by Tim Staton
The Entrepreneurial G.A.P.
I was sitting in a coffee shop chatting with a friend when I happened to look across the street at a small business that was having a “sale”. The sign caught my eye and I asked my friend to take a look with me. There in big bold letters were the words “Everything in the Store Up To 125% Off”. Now I wasn’t the math genius in my class but I was pretty sure that the store owner wasn’t prepared to pay me to take his inventory off of his hands. I resisted the temptation to walk over just to see what the “deal” was when I remembered the story of “Johnson and Sons Hardwear”. Mr. Johnson told me that he couldn’t begin to count the number of people who had come into the store just to tell him that he had misspelled the word “Hardware”. These helpful people almost certainly would never have entered the store otherwise and almost always bought some little something when they came in. Friends, if you want lifelong customers, look them in the eye and tell them the truth. A few words of advice are in order if you want your customers to feel appreciated and to appreciate you.
Lose the fine print. If there are terms to be explained, make them clear and concise. Highlight the things you would want to know if you were making the purchase. Keep it as simple as possible and if a challenge arises with a customer, one rule reigns above all; “do the right thing”.
Never bait and switch. If you have no intention of allowing the customer to walk out with an advertised deal, don’t make the offer. You might get the up-sale but the price is your customer feeling duped and taken advantage of.
Loss leaders can equal lost integrity and loyalty. I know what they teach you in “Marketing 101”. Lose a few pennies on an item that many people need and you can make up for it once you have them in the store. If this is your strategy then be prepared for the customers who purchase only those items that are “on sale”. I remember hearing one customer saying to another; “don’t insult my intelligence, I know what they are up to”.
One of the greatest advantages of being an entrepreneur is closer relationships with the people who keep you in business. You are there to build trust and meet needs. A business owner who treats me right and deals with integrity can earn my undying loyalty. How about yours?
Tim Staton is passionate about gratitude, appreciation and praise (G.A.P). He is an author, coach, public speaker and a fellow entrepreneur. Visit him at https://www.facebook.com/timstatondotcom