Merrill Dubrow

Did you ever think about how many words there are in the English language? The Global Language Monitor says the number of words in the English language is 1,019,729 — but the question is which ones are the most important?

There are a number of important words, but to me, based on the current business environment now and what is on the horizon, the most important words are, “What else?”

  • What else can you do to help a colleague?
  • What else can we do to make our proposals better?
  • What else can we provide to our current clients?
  • What else can you do to move the company forward?
  • What else can you do to increase efficiencies?
  • What else can marketing be doing to promote our company better?
  • What else should be included in our upcoming webinars?
  • What else should we include on our website?
  • What else can we do to turn a prospect into a client?
  • What else can we do to turn a client into a strategic partner?

What the value is

Asking yourself these questions does a few things very quickly. It promotes teamwork, promotes new ideas and provides a platform to have fun in your company. It is very easy to establish an internal awards program around this concept. And let’s be honest, we are all looking for reasons to hand out awards and accolades.

Today, close your eyes for 30 seconds and think about “what else.” Really stop what you are doing, pause and ask yourself, “What else?” These two words in my opinion might be the most important and critical words for your company for the rest of 2013 and beyond!

Think about the future more

Too many times people aren’t thinking ahead! Too many times people are in the present, taking care of the task at hand, checking the box after that activity is complete and moving on to the next one. I understand why that happens and understand it is very hard to change.

But if that happens 99 percent of the time, doesn’t it get in the way of progress? Doesn’t that get in the way of discovering new ways of doing things? Doesn’t that get in the way of increasing efficiencies, which leads to the bottom line? Join me and think about the future a little more often and I promise this will work.

With the business environment continuing to be unpredictable, finding the time to integrate this strategy into your enterprise can only help. I challenge each of you to meet with your leadership team for 30 minutes and discuss how you can make this work for your company.

What else? You tell me!

I look forward to hearing from you. 

Merrill Dubrow is president and CEO, M/A/R/C® Research, located in Dallas, one of the top 25 market research companies in the U.S. Merrill is a sought-after speaker and has been writing a blog for a number of years. He can be reached at merrill.dubrow@marcresearch.com or at (972) 910-8916. 

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I drop off my clothes at the dry cleaner weekly and the staff is always friendly. A hello, good bye is always said but there are a few things that are missing.

1. A few weeks earlier, I dropped off some clothes and picked up and paid for the clothes that I had dropped off the week earlier. As I was getting out of the car I asked my son to bring in my dry cleaning. He said, “Dad — these clothes don’t look like yours.”

As I took a quick look, he was 100 percent right and two minutes later we were back at the dry cleaners exchanging the wrong clothes…. I hoped. Thankfully after 15 minutes they found my clothes and life was back to normal and my shirts were back with me.

The interesting thing was what the owner said or actually didn’t say. The only thing he said was, “Thanks for bringing back the clothes,” which I thought was very odd. There was no sorry for the mix up… no sorry for any inconvenience… in fact, no sorry at all.

Lesson No. 1: Say I’m sorry. It isn’t a sign of weakness; it isn’t a sign of embarrassment. Frankly it is a sign of honesty and sincerity, and it shows the customer you really, really care about them and their business.

2. In the past few months I have also noticed that my dry cleaner will give me a date/time when my clothes will be ready. Lo and behold when I show up, they aren’t. I understand that you can miss a deadline but when you know you have missed a deadline, say something. they have my phone number and email. Make a call or send a text/email.

Lesson No. 2: Everyone will miss a deadline. Doing nothing, sweeping it under the rug and not communicating is a huge mistake and can only cost your business in the long run!

3. This next one was actually very funny or at least I thought it was funny. I lost one of my buttons on my shirt and asked my dry cleaner to sew it back on. They said, “No problem at all and it will be ready when the rest of your clothes are ready.”

