Stanley Marcus – founder of legendary specialty store Neiman Marcus , wrote a book titled “Who’s Minding The Store?”
It’s a must read book for any salon owner -especially those who are involved with today’s luxury client.
And I think the top brass at Neiman Marcus (owners of Berdorf Gooman) if they haven’t read the book should – as well as make it required reading for every associate.
Because today’s retailers (including salons) have to be better than ever when it comes to every aspect of business.
So last week when I walked into Bergdorf Goodman – New York City’s iconic specialty store for women – to check out the recently renovated ground floor jewelry department floor, I was stunned.
While the renovation was gorgeous- it was a perfect showcase for the jewelry that’s worth millions – yet the people who were selling it didn’t look like a million dollars.
They weren’t wearing uniforms – so left to their own devices the sales help wore what they thought was appropriate – and while some of them at least looked neat and clean others left a lot to be desired.
And as if how the people looked wasn’t enough I couldn’t help but notice a large tissue that someone had dropped, on the gorgeous marble floor – right under one of the jewelry counters.
It registered with me but heck people drop things on floors all the time so it’s not indicative of how the store’s floor is being run.
I hopped upstairs to look at the rest of the store – and returned forty-five minutes later to the to the jewelry department, from where I’d exit the store.
As I pushed the door open, I glanced back at and lo and behold, lying on the floor, exactly where it had been earlier was the same piece of tissue.
All I could think of was “Who’s Minding the Store?”
I couldn’t believe my ears the other day when I overheard one of the sales people at a branch of the “fabled” Brooks Brothers say to his colleague “I can’t wait to get the f_ _ _ out of here”. And that was only the beginning of what may have been the worst customer service experience I have ever had.
My wife and I were shopping for a birthday present for a nephew and right after the holidays is sale time at Brooks Brothers.
We went to the store about 30 minutes to closing, and were the only people in the men’s department – besides three nattily-dressed sales people.
No one approached us as we looked around.
Then another sales person breezed by and said to his associates “we’re $7000 short of goal so far this week”. Now having heard that, you’d think that someone would take a clue and offer us some assistance.
Nothing of the sort happened.
Finally we found something we liked but weren’t sure of the sizing.
So we asked the person standing at the register as to whether or not he thought it fit a 5’11” 160 lb. guy.
“I wouldn’t know that …I wouldn’t be able to tell you” then he opened his jacket and said “people think I weigh more than I do, but I actually weigh 126 pounds – looks can be so deceptive”.
My wife and I looked at one another – cross-eyed.
Were we really in Brooks Brothers? Or at least the Brooks Brothers that I remember?
Like most boys growing up, I loved being with my Dad. But he was on the road a lot – traveling for business.
So when we did spend time together it was really a treat. Especially when he would take me with him to shop at Brooks Brothers – the “original” Brooks Brothers” that is.
The store, with its soaring ceiling, wood floors, and racks of meticulously laid out ties the blue Oxford shirts and rows of “businessman” suits, knew their clients – the business professional – extremely well. And the sales people, mirrored their clients. They were professionals through and through – in dress, manners and customer service.
Although this was in the days before computers, somehow they “knew” Dad (they must have kept some sort of client record).
No wonder Dad shopped there almost exclusively, for years – how could he not – they gave him no reason to go anywhere else.
Brooks Brothers, still exists, but today I’ll keep it stored in my memory as a once great place to go.
I’m totally infatuated with Apples’ new iPad Plus. Not only
is it big, bright and beautiful but you can actually write on it!
And to an “analogue” type of guy (I love using pen) the iPad Plus with its pencil seems like a dream come true.
So while I was recently in Grand Central Station I hopped upstairs to the Apple Store and made a beeline straight for the table of iPad Pluses.
I was the only customer at the table – however there were other people at the table- not customers but ten sales trainees and one Apple instructor.
Because she was reviewing the iPad Plus with them I couldn’t help but eavesdrop – after all I am interested in the product.
She asked them what kind of a person buys this product – and the trainees responded with “artist, designers, architects …” names of professions that probably mirrored the soon to be sales peoples’ own career paths.
“Ok” she said, your right, those people are interested in this product, but businesses and business people are the ones showing the biggest interest.
Then she asked to the group “why do you think those people would be interested in the iPad Plus”?
There was silence in our section of the store as they tried to come up with their answers.
Being a marketing strategist coach, and consultant I thought “damn it, why don’t you ask me? – It’d be a great opportunity moment for you and your group – actually having a business guy (the very type of guy who is buying them – “live on 5” as we say – standing here waiting to be engaged”.
Maybe she was too involved with the group so she didn’t notice me. And I certainly wasn’t going to butt in.
So the moment came and went.
Thank God that it did – she probably could have sold one to me – and what I don’t “need” at this exact point in time (even though my iPad 2 is on its last breath), is another gadget – no matter how cool and beautiful it may be.
