by G.B. Oliver
One of the biggest mistakes I see small businesses make is forgetting the fact that everyone is potentially a customer.
The other day I was in one of the Etsy forums where online sellers post their concerns and complaints. One seller was shocked that another seller got upset with them for adding them to their circle (which is just a way for sellers to follow each other on Etsy, look at their favorite products, etc.) and blasted them with a not so nice email basically saying how dare they. I was pretty shocked by this person’s reaction for a variety of reasons.
Having someone add you to their circle means you are now exposed to all the people following them. Since when is more exposure a bad thing? But to take a look at this from a purely business point of view, this seller just made a horrible impression on someone who is not just another seller, but is potentially a customer. Always remember that – everyone is potentially a customer.
Treat Everyone Like A Customer
Would you speak to a customer like that? Obviously not. So good business practice is to treat everyone who corresponds with you – whether they are another seller, a supplier, someone trying to sell you their services – as if they are a potential customer. Otherwise, it will come back to bite you.
Avoid Leaving Negative Comments
Same thing if you are leaving comments in a forum that are nasty, mean spirited or overly critical. Again, you are representing your business and everyone reading your comments is a potential customer and you have just given a very negative impression of yourself. If you think I am going to run over to your shop and start buying from you, guess again.
Always Show Respect
In my own business, I have always made a point of treating everyone who approaches me with respect, even if I know this is someone who will never require my services. That is how you build a solid business reputation and create good word of mouth. So when people contact me merely to try and sell me something, I get that. I am trying to sell stuff too. I answer respectfully because down the road they may know someone who requires marketing services and they will remember me in a good way.
Don’t Respond Negatively to Negative Feedback
Same situation when someone responds to a comment I made on a forum or blog in a negative or derogatory way, I don’t get in the mud with them. I am still representing my business and my reputation, so I rise above it.
You are always marketing your business, so watch your communications, especially your public communications with people. Once a potential customer has a negative impression of your business, all the marketing in the world is not going to help you.
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© 2012 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.