I’ve got to tell you what happened to me the other day.
$200000 lost in sales.
You can call this a record.
This company must be big enough to AFFORD this $200000 loss in 10 seconds?
Well, this is the first lesson: no matter whether you sell cheap products or very expensive ones – 10 seconds are enough to lose a sale!
Now I’ll tell you my story.
1 – I was ready to buy
When a new product is launched, or a company opens a new branch close to where you live, the curiosity is huge. Trying costs you next to nothing, so why not?
Well, a new gas/petrol station just opened last month and I was “curious” to try them.
I needed to BUY (yes, I was ready to buy):
- gasoline = $30
- 1 liter of motor oil = $8
- 2 liters of engine coolant = $12
- …but first of all, put some air in the tyres = FREE
Total = $50.
“Ok, but you said $200,000 in your blog title?”
Well, thanks for asking 🙂
Gasoline expenditures in 2012 for the average U.S. household reached $2,912. And now in 2014 we’re probably somewhere between $3,200 and $4,000. Per year!
In the course of a life time (remember the chapter about Life Time Value in my book?), you’ll be in the need of purchasing gasoline/petrol for 50 years. Therefore, $4,000 x 50 = $200,000.
2 – I was ready to buy!
This is no mistake.
I just wanted to point out, once again, that I was ready to buy. With an exclamation mark!
3 – And then, this happened
I decided to start my “new customer” journey with the easiest purchase.
The air. The free air for my car tyres.
I approach the usual spot where the air and water pumps are, and see this:
Water and Air are not FREE! Please insert 75c
Anyway, weird – I thought water and air have always been free?
As a new customer, I had certain expectations…
But maybe I’m wrong! – I thought – Alright, I’ll stop by the other gas station later on to put air.
4 – And then, this other thing happened
After I decided not to put air in the tyres, I drive to the actual gas pump and start the buying process.
Here in America it’s all prepaid and self-service, so as usual I insert my Debit Card and wait.
The display shows (after various up-sells steps that I forgot about):
There is a $0.35 convenience fee for the use of debit cards. Proceed?
They really lost me here.
My expectations were already down after the air-is-not-free event – and now the company is telling me about the fee?
I only wish it was something like this instead:
5 – One plus one equals… zero
Yes, one plus one equals two in mathematics, but equals ZERO in business.
No matter if the fee for air was $0.75 and the fee for my debit card was $0.35: my expectations as a new customer DEFINITELY did not consider having to pay for air and fees!
- I am a buyer. A new customer.
- I have certain customer expectations.
- My wallet is open.
- …and yet, I changed my mind FAST, very FAST
After the second disappointment, I drove away and went to my usual gas station to purchase gas, oil, coolant, and put FREE air in my car tyres.
The new gas station just missed out on a total lifetime customer worth $200,000.
“Ok, so what are you trying to tell me with this story?”
I’m telling you that not only that company missed out on a 200k sale. They WILL miss out on several sales, as I’m going to tell this story to as many people as I can (you, of course).
It’s a TOTAL DISASTER – and that company will NEVER HEAR from me again, simply because as a new customer I did not feel welcome.
I’m not being bad.
The point of this blog is:
- Like the gas station, it’s guaranteed you missed out on a lot of sales too. But, you will never KNOW how many and WHY. It happened to me, it happened to you, it always happens
- Hovewer – put away the past. Put yourself into your customers’ shoes and A-N-A-L-Y-S-E your business in 10 seconds!!!!
And if you can answers to all of these questions:
- Which are my potential customer’s expectations?
- Which barriers are currently stopping them from buying from me?
- Which notices should I place OUTSIDE my store or on my website homepage to avoid my potential customer quits after 10 seconds?
- Which promises do I need to fulfil, and how can I surprise them with a great, warm WELCOME?
- And finally: Am I charging for stuff that should be free?
If you can sort this out it’s guaranteed: new customers will LOVE TO DO BUSINESS WITH YOU.
Think about potential customers. Not putting them off is the VERY FIRST STEP to convert a sale: put off customer, no sale. Happy customer, happy sale.