Steve Marr Blog

Steve Marr's contributions
Category >> Getting and Keeping Customers
Jun 17

Cash Not Accepted

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

The Associated Press recently ran an article that several retail establishments were no longer accepting cash, only credit and debit cards or Apple Pay.  I realize how some stores may benefit by not taking cash. It requires less time and trouble for the clerk and lowers concern over cash theft.  It also makes accounting easier because transactions fall easily into an automated system. There are no federal laws requiring business to accept cash.  Most state and local municipalities don’t have such regulations in place, either.

In my business career I have adopted a simple rule when somebody wants to put money in your hand: close your hand. For business transactions, I prefer that every customer pay me with a bank transfer. It places the cash immediately into my account with little transaction cost. However, if I insisted customers do business on my terms; I would have fewer customers, which is why I will accept cash, credit and debit cards, checks and any other payment method. Although, I won’t take chickens the way people used to. I want to make payment for services as easy as possible for my customer. I can run a credit card immediately on a mobile device, email an invoice, or text a customer so that they can simply click and pay.  Or they could write a check and stick it in the mail. The important part is making payment as easy as possible for your customer, on their terms.

Many years ago, stores started granting credit cards as a way of increasing sales. A store knew that even though there was a cost to maintaining a credit card system and an occasional bad debt write-off, the increased sales more than offset the cost of offering these cards. Today most businesses pay between 2% and 3% on credit card transactions. I would rather not pay the credit card fee in my business, however; I would rather pay the fee than lose the customer.

Apr 19

The Power of Rhetorical Questions

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

There is great power in a rhetorical question. Bernie Cornfield proved it.  He pioneered the selling of mutual funds in the 1950s. He started with the question, “Do you sincerely want to be rich?” The short answer for most people was, “Yes.” He used this rhetorical question to power his organization that employed 25,000 salespeople at the height of his success.

Rhetorical questions can also be very powerful in closing sales.

Apr 15

Understand the Buyer’s Cycle

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

Often customers buy products on a pre-decided schedule. For example, I had the responsibility for corporate purchasing years ago where an office machine might have a three-year lease. The company holding the lease would typically come in three or four months before the expiration time to renew or sell me a new or upgraded machine, likely at a more expensive price. Other salesmen might also try to interest me in a new machine, but at the wrong time. I turned them away because I wasn’t currently in the market for another copy machine. Not one ever asked me what the renewal date was so they could schedule a call before I signed with somebody else.

I am amazed at how few real estate agents stay in touch with customers and prospects after a sale. The average homeowner moves every 5 to 7 years.  Each instance will require a real estate agent to sell a home and possibly assist with the acquisition of a new place.  Real estate sales are very competitive, and the commissions are rather substantial so investing time to keep in touch with former customers is smart.  By asking how the family is doing, if the family is growing or whether kids are leaving home; the wise agent can be first in line for an additional commission.

Amazon does a good job of sending reminders suggesting buying a product again.  While I tend to find these annoying, I believe they are effective in selling product.

Mar 15

Fix Customer Problems

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

King David wanted to make things right with the Gibeonites, a tribe Saul had wronged.  Scripture says that “David asked the Gibeonites, ‘What shall I do for you? How shall I make atonement so that you will bless the LORD's inheritance?’" (2 Samuel 21:3, NIV) 

Every business and the individuals who run them will occasionally fall short. A key question is what we do in those circumstances. In the situation scripture notes, David did not just walk away or make an arbitrary decision based on what he felt the wronged tribe should receive. He asked. He wanted to know what they thought should be done to make reparation for the wrong. 

Mar 05

Four Key Elements of Marketing

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

Jerome McCarthy identified four priorities in marketing.  He called them the four P’s: product, price, place and promotion. In marketing we do well to follow them because when any of these elements fails, the marketing campaign falls apart.


In my view, the product or service delivery is the most important.  The best marketing materials will fail to generate repeat business if the product or service delivery falls short of expectations. Remember, expectations minus reality equals disappointment.