Diverting the Flow of Customers to Your Business

I was a lucky kid when I grew up. Lucky, because I had a big back yard for playing. It was about 28 acres big. My siblings, friends and I spent many days exploring, building, digging and hiding in the vast outback.

Geographically disadvantaged as a flatlander, there were no rushing mountain streams or flowing rivers in the valley for exploration and water play. There were only a few ditches that the rain and snow runoff would eventually pool in to create a kid's river.

Kids' rivers are navigable by toy boats and are only inches deep at flood stage. It was in the kids' rivers of the flat lands that I began to understand the principles of controlling water flow.

Mudding about in the puddles and ditches, I could create my own mini rivers, dams and lakes with just a shovel. One of the few things that man has been able to count on through time is the fact that water always runs downhill in the path of least resistance.

Customers like a little help from gravity and low resistance just like flowing water. They almost always choose the easy way, the shortcut, whenever they make their purchase choices. As examples, the drive-in window for morning coffee attracts more customers than the walk-in convenience store. The mall parking lot is preferred over parallel parking on the street. The business that offers consistent, friendly service attracts lifetime customers.

Creating the path of least resistance to divert the flow of customers to your front door, whether your business front door is real or virtual, can be done easily. Here are some suggestions:

1. Create well placed, easy to read signage.

2. Add Mapquest or a similar directions link to your website.

3. Maintain easy parking or offer to pay for customer parking.

4. Use large type for telephone numbers on printed material and business cards.

5. Use self addressed stamped envelopes to return mail to you.

6. Provide product use information on your website to help after the purchase.

7. Keep the building entrance well lit, clean and inviting.

8. Have an answering machine for after hours messages and business hours.

9. Provide comfortable chairs in the waiting area.

10. Ask your customers what else you can do to make it easy to do business with you.

Understanding the path of least resistance for your customers is nothing more than child's play. Start working on diverting more of the customer income stream into your business today.

See you in the mud puddles.

Doug Emerson trains consults and coaches business owners on how to make more profit in less time using 8 key strategies. He writes a free electronic newsletter about the business of life called Getting to the Point. Free subscription available at the homepage. http://www.douglasemerson.com

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