What is Mystery Shopping and Why Is It So Important to Your Business? – Ask Clay Anything

Show Notes

Clay explains why it is vital for the health of your business to mystery shopping your competition and to know objectively what they do well, what you do well, how they are beating you and what you need to improve upon to beat them.

Mystery Shopping Your Competition:


  1. Step 1 – Make a list of the G.O.A.T.S. and one up them at everything they do
  2. Step 2 – Pay someone to buy something from the competition.
  3. Step 3 – Make a list of variable related to the business and objective score yourself as better or worse than the other guys
    1. Hours of operation
      1. Are they more convenient than the competition?
    2. Website
      1. Ranking higher or lower in Google?
    3. Phone
      1. Answered faster than the competition or not?
  4. Step 4 – Mystery Shop yourself
  5. Step 5 – Install accountability systems
    1. Call recording
    2. Video cameras
    3. Install GPS tracking on the company vehicles
    4. Call your customers and see if they are happy
  6. NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “What you don’t know will hurt you.” Jim Rohn

Answer the following questions:

  1. What does competitors A charge for the products or services that you deliver?
  2. What does competitors B charge for the products or services that you deliver?
  3. What does competitors C charge for the products or services that you deliver?
Business Coach | Ask Clay & Z Anything

Audio Transcription

You have questions. America’s number one business coach has answers. It’s your brought up from Minnesota. Here’s another edition of ask clay, anything on the thrive time business coach radio show.

Welcome back to another exciting edition of ask me anything. And on today’s show we are joined with Tulsa’s number one CPA in every way. A man who’s always looking good. Mr Paul Hood. Sir, how are you? I am great, clay. I tell you, the holidays, thanksgiving came, ate too much. Loved it. Watched football now. Ready to get back to business. I have a confession for you guys before we. Before we start talking about mystery shopping, your competition. I, uh, every, every time there’s a thanksgiving, what we do is we have a meal, you know, my mom or mother in law or my wife there. They’re making food well, family over. And it doesn’t matter. It does. It does not matter the variable surrounding the game. But I’m a be, I’m a huge patriots fan. And so I think, you know what? I’m going to mystery shop the other team.

I’m going to watch the cowboys or the lions, you know, I’m going to watch them see what’s going on, do my research, and it doesn’t matter it, it never. It doesn’t matter if, if I’m, if I’m cold, if I’m outside from inside, if I’ve had a lot to eat, if I didn’t have anything to eat. Like this year I didn’t really eat that much. I immediately fall asleep. As soon as the lions come up, I can’t stand the lions. I don’t know what it is. It’s like a, it’s like a cure for insomnia for me. Go back in the day when my man, my boy, but the Stud Barry Sanders played right. You didn’t fall asleep by himself. Carried the game. He was great. But now I, I, I mean I was excited to watch Mike posner seeing the halftime show and my wife had to wake me up for it.

I just passed out. I mean every, every single time. It’s like, as soon as they do the kickoff, I immediately go into like a polar bear, hibernation, narcoleptic football watching experience. So I don’t think that counts as scouting. Your competition are too, but I find it infinitely boreal and I think somebody out there can relate to this though. You’re out there saying, okay, I need to mystery shop my competition, but I find it to be boring. I don’t like it. I don’t see the point in it. So trip, the entire show today is about why we should mystery shop, how we should mystery shop and what’s the point of mystery shopping. So first off, why should we mystery shop Jason? Let’s go with a coffee shops for 5,000 points. Cool. You’re wearing a double shot hat this morning, correct? Oh yeah. Talk to me about why you’re wearing a double shot coffee hat.

I liked the way it looks. It’s comfortable and I like their coffee. Do you really? I do. Why? I like my coffee to be a certain flavor and they are one of the few places in Tulsa that actually hit the nail on the head. With that one, what, can you please try to describe the of the Brown water that you like with like most coffees? A lot of coffees now are like instant, so they taste. It’s like stale hot, boiling water bitter, but with the double shot it has a nice aroma and flavor to it. It’s like trying to describe wine, which I’m terrible at, but um, I don’t know. It’s just got this like nuttiness and richness to it that I don’t find with a lot of other coffees. You went to culinary school, correct? Yes. Okay. So, so we’ll, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll pretend that we believe what you’re saying.

