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You Can Overcome a Poor First Impression

Tips for regaining customers' trust and winning them over.

This story appears in the March 2010 issue of Start Up.

You've established your , but unfortunately you made a mistake when trying to promote the business (say, a well-intentioned promotion gone wrong), and you may have alienated some of your customers. What do you do? Can you regain your customers' trust? Fortunately, there are a number of tips business experts recommend to win those customers back.

Engage your customers. According to small-business marketing consultant Roberta Guise, in order to win back trust, engage your customers in your business and what it has to offer. "Businesses need to be communicating with customers, and they can do that in-store by handing each customer a card or a letter without being apologetic," she says. Discounts can also engage customers, but small-business marketing expert Erik Wolf warns that relying too heavily on discounts can lead to one-time business instead of long-term profitable customers.

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