A few weeks later I wore the shirt that the dry cleaner had fixed and noticed the button (on my sleeve) was actually a different color than the one next to it. My dress shirts have two buttons on the sleeve so it is very easy for me to notice. I looked at the bottom of my shirt where there is always extra buttons sewn in and lo and behold, all of the extra buttons are still there. Ok, I will admit I did chuckle a little bit.

Lesson No. 3: Pay attention to details. It is the smallest of details that can and will affect your business the most. Rest assured if you pay attention to details your enterprise has a much better chance to be successful.

Merrill Dubrow is president and CEO, M/A/R/C Research, located in Dallas, one of the top 25 market research companies in the U.S. Merrill is a sought after speaker and has been writing a blog for over six years. He can be reached at merrill.dubrow@marcresearch.com or at (972) 983-0416.

 

A few weeks ago, I was in a CVS, buying a few items that included a case of water, a newspaper and a candy bar for one of my kids. As I was leaving, the cashier handed me my receipt, which literally took 15 seconds to print out — no exaggeration. As I was walking out, I chuckled a little bit while reviewing the 42-inch receipt. I bought three items and the receipt was more than 3½-feet long.

OK, let’s get past that and go to what was on the receipt. Besides my items, there was an opportunity for a $1,000 sweepstakes and coupons for:

?  Get a flu shot today and receive 20 percent off.

?  $4 off when you spend $20 on vitamins.

?  $6 off a beauty purchase of more than $15.

?  $1.50 off any shampoo or conditioner.

?  $2 off any Nature Bounty Vitamin.

?  $1 off Excedrin — for life’s headaches.

Very few of these coupons are personalized to me — meaning based on prior purchases. Why is this? Since I used my ExtraCare card, CVS knows a ton about me, my habits, what I buy, when I buy it and the regularity of those purchases. Of these six offers, I bought only vitamins a week prior to this purchase. Clearly, there was no chance for me to buy them again. I forgot to mention that all of these coupons expired less than a week after my visit.

Use resources wisely

I must admit: I don’t get it. I feel that CVS has wasted resources, information, paper, my time and — most importantly, from the company’s standpoint — an opportunity to persuade me to shop more in its store and increase its revenue.

The way I look at it, I am in the company’s store, I am a customer, I am buying products, and then I am leaving the store. Furthermore, I assume CVS wants me to return, it wants more of my business, and it wants me to spend money in its store.

Since we know all of that is true, CVS should find a way to personalize all the offers to my needs. It should understand that I have seasonal purchases and understand how often I buy water, soda and candy bars. Customize the receipt to the customer. If you can’t customize all of the offers, then customize a few of them.

If the six coupons were about the products that I shop for there, such as soda, newspaper, candy for my kids, dish soap, detergent and paper towels, then the coupons would have had a positive effect on my purchase intent.

Problem is pervasive

Even though I mentioned CVS, the same is true for many other retailers. When looking over recent receipts from Walgreens, Panda Express, Tom Thumb and Golfsmith, they are all missing opportunities to effectively communicate with customers. In the age of big data, why aren’t companies using this more to their advantage?

To me, the winning retailers in 2013 will be the ones that understand and can implement personalization in dealing with their customer base. As a customer of a lot of retailers, I truly hope this happens sooner than later. ?

Merrill Dubrow is president and CEO, M/A/R/C Research, located in Dallas, one of the top 25 market research companies in the U.S. Merrill is a speaker and has been writing a blog for more than six years. He can be reached at merrill.dubrow@marcresearch.com or at (972) 983-0416.

Everyone knows the economy has been challenging, difficult, irritating and many other things in the past few years. When did it start to affect your enterprise? When did you start feeling business was a little soft? For us at M/A/R/C Research, it was July 2008. The interesting thing for me is that was more than four years ago.

In my opinion, the last four years have been the most difficult that my generation of business executives will ever face. Since I always wanted to be a professional athlete, I think of this environment as my seventh game of the World Series, my Super Bowl, my NBA final.

In some ways, this is my quest. There is no better way to see how good you are as a business executive, strategist, leader or motivator than to see the results you have had during the current economy.

