By Rich Lindblom

Five simple words and perhaps the shortest headline I’ve written for YSN. But it is so profoundly important that I’m going to ask again… Would you buy from you

I’d encourage you to take a minute to answer that question honestly.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard my mother ask my father, as he walked out the door in shorts and a white t-shirt, “Are you really going out to a restaurant dressed like that?”  Sadly, I think something similar can be asked of many members: “Do you really expect to sell appliances with a store that looks like that?”

In my time in the industry, I have visited or seen photos of hundreds of showrooms and while some of them are fantastic, that’s certainly not always the case. In fact, just a few weeks ago a dealer shared a photo of his store that literally made me cringe. I won’t name names or go into too many details, but suffice it to say that his display of product was so bad that I truly found it hard to believe that anyone would buy from them.

Sure, for some customers it’s all about the price or the availability or perhaps some other intangible reason that they will buy from you no matter what.  But for every one of those customers, there is an equal number of shoppers who could be turned off by something and never buy from your store. 

I once told a dealer that “If you want to be the king, you need to dress like the king.” The point being if you want to be the No. 1 dealer in your market or in your hometown, your store needs to look like the No. 1 dealer.

With price seeming to be less of an issue for consumers right now, it is more important than ever that you aren’t giving them a reason to buy elsewhere. 

A while back I wrote a piece about making a good first impression on customers and I think that is more important now than ever.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about going crazy, spending a ton of money and remodeling your entire store.  I’m talking about doing the simple things, the obvious things that can make all the difference in the world.

I’ll share with you a quick story: About five years ago a guy walked into my store out of the blue and offered to wash our windows for $10. For the previous sixty years, washing the windows was an afterthought at our family business.  It was one of those chores we assigned to an employee when we could no longer see the sun through the grime on the glass. Despite being the notoriously frugal businessman that I was, he must have caught me at a weak moment because I agreed to his twice-a-month proposal. Well, fast forward a couple of years and I’ll be darned if my brother didn’t say one night as we closed shop and walked out the front door, “You know, that’s the best $10 we ever spent.” And you know what? He was right. For just 71 cents a day we had a brighter, cleaner and more eye-appealing store.

There are plenty of other simple steps you can take to help prevent customer turn-off. Here’s a few:

Level Your Display Machines. This one is a pet peeve of mine. Think about it — if you can’t be bothered to level the machines in your showroom, why would a customer think you’ll level the one in their home?

Plug in Your Display Models. In our store, every appliance except the dishwashers was powered on. Customers come to you because they want to see, feel, touch, and play with their shiny new toys before they buy them. So how can you properly demonstrate a model if it’s not plugged in?

Clear the Clutter. A neat and clean store sends a strong, positive message about your company. A disheveled store is a turn off.

Detail Your Display Models. Remove the packing material, take off the stickers, and keep your floor models dust and clutter free. Old P.O.P. materials need to go, and so does anything else that is unnecessary. 

And for the record, none of these four suggestions will cost you a dime. These are things your salespeople should be doing on their downtime, which they all have.

The bottom line is that what you might consider unimportant could be very important to a potential buyer. So take a moment to look at your store through a customer’s eyes and ask yourself … would you buy from you?

I have three goals in mind with my columns: To motivate, educate and entertain.  If I have achieved at least one of those, then I’ve done my job. Don’t be shy about letting me know if you agree. Write me at