And now have you been to other coffee shops? Oh yeah. So if you were going to give other coffee shops, advice on how they could earn your business as it relates to the coffee, what advice would you give them? Um, I would definitely say it starts with your people upfront. Anytime I walk into a double shot, like even if I haven’t been there in a couple of weeks, go in there without my hat, without my elephant. Share it. They’re always just like, oh, Jason, it’s good to see you. How are you doing? So just like being hospitable to your people and not just treating them as just like a one time transaction, um, care about the product that you provide, like don’t just provide something to make a profit, like own what you’re providing and then make sure it’s great every time. Passion. Okay. Paul, think about a business that you really like, a place that you shop at.

It could be starbucks or Harley Davidson or whole foods or think about a product that you really like or a service that you really like. Can you, can you think of one that we share with us? Maybe a product that you’re passionate about or a service absolutely. Uh, well. And, and what people don’t understand is businesses war, business. If your competitor gets a dollar that’s a dollar you don’t get and you can’t be passive and you can’t be all that’s just not nice or whatever. You got to find out what’s working and what’s not working in. The quickest way to do it is to go shop your competition. For instance. I love it, you know, and we interviewed our guy and he’ll be here in December. I’m a shipment that I love Harley Davidson. You walk into a Harley Davidson store and you know, and I’m not a big man, I’m five nine, but you feel like you’re eight foot tall.

You’re a man. You want to put on leather and sound and yeah, you can’t walk in there with flip flops. I’m sorry. It just doesn’t work. You can kick you out, kick you out. You feel like a real man and, and they’ve, they’ve, they’ve spent the time to create this, this branding that, that unit. You walk into me and I’m not badmouthing other motorcycles, you know, they’re, they’re a cheaper brand, but you just don’t get the same feeling for walking in. And if I was the owner of these other motorcycle shops, I would be shopping at. I would be secret shopping. You know Harley Davidson. What makes it the sounds, the lighting, the people that work there, that the product that’s in that’s in that store, because I would want to give that feeling because it’s the feeling that you get and that’s why people buy her the Davidson. What are some of the things that go into that feeling at the Harley Davidson dealership? Can you describe how it’s decorated or how it smells or how the employees are dressed or what? Walk us through that. For people who have met, who have never been to a Harley Davidson store a can you explain

playing with it looks like clay. Have you ever watched the movie wild hogs or any, you know, any of those kinds of shows that it’s these old guys and they got leather on and and it’s just, you know, during the day they’re their accountants or their, you know, their maybe radio show host that people don’t see them, but you walk into a Harley store and you see leather and you see big shiny engines. The engines are bigger and wider than, than the bikes.

The music that I think they play in Harley, can you tell me if I’m correct or not? Here we go. Internal dialogue absolutely welcomed me into Davidson, got leather shops, everything. Is that the right kind of ambience or am I off?

I think you’re off a little.

One of the other things they do at every Harley store I is, they have just so many motorcycles ever so many motorcycles. You can see them all, you can sit on them and you just didn’t. They talk about their financing options

where you walk in and it’s almost like you’re, you’re also a, not a bar, but you know, they’ve got a sales people. The ladies are walking around and the guys have, you know, sleeveless shirts. Oh Man. Yeah. The ladies have on black and headbands, Bandanas and it’s just, you feel. There you go. That’s a little closer. Oh yeah, I think so.

Chip is a Harley Davidson appeal to you? Yeah, it does. Have you driven one before? I rolled one over here one time. Remember? Was it a harley

clay? I tell you, they don’t sell. They don’t sell pinion woods and kitty cats at Harley Davidson. Sorry.

Shots fired.

I’m talking about. You guys are clearly aware of the Harley Davidson experienced. Jason’s clearly aware of the experience and ambiance of the coffee place, but most business owners have no idea about the other guys. They have no idea what they’re competing with. It is bizarre.

