In college we studied human perception and interaction and the idea that there are three different ways to which you view yourself and the way others view you. These views can be broken down into:
1. The way you see yourself
2. The way others see you
3. The way you think others see you
I am always intrigued by this concept because our environment both work and personal will all have an influence on the way we perceive different situations. Interestingly it is never the way that we think it is. You are probably familiar with the first two points, in fact you no doubt have had many conversations with family or friends about the way we see ourselves or the way we see others, However I take more interest in the third bullet point, the way we think others view us and our actions.
I was out to dinner the other evening and ended up talking to a gentleman who has had a suit made by my mentor in the past. Through a lengthy discussion it was refreshing talking about his experience; we talked about everything from the aesthetic of the shop to the service and even the suit that was made. It became clear that my view of the shop is much different than that of a first time customer.
As I get ready to open my own shop I have started to take note of peoples perceptions and reactions, paying attention to the words that they use and the way they react when engaging in conversation. Customer’s facial expressions will say a lot and often reveal how comfortable they are in any given situation.
First impressions are always extremely important and having talked to this gentleman over dinner I was enlightened with a fresh perspective on the topic. I have been working with my mentor for over four years now and have developed my own ideas of his shop, its service and the product. As it turns out my perception of the shop and the product is much different than the way its customers perceive it.
I know in the future what I want to change and adapt for my own business, and upon talking to some of the customers and clients I am learning what they find important in a shop and where business can succeed or fail. Having worked in luxury retail for over a decade much of the same concepts apply, however working for a small shop it is clear that the only way to success in business is to have great relationships with the customers. My mentor has been in business for almost forty-five years and his customers still come back time and time again.