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By Steve Strauss

Has this ever happened to you?

You walk into a store needing some help and up slides a salesperson who not only wants to sell you something but apparently needs to sell you something. They will sell you something, whether you need it or not. The salesperson is far more interested in upselling you than helping you.

Of course, it has happened to you. It’s happened to all of us. The real question is, why?

Does the salesperson really think that his pushiness will actually make the sale? Does his manager assume that hard sales tactics actually work? Does the store even know what it takes to make and keep a customer? Probably not.

Here are surefire ways to lose customers:

1. Take the client or customer for granted

There is a great quote often attributed to Gandhi that goes like this:

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”

Whether or not Gandhi said it is beside the point. The point is, remember, our customers are doing us a favor.

2. Do shoddy work or sell shoddy products

Whether your business is a discount warehouse or e-commerce store, people expect to get value for their dollar. If you don’t keep your promise to your customers by even doing the minimum necessary, don’t expect to have them as customers for long.

And it’s not just the discount store or website that needs to heed this warning. If, for instance, you buy a luxury automobile and something goes wrong, you would expect the dealer to make it right, right?


3. Ignore customer feedback

If you have an unhappy customer or see negative reviews online about your business, you better fix the problems and make the unhappy customers happy because they all have a thousand-watt megaphone at their disposal these days.

4. Don’t accept returns or fail to guarantee your product

Why is Costco so successful? One reason is their generous return policy which makes customers happy. What about Nordstrom, or Amazon? Ditto. Today, you better guarantee your work and products or customers will find someone who does.

5. Ignore them

Not to date myself or sound like Andy Rooney too much or anything, but don’t you just hate when you go into a store and no one seems to notice or care that you are there? Or what about getting stuck in the voicemail loop from hell? Or when you shoot a company an email and never get a response? No one likes to be ignored, and that especially goes for customers.

6. Insist on being right

No, of course, the customer is not always right. But if you want to make them happy, you will be more willing than not to be wrong.

The bottom line is that people come into your business or visit you online because they have a want or need and think you can help them with it. If you and your staff remember that you are there to serve and not sell, you will sell more and keep a lot of customers in the process.

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