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Winter "Tune Up" for Dealers

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Winter Dealer "Tune Up"... Ideas you can use.

Here are some thoughts and ideas I hope you can use to help with your music store or teaching studio business.                                               There is nothing here for sale, no gimmicks, no hidden agenda.

Over the past several years we have offered our "Summertime Blues" ideas to help dealers navigate the summer months and we decided to expand on that idea. Of course we want to sell our products, but we have always taken the position at MDRG that sharing helpful information is as important as last weeks "special". We hope you find these ideas helpful in managing your business in these changing times. 

There is no better time than now to take a look at your operation and build on the positives and address the negatives.

                                                                                     RULE #1

"Nothing Works Unless You Do" -- Our expectations were simple. Open our business, spend the first 10 years building up traffic, spend the next 20 years reaping the rewards and at some point sell the business and retire on a warm beach. If you are on track to meet that goal congratulations! Most of us have found that the plans have changed due to reasons beyond our control. 

For many in business today, we must reinvent ourselves on a regular basis. Everything changes faster than ever before. With the advent of Social Media, on-line sales, and so many things competing for your customers time we find that we have to work even harder now than we did in the beginning. 

1. Attitude- it's contagious. Its time to review yourself. Positive energy generates positive energy, negative energy generates negative energy. Sometimes you simply have to fake it to be positive and that can grow to be your reality. Review your staff, your teachers, yourself. Customers pick up on both negative and positive attitudes very quickly. Which do you prefer when you go out to shop or dine?

Visuals: How does your store window look? Is it inviting. Do you update it on a regular basis to show there is life in your store. Same for your web site- This is now todays version of the Yellow Pages at the very least. Is it inviting and friendly and informative right at the start? Put these items on your calendar to review at least every 30 days.

Social Media: I can not imagine being a retail operation and not utilizing these tools. It is just now basic to doing business. Are you making sure your sites or "tweets" are of interest to your customers? Are they interesting, informative and more important are they doing their part to retain your customers interest in YOUR operation? In the past this was called "driving business or marketing". (Refer to rule #1)

Your Store & Studios: Are they clean, well lit and inviting? Or do you prefer the treasure trove format? Either way, your Big Mac on the counter is not a welcome site to a customer, unless your buying lunch for them as well.

Know what you have and know where things are. Customers want quick in-quick out solutions. If you have to dig through piles to find what they are asking for you most likely will lose the sale. Organized clutter works.. the key is "organized".

Move Things Around: There are so many ideas and rules about how to display goods. Over the years what I found to be more helpful was to simply move product on the left wall to the right wall-- or simply rearrange your store on a regular basis. Customers will say things like " wow, when did you get that guitar in"-- when it has been in stock for a year. I hate when my grocery store changes all the isles, but a small store can benefit from a simple face lift at least once a quarter. 

Studios: Clean, well lit with a focus on teaching and the comfort and retention of the student. Studios are not the place for your teachers to eat lunch. Do your teachers and studios present a professional image? Your competition may have one up on you. Don't be afraid to set standards for your staff and teachers. If you have a high turnover rate it is time to take a look for possible issues.

Greeting your customer: Wow! This really is an important task for you and your staff. I HATE canned opening lines such as "what brings you in today" and countless overused banking and retail opening lines. There is no substitute for a genuine smile and a simple "hello" .. then give the customer a moment of space so they:

1. don't feel neglected- you acknowledged their presence

2. don't feel you are "in their face"- not buzzing around them like bees and a honey pot..

       (Always wanted to use that line)

You do need a goal. They should feel welcomed and not as if they are taking you away from your lunch or radio program. You are there to listen, suggest and provide a service or solution and your staff and teachers need to operate on the same format. Your Goal is to stay focused on servicing your customers musical needs.

                                                         TIME TESTED EFFECTIVE & FREE

Odd colors, odd shapes, 12 string guitars and more...

A time proven rule is never display more than 1 pink guitar, or one Twelve string at a time. When you have something different and you only display one unit it sells faster. Of course a window display or focus display to introduce new items can be different but having one of the "special items" on display often generates more interest than a group of "like" products.

Thank You!

Johnny Corbin 

A little background.... in 1979 at the age of 20 I opened my first retail music store. No idea what I was getting into. Sold the retail stores in 1990 and entered the wholesale and manufactures rep business. I had the pleasure to work with and represent such great lines as JBL, SHURE, CASIO, SOUNDCRAFT, ARIA, PARKER to name only a few. At the dawn of the 800 number boom, I started with Davitt & Hanser as a phone jock- and then National Sales Manger.. those were growth years for our industry and truly a lot of fun.

In 2006 MDRG was created... with it's sole goal to provide me with a basic income and an excuse to travel to China several times a year to hang with friends I had made over the years...We are now celebrating our 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!

Most of the ideas you see here are based on real life store ownership experience and visits to hundreds of stores over the years in Europe, Asia and the USA.

So many people shared their ideas, experiences and wisdom with me even when it was evident that I would be in a competitive situation with them.. I feel it is important to share these thought and ideas with you and hope that you will continue to enjoy the adventure of the changing Music Industry as much as I still enjoy it.

I welcome your comments and input always.

John Broermann aka : Johnny Corbin

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