Recently, I received a Groupon for my son to take a yoga class at about 25% of the normal price. Since he’s a little goofball who loves yoga, I quickly grabbed the Groupon.
Unfortunately, the studio requires you to register for classes before attending, and their site isn’t set up toÂ accept the Groupon. So for weeks it sat there, on my to do list. Finally, we headed into the studio to get registered. The studio was extremely hot that day. I was roasting while also filling out forms and chasing down my two sons.
Lucky for me, the staff noticed I was sweltering. In an effort to help, the receptionist brought me two smoothie samples and a coconut water. She offered them to me, saw me hesitate, and said “Do you want these? You want these. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you. These are samples, so they’re free.” Then she gestured at the pile of things she’d brought me.
After I completed our paperwork, I sat with the boys to wait for them to enter our information into the computer. In an attempt to keep them still for a few more moments, I offered them the beverages we’d been given. I eyed the coconut water with some hesitation as it was sealed and the other items had been labeled samples. “Well,” I thought to myself, “she said she’d take care of me.”
We drank the coconut water. It was kind of gross – I’ve never been a big fan of coconut – but, hey, it was hot and this was a gesture of goodwill from the company since their site hadn’t worked and their studio was tremendously hot.
When our information had been entered, I signed my son up for yoga. The receptionist said she looked forward to seeing us again. As we went to walk away she said “Oh! Your coconut water. That will be $3.09.”
I hesitated and considered arguing. But I was hot and tired and wanted to get out of there. If my escape cost me $3.09, I’d pay it. Besides, I’d noticed it wasn’t specifically labeled a sample and had decided to drink it anyway. I hadn’t been completely duped although I thought the messaging was misleading.
The receptionist had likely thought it was a good sales tactic. She wanted me to think she was taking care of me while simultaneously offering me a product that would make her another sale. It was presented poorly and as we’ve said in the past, a deceptive message can lose you customers. Since your employees represent your brand, these types of situations reflect on your and your business.
So, what’s the solution? There’s no tried and true method. In any business with multiple employees, there are going to be times when an associate tries a sales technique and it falls flat.
We went to those yoga classes and my son loved them until they were abruptly cancelled. We still had classes left in our package which they offered to “make good” although they didn’t explain how. But, since I’d already felt I’d been duped once, I didn’t bother to see what their next offer to “take care of me” was.
I did, however, wonder how many other small businessesÂ are losing clients because sales techniquesÂ aren’t working.