Don’t You Want My Money?

Some years back I wandered into a New York grocery at 11pm to buy some milk. There I stood, anxious to go home, and without a cashier in sight. Finally, at the top of my lungs, I cried “Doesn’t anyone want to take my money?”

Sounds like a scene from a movie, no?

I was reminded of this incident Sunday when we caught a movie at the mall, then stopped at a local watering hole for happy hour. We were treating ourselves and getting into the holiday spirit, debating drinks, snacks, and the rest of the evening sitting at the bar.

This was our first time at this bistro, so we were unsure what to expect. We saw staff in the kitchen, a handful of mid-afternoon patrons, and a lone server…but no bartender.

For a full five minutes we sat at the bar awaiting acknowledgment before finally retreating to the competition 10 feet away.

Admittedly, in many establishments customers don’t want to be bothered by salespeople, fearing they’ll be sold something they don’t need. Indeed, some very successful businesses are built on self-service.

However most restaurants require some customer interaction. And with Barrel Republic perhaps the only exception, most places serving alcohol require a bartender to actually pour your drinks.

Perhaps the proprietor of the offending restaurant didn’t know how to manage customer expectations. Maybe they were short-staffed that day.

Either way, they blew their first impression while losing our business at a slow time. Who knows if we’ll ever return?

Harsh, right? But here’s a little secret for every business owner to remember: customers don’t care about your troubles.

Your challenge is bringing customers in to buy whatever you’re offering, while that same customer’s concerned with getting good quality, a fair price, and good service.

However, how you actually fulfill your promise is your problem. Your overhead, supplier issues, and personnel difficulties are of no concern to buyers, and job market shortages never enter his or her thoughts.

There’s a lesson here while planning your own business strategy for 2020. Review your business plan to ensure you not only know how to bring customers through the door, but also how to service their needs once they’re in.

Because, whatever you sell, there’s always competition just 10 feet away.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.
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