Here’s a Great Way to Lose Some Customers :)

Here’s a Great Way to Lose Some Customers :)

Never, ever, step outside your own rules/boundaries….

I don’t often blog negatively but we’re away in Cornwall this week, staying in an idyllic house in a place called Polzeath. The family come away every year to the same house which is near a well known hotel called The St Moritz. Today I witnessed a great way to lose customers and wanted to share it with you.

So here’s what happened. There is a party of 10 of us deciding whether to go for a swim over at the hotel. 4 of the girls are getting beauty treatments at the hotel tomorrow so a few of us pop over first and ask if the group can have a discount on the swimming today.

Officially the hotel offer people having treatments 50% discount on the swimming so we’re going to see if they’d be kind enough to extend that to the rest of us. The guy on the reception tells us that everyone can have the discount and so, very happy, we pop back to the house and round up the group. Everyone bounces over to the hotel happy as larry and the girl on reception tells us she’ll get the manager who we had originally spoken to.

The managing director appeared 5 minutes later and in no uncertain words tells us that everyone pays full price and only the people paying for treatments get it half price. He says this without any consideration or thought for what sits in front of him (10 new customers for a start). In fact he goes on to say, ‘you can’t expect me to give the benefit to everyone – I’m afraid the person you spoke to didn’t have authority to say that, I’m the managing director and I say everyone not having treatments pays full price’

So lets dissect this in case you want to use this tactic to lose some of your customers.

  • We wanted to use a facility that sits there and costs money whether people are in it or not.
  • The whole time we were there we only saw about 10 other people (we were there for at least 2 hours).
  • He took about £100 off us instead of £50. I very much doubt we’ll be recommending the hotel or it’s facilities now.
  • We could have gone back there everyday this week for all he knew – at a fiver per person, per day that would have been some good business for him.
  • He was unwilling to budge from the rules he’d laid down.
  • In this social, sharing world, it was pretty easy for me to write this and share it to thousands of people

Now some of you might be saying – but what if others found out, would that cause him a problem? Maybe, and if that was really going to be an issue I think the way the situation was dealt with could have been better even if the outcome wasn’t the one we’d all wanted. Communication is everything in business – your customers are your new marketing.

If you’re wondering how I would have approached the situation – here’s how: I would have told us that the first guy had made a small mistake but that on this occasion I was willing to stick by it. I might have made a little joke about not telling anyone and I’d have had 10 happy customers without a bad taste in their mouths and returning every year.

Now Your Thoughts

  • What fantastic strategies have you found for losing customers?
  • Do you have a different view on this? Was the guy right for sticking to his own rules?

Time for Reflection

Time for Reflection

As a small business owner it’s all to easy to get completely consumed by your business. I didn’t take a single holiday for at least the first five years, I worked through weekends and spent every hour I could in the office during the week just to keep things going. It’s what you do when you’re a start-up. If you’re about to start your own company and don’t like the sound of that, forget it – you’re not right for this – go and get a nice 9-5 somewhere.

There is, however, a problem with this strategy when in start-up mode – it gives you no time for reflection, and reflection is essential. This is the time you need to step back from the business and take stock of everything. You’re too close to things on a daily basis to reflect and plan properly.

So this weekend, while you have some time off here is my suggestion:

Reflect on your overall business

Reflect on your sales and sales processes

Reflect on your company’s relationships with customers

Reflect on your brand

Reflect on your staff & what they do for you

Reflect on your finances and how you can improve them

Reflect on your internal processes for getting work done / products delivered

Reflect on yourself – are you working efficiently? What could you do differently?

I find it useful when doing this kind of exercise to write things down. The danger, if you don’t, is that the ideas you have get lost again as you get busy. Mind mapping is a very useful technique to learn for visualising this kind of information.

Now here’s the thing – When you’ve done all this and you go back to work on Tuesday – action some of the things you’ve reflected on. Don’t let this list form part of your ‘never read’ pile. Make sure it’s somewhere you can see regularly and ask yourself whether you’re making the changes and trying the new things at least once a week.

Good luck and have a great Easter

It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you!

It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you!

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited by thebestof to attend a seminar by legendary American sales trainer Jeffrey Gitomer in London. Not really sure what to expect, I booked my place purely on Nigel Botterill’s (CEO of thebestof) account of him. I have a great deal of respect for Nigel as a businessman so knew it couldn’t really go wrong. It was a full day and I came away with pages and pages of notes and action points, all of which I’ve written up today, while still fresh in my mind.

If you’re interested, Nigel also posted on his blog about the event entitled, ‘Are you a Winner or a Whiner?’. Well worth a read.

Now I’m not going to try and break down a whole day into one post, so I thought I’d pick up a few of the key points for you, especially if you’re in sales yourself or are starting/just started a business.

People buy people – we know that right? Well I guess most do but I’m sure sometimes we forget. Jeffrey pointed out on MANY occasions that ‘sales’ is quite simply about being friendly – to EVERYONE!

It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you!

If you make yourself an industry leader in your sector, so indispensible that people want to buy from you, then the time spent doing that will be far better used than making sales calls and giving people your brochure (Jeffrey refers to this as puking on people lol – he also has a fantastic New Jersey accent which I really wish I could convey in this article). So the main premise of the day was to stop thinking about how to sell to someone and starting thinking about how to make them buy. I’m afraid though that this isn’t easy, it takes hard work, something many sales people simply aren’t willing to put in. Do you think just because it’s a Saturday it means I’m not going to blog about work! If you have that mentality, this probably isn’t for you – and neither is a career in sales!

A few top tips from the day that I’ll certainly be actioning myself in the coming weeks:

>> Get creative – Your business card should be a talking point – If the person you give it to doesn’t say ‘wow – cool card’ rip it up and start again!

>> Get video testimonials from clients – This is 100 times more powerful than saying how great you are yourself. If you can walk into your prospects and show them other happy clients waxing lyrical about you you’re on a winner.

>> Talk to your customer’s as if they were your Grandma – I personally love this one. He literally says, add ‘, grandma’ onto the end of any line you’re about to say to a customer and if it doesn’t sound right, don’t say it!

>> Use Social Media – It ain’t going away – THANK YOU JEFFREY – ‘nuff said! J

>> Become your client’s friend – if you make a sale, you make a commission, if you make a friend you’ll earn a fortune. A nugget of gold.

If you get the chance to see Jeffrey then don’t question the money – you’ll make it back 100 fold. You can see and get more information about him on his website here: http://www.gitomer.com or follow him on twitter here: http://twitter.com/gitomer or become a fan on facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/JeffreyGitomer

I have already (before the event) purchased a number of Jeffrey’s books and would whole heartedly recommend you consider buying them.


The Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness – You can buy it from Amazon here.

Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude: How to Find, Build and Keep a Yes! Attitude for a Lifetime of Success

I’m now off to buy these other books in his range (I didn’t even know these ones existed until yesterday!):