That’s. I have an action step for all the listeners out there and that’s the first thing you need to do is make a list of who the goats are the greatest of all time and do you need to consider them your competition and find out what they’re doing and one of them at every turn.

I’m going to walk you through this. I want to walk all the listeners through this and why it’s so important. You take and you write down all these action steps. Okay, one, do exactly what Eric said. Write down who your top competitors are today. Write down their names. Well, there’s no competitors that only competition I have is in my. It’s in my self. Get outta here. That’s ridiculous. Now, let me explain the only time that that logic is true. I’m John Wooden, the famous basketball coach who won 10 ncaa championships while being the head coach of USC Ucla Ten or 12, and he never watched game film and I’ll explain to you why, because the other could only have five players on the court at any given time and they couldn’t adjust the length of the game or shorten it so he knew the variables were somewhat limited, so his whole thing was, I’m going to obsess about our team being the best that we can possibly be because knowing what the other guy is, what the other team’s going to do really won’t impact his.

This was his philosophy. It really won’t impact our team’s ability to play or not, so he would objectively look at his team and figure out what his team’s strengths were and he wanted to make those the best they could be. So he had years. He won an Ncaa Championship. We had a very short lineup, but he decided to go ahead and build a team and a system around being very fast, very fast pace, fast break driven. Other years he had legendary centers like like a bill. Walton was on the team and he built around him, but the point is he knew what he had and because he played every week for years, for decades, he was coaching players every week for years. He pretty much knew that he had the top recruits in America because he knew who he wanted and he went after him, so he’s going, okay, I know what I have. I know the guys you have. I’ve already scouted all of the players before they were on your roster, so I really don’t need to see what they can do now because I was trying to recruit them. We’re not trying to recruit them. Thank you, but no, you can’t do that with your business because in business there’s so many variables.

Quickly, I’ll tell you what the key here and the purpose of this is you’ve got to be flexible in your business. You’ve got to be. You figure out what you want to accomplish. You set your goals, you execute your plan. You measure your results, which we talk in this show constantly, that the key is, is what most people don’t do in their personal life and their business life is measured results. The reason you measure your results is so you can change your path so you can adjust. I’ll give you a real quick story. Um, you know, I’m an Oklahoma state fan. I graduated from Oklahoma state. All three of my boys have to and we played West Virginia not too long ago and what’s Virginia was picked to bait us. We haven’t had a very good year and the first half they were up by 18 points I believe, and Gundy after the gay.

And then by the end of the game we want. Well, the story was what, what did you change in the second half? Coach? And he said basically we scouted them. We put a game plan together and in the first half they completely, West Virginia completely did the opposite of what they’ve done all year long. So or the game plan didn’t work, but because they had scouted them and they were spread prepared, he knew that it wasn’t working because they were doing something different and so he was able to modify his plan, changed to exactly what they were doing, a halftime, we came out and beat West Virginia and so the key principle here is be flexible and and to know in war and battle in whether you’re chasing that girl to try to get her to go out with you. If you’re trying to create wealth, to trying to build a business and you’ve got to be flexible and you’ve got to be a very, very intentional and to be intentional to beat the next guy is you have to secretly shop them

when you secretly, when you do a mystery shop, but I want you to do now. Now that we’ve down our our competitors, I want you to pay somebody to go buy something from them. Pay Somebody to go buy something from them. I cannot even begin to count the number of weddings that I have paid for, for a bride and groom to use my competition. I have literally told a couple, hey, we’re looking for a mystery shopper and I would be honored if you would allow me to pay for you to book with my competition and then just give me feedback about what they did well and what we could do better. It’s so affective, but people won’t do it unless you pay them. This is why the top companies in the world all pay mystery shoppers. Huge companies are paying for the services of mystery shoppers.

