Are you INVITING customers in or TURNING them away?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Malfi Marketing Solutions ~ for real estate professionals

Take a look at this photo.  Notice anything?

It's all about the bread

The motto of this business is "Its all about the bread"

Yet the message on the window says "Sorry out of bread"


Hmmm…Just a fluke for that particular day? Actually no. I see this sign up often and think to myself:

  • Poor planning on their part (someone is not very good with ordering the necessary product to deliver to consumers)
  • Consumers are left with a poor image of this business
  • Consumers going elsewhere to another establishment that can deliver (I bet the other businesses in this shopping center love it!)

This business is looking at Loss of: Revenue, Reputation and Consumer Confidence – key ingredients for a business to exist and grow.

I honestly have a hard time wrapping my head around why a business would allow this to happen once never mind a lot. This is especially mind boggling to me at a time when businesses are struggling to survive in this economy and great service is paramount.

Think about your business. Things happen that are out of your control even when we have a plan in place – deals fall apart, clients change their minds, situations change, and so on…Our ability to handle those challenges and be a solution oriented business is part of the overall experience and service we offer our clients, isn’t it?

I think there are a few things this business could be doing to ensure they are meeting their customers needs:

Plan Ahead – look at demand of your product and adjust the bread/product order. If necessary work with another vendor if their schedule doesn’t work for your business.

Have a Plan & A Backup Plan - If something happens where you run out of product – have solutions and resources to tap into.

If necessary and after all avenues have been explored you might just have to:

Adjust your motto so it more accurately reflects what you truly have to offer and you can continue operating your business vs. shutting the doors and giving consumers a bad taste in their mouth about you and your business.

Come in - We're OpenThink of your website, your blog, profiles and social media sites as your storefront.

Are you offering services that you can actually deliver on? Are you able to meet the consumer’s needs in a way that creates confidence in you and your services?

Will you have people talking about your business in a way that helps you grow your business? (referrals and testimonials)


will someone be posting a blog or leaving a comment somewhere on the internet about how you can’t deliver what you promise?


Put messages and content out there that truly reflects you, your company, your services and ones that you can be proud of!

Ask yourself – Am I inviting consumers in or turning them away?


What are your thoughts about portraying the right image for your business?

(Note: This blog post is not intended to pick on or make fun of a particular business but as an illustration (to learn from) on how to portray the right image for your business.) 


Posted by

If it's not evident to you by now, consumers are very knowledgeable and computer savvy and are using the Internet to not only search for homes but for real estate agents and real estate professionals who they feel are like minded and can lead them to the results they are looking for.  

As we all know, there are only 24 hours in a day to get it all done...are you focusing on the right stuff to grow your business and meet your client's needs? Contact us today to get started!

Ready to take your Marketing to new levels? Anne Marie Malfi ~ Malfi Marketing ~ Copyright 2011




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Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
I am trying to think of the business that always left me frustrated with no stock. I stopped going there so that explains the lapse in memory.
Jul 27, 2011 08:29 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Hi Ann Marie....I also just saw this on Praful's site....great post....that's a lesson that everyone in business needs to learn....

Jul 27, 2011 08:34 PM
Tom Kessler
Tom Kessler Group - Orlando, FL

Two thoughts:

1: Maybe the bread is sooo good, no matter how much they have it always sells out.

2: Maybe it's not all about the bread.

Jul 27, 2011 08:54 PM
Fernando Herboso - Associate Broker MD, & VA
Maxus Realty Group of Samson Properties - Clarksburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

I know of a place in DC that sells muffins and they sometimes have to close it because they run out of it. . . it figures. . every time I pass by there they have a line of 50 people or more waiting outside. (I'm not sure what they put inside those muffins. .they are about $5 each!)

My first though was very positive. . They have good bread and I should come back and check  it out.

The lesson here. . is that each person determines their own opinion based on their past experiences.  A negative person would always assume the worst and as a business owner, I would not want to attract them.


Jul 27, 2011 11:49 PM
Anne Marie Malf
Malfi Marketing Solutions ~ for real estate professionals - Yardley, PA
Real Estate Marketing Consultant/Virtual Asst, Bucks County,PA

Lisa - Thanks so much for stopping by and glad you liked the post.

Krista - Thank you - sometimes it's just good to see something and use it as an example of things not to do with your business.

Leslie - LOL - that would be genius however they've been running out of product for a long time and have lost customers vs. drawing them in early to get the bread.  If that was the case I would say it worked against them.

