Gals Go Green
"Rid Us of this Evil High Priest..."

Want Sales? Stage Your Business

By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter

Images1 We women notice a lot of things - and we're (typically) big nesters.  Comfort. Light. Space. Order. We  respond to these - on a very deep level - even when we don't really realize why.  Men do as well.  I used to date a man who  loved my home, saying - as he relaxed into my comfy sofa =  "It's so welcoming!"  Well, his apartment could have been equally comfortable, if he'd done a few things like use a lamp instead of the glaring overhead light; hang a picture; throw a few pillows around; and - ahem - vacuum. 

It's all about staging - which the HGTV shows do so well to help people sell houses. Staging is equally important in business sales.  Here are some quick examples: 

Retail clothing stores:
  Lose the flickering fluorescent lights in the dressing rooms. I know I've got cellulite - I don't want to look like a zombie with cellulite. Put in some pink bulbs and indirect lighting. Vacuum the carpet. Clean the sticky kiddie fingerprints off the mirror. (Note: Even very high-end, uber-expensive stores are guilty of bad dressing rooms.) 

Any retail store:
Keep the aisles clear. Keep the shelves stocked and dusted.  Mop the floor. DO NOT let your teenage employees pick the music to play over the loudspeakers.  If you must have music, it should be background and chosen for your target customers.  (If your target customers are teenagers, then reconsider the employee selection thing.)

DO NOT post warning signs about shoplifters.  Sets a negative vibe from the get-go.  We all know shoplifting is a crime - especially the shoplifters. That's why they're so sneaky. Duh. 

DO NOT post "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." Pick your poison here. The reader is wondering: A. what century you live in; B. Are you a racist, misogynist or just plain don't like people?
Office lobbies:
Replace the dead and dying plants. Struggling, straggly plants SCREAM struggling, straggly business.  Lose the "cute" signs and "funny" jokes taped up at the receptionist desk.  Even if it's below counter level - I can see that cartoon making fun of customers when I'm standing there. Keep magazines current. Straighten the pictures.

Got an award cabinet or wall?  Great if you've got a long and continuing winning spree - but if the last one the company won was more than two years ago - you should redecorate.  Gee, they must have been going downhill for a while now - look at the dusty plaque from 2001...

Any company or group with a web site.
Freshen up the content regularly.  Keep it uncluttered.  Keep it friendly.  Make it easy for people to find things (just like aisles at a retail store - if there's too much, people will likely leave without calling about or buying anything.)

Stage tableaus of complementary products.
  This goes for both real-world and virtual stores. Pottery Barn does this well - as does the local outlet of discounter T.J. Maxx. Hmmm...I really like that candle holder and that cool vase goes well with it...oh, and that tablecloth goes perfectly! Ka-ching! Ka-ching! I just spent about three times what I intended to when I first walked in "just to look around."

Make your business warm, welcoming and comfortable - and you'll be the one people pick...even at higher prices.

P.S. Do I really need to talk about the state of your restrooms?  Want your biggest client staring at mold while he or she considers your mega-million proposal?


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