Conduct An Image Assessment
The following is excerpted from Outsmarting Goliath
(Bloomberg Press, 2000).
Copyright © 2000 by Debra Koontz Traverso.
All rights reserved in all media.
You may be the best in your field or have the best product on the market. But,
if your market audience has a perception different from that reality, then that
perception is where you need to direct your image development.
Determine what your customers' perception is of your company and whether your
current image is helping or stifling your growth and sales. Honest answers to
the following questions will get you started. Are you:
How easy is it to buy from you? For example, if you sell products on the Internet, can
you take credit cards?
Do you maintain local inventory?
What lead times are required?
Do you offer live answering service?
Do you have convenient hours?
Do you have a toll-free number?
Do you offer free delivery?
Is parking available?
Are you easy to reach without having to cross a busy road?
Are you located with other high-traffic stores or offices?
Are staff members dressed appropriately?
Are they positive, helpful, respectful?
Do they look customers in the eye and greet them pleasantly?
Do they show pride in working at your organization?
Is your store or office pleasant looking? Clean? Safe?
Does it smell welcoming, or is the aroma stale or strong?
Is it audibly friendly, or is it noisy, such as from clanging machinery or employees
yelling from room to room?
Do the decorations and office furniture support the presentation of the work that you do?
Is your store or office organized or cluttered?
Are products presented attractively?
Are all visual and verbal messages emanating from your office of a professional nature?
Do you know who your customers are? Have you profiled them?
How old are they?
Where do they live?
How much money do they make?
What are their interests?
What do they need?
What do they want?
What kinds of jobs do they have?
What kinds of media do they use?
Do you solicit and address complaints?
Does your marketing material describe customer benefits rather than seller's features?
Do you know the best ways to reach your customers? To appeal to them? To persuade them?
Can you deliver on time?
Can you change delivery to accommodate clients?
Do you offer guarantees?
Do you honor them?
Are all things dependably consistent when customers walk through the door or are they
unsure what to expect or where to find things or what your policy is this week?
Do you consistently offer quality?
Are you priced right?
Do you offer quantity discounts?
Do you offer payment plans and purchase incentives?
Are repeat customers rewarded for their patronage?
Do you conduct your services or sales differently?
Can you solve problems that prospects have with current vendors?
Is there something different about your business that appeals to prospects?
Are you a good citizen?
Are you involved in your community?
Are you mentioned in the local media or within trade publications?
Do you attend industry conferences?
Do you communicate consistent messages on a consistent schedule with your audience?
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