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Why Make It So Hard?


The Queen B likes to do her holiday shopping early. A few weeks ago, she passed a store window with a cool gift item on display: a pair of sweatpants with her seaside town's longitude and latitude on them. It was a perfect present for her daughter. The offspring in question loves sweats (what college coed doesn't?). She's going to school out of state and misses being on the water. Plus, the Queen B tries to shop local when she can. 

Win-win-win. Right?


Turns out the retail establishment with the cool sweats keeps fairly conservative hours. It probably caters to a customer base that isn't quite as over-committed as the Bs always are. Not an insurmountable problem. The Queen B simply ducked out for a few minutes midday between conference calls and copy deadlines. Alas, her errand, though quick, was unsuccessful.

It turns out that the store was out of sweats in size Small. "Will you get more in?" the Queen B asked the sales associate. "Oh, I think so," she was assured. Pause. "Could you maybe take my name and call me when they come in again?" Pause. "I guess so."

A week passed. Then two, four, six. No call.

So, the Queen B went back to the shop. This time a different associate was there. The Queen B explained her mission (again) and was told (again) that more sweats should arrive at some point. The associate then suggested that the Queen B call the next day because the owner would be there and he would know.

The QB, of course, was immediately tempted to say, "You want my business, so why don't you have him call me?" But, since leaving a name and number had worked so well the first time (NOT), she held her tongue.

The next day, she made the call. No answer. She then went to the store's website to make sure she had the correct phone number. The "Contact Us" page had no number listed, but did have an email inquiry form. She explained her situation (again) and sent the email.

No response. Surprise (NOT).

These good local folk are in business. They have a lovely shop with unique merchandise. Surely, they want to sell things to customers.

So why are they making it so hard?

The experience reminded us of a wonderful sales book from a beloved colleague, Ray Considine. His book "WAYMISH" (which stands for "Why Are You Making It So Hard ... for me to give you my money?") is a must-read for direct marketers. 

Considine and his co-author Ted Cohn (sadly Ray, one of the most charming gentlemen in our business, passed away several years ago) explain through a series of funny and appalling and oh-so-familiar scenarios how companies ignore and alienate customers. And, how customers — wallet in hand — get so confused or frustrated that they walk away. As they explain it, "A WAYMISH is any dumb mistake made when dealing with a customer. It's the disastrous effect of one minute's lousy service which loses a customer ready and willing to spend money. One WAYMISH. One customer lost. All future profits gone."

How can we make sure we don't let WAYMISH get in the way of our direct marketing campaign success?

We need to make it as EASY as possible for our prospect to become a customer. That means compelling copy and creative. Offers that are not just valuable but are clearly understood and simple to redeem. Multiple ways to contact us: mail, email, phone, URL. Attractive and flexible payment options. Immediate follow through. Great customer service. Liberal return policies.

You can order "WAYMISH" here:

It's really worth a read. Because a customer is a terrible thing to lose. (And a WAYMISH is a great way to do just that.)

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