“You are the silver bullet.” – Tanya Geisler
Santa Rosa, California May 20,1998
It was early morning – just before the start of the third day of a 5 day intensive training to become one of Michael Gerber’s (author of the E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to do About it) E-Myth Coaches.
I hadn’t slept well the previous night – it must have been a combination of excitement I was feeling – the excitement of being one of the pioneers venturing into the land of business coaching – let alone wanting to coach salon owners.
It was that excitement, plus the frustration of feeling I wasn’t “getting it”. Meaning, I was having a very tough time with the “Primary Aim” work that we had done the previous day.
Just so you should know – a Primary Aim is about your life – not your business. Your business is simply one of the many important aspects of your life – it’s the essence of your life’s purpose – a brief statement summarizing whatever it is in you that is the source of your vitality, your commitment, your passion. Your Primary Aim isn’t about material things. It’s about life.
Here I’d thought that I’d come to a training about coaching and damn it, I was struggling with me.
And unless I “got it” then and there I felt like I just couldn’t move on in the training – which by the way is total B.S.
But at the time that was my thinking I just couldn’t get out of my own way.
So I got into the shower instead – and totally relaxed.
I must have been in that shower for about five minutes and wouldn’t you know it.
As if out of thin air, a bunch of words came into my head.
The words were “To Be a Warrior – To Love Unconditionally – To Serve with Love, Honor and Respect”.
“That’s it!” I shouted out loud. “That’s it! That’s my Primary Aim.”
And while a Primary Aim can change over time – mine has stood the test of time.
Wishing you and yours a Happy and Healthy New Year.
For those of you who don’t know me – let me share with you a little bit about myself. I grew up in a very large family. Lots of aunts and uncles, first, second and third cousins. So many people I lost count. Our family got together not just on holidays and special occasions but ALL the time.
Life was family – family was life
My Dad’s family also had a business. He worked the business with his Dad, his brothers, nephews and cousins. Our family was well known in the industry. Not just because the of business’ success but also because we were a family that
Sticking together – through thick and thin
No matter what we stuck together. Through all the ups and downs of business and of life. After college I went to work – not in the family business – but in retail.
One day, a few years later, one of my cousins called me saying “Andy come to the office and talk to me about joining the business – we can use you”.
Starting From Behind a Front Desk
So I did and started – as a receptionist in one of our big, bustling hair salons – learning every aspect of business from the ground up – eventually running the marketing for over 1500 salons in seven countries.
I felt great – working in the salon industry – with my family. Until my Dad’s brother, my Uncle Nathan passed. With his passing, his family wanted out.
Selling the Salons
The way out was to sell it the business. And with so many people involved things became messy – and the worst in people came out. Things got so bad that it blew the family apart. As the old saying goes – the “operation was successful but the patient died”
What happened was that the sale of a great business, that had provided a livelihood for so many families – ended up killing my extended family – a family that I loved. As a result of this I decided to dedicate my professional life showing salon owners how to build successful businesses, filled with profits, performance and life!
Our work is about massively growing salon businesses so that truly serve the owner rather than the other way around.
Working with You in 2016
In 2016 I’m taking on a select number salon clients. So if you are an owner and know you’re ready for the challenge of massively growing your salon next year simply email me at email@example.com and put “I’m Ready to Massively Grow My Salon” in the subject line.
Do that and I’ll show you how we’ll do that – together.
For the past 5 years I’ve visited Los Angeles every 4 to 6 months.
And every morning when I’m in L.A. without fail (rain or shine – though
in Southern California it’s mostly shine) I go to Champagne French Bakery Cafe for breakfast.
When it comes to food I’m like most people – a creature of habit. So at Champagne I order the same thing (oatmeal made with water) to go. It’s an item that’s not on their regular menu (oatmeal made with milk is), but something they can cook up as a special order – I just have to wait for it (15-20 min).
Because I’m taking
my order out they ask me for my name. Then rather than hanging out I’ll go next door to Starbucks to get an espresso, before returning to pick my order.
BTW, I won’t order Starbuck’s oatmeal even though it costs 1/2 as much as Champagne’s – I simply like Champagne’s better (plus they give me a fresh fruit cup on the side).
Anyhow last week I returned L.A. and at 7am I went for breakfast.
As soon as I placed my order the young woman at the register – someone whom I had only seen in place before)
I was astonished. It’s true that the sweetest sound to someone’s ears is the sound of one’s own name. And I’m no different than anyone else.
To hear my name come from her lips (this is a busy place and I hadn’t been there in six months) was nothing short of amazing.
My immediate response was to ask her what her name was.
“Iliana” she told me.
“Well Iliana how did you know my name is Andrew? “
“I know” was her reply.
All I know is the next day I told the General Manager about my experience and how great it felt to be recognized by my name. And now I’m sharing the story with you. Maybe you and your people can astonish your clients the way Iliana astonished me.
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