How to Lose Potential Customers – 5 Easy Steps

I know, if you’re in the business world, you are all about gaining those customers. But, I’m here to share some tips as a customer from some experiences I recently had.

Let me give you some background: my husband & I live tiny. We live in less than 200 square feet in the trailer I bought before we ever met. It’s crowded at times, but we’re actually surviving quite nicely.

My love is also a big, tall, strong man…probably desiring a little more space to sprawl and not have the ceiling mere inches from his head.

I need more convincing. So, I told him I would kind of, sort of, possibly, maybe consider a wider/larger park model RV, but I’d need to see them and decide if it’s tiny enough to match my life & personality.

I also decided looking at bigger spaces might be a good thing, too, just to get an idea of what’s out there in mobile and modular homes…so I found places in the area I could go look and talk to…

Let me tell you, two of the places will never have my business (nor did they have any customers there when I arrived)…a third place was fantastic. And, as my husband and I move forward with going bigger-tiny (399 square feet or less), that third company will definitely have our interest and will be our first call (and maybe a few more) along the way.

So, how did these other places lose a potential customer? Let’s take a look at the 5 easy steps to losing a potential customer (though, any one of them on their own would be reason enough!)

  1. Presume to know their worth: I’m not talking their value here, but what you think they have to pay right there, what they can spend in the moment. If you want to lose a potential customer, decide for yourself what they’re worth/willing to spend, and work the rest of the meeting from there (this will come up again later). I was honest with all three locations that we hadn’t decided what to spend. Now, I was dressed casual, but nice. The first and third locations either wouldn’t even talk money with me or wouldn’t try to up-sell me. Now, look, I get a lot of our impact on others happens in the first moments, but if your potential customer says they haven’t decided on a price they are willing to pay yet, don’t assume it’s because they have nothing. You never know, they could have money coming in they don’t know what to do with, or they could be arguing if $200,000 is too little. I know a lot of business people are trained to notice someone’s worth right off the bat, but just stop it. You. Don’t. Know. And, it could cost you a customer.
  2. Don’t spend any time with them: This one & the next one really go hand in hand, but if you want to lose a potential customer, just don’t spend any time with them. A good business person spends time with the customer in front of them, not worried about the one who just walked in the door. If you have only one customer in your establishment, even if they aren’t ready to buy today, they may be ready to buy tomorrow. Don’t brush them off, especially if you have no other customers & your phone isn’t ringing (which was the case at both places where I had a negative experience. I was the only customer there. The.Only.One.) The last guy I talked to spent about 2 minutes with me before releasing me to look at inventory myself with no one to answer my questions. If you want to make that big commission, you have to nurture the relationship, even with potential customers. Which leads to my next point.
  3. Don’t get to know them/their needs: So, at the first location I went, the guy was out of the building to greet me before I even got to the steps. He led me inside, asked me very few questions, the value questions, and then showed me their smallest model before hurrying me out the door (still with no other customers to be found), telling me he would email me more information. This is a great way to lose customers. I even gave this guy a wide open lane to up-sell me, by saying “my husband would probably go a lot larger, I need to see more to be sure and be convinced”. But, he spent all of about 7 minutes with me before hurrying me out the door. Do this to lose potential customers. How do you keep customers in this case, then? The second guy I talked to spent time with me, asked me about my husband, our current situation, our future needs, and styles we like. Then, he showed me examples, talked me through some options, really talked price with me, and sent me home with floor-plans to show my husband. Only do things this way if you want to keep customers coming back.
  4. Don’t take them seriously: I honestly, genuinely believe this is what kept the two locations with poor customer service from giving me quality service. They didn’t take me seriously. But, I’m nearly 30 and married. Gone are the days of going to look at open houses just to dream. I was there with legitimate questions and desire to learn. I need some convincing to go much bigger, I need to see the space, know what’s out there. Otherwise, we can’t begin to move forward, whether the process starts next week or next year. Only one company took my needs seriously. Only one realized the value of fostering the client relationship in front of him, even if the payout wouldn’t happen until 9 months- a year later. And, by the way, this was the only lot with customers other than me when I arrived and left. I can see that’s for good reason.
  5. Don’t follow up: That’s right, if you wan’t to lose potential customers, don’t follow up with them or send them information you say you’re going to. Remember that first guy who hurried me out the door saying he’d email me more information? Yeah, still hasn’t happened. If you want to keep your potential customers, follow up – 48 hours at the most. One of my favorite things about the place where I bought my RV is the sales staff followed up with me every step of the process, and even after. Your customers make up your business, don’t alienate them.

I went in to each of these places asking questions based on where we are now and where we are headed, but if God changes that, and our needs change, we need a company that will be part of that. Two of these companies clearly wouldn’t, and one clearly would. Which one do you think I’m going to call if our needs/plans/desires change?

And, a little bonus tip, if your client gives you an in to a possible up-sell, take it. You never know what they will like/dislike in the next model/package/offer up, but at least present it to them. The gentleman who actually spent time with me did just that without realizing he was up-selling me, putting ideas in my head, and I’d be much more willing to go with their product and service, because of his willingness to show me examples and answer questions.

I can’t emphasize enough here, the only company that had any customers while I was there was the company that was willing to give me their time. And, he wasn’t worried about what other sale might be waiting for him, he took his time with me.

Now, look, I’m sure you have this business & customer thing figured out, but do yourself a favor. Don’t sacrifice a potential, upsellable client because you judge them to be a waste of your time. Especially if your phone isn’t ringing and you have no other customers in front of you.

In light of all this, next week, I’m thinking car shopping, just to see how I’m treated…


Have you ever had a bad experience shopping for a big item like home, car, appliance, where the salesman lost your sale? What are some ways that happened? Share below.

Also, since we’re talking sales, my newest mini-ebook Customizing Your Self-Care Plan is now available. Click the link in the side bar for your pdf copy. Prefer to read it on Kindle? It’s also available in the Amazon store.

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