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It’s awfully warm for March!

This week’s San Diego Reader has a classified ad touting renting an RV. “Book in March, April or May and receive 15% off,” it offers.

Sales promotions are meant to generate customer interest and boost short-term revenues. Only … it’s July, meaning the promotion’s expired even before it ran.

So I reached out for more information, only to be told, “We don’t currently offer any discounts because it is the busy season.”

This means a competitor placed the ad. Or someone screwed up. Either way, customers are going to be disappointed or angry if the offer’s not honored.

You probably have things that get messed up in your business, too. There might be supply chain problems, personnel shortages, quality control issues … the list is endless.

Acknowledging the problem and letting customers complain can go a long way toward defusing a potentially bad situation.

As martial artist Bruce Lee observed: “Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”

Being defensive or blaming someone else won’t get you very far.

I sent a copy of the ad to the RV firm, but they denied its existence.

I don’t know where the ad originated, nor do I care. However, I was obviously interested enough to initiate a conversation about renting an RV. So … can they salvage the situation?

Yes. They can honor the offer now. Or engage me in dialogue and make me an offer to get me to return later.

The important thing being recognition that I am a live prospect and worth pursuing … at least in the short term. Especially since they don’t know yet about our planned trip to the Grand Canyon.

Every kind of business has problems, and how the organization in question handles it tells you what they’re made of.

So while the RV company isn’t legally bound to honor this promotion, making some accommodation (now or later) would be the smart thing to do.

Whatever you sell, recognize these kinds of things can happen … and have a plan in case. Maybe you honor the offer, even if it’s busy season. Maybe you offer it during slow season.

But whatever you do, don’t just ignore the inquiry.

Because the last thing you want is to find customer interest has been generated, only to find them flocking to your competition out of spite.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

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