Pass You By

Those that know me know that I’m not a coffee drinker.  My morning routine usually starts with a trip to the gym, followed by a diet Dr. Pepper to fulfill my morning caffeine craving (fountain only of course).  Recently, my routine was altered with a few morning calls along with a late lunch meeting in Scottsdale.  My routine was slightly altered, which leads us to today’s Huddle Up topic.

The unusual call and lunch schedule put my normal stopping place for my diet soda out of the way.  With that in mind, I had to sort out where I would stop for my diet DP.  Since I prefer the fountain, and taking into account that diet DP isn’t a staple fountain soda for many places, I’ve learned what convenience stores in our area have it and which ones do not.  In calculating the route from our home office to my lunch meeting, I determined that there were three places that I could stop and grab my beverage of choice.  There were two Circle K stores and one Quick Trip along my route.  Which one to choose?  That was easy…..

Of the three options, the place I stopped was the furthest away from my starting point.  To get to the Circle K I chose, I would pass another (newer) Circle K as well as a Quick Trip (as many people know, I am a huge Quick Trip fan).  So why did I pass by my favorite store and also the Circle K that is newer and closer than the one I ended up visiting?  The store I chose has Gary.

Gary is the guy that runs the counter at the Circle K on Indian School Road in Scottsdale.  I’ve stopped into that location well over a dozen times and Gary seems to always be there.  What is great about Gary is that he is full of energy, always upbeat, and he welcomes every customer like they were a regular.  I passed by two other stores, one that was part of the same company, just to see if Gary was there.  More so, to see if I could tap into Gary’s energy and to honestly, enjoy getting my fountain drink and have a positive experience that would carry over to the rest of my day.  As usual, Gary was there, greeted me at the register like we were long lost friends, and he made a rather mundane transaction enjoyable.

This leads us to the big idea for this week.  Would your customers pass by your competitors to get to you, even when the other choices may be easier and more convenient?  Think about the culture Gary has created.  Generally speaking, convenience stores are not a desirable place to be.  Due to timing, they are often a necessity.  Most often, not only do the customers (you) not want to be there, neither do the people working in the store.  So how does a convenience store break through the clutter?  Find a Gary and put them out front, ASAP.

There are many ways to become a Gary.  Exemplary customer service, an engaging and energetic personality, or a kind and humble demeanor.  Any way you get there, you can levy a positive environment for your clients that turns a rudimentary transaction into a desirable one.

So that said, let’s revisit the question.  Would your potential customers pass by your opposition to get to you?  If so, awesome!  If not, what can we do as leaders to make it so, and become a Gary?