A Guaranteed Way to Lose a Potential Customer

What is a customer worth to your business?  How about the life-time value of a customer?  No matter how you look at it, there is nothing more important than attracting and then satisfying your customers.  Without customers, you don’t have a business.

Unless you have a crystal ball, you never know who your next customer will be, or where they will come from.  They could be the person standing behind you in line at the grocery store, or the mechanic working on your car.  Since you never will know for sure, doesn’t it make sense to always be prepared to promote your business when the opportunity arises?  Although this may sound logical, it never ceases to amaze me how many business owners fail to do this.

Last weekend, I was helping my fiancée, a real estate agent, prepare for an open house she was having.  With two open house signs tucked under my arms (attached with balloons), I walked up to a busy intersection and began looking for a possible place to set up one of the signs.  I took no less than ten steps before a man quickly walked up to me and informed me that the space I was walking towards was off limits to place my sign.  He was preparing to open his business for the day and seemed concerned that my one sign was going to prevent his three signs from being seen by passing motorists along the busy stretch of road in front of him.

As I looked around, I noticed what appeared to be an old food or taco truck parked parallel to the street, with some type of a tent attached to the front of the truck.  The tent was roughly 8×10 in size and had a metal roof.  The sides draped in tarp material.  Whatever this was, I could tell it was some type of permanent fixture.

“So what kind of business do you have here?” I asked in an attempt to be friendly.  The man turned to me and said “We sell wood fired pizza.” Then, to my complete surprise, as he started talking again, he turned his back to me. “We have been here four years,” he said.  His voice was rude and his tone was condescending.  Apparently, I must have upset him.

Maybe he thought I was out to steal his prime signage location, or maybe he was annoyed because I have never heard of him before.   Perhaps it never occurred to him that I do not live on that side of town and I am rarely in that area.  Perhaps, he simply woke up on the wrong side of bed that morning.

I have no idea who this man is or why he was so rude to me, but he missed a perfect chance to promote his business.  He missed a perfect opportunity to tell me about his pizza and why he loves making it.  If he has been in that location for four years, I imagine it is probably some good pizza.  However, he will never have me as a customer.  He made a terrible first impression, and I will never be returning.

Imagine if I would have bought from him, and returned a few times per year.  Imagine if I would have told my friends.  Imagine how much money this man may lose over the next several years by choosing to be rude for ten seconds.  Imagine if he acts like that towards others as well.

It’s true we usually only get one chance to make an impression about ourselves and our business, so for goodness sakes, make it a good one!  Always be prepared to promote your business wherever you are.

  1. You never know where your next customer may come from, so always be ready. Everyone is a potential customer.
  2. Create a system to make sure you have everything you need in case you do meet a potential customer. At minimum, carry business cards; however, what else might you need?
  3. Finally, always try to keep your attitude in check. I know this is easier said than done, but you never know what opportunity may be in front of you.

Your business exists to make happy customers, so don’t be a jerk!  Life is short.

To your SUCCESS,

Daryl Murrow

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