Hi Gabrielle - love when you stop by.  I can totally see you having this experience - doesn't it leave you so disappointed when you really wanted that "bread" or doughnut?  You totally got my point about making promises and making sure the message you're giving is not only reflected by says "open."

Jane - I'm with you Jane.  Would be another story if they were another kind of store that just offered bread!  Good catch with the flier - and from what I've gathered they live outside of town and it's become a bother for them to give the right amount of attention to the business.

Debe - Yes, poor planning for sure and the buzz I'm hearing is that they may in fact be selling it hopefully to someone with better planning.

Thanks for stopping by Jenny!

Rosalie - actually they have to drive into Philly to get their bread - which is close to 25 miles south of the area.  My thought would be if that is not working find another facility in a different location or move the location of your business.  Having a plan for your business and the ability to adjust the plan to stay in business is what makes sense to me.  Thanks for getting my point!

Sandy - exactly!  Thank you.

Kathryn - Great point!

Jon - LOL - I'm with you Jon - great observation.  

John - Didn't even know I was reblogged but happy that I was to bring you over to comment - thanks John!

Cheryl - Excellent Point - you want your business to be memorable (in a good way) and certainly I've had the same experience in which I can't remember the name of a business that turned me off/disappointed me over and over again.  I move on and give my business to someone else.

Barbara - Thanks for stopping by Barbara to comment and thankful to Praful for reblogging.

Tom - LOL.  I did find out they buy it in Philly and obviously they're not getting enough and I think they need to offer other solutions besides rolls - maybe wraps, bagels, etc - they're all still bread right?

Fernando - Wow, sounds like a great muffin place - hope you eventually get your muffin :)  I know what you're saying because I always go to the positive 1st as well - running out of something happens, especially when the demand is so high for a great product - but no, they can even be closed early in the day or when you call they will tell you we don't have this or this.

You're right each person makes their own decision about a business - and mine might be very different from someone else's for whatever reason.  However, I wouldn't necessarily say that someone is a negative person who "experiences" rather than assumes something about a business.  In this case I'm someone that roots for the underdog, a glass half full kinda girl and every single time I stop by this place - closed, out of bread, and people stopping up to the place with not nice words to say about the business.  So in this case a positive person has had a negative experience over time and I will certainly be taking my money and loyalty to a business that shows me they want it and that will be a positive for all.

Thanks everyone for the great comments - so happy for the interactions and perspectives.  Gotta go make my clients happy with pushing out a lot of marketing so I'll be back later - have a great day!  ~Anne Marie

Jul 28, 2011 12:43 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Excellent, Anne Marie.  Great analogy, and those two signs in the door of the store couldn't be more ironic.  Thanks for posting!!

Jul 28, 2011 12:50 AM
Sherri Berry
Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro - Murfreesboro, TN
Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate

Ann Marie, what a great picture.  And I agree that the sign is crummy!  haha!  Thanks for the post and making me rethink my business!

Jul 28, 2011 01:02 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Anne Marie, portraying the right image for any business is important. There are people out there who do just enough business to exist no more or no less. Once they meet their quota they are finished for the day. Not good for consumers who wish to use their services.

Jul 28, 2011 01:27 AM
Bill Travis
Captain Bill Realty, LLC - Gilbert, AZ

I understand your point and it is well taken. 

However, looking at the example of that specific store,

  • It appears to be a local deli that also specializes in selling fresh loaves of bread. (They probably still have bread for their deli sandwiches.
  • They deal in only fresh bread and when they're out for the day, they're out. Their regular "bread" clients know that and come early
  • The market for fresh bread is different each day, so some days they run out, some days there are left overs. They plan for the average so they don't increase expenses by having too much wasted inventory every day.
  • Maybe there was an unexpected run on bread that day

This appears to be a local mom and pop deli, so the "out of bread" hand written sign is entirely appropriate.



Jul 28, 2011 02:44 AM
John Davison
Coldwell Banker - Cary, NC
Raleigh-Cary-Triangle NC

The sign in the window actually says "we're unreliable!". That's the kiss of death.

Jul 28, 2011 04:18 AM
Jeanne Gregory, RE/MAX Southwest

I once pulled up to a Taco Bell drive through with a carload of teenagers only to have the voice in the speaker tell me "we're outta meat".  My first thought was "You are Taco Bell, it's not really meat anyway, but why the heck are you out of it?"

