« You Can Teach a New Dog Old Tricks | Main | Using OPM or Sweat Capital to buy a business »

Who are you?

98139762 No, not “The Who” as in the recording artists, but who are you when it comes to your business? Take Willis Auto Campus and Karl Chevrolet here in Greater Des Moines.

Arguably, they are two of the largest and best auto dealers in the area; yet it is very unlikely that a customer of Willis will change to Karl for a like purchase (or vice versa). Remember I said “like purchase.”

The same client will buy a Chevrolet truck from Karl and a Lexus RX from Willis. So should Willis sell Chevy trucks or should Karl sell Lexus cars?  Not in the same business location with the same team. Why? Customers hate to be confused.

The process and motivation for a Chevy truck purchase are entirely different than that of a Lexus purchase. Sure, both dealers employ car sales specialists, mechanics, service advisors and the like. Sure, those from the industry can argue the processes and training are the same at the core.

The thing is the customer expects the experience to match the product. The very best sales specialist will tell you that their entire approach, demeanor, dress, pace, style and advice will be dramatically different in each dealership. The best owner-operator of a dealership will tell you the same when it comes to the look of the dealership: the experience upon entering the store, the way the service department greets the customer and just about every other detail involved in purchasing and maintaining a car or truck.

So is one wrong and one right? Not at all. Each is focused on who they areas well as what their customer expects, wants, desires and will react to in a positive way. What happens when the Chevy truck buyer goes into the Lexus store and is overwhelmed or priced out of the market? The smart dealer knows that was not its target customer.

Have lunch downtown Des Moines at Centro or South Union Bread Café. Both are open for lunch, both are owned by the same owner group. They probably share a few ingredients. Take five steps into either and you know what to expect. At Centro, you will dine. You will be served very well. You will choose from a wide variety of foods and you will probably be there for a while. South Union Bread, on the other hand, speaks “made to order’ quickly and correctly. Thirty minutes for lunch? Not a problem.

To start and grow a business that will last the test of time, stay focused on who your customer is and what the customer wants. Focus on a few niches and don’t try to serve all people from the same location or environment. Stay true to your customers’ needs over time. It costs a lot more to find a new customer than to take care of the regular, repeat customer. Do these things and your regular, repeat customer will recommend your business time and time again.

Mike @the Biz

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Who are you?:



This is a fantastic post. No matter how incredible the product, or how kind the sales person, people crave consistency. They need to know what "category" our business fits in.

If they can't categorize us, no sale! We talked about this same concept (only in design terms) a while back. Have a look.


Could you hear me shouting "amen" as I read your post Mike?

I hope a lot of Iowa biz owners read and take this to heart.

Keep creating...it's more fun that way,

The comments to this entry are closed.

« You Can Teach a New Dog Old Tricks | Main | Using OPM or Sweat Capital to buy a business »

Technorati Bookmark: Who are you?

This site is intended for informational and conversational purposes, not to provide specific legal, investment, or tax advice.  Articles and opinions posted here are those of the author(s). Links to and from other sites are for informational purposes and are not an endorsement by this site’s sponsor.