Finders Keepers…Losers Weepers

Author: Rowena Horne

Saying “no” in business doesn’t mean you are being rude – or burning bridges or losing future customers – if you say it the right way. 

Friday night.

Long snaking queues out of the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton.

I join the end of the line, excited about my first Finders Keepers Market experience.

This anticipation turned out to be the high point of the evening.

40 minutes later I paid my $2 and joined the thousands of people already milling inside.

They really shouldn’t have let me in.

With people packed five deep at each stall, two food vans struggling to feed the after work crowd and things already sold out, my group left after about 30 minutes.

The next day I travelled down to the Peninsula Hot Springs (bear with me this will not all be about my weekend!).

Naively perhaps, our group of six thought we could rock up with our towels and bathers without a booking.

The laughing staff told us that hadn’t been possible on a winter weekend for a couple of years now.

We went and played mini golf instead.

Not surprisingly, I have a negative lasting impression of my Finders Keepers Market experience and don’t plan to attend again, while I have since returned to the hot springs (with a booking this time!) and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The business willing to risk turning people away has trained their customers to book and then rewards them with a quality experience by controlling numbers (there’s even a man with a thermometer and a clicker!).

Saying no – and turning away customers and revenue – is a gutsy call for any business but the ones who do it well are usually rewarded.

They avoid reputation damage, manage their customers’ expectations and focus on quality (of experience) over quantity (bums on seats).

So say no sometimes, when you can afford it, when it meets your strategic objectives or when saying yes might harm what you’ve struggled to build.

Which experience would you rather?







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