What's love gotta to do with it?

My dry cleaner has a sign that reads “we love our customers.” I walk in, get greeted, hand in my ticket, wait for the carousel to stop at my number, pay, get a “have a nice day” and walk out. Tina Turner is always with me, great tune. Talk is cheap; signs are empty promises.

Surprise me.

“Thank you so much for your loyalty, we know you have choices, and we are honored to have earned your trust and business. Your next suit is on us.”

You have to wonder why so many small business owners resist giving something away. There is no quid pro quo when it comes to running and growing your business; buyers and sellers need each other and sellers have to "earn the right to ask for the order" each and every time. Behind convenience, or the occasional good deal lies the secret to consistent business growth; the realization that you make a sale you didn’t win, the company was just given an opportunity to demonstrate that it deserves another chance.

Beyond buyers' need to solve a 'problem' or the occasional, "I can't pass on this great deal" lies the secret to consistent business growth:

Small business owners in any industry must acknowledge that making a sale is not a win but an earned, one-time opportunity and a chance to do it again.

We tend to overfocus sometimes on post-sale celebrations; ringing cowbells, fist-pumping "YES" and so on. We should take as much time as we need to enjoy a sale as long as we commit to spending an equal, or even more time to ensure that the post-sale experience is as good.

Loving your customers is important, but action speaks louder than words or "Buy Now" signs and offers.

The biggest obstacle to business growth is the act of taking customers for granted. Please don't.

Surprise me.