They’re also focused on the negative aspects of their business.
Think about the people you enjoy doing business with. What are the traits they possess that makes you want to do business with them? A hater is the opposite of all that.
They’re always worried about being ripped off. Or that someone is taking advantage of them.
No matter what the sale/deal on the product is, how friendly the salesperson is, or what the training is like, they always feel like they’re not getting the best.
Even if something really good happens, they will find the bad.
For example, they order shirts from their supplier and they happen to catch a sale. Their normal $250 order is now $200. But it doesn’t come with free shipping (as it would have on the regular price). Instead of recognizing that they’ve saved $41, they’re upset they didn’t get the free shipping.
They anticipate things will go wrong and so they preemptively strike. For example, in a reply from one of our customers, at the bottom of their email, was the following:
WE DO NOT BEGIN WORKING ON ANY ORDERS UNTIL PAYMENT HAS BEEN MADE. NO EXCEPTIONS!!! Once an invoice has been sent payment must be made within 48 hours or the invoice will be cancelled. Price quotes are only valid for 7 days. Normal turnaround time on custom orders is 7-10 business days. Rush orders are accepted but will cost $25. No refunds or exchanges unless there is an error on our part. We’re not responsible for incorrect addresses listed in PayPal. If a package is returned for an incorrect/unknown/undeliverable address, you are responsible for the postage fees to reship. The above items are subject to change based on our workload.
These all seem to be reasonable policies. But to put these as part of an automatic communication is a very hater thing to do. Especially when the email has nothing to do with an order.
It’s not reasonable to need that on every single communication. These policies should only be part of signing off on an invoice.
Instead, it becomes a list of reasons why people might not want to do business with you.
“I don’t accept this type of payment.”
“I don’t accept custom orders unless you do this.”
“I don’t do this unless you do that.”
“I’m not responsible for the following things, you are.”
Another thing we encounter is writing things in all Caps. It’s the equivalent of having someone yell at you.
Coming to the last line of the policy, they’ve said that you can’t even rely on those rules either. They’ve made a list of rules for their customers, but are free to change those rules.
That policy leads us to assume they’ve been ripped off before and anticipate someone will try it again. They’ve decided that they never want to have those issues again.
However, this isn’t the approach you want to take with first-time customers or every customer.
Terms and conditions are important. It’s important that customers sign-off on them. They don’t have to be in fine print and hidden.
Those terms and conditions should be written from a sales and marketing perspective. How do I write them in such a way that customers will still want to do business with me?
- They never need an exclamation point. They are simply the facts.
- You can put a singular word in bold, all caps, or italics. This is for emphasis, without shouting a whole sentence.
- Explain policies where needed.
How do we make our example policy better?
Price quotes are only valid for 7 days. Our workload and supply of custom apparel blanks vary. Because of this we are unable to extend pricing guarantees past 7 days due to supply issues.
Call us if you have any questions.
We’ve talked about overpromising and under delivering. You may want to include in the bottom of your terms:
Our goal is to serve you best and meet your expectations. The above policies help us achieve that for every customer, every time.
Damaging your business
People don’t like haters. You’re going to make fewer sales. People buy from people.
If you’re the type of person who’s consistently negative, people are not going to like you as much. If you’re genuinely friendly, shake hands with your customers, and thank them for their business, they’re more likely to come back.
If your customer is scared to call you up to change the order, they’re probably not going to use you next time.
Even if they do order from you again, as soon as they encounter someone who can do the same thing and is friendly, you’re going to lose their business.
What’s the benefit of working with you?
You’re not doing your customers a favor
We see in the business some companies that feel like they’re doing their customer a favor. That they’re letting the customer buy something from them.
That attitude is backwards.
Living in a bubble
Too often haters live in their own bubble. They don’t realize this about themselves.
They think they’re getting their message and policies out to their customers very clearly.
They don’t realize this attitude makes their customers uncomfortable.
Why do you do business with them?
The next time you go to a retail store, look at how they do business. Why do you continue to give them your business?
List out reasons.
Is it for the free samples? Why do you like the free samples? Is it because you get to try a new product before purchasing it?
How can you do that for your customers? Perhaps you have shirts customers can try on before purchasing.
Negative attitude = Negative results
It’s like gambling. Haters sometimes win. But over time, the house wins.
You’re negative, but feel like it doesn’t matter because you’re making money. Over time the chances of you achieving success, versus another company, goes down.
Percentage of bad
You’ve had a thousand or even a hundred customers over the lifetime of your business. With three of those customers, something went wrong. Perhaps they didn’t pay. So you’ve developed these policies based on those three customers.
That’s an incredibly low percentage of bad experiences. You’re penalizing all of your potential customers for the actions of a few.