I also believe there have been tremendous lessons during this time. Here are a few I wanted to share with you.

1. Don’t hire ahead of the curve. I have made this mistake more than once. This volatile economy has taught me many things and at the top of the list is this one. I don’t want any of our staff working 60 hours a week consistently, but occasionally, this type of extra effort will be needed.

Before we have traction with a new strategy or a new revenue stream, we need to find a way to use internal resources. Once the revenue starts to roll in, then we can add staff — not before.

2. You have a new best friend. Not everyone wants or needs a new best friend, but this is one everyone should have. I am actually not talking about a person; your new best friend is LinkedIn. You need to be a power user and understand all the benefits associated with this amazing tool.

LinkedIn is the single most important business tool I use daily. With industry contacts changing jobs frequently, it’s critical to stay in touch and know where they are. LinkedIn is the largest business database that exists, and the basic version is free.

3. You need to be relevant. You need to be relevant to your staff, your clients and the industry you are in. If you aren’t relevant to your staff or clients, they eventually will leave.

You need to be considered an innovator or thought leader in your industry. If you are, this will give you a tremendous lift over your competitors and protect you during economic declines.

4. Don’t let clients pigeonhole you. This is one of the more painful mistakes that companies make. When we have senior leadership meetings and discuss clients and partnerships, our team gets confused with longevity as a core reason they consider a client a partner.

Longevity is great with any given client, but if they are using only one of your services or think of you for only one solution even though you sell 10, are they really a partner? I say no, and we have changed our thinking and spent months strategizing about increasing revenue with current clients and expanding our service offerings to them. And, thankfully, it has worked.

5. Expect the unexpected. What are you going to do when your largest client has a layoff? Or you lose a significant amount of business to a small competitor? Or your top salesperson leaves? All of these things are real. They can happen. Are you prepared? Do you have a solution ready that you could implement quickly? If not, sudden events like this could cost you a lot of money. ?

Merrill Dubrow is president and CEO of Dallas-based M/A/R/C Research, one of the top 25 market research companies in the United States. Dubrow is a sought-after speaker and has been writing a blog for more than six years. He can be reached at merrill.dubrow@marcresearch.com or (972) 983-0416.

A few weeks ago, I met with a member of our new business development team who had been on the job for a week or so. A few days before the meeting, I started jotting down notes about the message I wanted to convey and the points I wanted to make. These notes are the basis for my column this month.

There were seven points I wanted to stress to help the new team member be successful in our organization. Since my notes were a little cryptic, I will not only list them but expand on what they mean.

1. 900. My belief is that everyone has 15 minutes, or 900 seconds, of extra time during the day. Nine-hundred seconds where they have nothing to do; 900 seconds of basically free time.

For me, you need to take advantage of those 900 seconds and get better at something every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s gaining better computer skills or becoming a better presenter, just as long as you get better at something every day.

2. A new best friend. This was not only easy for me, but it’s essential. You need to make LinkedIn your new best friend. Since LinkedIn will be your new best friend, you need to spend time with it and get to know it. You need to understand the value of the tool and the power it has.

I truly believe if you aren’t using LinkedIn every day as a business tool, you are not as successful, efficient or smart as you could be.

3. Uncover hidden jewels. No, this isn’t about “Storage Wars.” (Even though I love that show, it isn’t what I’m referring to.) Every company has hidden jewels.

The question is: Where are they located? Where is that great proposal hiding? Who can fill you in on the company history, and who has the best value proposition that will help me sell our products and services and turn prospects into clients?

4. Get off to a quick start. I truly believe that if you get off to a quick start in the morning, you’ll accomplish more during the day. If you get off to a quick start prior to 8:30 a.m., this will be a springboard for a successful day.

People tend to feel good about themselves if they make things happen as soon as their day starts.

5. Each “no” gets you closer to a “yes.” Sales is a numbers game. Every time you get a no, even though it might hurt or upset you, it will get you that much closer to a yes and a new client.

