Today I was walking down the street in Sydney at lunchtime. It’s a big city and on Valentine’s Day, it can be pretty hectic with married men who’ve forgotten to organize anything for their wives rushing around trying to buy flowers or whatever to avoid looking like muppets when they get home.
Plus, the main street of Sydney’s Central Business District (downtown) is absolutely a mess being torn up so that new tram tracks (streetcars) can be installed.
Add to that the usual construction of new office buildings, an entirely NEW underground metro train system and stations being added and it being 36C (96.8F) outside and it was not one of the more pleasant days on Sydney sidewalks.
But, your intrepid chronicler of all things fascinating decided to go for a walk and catch some air (there was none, just humidity) around that time so I could grab a coffee.
Two things fascinated me.
One of the flower shop chains in Sydney had set up pop-up shops in a bunch of office buildings around the city – I passed four or five on my walk and I must admit, used one on the way home in the office building I cut through to get to my bus because I figured I needed to do SOMETHING for my lovely wife beyond taking her out to dinner.
This was an incredibly smart business idea that fit inline with the topic of hyper-convenience that I talked about a few weeks back. Men all over the city need only talk the lift in their building or walk across the street and find flowers waiting for them to be purchased so they could show their lovely significant other how much they mean to them for under $100.
The other thing that interested me was while I was out on my walk, every couple hundred metres along the sidewalk, there were spruikers from competing flower shops handing out flyers to convince you to walk over to their shop to buy your flowers.
Like I said, it was really busy, the sidewalks were packed, there’s construction and chaos everywhere and it’s like four billion degrees outside with most men wearing suits.
These businesses were nothing short of a nuisance.
Worse than that, the flyers they were handing out (I took a couple because advertising fascinates me) didn’t even offer a discount.
They just assumed I was desperate, they would interrupt me, make me walk out of my way to them and pay over the odds for their product because they could on this particular day.
That is a terrible way to do business when juxtaposed with the other company setting up pop-up shops in air-conditioned lobbies of office buildings all over the CBD.
One company was creating an experience that was all about me, the hardworking and noble customer. They saved the bacon of a lot of men today and made many women across the city happy and feel special.
The other companies were disturbing me and trying to emotionally exploit me for financial gain – one of the flyers that I was handed had the headline, “You forgot, didn’t you?”
The first company was making the experience all about me, they were trying to help me be successful.
The other companies were taking an approach that was all about them.
You need to be customer-centric. The best place you can position your online business or freelancer services is at the intersection of “Helpful Street” and “Trusted Advisor Road”.
People want to feel that by working with you or doing business with you that you’re working with them to help them achieve their desired outcomes.
If you can’t position yourself and your business in that place, then you need to go back and rethink what you’re doing and what you’re offering.
Your business and service offerings need to be focused on “what’s in it for the customer?” and “how can I help them get where they’re looking to go?”
Off the back of that, if you do it well, then you’ll achieve your no doubt lofty financial and personal ambitions.