Turning reluctant shoppers into customers

vbridges@newsobserver.comMay 27, 2013 

Shop Talk reporter Virginia Bridges visited the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours at the Brian Center of Durham and asked small-business owners how they convince a reluctant customer to take action. This is what they said.

•  “The biggest thing is to find out peoples’ needs and meet them,” said Gloria Teber, president of Arrowhead Inn, a bed and breakfast in North Durham. “If you have not done your due diligence, then you won’t be able to sell them.”

•  “I don’t think you should convince a reluctant customer,” said Randy Bernstein, a marketing specialist with Etch ’n Stitch Promotional Products in Hillsborough. “You should let them know what you do and how your product or service would benefit them. Let them know how you differentiate from your competitors, and let them know you are available when they would like to talk.”

•  “We get reluctant customers to take action by offering knowledgeable information about our products,” said Rob Sneed, owner of MarkaBull, a Durham print and promotional supply company. “We want to educate them on what is the best product available for their needs. By this, we create brand loyalty.”

•  “I show them the numbers because the numbers never lie,” said Derrick James, co-owner of Raleigh’s My Local CFO, which seeks to help companies with limited or no financial presence. “I show them the (profit and loss statements) and the balance sheets: where they are and where they can be.”

•  Dave Cotton, president and owner of Durham’s AdvantaClean, which provides services such as air-duct cleaning and emergency water and mold removal, said he shares information with his clients such as photographs of a moldy area and reports detailing the issues.

“I really don’t do much convincing,” Cotton said. “They already have a problem. I am showing them what they have.”

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