The Stupid Business Mistake That Destroys Sales

The Stupid Business Mistake That Destroys Sales

Well-meaning companies often squander the opportunity to delight a customer and cement the relationship, keeping the competition away. The problem frequently comes from well-meaning managers who create policy that destroys customer relationships at the cost of a single transaction.

Not So Happy Hour

Recently I was working on new content with a client for a product introduction tour. My host took me to a new upscale restaurant after work. They’re newly opened and must hustle for business in a competitive market.

As I was digging into my Cobb salad, a well-dressed executive approached the bar: “Can I still order a happy-hour drink?”

The bartender replied, “I don’t think so. It’s up to the computer.”

Why would ANY manager want a computer to drive customer relationships?

The common stupid business mistake is favoring systems over customer relationship. When you understand the life-time value of your customer, you know what it is worth to get them and keep them.

Do You Want a Transaction or a Repeat Customer?

Relationship-building strategies don’t work if all you want is a single transaction – like a door-to-door salesperson. But if you’re business thrives on repeat customers, then consider this Selling Disruption concept: the customer relationship is more important than the transaction.

When this is so, then the staff must have options to delight the customer, creating the unshakable relationship that makes you disruptive.

Imagine if the bartender had the flexibility to say, “Although happy hour’s over, I think that I can get you one more round because I’d like for you to be a regular!” What do you think would happen to that executive’s opinion of the restaurant?

A secret is to make sure that your customer treatment doesn’t go unnoticed.

Building Up Favors Brings Back Business

By the bartender adding that last phrase, he’s banking the favor and creating the relationship with the customer that means they’ll be back.

Sales, like politics, runs on the favor bank. Do them a favor when they need it and call in a favor when you need it.

This tactic can be used intentionally. What if the management allowed bartenders to override the computer and grant happy hour prices for about 10 minutes after the official end?

What do you think would happen to customer relationships if you did?

How can you do this with your business?

What deal sweeteners can you offer, that costs you little, means much to your customers, and illustrates how much you value their business?

Perhaps you can offer sale prices to a customer for a day or two after the sale ends. Maybe you can extend a special offer a day or two before it becomes available to other customers.

Nordstrom has sold me more shoes this way: “This other shoe that you like goes on sale next week. I can send it to you then at the sale price. I’ll even cover shipping. Would that be okay?”

Back to the story… the good news is that the gentlemen got his drinks at happy hour prices – apparently the bartender’s watch was fast.

Let’s have a conversation about growing your business through strategic planning, marketing plans, executive coaching, and customer acquisition systems. Find a mutually agreeable time at or contact me.


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