Marketing YOU!

Easy Money Article

June 2011

Groomer to Groomer

Title:  Marketing YOU!

By:  Joe Zuccarello

My wife called me at the office the other day and asked me to run an errand for her during my lunch break.  See, she is someone I consider “Wonder Woman” because she is always moving at a break neck speed to make sure our kids get to school on time, to their sporting events on time, and one of the most important jobs she has, making sure our pantry is stocked so our growing boys (and me too!) have food when they are hungry, which seems to be ALL the time recently!  So, when “mama” calls in a favor, I am happy to jump at the chance to help her out.

A husband can be asked to run allot of different errands for their wife, but this one was to the Salon where she visits each month to enhance her natural beauty.  I had NO idea how elaborate these salons can be.  Upon opening the door, I entered a very nice lobby with décor rivaling some of the better hotels I have stayed in.  The fragrance in the air was an interesting mix of perfume type smells and what I now know, after some schooling from the receptionist behind the inviting desk, was a unique odor of “perm solution” and other treatments such as conditioners and color treatments.  The customers sat content in their chairs as the stylists went to work  One even had aluminum foil in her hair and the stylist was brushing what appeared to me to be peanut butter throughout the sheets of foil.  Very strange indeed.

All of the ladies in the salon, staff and customers alike, immediately knew I was completely out of my element! I came armed with a yellow “sticky note” that I jotted down the name of the product I was there to purchase…and my wallet.

I hope I have paid enough compliments to my wife in this writing to temper my next few sentences and keep me out of too much trouble at home.  “Honey, I only kept looking at these beautiful people as an attempt to use this new experience as a topic for a writing or presentation! “

Remember the receptionist and the stylists I mentioned?  Well, let me tell you, they must have all either been retired or aspiring models!  It didn’t matter their age, each obviously paid allot of attention to their own appearance.  (Warning:  Here comes allot of “guy lingo” to describe my observances)  Each seemed to have their hair done up well, their nails painted, their clothes were of the current fashions, and their shoes seemed a bit inappropriate for such a difficult job which must demand they be on their feet all day.  I’m just sayin’…They wore jewelry including large hoop earrings, gaudy rings and bracelets, and all seemed to be liberal with the amount of skin they were willing to show and the necklaces and other gadgets they used to get others to notice them.  Some of those pieces of jewelry would have made great fishing lures!

Anyone who knows me will tell you that when I spend my money places, I pay particular attention to who I am giving my hard earned money.  I do this to not only validate whether or not they deserve my money for the service (or lack of) they offer, but to potentially learn from them.  I love to learn how someone else runs their business and what tips or techniques I can pick up to bring back to my businesses, my clients, or my readers like you.

After about 10 minutes, which seemed like two hours, my errand was complete.  I was successful in getting the product for my wife, investing a small fortune, and learning a great lesson!

Why would these people wear loads of makeup?  Why would they wear the latest fashions, style their own hair in the trendiest of styles, wear flashy jewelry, get their nails manicured, and work in such a nice looking and smelling environment?  All of this effort to just cut, wash, and dry hair?  I still don’t understand the shoes thing, but I cannot have all the answers, right?!

They spend this effort to MARKET themselves!  Their business survives and thrives on your opinion of the total experience you have while in the salon.  They understand your confidence in their work is heightened if they show some proof of the work in how they take care of themselves, how they dress, and how they respect the environment they work in.

I have been in the pet grooming business for over 25 years now and I have seen dozens of grooming shops.  As unfamiliar as I was walking into this strange environment, so must our customers be when they visit our grooming “salons” for the first time.  After all, different from their own salon visits, when they bring their pets to us they don’t just have unruly hair or nails, they may have an unruly dog, unruly kids, or an unruly schedule as my wife does.  So, I have spent some time, prior to writing this, to reflect on my memories of some of the not so nice grooming facilities I have visited in the last couple decades.  If some of these sound like your grooming shop, I apologize, but I also encourage you to take an extra minute or two the next time you walk in your own front door to see it with “client eyes” and identify some of the areas that could use some attention.

Some of the worst facilities I have entered have a pungent fowl odor of wet dog, litter box, urine, feces, mold, and whatever other unimaginable things that contribute to the stench.  These facilities have an abundance of pet hair on the floor and every other surface in the shop.  There is an unmentionable amount of feces in the planting beds out front and some lucky customer even took some with them on the bottom of their shoe to their BMW, Mercedes, and better yet, into their office!  I have seen windows that you cannot see through, retail that is dusty, and the best of the worst include peeling wallpaper, dried urine on the floor and fixtures, outdated decorations, and loose dogs running throughout the lobby.  Believe me, there is MUCH MUCH more to list, but we are not going to focus too much on the negative.

It is one thing to identify areas of concern with our facility, but it is painful to identify weaknesses in our appearance that hinder our ability to MARKET ourselves.  Some of the worst efforts I have seen in self marketing include bed head, no make up, cigarette breath, cigarette smelling clothes, smoking in the shop, clothes with holes, too little clothing, vulgar tattoos, foul language, yelling at the staff and the dogs, talking down to the customers, arriving late to open the shop, and so on.

You may not consider yourself as beautiful as some of those people I mentioned in my wife’s salon, but I am here to tell you that everyone is beautiful in their own way!  The epitome of ugly, in my book, is not trying!  To not give yourself and your business the attention it deserves to present the best appearance possible, you have given up on yourself, your business, and worst of all, your customer.  Don’t be ugly and don’t give up on yourself.  Take control, take pride, and take advantage of your number one marketing tool…..YOURSELF!  You deserve it and you will be rewarded for your efforts!

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