The Face of Your Business

Who is the face of your business?  Many people in the Pacific Northwest thought of me as the face of the business I founded, Sleep Country USA because I appeared in the television and radio commercials.  However, most businesses do not have an owner in the public spotlight.  Often the owner’s name is not part of the business name.  Many times, the customer may not ever know who owns a particular business.  In any of those situations, the face of your business becomes the first face (or voice) the customer meets.

This past weekend I spent Saturday and Sunday at the Seattle Wedding Show helping out my friend, Gayle O’Donnell by working with her team in the booth for her business, All About Weddings and Celebrations.   The booth represents a wonderful opportunity to introduce her store to the hundreds of brides-to-be who visit the show as they plan their upcoming weddings.

I’ve worked the show a number of years and have gotten to know many of the other vendors.  I’m always impressed by the great amount of effort put into creating a booth that is both welcoming to the attendees and representative of the goods or services offered.  Tastes of catering menus and samples of wedding cakes are handed out, musicians are playing, videos and large format photos show venues for both ceremonies and honeymoons and lively fashion shows take the stage several times a day.  Booth staff typically dress either to represent what they do; catering staff in chef coats, tuxedo clad providers of men’s wear rentals or even just in company logo attire or colors.

For all the time, money and energy put into making a good presentation at the show; the investment is only as good as the people you have staffing the space. This is true whether it is a special event such as the Wedding Show, a trade show or your physical place of business.  As I made my rounds through the Convention Center over the weekend, most of the vendors were outstanding; warm, friendly and engaging.   However, there was a small percentage where the staff did not have the right personality for the environment and as a result, did not represent the business well.

Having staffed 17 days at our booth in the Puyallup Fair every year, I understand first-hand the challenges of trying to staff both a booth and your regular location(s).  That being said, “any warm body” WILL NOT do! These individuals are holding the reputation of your business in their hands, choose them wisely.  Whether temporary situations such as an event show, a trade show or your regular place of business; the first person the customer interacts with becomes the face of your business.

Sometimes we employ people for their skills and forget it doesn’t matter how much they know, if they can’t engage a customer, they will never get the chance to demonstrate their knowledge.

Take a look at your business.  Are you getting the conversion rate from prospects to customers you need or expect?  If not, do you have the right person greeting these prospects?  Are they warm, friendly and engaging?   What about when a customer calls in?  Who greets them?  Are they good on the phone?  If you aren’t sure, have a candid friend visit or make some phone calls to give you feedback.  We used a professional mystery shopping service to routinely visit all our locations to provide these snapshots of the customer experience.

You have so much invested in your business, its critical the “face of your business” accurately reflect what you have to offer customers in order to be successful in our competitive marketplace.

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3 Responses to “The Face of Your Business”

  1. Glenn Leach Says:

    The booths at these places are expensive to buy – I’ve done wedding shows with my mortgage business and I know how much you paid for those mattress booths at the Puyallup Fair – but the cost of the booth is NOTHING if you spend the entire show chasing away your potential customers. You taught me a lot Sunny and I’ve never found myself hurting for clients because of the one message you pounded home again and again: Customers have a choice where they spend their money, so when they spend it with you – APPRECIATE IT!

  2. Jacqueline Steven-Russell Says:

    You have, once again, hit the nail on the head. You were the driving force behind Sleep Country. Any company is only as good as the people you employ, and train. Thank you for all you contribute to the world!

  3. Linda Keith Says:

    Sunny, I am seeing a trend toward the opposite direction in community banking. Some of the banks are hiring people with sales skills to prospect for business loans. That makes sense to a point.

    But if they do not know enough about business banking, about what the underwriters will need to actually say ‘yes’, it leads to wasted effort, mismanaged customer expectations, and ultimately a negative experience.

    The trick in this economy is to find those people who are outstanding as a face of the business and have the needed knowledge and skills to go beyond first impressions.

    With unemployment up, those people shouldn’t be hard to find!

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