Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign

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Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign

Have you taken a good long look at the sign being displayed advertising your business to the world? Try to look at it from a customer’s point of view. Be objective and see if it conveys the message you want it to. Is this message designed to promote good relationships? Or is it doing something else? People like doing business with those they know, like and trust. Your signage is a great opportunity for you to instill positive feelings in everyone who sees it and it should welcome them to do business with you.

When I see this sign:

We'll make it right

It communicates to me that I can expect to be happy with my purchase. If not, they will make sure that it’s taken care of and that I’ll be happy in the end. They care about their customers and are looking to do business long-term with everyone. We count. I can trust them.

On the contrary:

Bad check sign

This sign conveys an ORDER to NOTICE. They don’t value my business if I’m not a “local”. And that they get a lot of bad checks so they are suspicious of everyone and feel compelled to warn us upfront about their “bad check fee”. They are looking out for scammers. It doesn’t sound like a very inviting way to greet potential customers. There are many more discreet ways to convey the “bad check fee”, and most businesses convey this message without being offensive.

The only people who really need to know the policy on bad checks are those who write bad checks. When this policy is conveyed, it shouldn’t be BOLD and COMMANDING, and in my face. A small sign next to the counter can easily say something like this: “For those of you wishing to pay by check, please note that we do not take out-of-area checks, and must charge fees for those that bounce back to us.”

What does this sign say to you?

non-negotiable

It says to me “We’ll be glad to sell you this stuff, but buyers beware”.  Yes, this sign is in a consignment shop, so it’s easier for the establishment to get away with something like this, but it’s still not welcoming. There is a much kinder, gentler and friendlier way to tell those trying to negotiate pricing that the prices are nonnegotiable, don’t you think? Also, did you catch the spelling error on the sign? This tells me that they’re careless, not careful. I wouldn’t leave my things there on consignment.

Take a look around, what do the messages, emails, Web postings and signs that you display and use to communicate with really say and imply to your customers, or would-be customers? Are they inviting, warm, and friendly, designed to build trust? Do they convey that you care about your customers and are interested in building long-term relationships with those you do business with?

Remember, anything that can be said negatively can be said positively. Make a concerted effort to project a positive message, one that conveys what you really want to say. All signage and messages should invite the customer in and assure them that they will enjoy doing business with you.

Peggy Cenova

Peggy Cenova has been the Regional Director of the East Central ISBDC since 2011. She was a Business Advisor for the Center from 2009-2011. Peggy’s career includes owning her own small business from 1986 – 1997. That small business (Straight Status, Inc.) was named to the Inc. 500 fastest growing business list in 1988. She has managed Psychiatric, Legal and Orthodontic practices. Currently she enjoys facilitating small business strategic planning sessions, presenting on starting, building, and marketing small businesses, and coaching business owners one-on-one as they assess their business needs.She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and an Associates Degree from Ball State University.
Peggy Cenova can be reached at pcenova@isbdc.org.
Posted in: Customers, Marketing, Operations

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