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Marketing / Customer service

Wallet wars: Why clients won’t spend with you

When people are ready to spend with you, what experience do they get? Your actions will either inspire them to open their wallets or close them for good.

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Inspiring clients to slap their wallets shut would be the definition of insanity, but sadly, businesses do this every single day.

Even mine. 

In my restaurant I hired a floor manager who was pure sweetness when I was around, but downright rude when I wasn’t. After a few months I received feedback from loyal customers about her attitude, and dealt with the situation accordingly. I’m just grateful those clients came directly to me.

In my years of consulting I have seen how business owners spend enormous amounts of time, money and energy trying to get new clients. They look for clues and insights everywhere by attending seminars, employing consultants, reading books and so on. Despite this, clients can flee.

Why these wallets snapped shut  

  • Poor service
  •      Loss: $400 per year

    My favourite Thai restaurant dropped the ball badly when they didn’t deliver any of the drinks or extras we ordered. The response was a lame apology, and that too, only after we prompted them. I’d taken more than ten people there in the last few years but won’t go there again.

    "In my restaurant I hired a floor manager who was pure sweetness when I was around, but downright rude when I wasn’t."

  • Mistakes and inconvenient protocol
  •      Loss: $3000 per year

    When looking for a local hotel seminar room to run a series of five events per year for the next few years, the receptionist sent me on a wild goose chase to track down the external company in charge of bookings. Then, when I dropped in to look at the room I wanted to hire, she told me I had to book in for a ‘viewing’, even though the room was just three metres away. It all became too hard.

  • Inflexibility
  •      Loss: $2,500 per year

    A healthcare client was trying to purchase consumables in greater quantities to save costs, but the supplier refused to negotiate, even though orders had grown by more than 100 percent. The outcome? My client changed suppliers.

Wallet welcoming tips

This is an issue of culture, engagement and training, and can be overcome by implementing some good business systems. As a microbusiness owner, your small team of staff need to care about how your business performs. Consider trying the following:

  • Do some mystery shopping or send out customer surveys on a regular basis
  • Teach your team about the importance of sales and how to grow them
  • Give regular feedback to your staff
  • Celebrate wins and praise staff publicly
  • Empower your team to identify and seize opportunities
  • Educate your team about how all areas of your business works, not just their own role.

As a business owner you are rarely the person driving away business, but you are the one who must take responsibility for it. Hopefully these tips will help you welcome wallet-ready clients.

Do you have some wallet welcoming tips?

Warren Harmer

is author of Business Planning for Small Business. As a business adviser and coach, Warren offers instructive ‘how to’ information to make business ownership easier, less stressful and more enjoyable.

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