A potential customer would come into the store, see a display that she liked and might ask, "How much would this exact, white blind be to fit a 24- by 60-inch window?" The airline salesperson might say, "Well that depends. The lowest price is $9, but we have 150 different prices up to $500." The customer might then ask, "Well, what is the difference in the blinds?"
"Oh there is no difference, they're all the same size, color and style blind," the salesperson would reply. "Let me check if I can even sell that to you. I know we have all the components in back, but we are only allowed to sell a certain amount of them on any given weekend. Oh, and by the way, our prices just went up five percent. Should I go ahead and place the order for you?"
The customer thinks for a moment and asks how much it would be to buy four of that same style and size blind. In response, the salesperson asks, "When were you planning to install these blinds?" The customer is confused and wants to know why that is important. "We can sell you blinds for your bathroom and bedroom, but if you do not install them on the same day you will be in violation of our tariffs," the salesperson says.
With this the customer gets very upset and says, "I do not like your rules. I am going somewhere else to buy my blinds!"
The salesperson then yells out, "That won't do you any good, lady. We all have the same rules!"
When the flight attendant brought us our snacks, we snapped out of it to realize that was not reality. Not all window coverings businesses are the same or offer the same services. This month, Kay Pegram writes about how important it is to distinguish yourself from your competitors (see Dollars & Sense). She suggests you start selecting a target market by asking yourself, "Who is my ideal customer?" Be realistic in terms of your current business situation, the economic conditions in your region and the competitive environment. Our tip of the month is to make sure you stay away from former airline reservationists when it comes to selling and servicing custom window coverings to potential customers.