6. Be a creature of habit. Without question, I am a creature of habit. I get in to the office and leave at the same time almost every day. I eat oatmeal at the same time, and I check the revenue of the company as soon as I arrive. The quicker you get into a routine, the better off you will be.

If you are in new business development, set aside the same time in the morning and afternoon to call prospects. Call your friends back at lunchtime when it might not be the most productive time.

7. You’re only alone if you want to be. This point is very important — especially if, like our new team member, you work at home. It’s very easy to bury yourself in your job and try to figure everything out yourself. Don’t do that. Stay connected to your office.

When your technology isn’t working perfectly, don’t try to fix it yourself. Call your IT department. When you’re responding to a proposal, if you have writer’s block, call a team member. Don’t struggle for hours. Remember, time is money.

Incidentally, the reason I had seven points was not that I couldn’t think of another few. My belief is that there are too many top 10 lists, and a top seven list would have a better chance to resonate with our new team member.

Merrill Dubrow is president and CEO of M/A/R/C Research, located in Dallas. The company is one of the top 25 market research companies in the U.S. Dubrow is a sought-after speaker and has been writing a blog for more than four years. He can be reached at merrill.dubrow@marcresearch.com or at (972) 983-0416.

Saturday, 30 June 2012 20:01

Concert and business: Two-part harmony

I recently had the opportunity to attend a Keith Urban concert. I had never attended one of his concerts and I’m not a huge fan of country music, but I thought it would be fun and an enjoyable night.

As the concert started, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the experience and how much I learned about business during the show. Let me explain the comparisons that I see between a Keith Urban concert and a successful business:

  • Communicate: Urban addressed the crowd a bunch of times during the night with a fun story and a clear message.
  • Use surprises: Urban walked into the crowd playing his guitar. In fact, he did this with security to the other end of the stadium. Lots of performers do this — but I have never seen one give away his guitar. At the end of the song, he gave his guitar to a fan!
  • Use the latest technology: Urban had some cool video screens behind him that reinforced his message and kept everyone’s interest for the entire concert.
  • Highlight individuality: Urban did an amazing job introducing his band and their talent. Every lead singer will do this, but Urban really personalized them and genuinely looked like he was having a great time.
  • Flexibility: Urban jumped around and was very flexible. OK, maybe this is a reach, but don’t we want our businesses to be flexible?
  • Leave your customers wanting more: Urban did two encores, and at the end of the second one, not one person out of the 20,000 people in the audience wanted to leave. Clearly, everyone left wanting more.
  • Create raving fans: Urban did just that. The tweets, the posts on Facebook and the discussions that everyone had because of that night will pay enormous dividends in the future. I’m sure most of the younger attendees downloaded Urban’s songs from iTunes that night, and the older ones went to Best Buy the next day and bought a CD.
  • Use PR: Everything Urban did was highlighted on the video screens. He gave away his guitar; it was highlighted. He walked into the crowd; it was highlighted. He brought someone up on stage; it was highlighted.
  • Engage the audience: Somehow, some way Urban seemed to notice everything in the crowd. A sign in the top deck of the stadium. A shirt that someone was wearing. Two people dancing to his music. I’m sure his staff worked very hard at this. Who knows, maybe some of it was staged, but it was well done and it made people feel special. Isn’t that the exact message we want our business to convey to our clients?
  • Involve the past: During the evening, Urban highlighted and spoke about Waylon Jennings and The Beatles. He mentioned how much they helped him with his music and how much he respected them. In business, we should all be doing this with former leaders or influencers of our companies.
  • Have fun: I’m not sure who had more fun, Urban or his audience. He was engaged with what he was doing the entire time he was on stage. Clearly, it was his goal to give everyone a memorable night, and his goal was accomplished.

Keith Urban is a great talent but probably a better showman and businessperson. His concert was an amazing night. He gave so much of himself during his performance. Every aspect of his show was about his fans and ensuring that he delivered a picture-perfect performance and experience.

