Friday, November 5, 2010

"The We Don't Do That List" And How It Affects The Outcome

I've had an eBay store since 2004 and in that time have purchased several hundred things on eBay in addition to selling many thousands of items. When I search for something and see the listing, it has always been funny to read the "fine print" (although it is usually in all capital letters, with colored lettering, exclamation marks, etc.) of what I call "The We Don't Do That List."

As an example, I would look at a guitar, and it says they don't ship except to the 48 contiguous United States, shipping insurance required (not included, but required), if you have less than 10 feedback, your bid will be cancelled, payment is due within 48 hours of the end of the auction, shipping is by one carrier only, and the list goes on at great length on some of them. It makes the list of things they will do so much shorter!

When I see these, I ask myself why in the world I would even want to do business with this person at all? It suggests to me there will be a series of problems. So, I move on and avoid them entirely.

I see this kind of thing in many local retail businesses too. They may even have signs all around stating what those things they don't do are. No checks is a funny one. I get the idea, but in today's world, you can cash the checks immediately and give the customer the check back.

Taking your car into a repair shop can be an eye opener if you read the "we don't do this" list. They're not responsible for this and that and this and that, the legalese is oozing with wonderful bliss of the lack of liability. If one were to actually read all of that, you may never take your car there again.

When you limit what you will do, you limit the potential outcome. If you don't take checks, credit cards, that limits the number of sales automatically. If you are only open certain hours, you are limiting the potential outcome. Every do not do is a limit to the outcome. It's sort of like a backwards funnel.

Consider not listing these do not do things. Consider doing instead. Consider expanding the bottom line by being more of service rather than less.

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