Do you ever wonder why all the hard work, sweat and tears you seem to plough into your salon isn’t resulting in a big fat increase in your bank balance? What’s going on, or more importantly, what’s going wrong? Well, maybe it’s time to take a long hard look at your business to see if some less than desirable habits have begun to slip in under the radar. Let’s examine 12 sure-fire ways you could be losing your clients to your competitors who, I promise you, are waiting with open arms! Bad Strategy # 1.Always promise clients more than you can or are willing to deliver. Your customers just love it when you do this. Simply promise them the world…it doesn’t matter that you will never be able to follow through. By then you will have their money so it doesn’t matter, does it? Bad Strategy # 2. Never return your client’s phone calls. Always make sure that you make your clients ring repeatedly (especially if you think they might have a complaint). Chances are if you make them ring often enough they will just give up and ring someone else. Bad Strategy # 3. Ensure that your clients don’t expect to be served before you and your staff have finished your personal conversations. If your client comes to expect otherwise, it could lead to all kinds of pressure in the future to give good customer service. (see Strategy #1) Bad Strategy # 4. Only ever offer your special promotional discounts to selected clients. After all, what’s the chance that the clients who did receive the promotional discount will mention to another one of your clients who didn’t? Anyway, who cares? Bad Strategy # 5. Whatever you do, don’t invest good money into staff training. Does it really matter whether or not your staff know about your business, your products and your company policies? Surely they can wing it if the need arises. Bad Strategy # 6. Don’t let your clients get a word in edgewise if they are making a complaint. After all, you know that you and your staff are never in the wrong. Make sure your clients know it was really all their fault in the first place and that if they don’t like it, they can go elsewhere. Bad Strategy # 7. Never answer your phone until at least the 8th ring and then pick it up and mumble something really fast. Sometimes clients are just so rude and impatient and, heaven forbid, they expect you to answer your phone when they call. Don’t they realise just how busy you are and that you will get around to them when you’ve got the time? Bad Strategy # 8. Always keep your clients waiting for requested information or quotations. This will show them how important you are and they will happily sit by the phone/letterbox/computer to wait for the information to be sent at your leisure. Bad Strategy # 9.Make sure you let your clients know that you are the expert and never listen to their ideas and suggestions. Listening to your clients can be very dangerous; it might sway you away from what you intended to do anyway. Bad Strategy # 10. Never make eye contact with your clients. This can be very uncomfortable for you and will give the client the false impression that you actually care about what they want. Bad Strategy # 11. Make sure that you don’t spend your hard earned profits on keeping your business premises clean and tidy. This is really just too much! What makes them think that they should expect clear signage, clean premises, a nice place to sit and wait for you… or for that matter, any basic courtesy or creature comfort. This is a business after all and profits need to be protected. t’s not your fault if they can’t find the place just because there’ isn’t any signage. Bad Strategy # 12. Last but not least, always criticise your staff to, and in front of, your clients. This is a real turn on for most people and they will see and appreciate what a truly powerful business person you really are! It’s a well-known fact that many consumers HATE to complain. They would much rather just “shut up”, “put up”, and go somewhere else to spend their cash. As a small business owner, don’t be tempted to think that just because your clients don’t make a complaint that they are one hundred percent happy with the way you do business. It’s up to you to make sure that you are doing all you can to meet the needs of your clients each and every day. In many industries as many as seven out of every ten customers never return for a second visit. Your clients need to be loved and nurtured if you want them to return time and time again to eventually become your greatest fan. It’s all up to you really, but in the words of Anthony Robbins, “ If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten”.