It was 12:00 on a wet Saturday. My family and I were on our way to South Devon and wanted to stop somewhere to eat our lunch.
We found a small, almost deserted garden centre with a medium-sized cafe. We asked the proprietor if we could eat our lunch in the cafe in return for buying drinks. We were politely told “no”, as they had a policy of not allowing customers to eat their own food in the restaurant.
So, after we had all used the toilet in the cafe my husband bought a cappuccino and we went back to the car to eat our lunch. While we were eating our lunch there was no sudden lunch time rush of customers – in fact only one car came into the garden centre.
If we’d been allowed to eat our lunch in the cafe, we would have bought a round of drinks (which considering the prices charged, would have been a very profitable purchase for the garden centre), and probably supplemented our lunch with some of their delicious looking homemade cake. Our likely spend would have increased from £2 to a minimum of £15.
I would have understood this policy of “no customer food to be eaten in the cafe”, if the cafe was bustling and busy and we would have deprived other customers of a chance to sit down and eat in the cafe. But, that wasn’t the case.
The garden centre owner was cutting their nose off to spite their face.
Very often this happens with clients, you want them to buy the whole package with bells and whistles on (like the garden centre wanting us to buy both drinks and food), whereas they only want one bit – the rest they feel they can do in house.
How many times do you turn work down, as it isn’t big enough to be profitable? Knowing full well, that as the assignment continues, there is a strong likelihood that the assignment and engagement will be extended as time goes on?
How often are you as a practice acting like the garden centre owner and missing out on the long term rewards with clients?
Heather Townsend is the author of The Financial Times Guide To Business Networking. and the founder of The Efficiency Coach. Follow her Partnership Potential and Joined Up Networking blog for more useful tips and tricks.
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