I took away so much from his concert. I hope this piece enables every reader to take away at least one good idea or tidbit of information to help their business. <<

Merrill Dubrow is president and CEO of M/A/R/C Research, located in Dallas. The company is one of the top 25 market research companies in the U.S. Dubrow is a sought-after speaker and has been writing a blog for more than four years. He can be reached at merrill.dubrow@marcresearch.com or at (972) 983-0416.

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of going shopping with my kids. Since my parents and siblings live out of town, they sent checks to the kids and wanted me to have them buy whatever they wanted for their holiday gifts.

I tried to make the experience fun, exciting and, yes, a learning experience. The rules were pretty simple. OK, they were simple for me — perhaps not so simple for three kids under 11 who want to do nothing but spend money and buy themselves some gifts.

The rules were:

  • Each child gets to pick two stores he/she wants to shop in.
  • Share with me the items you think you want to buy.
  • Don’t spend more than $100.

See, I told you the rules were easy. As we started shopping, my oldest son bought a few items at Best Buy, and then spent a little more at Academy Sports and Walmart. Our next stop was Target, which was the store all of them wanted to shop in. As each gift went in the basket, I added up in my head what each child had spent. Then my daughter jumped into the shopping cart and started to play Barbie Dolls before we had paid for everything. I had this feeling that she might be over her allowance and was bracing myself for a challenging time at the register.

Stand firm

As luck would have it, she went over by $4.88. My first thought was, oh no — now what do I do? Give in or hold my position? Decision time needed to be quick and firm. My answer was, “Baby, you went over by a few dollars, so which of the gifts would you like to not include in your purchase?”

As I was bracing for a meltdown and for her to start throwing things at me, my oldest son said, “Dad, I have a few extra dollars left out of my money and would be happy to share it with my sister so she doesn’t have to return anything!” Wow! I didn’t expect that response. My daughter lit up like a Christmas tree, and I couldn’t have been more proud of my son.

Share year-round

My kids were sharing at the holidays! What a great message. Isn’t business about that? Sharing 24/7/365?

  • If you have a great idea, share it with your boss.
  • If you’ve found a new way to do something and save time, share it with your colleagues.
  • If you’ve had success negotiating a deal with a partner, share it with your business development team.
  • If you didn’t win a project but your prospect gave you some incredible feedback, share it with other salespeople.
  • If your last proposal included some cutting-edge technology, share it.
  • If your profit margin on your largest account is amazing, share it.

I could go on and on with this list. The bottom line is that sharing might be the most important thing a company and its staff can do day in and day out.

Adopt healthy habits

I would suggest that most successful companies have staff that share all the time, and companies that don’t share a lot wind up suffering as a result. When I asked a few industry contacts about sharing, a number of them said it isn’t something that happens too often within their company.

So I ask you:

  • Does your company have an environment that shares?
  • Do you highlight when people share with other team members?
  • Do you reward people who share?
  • Do you feel your company is much better off when everyone is sharing successes and failures?

If you don’t, maybe you should take a look at how you could incorporate that into your 2012 strategy.

Merrill Dubrow is president and CEO of M/A/R/C Research, located in Dallas. The company is one of the top 25 market research companies in the U.S. Dubrow is a sought-after speaker and has been writing a blog for more than four years. He can be reached at merrill.dubrow@marcresearch.com or (972) 983-0416.

Wednesday, 04 January 2012 09:12

How Lowe’s has impact and you can too

I am in the process of doing a lot of remodeling and have been spending some of my free time at Lowe’s. As I was coming out of the restroom, I noticed a number of employee lockers and a big sign that read, ‘The IMPACT Model.’ I got a little closer and really concentrated on their IMPACT Model and what it meant.

I — Initiate contact

M — Make assessment

P — Provide assistance

A — Add on sales

C — Close the sale

T — Thank the customer

I really liked the IMPACT concept. I like what it stands for. Doesn’t their model work for every company?

