April 7, 2008

Jaguar XJ220In Colorado Springs there is a car repair center called Elite Auto. The lobby is clean and with carpet could pass for the reception area of a dentist’s office. There is a fridge in the corner with free drinks for customers. On the wall next to the cash register are dozens of thank you notes from customers. Behind the counter on the right are two floor-to-ceiling Snapon tool chests full of the owners’ personal tools. In the back wall is a window that let’s you see into the substantial repair bay. Parked out front next to the entrance is always, ALWAYS, a valuable sports car.

Last Saturday when I went to pick up my van there was a Jaguar XJ220 parked out front. The car was one of 17 in that particular style made and is one of only a couple in the United States. It is valued at about 1.2 million as it only has 700 miles on it. Inside the repair bay was a Shelby GT 500 that the shop are detailing.

All of this goes to create an atmosphere that this shop not only can be trusted but is also the best place in town to get a car fixed. After all, if people whose cars are worth several hundred thousand dollars will trust them, shouldn’t you be able to trust them with your $25,000 car?

This isn’t to say that the shop is perfect. I had to take my van back twice to have a gas leak fixed and I think a piece of sound deadener was forgotten when I last had it in the shop. But when something goes wrong, they fix it.

Now, think about your Catholic gift shop. What do you do to brag about your store? I’m not talking about the things you say, I’m talking about the things in your store and on your website that people will notice without having to ask. If you look around and can’t think of anything, here are some suggestions:

  • If people send you thank you notes, post them at the register.
  • If people leave you positive feedback on your website, post it there.
  • If your website is part of a ratings program like Shopzilla or, post your ratings on the site.
  • Figure out what sets your company apart from others and put that information up somewhere for people to find.
  • If your company has received industry awards, put them somewhere noticeable.
  • When people are at the checkout counter and you are engaging in that last-minute customer service that makes people remember your shop positively, mention to new customers how big / orthodox / selective your selection is.
  • Use your business cards to brag. The back of your cards is a great place to mention how great your store is.
  • Clean up your store’s presentation. In various industries – auto repair, garbage collection and Catholic stores – having a clean presentation will put you head and shoulders above the competition.

If you can’t do any of these things at present, your store is in serious trouble and you need to figure out how to make your business something to brag about.

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