3 Ways to Annoy Your Guests and Damage Your Reputation


Last week my girlfriend and I decided to switch gyms. Our current health club is expensive, far from home and lacks several amenities we want, so we hopped in the car to go check out a gym that looked like a better fit.

We were nearly ready to sign up, but wanted to take a quick tour beforehand. As soon as we told the front desk staff we’d like to look around, one of them exclaimed, “Oh, hold on! I’ll show you around!” Let’s call him Fred. Fred wanted to sell us memberships.  

Blogging about my trip to a gym seems odd, I admit. But the story offers us the opportunity to explore an important lesson for FECs: pushy, impersonal sales tactics will get you nowhere with prospective customers.

Fred did everything you shouldn’t do if your goal is to add value to your guests experience and build your reputation.

Let’s take a quick look at three mistakes Fred made during our interaction.

Clamoring For Contact Info

Before showing us around, this friendly-but-too-eager manager requested my email address and phone number, even before he introduced himself and asked for our names!


Fred supposedly needed my contact info for their guest waiver, but this was clearly an attempt to get me on a mailing list. I wasn’t going to injure myself while I looked around the locker room, after all.

Fred’s mistake here is all too common. Businesses send unwanted marketing email to uninterested buyers, and they reap predictably fruitless results.

Consumers and their email clients are anti-spam experts at this point, anyway.  So it’s time to stop hustling people onto mailing lists they don’t want to be on.

Developing a mailing list is still an important part of any marketing strategy, of course. But you do it by offering prospective customers content they’d appreciate.

Don’t tell people you want their email for legal protection, then spam them with automated messages, which Fred did 30 minutes after our meeting with him. You can guess where his email ended up once Gmail flagged it.

Deceptive Promotions

Fred got our attention by offering to pay the last month of dues we owed to our old gym. That would have made our decision even easier, but we found out later that we’d have to pay some fees that he initially failed to mention.

This gave me pause about signing up. It was still cheaper to leave the old gym, but why was Fred being so circumspect about the price?

This probably goes without saying, but you should tell your customers what you actually charge, then highlight what they get for paying that price. When people visit your website, for example, make sure they can see why your party packages are worth the price you attach to them.

If you present your pricing dishonestly, you risk alienating your customers and seeding doubt that your offerings are worth the price you’re charging.

Self-Centered Sales Pitch

When we finally got to tour the gym, Fred showed us everything he had to offer, including a spray tanning booth, hot yoga classes, and a heated swimming pool. These amenities probably appeal to a lot of people--but not to us.

Fred didn’t know that, though, because he never once asked what our workouts are like, why we wanted to leave our gym, or (duh!) why we were interested in his gym. His presentation was all about how impressive his facility was, when he should have focused on what we were interested in.


Showing your potential customers what they want to see is key to getting their business. This is why we stress the importance of developing an effective digital strategy, because parents want to book parties and buy admission online.

They will check you out on social media beforehand, too. If you’re not visible because of poor execution or you’re simply not utilizing essential social media channels, you could lose potential customers.


Pop quiz: what’s the fastest way to drive away business? Provide a poor customer service experience. Though friendly and eager to sign us up, Fred served as a textbook example how you shouldn’t treat potential customers.

So don’t be like Fred; make sure you add value to your guests experience from the moment they contact you. If you don’t, they’ll probably complain to their friends. They may even blog about it.

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