You Just Lost a Sale – Here’s Why

To all you store owners out there – Please take note.

Yesterday was National Women’s Day. In honor of the occasion, local florist was giving away 2 free bunches of daisies to every woman. Such a wonderful idea! Their ad also suggested that men could purchase flowers for the special woman (or women) in their lives. Great promotion!

In order to get the flowers, women had to come to the store in person. Smart advertising. So far, so good.

Normally, when a store gives something away, I try and make a purchase to say thanks. I love plants and flowers so a purchase would have been easy This store has a large selection of plants and flowers and accessories, so there were lots to choose from.

But this time we left after getting the flowers – I mean, hey, I wasn’t going to pass up free flowers. I decided I did Not want to patronize this merchant, within moments after walking through the door. Let me tell you why.

We were greeted when we came in, just a hello. We’re pretty used to being ignored in stores, so whether they greet us or not isn’t a deal-breaker for me or I’d never make a purchase.

What caused me to leave was something an employee said to another employee. Loudly enough for us to hear as we were walking past the two. And, being as how the employee who made the statement had been the one to say “hi” as we walked in, I know she was aware that customers were in the store.

Here’s how it went: In order to get the flowers, customers were required to go to the giant walk-in cooler of cut flowers in the back of the store, where they would select their daisies from large buckets full of bouquets, located at the back of very back of the flower cooler. Again, smart advertising, since this means you have to walk past long rows of beautiful flowers.

As we started toward the back, an employee asked the cashier if they should put some daisies in buckets up front, so customers didn’t have to walk to the back. She may have noticed I was using a cane, and was being thoughtful.

What caused me to shake my head was the cashier’s reply.

“No”, she said. “This way, they’re forced to buy flowers.”

Insert face palm here!

Forced? Forced?!? Her answer, called loudly enough for us to hear, was offensive to me and – being contrary – I decided then and there, that no one was going to “force” us to buy anything.

They lost a sale that day and in the future.

There were any number of ways her response Could have been phrased. For example, she could have said, “no, we want people to be able to see all the other great flowers we have on sale, like….” Here, she could have inserted a sales suggestion – ie: roses are on sale for $25 a dozen, or we have beautiful vases in aisle 5. Anything. Anything else besides saying it would “force” us to buy.

The sad part is she and the store owners will never know what they lost. They won’t miss us. We’re just two Former customers.

Remember – customers return (or don’t) because of how they are treated. Take a look at your business and ask yourself – would you want to buy from this business? Would I?

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