My buddy Lenny and I were having a conversation last night at the industry party for the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) event in Philadelphia. Lenny sells toys, specifically one of my favorite companies — Marky Sparky. Lenny and Mark(y) were regaling the story of being at a different toy show years ago and winning a free booth space for the following year. If you’re in the retail world, you know what a big deal that is for a vendor. Big savings.
The only problem was … they weren’t invited to the following year’s show.
When they got invited to a later show, you can guess what happened—no one claimed to know anything about the free booth space they had won. Eventually they got their free booth space, but as Lenny said, “I had to argue to get it.”
Do you think they are excited to go back to this particular show? I sure wouldn’t be.
Mark and Lenny are a couple of the nicest guys in the toy industry. They won’t name names and they won’t say bad things. You have to do a lot to get them upset. This got them upset enough to share the story.
You have customers that are as sweet as apple pie. It takes a lot to anger them to the point they talk about it.
Here’s the catch. It doesn’t take a lot to get them to quietly walk away.
The point? If you offer a bonus, a gift w/purchase, a freebie of some kind, or any other special deal, honor that deal. Period. Don’t ever make your customers have to argue for it. The ones who do argue for it won’t ever be happy with you. The rest will simply walk away.
PS I hate fine print. If you are going to offer something special, make it simple enough so that everyone understands the rules without needing fine print. Then, whenever a customer feels like there was a loophole slanted against them, make it right before they feel they have to argue to get it. Not only will you keep a customer, but she’ll go to the mat to defend you in the future.