back, even if David might be a great Physio. His approach and self interest put me off.  It is a shame because had he said in the first place, ring us and we would love to help you, I would have. He could have handed me a flyer about his services and explained that he needed to get back to his patient. That would have impressed me more.

Business is a relationship game. We choose. Much like dating if it doesn’t feel right at the start the relationship is not going to get better. We live in a era of  a buying process controlled by consumers , not of sales  and the people who get this will make their business very successful.


Is your business sucking the life out of you?

crazy woman

Is your business sucking the life out of you?What are your goals for 2014/15 as a small business owner?

There is something about the comfort of an old t-shirt as p.js or a nice pair of warm socks that keeps you turning back for things of comfort. I guess the same can be said for setting goals for your small business. It is comforting to just go with the flow, rather than set some ambitious goals that make you get out of your comfort zone. But without the end game in mind, your small business becomes a job can have you working 80 hours a week and sucking the life out of you.

As Brian Tracey says in his goal setting sessions, “success is goals.”What do you want out of life? What do you want out of your small business? What will make you happy? Seems simple, but most us seem to do what is easy or do what we have always done even if that means our business runs us, instead of us running our business. We put our heads under the doona and hit the snooze button, rather than take the challenge of changing and do that brisk walk when the alarm button goes off in the morning.

For me, to grow my small business and even keep it afloat it is about knowing what are the important questions to ask? It is being able to make the right decisions on a day by day basis that takes me that ideal company I have in your mind. To do this I have to be able to picture that vision with real clarity. Here are some aids I have found that will help you ask those tough questions and set the stage for a great 2012 and a business you want to run. A year that you will look back at and say, “yeah, 2012 was a great year for me and I am getting closer to that vision I have for my company and my life”.

  • Have a vision for where you want to go. Is your business sucking the life out of you? What is it would you like your life to look like? John Jantsch Goal Setting Video is a must resource. John has a exercise of describing your business as it is 3, 5 years from now and what does it look like? Goal Setting I find it useful to have a personal vision and a company vision.


  • Set some realistic but stretch revenue goals. We all need money to live. We need our small business to provide for us. What do you want your income to be now and in the next 1, 3, 5 years? I do this every revenue setting exercise  every year. I sit down and write an amount that I need and would like to make. Guess what? I come within 5% of  this figure year on year. Each year I try and stretch the figure and each year I reach it. I guess it is because once I have a target I plan my plan to support it. I do everything in a purposeful way. As a consultant,I find it useful to set, monthly, weekly and daily targets that sharpen my focus. It is a real measurement for me in terms of how I am tracking . http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/ is a great tool for this purpose. I love Freshbooks.com for time, invoice and estimate tracking. (heaps better than MYOB in my book).
  • What do you need to invest in yourself to reach your roles

“Success is something that you attract, by becoming an attractive person.” As Jim Rohn says “work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” Personal development is an area all about developing skills that will serve you well in growing your business and making better business decisions. An extra skill I have developed digital marketing have served me well. Podcasting and writing has enabled me to reach you. What do you need to be able to make better decisions this year. How can you be the expert in your industry? Invest in yourself.

  • Build a great team around. Zig Ziggler says, “if you can help enough people get what they want then you can probably get what you want.” This give to get mentality is already used in content marketing to great affect. We can no longer interrupt, persuade or buy people’s attention. We need to earn, give and educate to receive it.  Building a great team around me is critical to business success. I spend a lot of time on communicating and sharing with my team so we are all on the same vision with clear goals to get there. I also focus on having fun.
  • Get a Coach or Mentor. The biggest growth I got in one single year was when I took on a lifeline.  A Lifeline concept was introduced to me by Keith Ferrazzi when I read his book, Who’s Got Your Back. This is a person that I could banter with, share ideas, and would be accountable to. As a small business it is easy to feel isolated. Networking groups help but there is nothing like having that person who as got your back.  I am lucky in that I found this person just when I was ready and he has shaped my approach to business. He shares the same value set as me and I respect his opinion. However he has a different approach to me and asks me the tough questions and always has my back. I do the same for him. I remember interviewing Linda Hailey another successful small business marketer and she did this with her competitor. They would have lunch and share information, ideas and learn. Who can you ask to mentor you? Most people will say yes. I set up a group called BrainJam for CEOS and BrainJam for Marketing Students to do that very thing. To share ideas and banter. It is a must for small businesses.

Other resources

Brian Tracy – Goal Setting

Vision Mission Values Template

Who’s Got Your Back by Keith Ferrazzi

Your True North Exercise