From Crayons to Profit…

Back to School Lessons for Business Owners

It’s Becoming Obvious

The change of season is becoming obvious…empty swimming pools…yellow buses at the corner…sales on crayons, scissors and folders. School is about to begin.

Business owners would do well to recognize two basics of the back to school process that could lead to profits for any company:

A school supply list
A change in the routine

Get a School Supply List from Your Customers
Teachers tell us their expectations for the year and give a list of supplies that the student will need to succeed in the classroom. Prospects and customers are not that pro-active in sharing their expectations. Business owners have to dig, ask questions and really listen to truly understand their customers. Get customers to create aschool supply list for your business through a handful of informal conversations about their wants and expectations. Even better, take a survey.

Remember, the trick is asking the right questions that will uncover the hidden “list of school supplies.” For example, ask “Tell me one of the key reasons you chose to do business with us over other vendors?” The wording of this question helps customers focus their thoughts more deeply rather than “Why do you do business with us?” I often use as the online tool to create the survey. It is easy to use and gives a good analysis of the responses.

Change the Routine
The summer routine for my daughters was to sleep in. That’s a problem for the school year. Now it is up at 6:20 and out the door at 6:45. If not, then they get a tardy slip at school for being late. The routine must change because the demands have changed. Unfortunately, customers don’t give out tardy slips. It would be a helpful warning if they did. Instead, they just don’t come back.

The difficult question owners must ask themselves is “What business routines must change to avoid a tardy slip from customers?” This includes more than simply punctuality during the sales process and point of purchase, but also timely customer service and billing routines. Consider any time when the customer or prospect has a touch point with your company. From the customer’s perspective, what is your #1 area for a change in routine? This is actually an opportunity unless you wait too long and then it becomes a weakness.


Superbowl Follow Up…The Green Police
In February, Hot Marketing Tips published our 1st Annual Superbowl Commercial Awards from Teakwood Marketing. The award called “Most Memorable for all of the Wrong Reasons” went to the Audi spot that spoofed environmental policing. The spot is called The Green Police.


Well, it is not a spoof anymore as the City of Cleveland has introduced recycling cans that transmit a “move to the curb” signal. If your recycle can doesn’t move often enough (due to lack of use), then a Cleveland waste official will visit and sort through your regular trash can at the curb on garbage pick up day. If he finds more than 10% recyclables in the trash, you get a $100 ticket! Read the article. I guess The Green Police spot was prophetic! Is TV just reflecting life or life reflecting TV?

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