Perhaps you’ve had one fraudulent credit card transaction. Now you’ve stopped taking credit cards.
What’s your focus?
We’re big Tony Robins fans. He did a great illustration of how different people focus on different things.
Look around the room and find everything that’s red. Close your eyes. Then say everything you saw that was blue.
You probably couldn’t do it. People will naturally focus on one thing.
If you’ve had one bad experience that eats away at you, you’ll focus on that. You’re going to see that potential in every transaction you have.
The one time someone returns a shirt. The one time a supplier doesn’t have a shirt in stock. That’s what you’ll focus on.
By focusing on that negative thought you allow it to hurt your business.
As an example: the supplier sent your order to the wrong address. What did they do to rectify it? Did they offer to refund or give you the order for free?
If you’re focused on the negative, you’ll refuse to do business with them. Even if they can provide next day delivery of the specific product you need.
Instead, you go with the supplier that’s going to take 2-3 days. Now you’ve potentially lost a job.
The lifetime value of losing a customer
We had a bad experience at Sears. We never did business with them again.
Even now, knowing rationally what it costs to be a hater, if they had something on sale that we needed, we would go somewhere else.
This happened almost thirty years ago. It has nothing to do with anyone who is at the company now. It has nothing to do with the store or the products.
We’ve just held on to a bad experience.
What you don’t want is a customer who won’t do business with you even 30 years later. That is thousands of dollars we would have spent on custom apparel over those years. It only hurts you in the long run.
Justify your policy with grace
If your policy is a two-day quote on blanks, you should have a justifiable reason for it. You should also be able to calmly explain that to your customers.
The reason we have a two-day policy on quotes is that there is always a chance the supplier will change their pricing. Or the particular blank will go out of stock, temporarily. We also often try to quote specific garments when they’re on sale to give you a better deal. They’re only on sale for a few days at a time.
I can’t get it for that price anymore, which is why I can’t honor that quote for you. However, let me give you two solutions.
One, if you love that garment I can give you a little bit of a discount. Though not as much as before.
Two, let me give you two other options that I can get for you at that price.
Rather than, “Sorry. I can’t do that for you.”
Blame others rather than learn lessons
We talked about this before. You make a mistake, you lack a certain skill set, you didn’t preorder your supplies, etc. Whatever the situation, you’re not ready to fill an order the way you said you would be.
A lot of people start pointing their finger in a lot of different directions. They’re trying to find someone else to blame. You have to be responsible enough to take that information and figure out what you need to do differently next time.
Oftentimes when fingers can be pointed, they can also be pointed back at yourself.
As an example: You ran out of white ink. You know you’re really low and you have a job that’s due within 5 business days.
So you order it for overnight delivery. It leaves the warehouse right away but doesn’t arrive the next day.
You’re fuming and you call up the supplier. You then start yelling at the person who answers the phone. They, more than likely, had nothing to do with it.
The issue gets looked up and turns out the UPS truck broke down. Now you’re also mad at UPS, saying they’re the worst company and your supplier shouldn’t have used them.
You’re now pointing fingers at UPS and your supplier. That anger and attitude are likely displayed back to their customer as well. “You’re not getting your order in time. If you have a problem with that, you can call this company.”
Could the supplier have multiple shipping options? Sure. Could UPS do something better when a truck breaks down? Yes.
However, what could you have done to ensure you’re never in a situation where you’re going to run out of ink? You could keep a minimum on hand. When you’re at 6 oz. you reorder.
Instead of blaming it all on the supplier, here’s how you can communicate with your customer:
I’m having an issue with one of my suppliers. Because of mechanical issues, they weren’t able to get me what I needed to complete your order on time. Here are the things that I’m going to do:
I’m going to reorder the stuff, I’m going to ensure it’s overnighted to me. I’m going to work over the weekend or into the evening to make sure I get it finished. Then I’m going to deliver it to you myself so that it arrives on time.
This is all about learning lessons.
What is going to be your backup plan for when you don’t have supplies?
Perhaps you never promise to get orders done in such a rush time frame if you don’t have all the supplies in stock.
Haters are often quick to give up. They’ll give up on the whole business, but they’ll also give up on potential customers and great software.
If a hater had a problem with Corel Draw 4 years ago, they’re likely never going to use it again. Despite what other people have to say about it or the improvements made to the software. Despite the potential for it to save you time.
Haters often let their pride take over from good decisions that could help their business.
We talked about the negative ramifications of being angry when dealing with suppliers. We talked about how that attitude can affect your customers and your long-term business.
It all comes back to the same thing. Your business isn’t going to be as successful as it can be.
Go through your business practices or your plan for your upcoming business. Look for those negative attitudes. Make changes and be more successful because of it.