One time in Oslo, Norway, I found myself standing out in front of a shop, not far from where they hand out the Nobel prizes.
(Now that’s a way to start a letter to you! I’m drinking hot water with lemon instead of tea or coffee today. You?)
This shop sold touristy things: trolls, Norwegian flags, Viking helmets, and you know. I had a pocket full of Krone (their money) and no idea how it translated to dollars, so I was willing to be overcharged to buy something to bring back to the kids.
Only, the strangest thing happened. No one came out. They stayed inside, way in back. And so, I wandered off, and bought from some airport store that was as forgettable as most airport stores. I’ve had that memory embedded as a strong part of service craftsmanship for a long time. Let me tell you how it relates to you.
THE SIDEWALK, THE STOREFRONT, AND THE BACK ROOM
Your business (even if it’s the business of being you, or preaching, or whatever) has certain “places” and areas to it. Touchpoints of opportunity, I tend to like to call them. In the physical world, what lures us in is what we see from the sidewalk.
Your storefront is where you do your business. It’s where the cash register is, and it’s where the context of ‘just browsing’ shifts to ‘and I’m ready to buy this.’ Many people praise the Apple store’s design, but one facet I’m not so fond of is the lack of cashier’s area. Space-wise, it makes sense, but the ‘I’ve got this in my hand and I just want to pay for it’ subsection of buyers always feels uncertain what to do.
The back room is where even deeper deals and partnerships happen. When Will.i.am teams up with Coke and creates Ekocycle, a project to embed recycled plastics in several other products, he’s using his leverage to get even more of a partnership made. There are other ways to consider this back room, but basically, it’s “more than sales” back there.
HOW DOES THIS TRANSLATE TO YOU?
Your Sidewalk is the approachability of what you create online. Do people have a reason to browse in your store? Do they know what you even offer? Can I see what you sell EASILY from my mobile device?
Your Storefront is whatever transaction you’re hoping to have that advances the relationship. I sell courses. When I give a webinar (part of my Sidewalk), I make sure people know where to buy (my Storefront). You might have a different mechanism, but you have to have some mechanism or you’re leaving people looking for the cash register.
Your Back Room are your partnerships and other not-so-simple interactions. I am a professional speaker. When we decided to build new speaking rates that were more flexible for organizations to better afford me, we put a process in place so that we could be sure to always nurture our relationships with our clients.
So, the question to you is this: what do you need to do differently to improve your sidewalk? Blog more? Create a podcast? Make a more visible way to find your site or your offerings? Are you spending all your time on the Sidewalk of Twitter or Facebook?
What does your storefront look like? Are you encouraging people to “buy?” (Remember that “buy” can mean “take a next action”.) How have you built up a back room?
That’s for you to answer.
There’s an audio version of this, if you’d like to listen.
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