This is a real thing. This is a real gig. This is a real job. You need to do that. Okay, so you’re paying a mystery shopper. Step three, make a list of variables are related to the business. Make a list of variables related to the business and objectively score yourself as either you are better than those guys or worse, better than those guys or worse, and so you don’t get stuck. Looking at a blank sheet of paper as an example, your hours of operation. Is it more convenient for the customer or less your website? Does it rank higher in Google or lower your phone number? Is the phone answered on the first ring or not? Your service or your prices more or less your products, are they more or are they less your atmosphere in your. In your lobby? Is it better or is it worse?

Because if you don’t know, you can’t grow. You can’t improve. You can’t fix it. As an example, Dr Robert Zoellner and associates here. Here are his hours for his optometry clinics. Monday through Friday, 8:30 in the morning to 7:00 PM. Jason, have you ever had your glasses break at the time of your choosing? Can’t say that I have. And when you need to get new glasses, when do you typically want to go get those glasses as soon as possible. Whatever time is convenient for me. Do most people listening to this to this show have a job? Yes, I would assume, but it’s reasonable that most people would want to get their glasses repaired after work or before work. Is that. Is that a reasonable idea, Paul? Is that right? That is absolutely a reasonable idea. Then why is he the only optometrist? It’s so crazy. Eight 30 in the morning to 7:00 PM.

It’s so crazy. I’ll go in there, you know, 6:00 PM at night to get some glasses or seven and it’s amazing how many people will be sitting there in the lobby and I’ll say, hey, you come here. Often they go, well, it’s the only place open. I mean there’s a lot of repeat. What other choice do you have? There’s a lot of other, there’s a lot of other great places and they do a great job. But how many times does he get a customer simply because he’s the only available option. Saturdays 8:30 AM to six PM. Come on. How many of you guys have ever tried to schedule an appointment with your family doctor or an optometrist on the weekend and they tell you that there are closed. Chuck, has this ever happened to you?

Yeah, tons of times. Uh, you know, doctor’s offices that, some of them aren’t even open on Fridays. Hey Clay, I’ve got a great story for you. I’ve, I’ve, uh, my glasses. I’ve been getting a little headache, so I wanted to get my glasses checked in and I called a place in Bartlesville and they said, yeah, we can get you in in six months. They’re gonna. Get me in six months to check my. You might not even have eyeballs on my. Not My goodness. Who knows as well with all the rush. Are you being serious? I’m very serious. Six months, six months a. So I asked, I said, what on earth is that all about? And he said, come to our place. We’ll get you in in six minutes. Yep.

Boom. Unbelievable. No more convenient. I’m just pointing out this idea out there, but I bet I bet you that you’re waiting the six months though. Nope. Oh, okay. That was high that, that. No, I. to me, that’s just. Why don’t you just tell me I’m not taking any more patients. I don’t like you. I don’t any more business. The next step, my friends, we must mystery shop ourselves. Exactly. So the other day I went into the elephant, the room broken arrow. We were serving hamburgers for the customers that day. Jason and I went into the store and I was sitting there with a guy who had just arrived to get his haircut. He had got there before me, so he grabbed a seat. I’m just standing next to him and I said, hey, uh, what’s your name? He says, such and such. I said, so do you come here very often?

He goes, oh, every month man. And Go, well, what do you like about it? And he sits there and tells me. And I said, well, if you were in charge, what could you, what could you do to improve? And he just says, well, you know, um, I liked the place a lot. I mean, I think hot chocolate would be cool. And what did we start doing this holiday season? Hot Coco bar there with marshmallows, marshmallows, candycane customer brought up the idea. He doesn’t necessarily cost us more money to have hot chocolate then and to serve our standard coffee or sprite or different beverage of choice. So we’re just, it’s just, you want to be aware of what customers think about your business. It is so important, which is why Jason, you know this, the elephant in the room, we have mystery shoppers. Oh yeah, thank you. Kind of explained the dynamic of a mystery shopper.

When they come in and get their hair cut, they come in as if they’re just a regular customer, they’d never tell us who they are. And then do you know who they are at this point? No, honestly I knew one at one point, but I have not seen him since I discovered his identity. So I just, I will say this because I’ve had a ton of mystery shoppers throughout the past and kill that man. Did you know we, we, we bring in mystery shoppers who are good people and they do a great job. And the only, the only grievance I’ve ever had with our team about this is sometimes our team will say, guys, we’re having a mystery shopper coming in an hour, so let’s make sure we really dial it in on non mystery shopper. Right? So the point of a mystery shopper is your team shouldn’t know who are, so therefore you can get a pulse on the business.

