How to lose customers...

...before you even had them.

I had a very long and exhausting day today. Nevertheless I still had to bring old glass to the kiosk. To briefly explain this to people outside of Germany. On our glass (or plastic) bottles are a few cents deposit, with it is tried in Germany to avoid garbage. This means that fewer bottles have been thrown into nature, because people like money. In any case you can deliver bottles in the supermarket (at a reverse vending machine), in the beverage market or in a kiosk. Unfortunately, the sellers earn nothing from this trade. Today I was in a kiosk with an over ingenious and super smart owner.

I'm going to the store to drop off my bottles. The seller behind the checkout points out to me that this is possible, but you have to buy something for the same amount. Unfortunately I am not a person who likes to be forced to do something. I'm allergic to it. The seller had (in his world) a really good plan. When the customer delivers bottles, he forces him to buy something from him and still make money. Now you as a reader of course say that the seller is doing the right thing. He doesn't earn anything from the trade and he has to see where he stays, because his rent doesn't pay by itself. This argumentation is often mentioned by people who are poor. Why?

From my personal and long experience poor people do not tend to think in several steps. You give a poor person a starting capital of 50€. With this money the person can buy things which he brings to the market and can sell again. Many people sell things, then have earned a lot of money and then live a month quite well from the money. They think only in one step. After that they are poor again. People with a sense for business take the surplus and invest it in a small step to upgrade their business. E.g. a cash register with which you can administer the money better. This goes on and on and if nothing comes between them, they are managing directors of a large corporation. An important rule is to save even more when you start earning money and not to dump it into the world for short-term nonsense.

What does this have to do with our kiosk owners? Our oh so clever salesman thinks only in a small step. He has a very good running shop, but he won't get beyond it. I am a practical person, if I take away deposit bottles I will also go shopping on the same day. This saves me time and optimises my daily schedule. So the seller doesn't have to force me to do anything, because I would have bought from him anyway. Instead, I have renounced to return my deposit bottles to him, have not bought anything and he has lost a customer before he (me) could even win as a customer. It gets even worse. Through this smug experience I talk to about ten people about it and prevent him from generating customers he didn't even know before. This kiosk will never become a really flourishing business, because these little things get around.

Customers prefer to come to shop owners who treat them fairly. You don't even have to be cheap or advertise. Nowadays I can choose from hundreds of competitors and in my neighbourhood alone there are six kiosks and two supermarkets. The (not very smart) salesman forces people to a (for him) better business in the short term, but in the long run he will go bankrupt with his shop. Anyone who takes away a deposit automatically goes shopping at the same time. I've already learned that from my grandmother, because you save time and money. If you are a salesman, you must always look to the future. A business that doesn't yield a profit in the first moment has to be modified so that you can still earn money with it. The most important goal is for the customer to come back and leave your shop with a smile...and less money in his pocket.