Initiate contact

Walking into a restaurant, retail store, stadium, dentist office, auto body shop or thousands of other businesses, don’t we all want one thing? Initiate contact? Most of the time I walk into a store, I have a question — whether it’s that I want to know if my friend that I am meeting has arrived, where I can find an item or if I need to fill out any paperwork while I wait for the doctor. Initiating contact is very critical to every business, and the quicker someone greets us, the better off we feel.

Make assessment

It’s very important, especially in a restaurant or retail establishment. Can I help this customer? Do we have what he or she is looking for? If not, do we have an alternative that we have that can solve this issue?

Provide assistance

It’s a must-have for every business. All of us want our staff to provide assistance. How many times have you called a company or visited a retail store and been bounced around from one person to the next? Sound familiar? It does to me, and when it happens, I take my business elsewhere. Do you do the same thing? If so, how do you think your customers feel if it happens to them?

Add on sales

Wow, talk about creating revenue and increasing the bottom line. You have customers — what else can you sell them? What else do they need for the project? Is there anything that I can add on that I know they will need to buy? This is very critical. My cousin owns a Knockouts franchise (upscale hair salon for men), and he has developed a very creative sales process for his staff to sell hair products after his customers get their hair cut. By putting this in place he has increased revenue eight months in a row.

Close the sale

In the movie, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Alec Baldwin makes a reference to ABC — which is, ‘always be closing.’ I will admit I may not have liked the language around what he was saying, but if you can get past that, the message is solid. You always need to be closing. Sometimes the message is soft — like when you leave the dentist office and the front office person will ask to schedule your next appointment — but any way you look at it, they are closing by setting up a future appointment, which increases revenue.

Thank the customer

Yes, yes, yes! Consumers have more choices than ever. The economy is very challenging and customers these days really want to be treated well, fairly and yes, thanked. I still make calls and send handwritten notes to first-time clients. I have heard from a number of them who said it made them feel very special that we really cared about their business. Do you have similar things in place for your customers?

How much impact does your company have?

Merrill Dubrow is President and CEO, M/A/R/C Research, located in Dallas. The company is one of the top 25 market research companies in the U.S.  Merrill is a sought after speaker and has been writing a blog for more than four years. He can be reached at merrill.dubrow@marcresearch.com or at (972) 983-0416.

I woke up one Friday morning like I do on most days — around 5 a.m. to get to the offi

ce around 6, but this day was a little different. This was the day I “run the rock,” a 5K race.

I was invited to run by someone very near and dear to me, and this invitation was definitely more meaningful than most, because it came from my son.

Together, side by side, we would take on this beast. A 5K might not seem like much, but my son is not even 10 years old. I, on the other hand, am old and only run on a treadmill indoors. But he has been working hard in his running class this year, and at the end of the year, the participants run the rock and invite someone to run it with them.

The morning of the race, we decided we would set our goal at 35 minutes.

So there we were with our matching T-shirts and numbers 1806 and 1807. We had sweat building on our brows and, most important, smiles on our faces. Then the starting gun went off and we were on our way. The school was cheering and we were starting our journey as a team.

There were five things I learned along the way.

1. Pace yourself. It was hot. He had never run that far, and we needed to set a good pace in order to complete our goal. In business, the reality is the same. Everyone wants to have a great January and get off to a quick start, but you may need to pace your marketing budget so it’s not all used in the early part of the year. Or pace your hiring of new staff members who you think you might need during the year.

2. There are lots of twists and turns. This 5K took us on some neat paths through the woods that had lots of different challenges. Business is not really that different from the paths throughout the race. The key is to pay attention and react accordingly to the different routes. If he and I didn’t pay attention to all the twists and turns, we could have fallen, hurt ourselves and not accomplished our goals. The exact same thing can happen in business.

