Smart business owners know they have to do more than just open the doors, to get business



A few years ago, I took my car in to get new tires. I was working in Whitby at the time and was set to teach all day…so I took my car to a nearby tire store, and picked the tires I wanted at the price I had in mind. I mentioned that I would be back by 4 pm to pay and pick up the car.

All was well.

Sure enough my day of teaching ended and I walked down the street to get my car, new tires and all. My car was waiting for me and I shiny black…okay, not shiny, but I had my new tires installed perfectly!

I paid for the new set of tires with my debit card and drove off…

The experience at this tire store was okay, but not over and above the norm and not good enough for me to want to go back to that store.

A local gourmet food store in my neighbourhood, has great offerings, albeit off my menu plan, because the food is a bit too much for someone watching what they eat…and the prices are a bit higher than what you can pay elsewhere. Now, the service is okay, it is usually the owner that is the front person for this store, so you deal directly with him. He and I have chatted each time I am in and we have a bit of a relationship going, we have had pleasant chats over the years, talking about business, life, his business etc.

But for the past year, I have stopped going in. As mentioned, the food is good but a bit too rich for my diet plan and it is pricey!

I just didn’t feel compelled enough to go in anymore. Now this owner has my email, my contact info and well…he has not once reached out to try to pull me back in.

These are two classic cases of what small business owners need to be doing to get, keep and acquire customers.

Mistake One:


The tire store experience was good, but they failed to want to develop a relationship with me as a client long-term. It would have taken a minute, maybe two, to ask if I would like to be on their email list. That I should come back for rotations, alignments, balancing and new tires eventually too!

What if they said, “we want you to be safe and we can let you know when it is a good idea to come back in…plus when you need new tires, we can let you know of any specials…would you like to be on our list”?

Had this tire store done that, I would have been hooked for life perhaps. But they missed out on about $1000.00 worth of future business, by not going further and asking me for my contact info.

They let me drive off…with my new tires, chancing it that I may be back.

I have never been back.

My $1000, was spent elsewhere.

Mistake Two:


Now, back to the food store…if you notice your regular customers aren’t coming in as often, (like for months), what about reaching out…using an email to entice the customer to come back…give them a reason!

What about a phone call, saying, he we miss you, what happened, why aren’t you coming back so often?

Well in my case, the price was an issue and the food choices were too tempting and not on my meal plan. Mind you, they sell Kasha and it is about triple what a grocery store up the street from me sells it for. I like Kasha, it is a healthy side dish with fibre…

My buying habits have changed.

The food store isn’t meeting the changes or staying close to see how perhaps they need to adjust as well.

If you are in business, it is not enough to count on being good…or opening the doors for business, you need to develop relationships, stay close to your customers, get feedback, be in communication with your clients, but not to a point where you turn your customers off…

This week, call your current clients, say hello, check in with them, ask how they’re doing, see what needs they might have coming up or how else you might be able to help…and watch your sales come back, big time.

Oh and while you are it ask your current clients for a referral and reward them for that referral…and I promise you, your sales will grow and you will have customers for life.

Look at each customer not as a one time only transaction, but as a lifetime full of transactions!

Make it a profitable week!

Cheers/David Cohen




David is an author, business coach and facilitator, he works with the City of Toronto, heading up an entrepreneur training program with inner city youth and adults, he is also the former host/producer and creator of the Small Business Big Ideas Show, a radio show heard weekly for over 9 years. He has 2 books, one called Bust Out Ignite your inner entrepreneur and the other is called The Weekly 3- 3 rock solid ideas to business and life success!


David has taught thousands over the years in both the non-profit and for profit sectors and has coached hundreds of start-ups to make those important first steps. He specializes in teaching the 8 Keys to Success, How I got to Kiss the Stanley Cup and his new keynote called “A breakthrough-through the glass”- how to overcome the fear, plus he leads workshops in sales, marketing, market research, business plans, target marketing and customer service programs.

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