FORTUNE Small Business:

Shedding non-buying "customers"

FSB's Anne Fisher helps a company owner plagued by walk-in shoppers who never make purchases.

By Anne Fisher, FSB Contributor

FSB magazine -- Dear FSB: My company "recycles" old building parts, such as stained-glass windows and marble tubs, for use in new buildings and renovations. I love the work - except for the "customers" who just want to gab. Some visit five or six times a week and never buy. It's a huge waste of my time. How can I discourage them? - Steve Daly, Honesdale, Pa.

Dear Steve: You might clip this column, blow it up to poster size, and hang it in your shop. Maybe your tire kickers will take the hint. Or you could try to have an urgent task at hand (don't you have molding to strip?), and get too busy to speak.

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If you're desperate, be like an art gallery and display your best stuff with a sign: BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Truly interested buyers can set up a meeting. The downside: You may miss some real walk-in trade.

I'll bet other business owners share this problem. Readers, any more ideas?  Top of page

Think you have a creative solution to Steve's problem? Let him know.
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