3. We did it together. We ran a few feet from each other the entire race. We pushed each other; we communicated, had a lot of fun and by running together, we created a better chance of reaching our goal. Business is no different; no matter how good you are, you can’t do it alone. You need a team and the ability to work with team members and communicate throughout the year. If you accomplish those things, you will have a better chance to reach and exceed your goals. If you don’t, it will be much more difficult, and you run a higher risk of putting your goals in jeopardy.

4. Stop and take a breather. I had mentioned to my son, “You are in control — whenever you need to stop, we stop.” Over the course of the run, we stopped five times and walked. Isn’t the same exact thing true about business? Take time, stop, relax, and evaluate how you are doing and what changes need to be made. And then move on.

5. Save something for the end. My son had said a few times, “Dad, I want to finish strong since the entire school will see me cross the finish line.” Is business really that different? Remember to save something for the last quarter. In business you want and need to finish strong. It is always critical for morale to get to the finish line strong.

We reached our goal and completed the race in 32 minutes and 4 seconds. I say go run the rock with your team — it’s a wonderful bonding and business experience.

Merrill Dubrow is president and CEO M/A/R/C Research, one of the top 25 market research companies and located in Dallas. He is a sought after speaker and has been writing a blog for more than four years. He can be reached at merrill.dubrow@marcresearch.com or at (972) 983-0416.

I just had a great weekend in Texas. The sun was shining, the kids were laughing and many memories were formed. My boys played some baseball and, yes, as the good dad, I had camera in hand and clicked away with their every movement.

Even though I am not that artistic, I was confident I got some great candid shots. A few hours later, as I was running a bunch of errands, I decided to go to CVS and get the pictures developed. I walked over to the machine with my CD and a big grin on my face and started to view my pictures. I felt really good as I viewed one great picture after another.

I viewed all the pictures and chose the ones I wanted with a few different sizes and then hit the finish button. As the machine is printing out my code, a message on the machine mysteriously appears and reads, “We have made you a special gift.” OK, so I lose all my senses of where I am, and as I am feeling a little special I actually start talking to myself. Haven’t we all done that?

As I gain my composure the screen says, “Here is your special gift.” I look, and basically they took my 30 pictures and put them in a beautiful book. The book is formatted very nicely, and the machine lets me review the book, page by page, and also will allow me the opportunity to customize the book. Although it was great — beautiful and very thoughtful (thanks CVS) — I didn’t purchase the book for $19.99.

I then had another CD and wanted to print five more pictures. I went through the same process, and, again, after I was finished the machine said, “We have made you a special gift.” I was like, ‘I know — another book — and thanks but no thanks!’ Much to my surprise, that wasn’t the case at all. Apparently CVS has more than one special gift that they will offer customers. This special gift was a collage — they took the five pictures and placed them on an 8-by-10 picture, made them different sizes and actually had one of them as a background for all of the other pictures. It was really nice and cost $6.99. I paused for maybe three seconds and, with a smile on my face, hit the purchase button. I actually couldn’t wait to get a frame and show the kids.

So please join me up in the clouds — in fact, way up in the clouds — and relate this story and what CVS did and how that might relate to your business.

In my mind, CVS was amazing, and as a customer, it made me feel very special. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Did the business give me a few choices?
  • Did the business show me the finished product?
  • Did the business make it easy for me to buy?

For me, the answer to those three questions were all yes. This forced me to really think about my business, what changes we need to make to ensure we can teach every member of our team to create more revenue as we are creating revenue.

In fact, think about a few more things CVS did:

  • It used technology.
  • It was creating more revenue for itself in a very creative way — not only did the store try and sell me a book and collage (the special gifts), I also bought a frame for the collage in the store.
  • All of this was done in a very quick manner.

So I ask you, shouldn’t every business be more like CVS? I look forward to hearing from you and seeing how your business is like CVS.

Merrill Dubrow is president and CEO of Dallas-based M/A/R/C Research, one of the top 25 market research companies in the U.S. Merrill is a sought-after speaker and has been writing a blog for more than four years. He can be reached at merrill.dubrow@marcresearch.com or at (972) 983-0416.

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