“Gotchas” are Toxic to Sales

My preferred hotel chain was booked recently so I scanned online for a new one. I found one nearby with a competitive rate and made a reservation. The stay was fine, but when I checked out, there were two “gotcha” surprises.

  1.  They charged me $25 a day for parking, although my regular hotel up the street does not.
  2. They charged me for Internet access since I was not a member.

I looked at the bill and simply told the smiling front desk clerk that while I travel to this city monthly, I would not be staying with them again because of the two “gotchas.” She went in the back and came out with a manager who promptly eliminated the charges, but the damage was already done.

I think most of us hate “gotchas.” As salespeople, sometimes we get stuck with them but we need to tell our managers and owners that at best they are a short-term win, but at their worst, they can do tremendous damage. Not only do they anger our customers but they also destroy trust, and all long-term relationships, both business and personal, are based upon trust.

If a company is basing its profits on hidden fees and counting on surprise extras, that company is building its business on a fragile foundation indeed, not to mention making it impossible for us, as salespeople, to develop the kinds of sustained relationships that are most important to company valuation.  “Gotchas” are usually bright ideas from people who have never picked up the bag and sold for a living.