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An unexpected marketing lesson at the coffee shop

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The past week has been a great strategic planning week. Each year, my business partner and I spend a week offsite working on ideas to improve Haley Marketing.Orange Cat Coffee Company

For the past week, we’ve been in Lewiston, NY hanging out at a the Orange Cat Coffee Company. It’s a great place. Very much your typical, small, homey, independent coffee house.

As we’ve been working on new ideas to radically improve Haley Marketing’s customer support process and financial systems, I’ve had the chance to watch the Orange Cat in action.

As a business, they do some things really well.  They offer a terrific variety of coffees and teas. The baked goods are fresh made in store every morning. And the people could not be nicer.  They are a great example of a high service, relationship oriented company.

Every morning the Orange Cat is busy. Tables are filled, people come and go, and they sell a lot of coffee. So far, so good.

But then lunch time rolls around. And the people disappear. It’s not that they are headed home for lunch, it’s just that they don’t come here–and those who are here don’t stay.

Why? Maybe people don’t know the coffee shop serves food (I only found one menu hidden next to the cash register). Maybe they don’t like the menu. And maybe it was just too hot inside (it was in the 90s every day this week and there is almost no A/C inside).

So what can your staffing firm learn from the Orange Cat?

1) Don’t let your customers “leave for lunch.” Make sure you know all the ways your clients use staffing, and strive to fulfill a wider range of each client’s needs.  If they need a type of staffing you don’t offer, partner with another firm that does!

2) Don’t let customers “miss your menu.” When you sell someone a service, you are almost always positioned as a specialist in that specific service. BUT, those clients may not realize you do anything else! To effectively cross sell services, you need to constantly remind clients about the range of problems you can solve and services you can offer.

3) Make it easy to buy from you. Having lunch in a café where the temperature is 90 degrees is not fun–as evidenced by the lack of customers. Buying staffing from a firm that is hard to work with is also not fun.  Look at the experience you provide to both clients and candidates. How could you make it better? How could you simplify things? The better the experience, the more job orders you will get and fill!

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