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Are You Ready To Re-Invent Yourself?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

(GIFTBEAT)In today's retailing world, it's not invention that is a necessity, it's re-invention! Read on, as speakers, authors and consultants Georganne Bender and Rich Kizer of Illinois-based KIZER & BENDER SPEAKING! discuss how to recognize your store's uniqueness and formulate steps that will differentiate your store from the competition.

In a sea of sameness, the signs are all there. Signs, actually, that nudge us to be different, to stand out. And then there are warnings that tell us things just aren’t what they used to be. The warning on a super hero Halloween costume [reads]: “Cape does not enable user to fly” [and] on a hair dryer: “Do not use while sleeping."

No, consumers aren’t dumbing down, they’re just busy. And maybe too bored with the “same old, same old”, to pay attention to the things they should be paying attention to. This makes us realize that your job as a retailer just got a little harder. Because today your customers are harder to please. So what is the point? You have to change – stand out, re-invent your store and embrace your own uniqueness!

What warning signs have you missed? Perhaps your banker has warned you to watch your cash flow, or maybe you’ve begun to hear customers buzzing about a new competitor who’s doing things that have never even crossed your mind.

And then two “know-it-all” speakers called Kizer & Bender visit you and ask: “Why should anyone do business with you? What about your store makes it special, unique and unforgettable? " We won’t let you say what every other retailer says – we want to hear about you and your store. So, you can choose to survive doing business as usual or you can thrive.

We’ve decided there are two kinds of retailers today: Commodity Retailers™ who make no effort to do much more than they are supposed to do. Commodity retail employees are there just to collect a paycheck. There’s no customer buzz around town and no fizz on the sales floor, merely shelves full of stuff.

And then there are Charisma Retailers™ who thrive on creating an experience that surrounds customers with a feeling they can’t get anywhere else. Charisma retail associates share the same values as the store’s owner or manager: they are there to serve and delight customers. Any retailer, regardless of what they sell, can be a Commodity Retailer or a Charisma Retailer. It’s a choice that’s yours to make.

Charisma Retailers instinctively know they must live in the present while keeping one eye on the future. They read the signs and heed the warnings. They know that the special things they do for customers today will be the expected things of tomorrow, so they have to think of new special things all the time. And they know that competition won’t ease up, so they need to rise above it.

While the concept of the Charisma Retailer is still fresh in your mind, sit down in a quiet room with a notebook and pencil. Let your mind wander, imagining what your store will be like a year from now. Who will be your customers and what will they demand of you? What aren’t you doing today that you need to do in order to meet future challenges? Keep this notebook handy and do this exercise for 15 minutes each week before you go to bed.

In time, you’ll be amazed at how quickly the ideas begin to flow, multiply and become reality. Before long, the retail status quo won’t be good enough for you – you’ll have crossed over from commodity retailing into the rare air Charisma Retailers breathe every single day.

Reprinted with permission of KIZER & BENDER SPEAKING! To contact the firm, phone (888) 215-1839 or log on to The read the company's information and idea-packed blog, go to

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