That’s when I was just about to bring that up. It’s a way to hold your team accountable as well. When you take t tell them that, hey, there’s mystery shoppers from here on out. Then they never know. And why is it more effective to have a mystery shopper come in the store shop and to come in and analyze what’s going on? They’d have me personally show up and do it because everybody knows you and they act different around the boss, the manager, the owner. They’re going to be on their a game. It’s whenever your back is turned, whenever you’re not in the store, whenever you’re not in front of those people, what are they doing at that moment? That’s what you need to know.

I’ll tell you back to the or along that same line, um, you, uh, encouraged us to install cameras. Oh, it works. So we have cameras. So that were mystery shopping all the time. We can look and see how people. Are they following our systems, our processes? Are they saying the right words? Are they asking for for Google reviews? Are they treating the people the way we want to be treated? So it’s not only sending it a, you know, somebody who is actually an individual, but it’s also monitoring, uh, via these little cheap cameras. I mean, you can get these nest cameras and it’s great. You can pull it up on your phone and look at any point in time

the, the next, uh, the next step here on mystery shopping. And Paul, Paul stole some, some of my thunder here, but this is so important. You want to install accountability systems. So I’m going to give you the big three call. Recording is huge. I don’t know why anybody out there would not record your calls. I mean, if you want to run around acting like you’re amish and reentry, rebrand, kind of rebuke the technology, that’s cool, but you’re going to be killing yourself there. The other day I was working with a doctor who had never, ever, ever listened to his recorded calls. And do you guys know what he found? I’m going, can I take a wild guess? Yes. They weren’t following scripts, answering phones, doing anything that is supposed to be done. Let me, I will, I won’t mention the name of the company, but I’ll show it to you guys on the big screen so you guys couldn’t see them or little secret, but let me just show you what happens here.

This will blow your mind. It will, it just will make somebody out there in the healthcare industry. Just your, your mind will explode. Here it is. You go to the site and when you go there, it gives you an opportunity to schedule like your, your, your, uh, appointment, right? Yeah. So you fill out this, this, uh, this section of the website. And when you do, then nothing happens. No one, no one calls you. So then you call this. I’m not kidding. This is how the call goes. Boop, boop, boop, boop, boop. Hey, thank you for calling Dr. such and such as office. How can I help you? Yeah. I wanted to schedule an appointment and the person on the phone says, W W we’ll need to do is go onto our website and fill out the form, and they go, well, I did. That’s why I’m calling it. Is it okay? We’re probably just booked out and he heard this on like every call. He’s like, oh my gosh. There goes the money. Oh my gosh. There it goes. Now here’s where it gets crazier. Somebody calls in and says, Hey, I want to. I want to get my scripts, pick up my pain medication. My name is. We’ll just insert a first name like Cindy, but no last name, front desk person says, all right, come on by and pick it up waiting for you.

Now think about this. Now, this is not uncommon. I’ve worked with medical businesses. You’ll say thank you for calling such and such medical. How can help you? Yeah. My name’s Doug and I want to come get my prescriptions. Okay, great. And they don’t even ask you your last name and then you ask the doctor the ask the person, is it possible that there are patients who are getting pain medication who don’t need it, is it possible? And then they’ll say, you know, come to think about it, we should listen to our calls. And when they listen to their calls, they discovered that this is happening. Chubb, the Jackass, Rick, how can call recording fixed the Jack [inaudible]?

Well, like you said, it’s an accountability tool and it’s not only, um, yes, there is an element to letting your team know, hey, we’re recording these calls now, but you actually need to block time out in your week to sit down with the team and listen to the calls collectively with the script in your hands, uh, because nobody likes to be called out like that. When they use, it’s obvious that you’re not on script or you’re not following the system. So you got to record the calls. Then you’ve got to actually listen to those words.

