Feedback.  It’s as vital as oxygen when it comes to learning how others see your business.

It can’t be overstated, so forgive the overlap with last week's post ("Ask").

If they were turned off, you need to know.  If they were underwhelmed, you need to know. If they were blown away, you need to know. If they left without an opinion, you need to know.

But as we’ve said, feedback must be meaningful.  Without that, you have no way of knowing what to improve, what to remove, what to replace, how to do it, or what successes to build on.

Dig deep

You need to go much deeper.

And you can only do that by asking the right questions. In turn, you can only ask the right questions if you have a clear idea what aspects of your business you’re turning the searchlight on, why you’re harvesting feedback about them, and what you’re going to do with the information.

We’ll come to the “how” in a future post, but right now let’s focus on the first of those “whats”.

As I've said before, I’m not a marketing advisor.  Nor am I a customer service expert, a social media guru, or your go-to guy for PR.  I won’t tell you how to create a killer ad.  I won’t dispense gems of wisdom about building customer loyalty or reaching a global audience.  There are battalions of talented folk out there who can steer you on all this, and the web is groaning with advice, free as well as paid. 

Any or all of these areas may need urgent attention in your business, and could be causing damage – and you’ll need to address that urgently - but it’s not what I’m talking about here.

It's in the eyes...

Our focus is something I call your “visual presence” - everything that’s visual about your business. 

That’s quite simply how the outside world sees your business – and when I say “sees”, I mean it quite literally.  Everything that hits the back of their eyeballs (and if you know your optics trivia, you’ll know that means it’s upside down, by the way).

It all matters.  From very first contact - which could be the literature they pick up at a distant tourist office, or the moment they round the corner into your carpark - to the last sign they pass as they drive away.  Every single thing: whether it’s your point of sale display, the bag you wrap their purchase in, your reception desk, furnishings, finishes, lighting, your copy, uniforms, signs, displays…even your toilets. 

Eyes see > brain likes > wallet opens

What your customer sees with their eyes is inextricably linked with how they see your business in their head.  The same head that contains the brain that tells their fingers to reach for their wallet.

Which means that everything they see has the potential to affect your bottom line.

There’s a lot to consider.  An awful lot.

But in the words of Lance Corporal Jones, don’t panic!  There’s a reason this blog is called Picture This. 

Think of a business you know (large or small) that has got it right. If you can’t come up with any, take a wander through your nearest shopping centre and soak up what you see, or flick through a few magazines.  When you find a business whose “visual presence” really strikes a chord with you (and critically, would do the same for your ideal customer), do a bit of research to see how deep it goes – pick up some of their literature, walk through their store, check out their website.

Now take a few minutes to picture your business looking that good.  Feels great, doesn’t it?

Even if your business is a visual train wreck, you need to see it as a fantastic opportunity to change it for the better.

Starting now.

See you next week, when we’ll be talking about the thread that runs through everything you do, and how critical it is to your visual presence.