Business Mistakes: Why Discourage Sales?

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I’ve blogged before about how you shouldn’t badmouth your own business, but I want to follow up another example of how giving the impression that you’re desperate can damage your bottom line.

We all know that credit card fees are a pain in the nether regions. We all know waiting for your credit card sales to reach your bank account is annoying. However, we also know that credit and debit cards are a fact of life and they’re not going away. They’re part of doing business and only a complete economic collapse could change that. You don’t want that, now, do you? You don’t want to lose sales by discouraging the use of credit cards either.

Then again, maybe some of you do. That’s the only conclusion I could reach when I saw a large, hand-lettered sign near the cash register of a small, “mom and pop” retail store, lamenting the loss of vital funds to “fees to big credit card companies”. The sign went on to request payment in cash so the store owners could pay their rent.

You can call me blunt. You can even call me nasty. But, if a few percentage points in fees and a few days delay in reaching your bank is going to make the difference between paying the rent and not paying it, maybe it’s time to put up the going out of business signs. It’s not a good indication of your business’ stability. It wouldn’t reflect well on your own stability, either.

Think about it. What message does that sign give, even aside from general desperation? How will a customer react to it, when he or she is debating a purchase? Let’s say a customer is deciding whether to buy one item for twenty dollars or two items for fifty dollars, knowing he has only twenty-five dollars in cash, but has much more available on a credit card. Since your sign makes it clear you prefer cash sales to credit card sales, you can probably kiss that extra thirty dollars good bye, and you’ll have only yourself to blame.

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