Are you really open for business?

I was in WHSmith in Ealing Broadway at about 17:35 today when they turned the lights out, leaving just emergency lighting on. My immediate reaction was that I’d got their opening times wrong and they closed at 5.30 not 6.00. But no, they are open until 18:00. However, the message to me was, ‘Go home Glenda, we want to lock up.’ OK, if you don’t want my custom I’ll go elsewhere. As far as I was concerned WHSmith was not open for business.

It’s all too easy to give the wrong impression to potential customers. Turning the lights out is an obvious example but networkers who moan all the time are giving off the message that they are not open for business. Sales staff who don’t engage eye contact when they are talking to me, cashiers who continue talking to their colleagues whilst serving and people who continue to work on something else whilst on the telephone are all giving off the message that I am not important. They are not open to my business.

In these cash strapped times we are all trying to do more with less but if we want to grow our businesses our prospects need to know that they are really important to us. We must give them our undivided attention. We need to make it as easy as possible for them to do business with us. We have to have a ‘can do’ attitude.

Time for a little self analysis. Is there something you are doing that suggests you are not really interested in people’s business? Do you turn the lights out (physically or metaphorically) too soon? Are you leaving potential business for someone else to pick up?

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