Corticals record the calls, clarity voice.com. Record those calls to install the video. Cameras, like Paul said, installed the video cameras three. If you have guys in trucks, ladies and trucks, people driving around in the field, make sure that you put a gps system on their vehicles, put a GPS system on their vehicles and the fourth accountability, let layer call your customers and see if they are happy. Ask them, call them up and say, hi, I’m calling on behalf of Yada Yada, and I wanted to see were you happy with your service today? The other day we had somebody deliver something to our offices and I said to the person, how are you? They said, well, be good. As soon as I finished this delivery, it’s my last delivery today, man. Whew. I’m going. Okay. And you could tell they openly did not like their job inspires confidence in the customer, doesn’t it? Right? But that’s not how the company normally works. And the company that does a very, very good job, but you could tell this was a new person who hadn’t learned their culture yet or whatever. And again, I said, Howard, you. And they said, wow, I’d be doing a lot better as soon as I finished this delivery. And again, what it does is it kills the confidence. It kills the report, makes the person feel like the customer feel like that, that you’re annoyed to serve them.

Yeah. So what you’re inconveniencing them. Yeah. They’re not there to serve you. You’re there to just, you’re just another stop. And it’s just so inconvenient for them to be there for you. That’s just not good.

Paul, you’ve worked with a lot of businesses over the years as a CPA. Yes. Why would anybody not take this mystery shopping? Uh, no. Why would someone not take this to heart? Why would somebody not implement the mystery shopping?

Well, I think a lot of people don’t do it is because they won’t take the time to actually listen to the calls and watched the videos and, and it’s, it’s kind of like, again, we all love football or at least most of us do. And it’s, it’s Kinda like after the game, you’re not watching the game film to see who, who did what they were supposed to do and who needs to have work and how can you improve? Because the reality is, is most. I say this about my own business. If I don’t know it’s broken, I can’t fix it. Clay. And if you’re not reviewing, if you’re not listening to the recorded calls and watching video and, and having training sessums sessions, you don’t know it’s broken. So there’s no way you can fix it.

Here’s a notable quotable here from Jim Rohn, and it says, what you don’t know will hurt you. Yes, it’s exactly what Paul’s talking about is if you’re out there today and you’re saying to yourself, gosh, I want to take my company to the next level this year, I have two action items or two action steps I would encourage you to take. One is mystery. Shop your business mystery. Shop your own company, do it mystery. Shop to competitors. Listen to this podcast over and over again. Implement mystery shopping and to schedule a one on one consultation with a member of the hood Cpas Dotcom team. Again, schedule a one on one consultation. It’s a one hour consultation with a member of the hood Cpas Dotcom team to do a financial deep dive so you can figure out where you are versus where you want to be and to encourage you to do that. Paul, you’re given all of the listeners a free copy of Warren Buffett’s only authorized biography. The book is called snowball. Pretty bad there. Who scheduled a one hour consultation? Why would you give somebody such a great book, have a tangible copy of a great book and one hour of your team’s time

look like? Like I’ve said before, we, I believe we were, uh, were born into the greatest country on this planet. And we don’t teach people how to think outside the box. We teach people how to think like everybody else. And Warren Buffet and really our CPA firm, our financial firm is we try to teach people to think differently, to think deliberately, to be intentional with their success. And Warren Buffet is the greatest example financially I think, of being intentional from the age of five on. He was very deliberate. Everything had a purpose and a reason. Every step he took. And I just, I think it benefits people and I’m willing to invest in them if they were willing to invest in themselves.

You heard it from the man himself going to [inaudible] dot com today. That’s [inaudible] dot com today. And schedule your free consultation. Get a free copy of Warren Buffett’s only authorized by book snowball. Get it all [email protected]. Uh, and, and wrap up today’s show. Paul, I got to get this out there. You are just looking tremendous today. Thank you sir. Chump, you smell as good as Paul looks. That is the best compliment I’ve ever had. That neat freak.


Let us know what's going on.

Have a Business Question?

Ask our mentors anything.