Jul 28, 2011 06:55 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

I was just at a webinar where they asked the same thing about our blogs. Are you inviting them in & then compelling them into action? If it's all about the 'bread' you better have the bread plain & simple. It's like us trying to sell homes & not offering the ability to search for them.

Jul 28, 2011 09:14 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Thanks to Praful for the reblog.

This is like advertising your phone number on everything and then not answering!


Jul 28, 2011 04:05 PM
Anne Marie Malf
Malfi Marketing Solutions ~ for real estate professionals - Yardley, PA
Real Estate Marketing Consultant/Virtual Asst, Bucks County,PA

Mike - thanks and I thought the same thing too which is why I thought it would drive home my point.

Sherri - thanks and glad I could get you thinking.

Michael - A pet peeve of mine.  Even if you meet your quota there are ways to still be customer focused - thanks for your comment.

Hi Bill - I can totally appreciate your perspective and you're right they are a local establishment but once they are out of bread they shut down and don't even have enough for sandwiches.  Sadly they are losing their regulars and more often than not they are running out vs. it just being something that happens when they have a high demand on a particular day.  Quite simply my point was just to illustrate how your business might be perceived when you're consitently running out of product and shutting your doors to customers.  Thanks again for sharing your perspective and another way to look at it :)

John - Many could take it that way and I truly believe they've gotten in over their head and should make some other decisions about the business which can happen to many who own their own business and perhaps do not have a solid business plan.

Jeanne - LOL - that's too funny.  Goes to show you that it can happen to any business big or small but if it's happening consistently then you would hope the business would come up with some other solutions.

Lyn - Really?  Wow that's great that it was a topic and I agree with your point - not having the ability to search for homes when you are someone that sells homes just doesn't make sense - thanks for that comment!

Margaret - I couldn't agree more!

Jul 29, 2011 01:00 AM
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

AM, congrats on the feature!  One embarassment for an agent is running a successful ad for a report or service, and then not having the report or service ready.

Jul 29, 2011 02:17 AM
Kim Boekholder Utah Real Estate/ PECO
Results Real Estate 801.580.5624 - Draper, UT
Broker Results Real Estate/Leasing Specialist PECO

Great Point and the picture backs it up well.  Its true, never over promise and under deliver and always have a plan.  I run my own brokerage and I'm running it solo at this time.  I have agents with different brokerages who help me out when I need the backup.  You have to have a plan from your marketing all the way down to helping a buyer see a home. 

Jul 30, 2011 02:46 AM
Kym Wright
Prudential California Realty - Olivenhain, CA



That is so funny!  When I read this article that is immediately what I thought.  WOW the bread is so good they sold out.  You only want to bake so much bread in a day.  It is not like it is canned tuna that can sit out.  And really good bread is only really good for so long.  SO does the whole neighborhood rush down in the morning and get the really good bread.  Personally, I would be down first thing the next morning to try it while they had some in stock.  So a big difference from what other people saw in that sign.  So to make a complex matter worse is everyone has a different bias or perspective,  I do agree we need to have an open sign and invite our buyers into our business.  My thought though is that you need to try different types of open signs, since not all of us have the same perspective!

Jul 30, 2011 04:54 PM
Anne Marie Malf
Malfi Marketing Solutions ~ for real estate professionals - Yardley, PA
Real Estate Marketing Consultant/Virtual Asst, Bucks County,PA

Brian - thank you.  So true - it's imperative to have all things in place if that's what we are promising our clients and if not to find a way to make it happen.

Results Real Estate - thank you and your statement is so true.  I love the fact that you have created a great backup plan and way of managing your business - Bravo!

Hi Kym -  Great perspective and I agree so many people can see the same thing differently.  Sadly in this specific example it's just a lack of planning and having a backup plan.  Great point about the different open messages/signs as it's so true that people read things differently and we want to appeal to as many prospects as possible.

Aug 03, 2011 04:39 AM
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Orange County, CA

What kind of deli runs out of bread?!? If its all about the bread, then you should make sure you have enough to sell. Worried you might get stuck with a loaf or 2 at the end of the day? Donate it to a shelter or food bank, help someone who needs it, and score some angel points in the community. Good grief! That's like getting a phone message "Your call is very important to us. We will call you back within 24 hours".

Sep 11, 2011 10:12 AM
Daniel Thompson
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Jan 11, 2014 04:28 AM