Are You Leaving Money on the Table?

By George Farris

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Imagine your 18-year old daughter introduces you to Rowan – her new boyfriend. Rowan has no job or education. But he does have a great collection of tattoos on both arms and several safety pins through his eyebrow.  

No daughter? OK, imagine your assistant buzzes you and says, “The IRS is on line one for you.”  

No tax issues? OK, imagine you’re at the airport. Just before you board, an announcement proclaims, “We’re sorry. Because of severe weather, all flights are canceled until tomorrow.”

You get it. It’s bad news. Just like when you learn you are “leaving money on the table.” It’s a phrase that can ruin your day.

“Leaving money on the table” is an idiom that means you are not getting as much money as you could – or you made a deal that is not as good as it could have been. 

If you charged $500 for a service for which a client would have gladly paid $600, you left $100 on the table. But that situation is rare. Most of the time, you leave money on the table with a sales or marketing mistake that causes you to miss a sale completely or reduces the size of the sale.

How does that happen? Where are your missed opportunities? Do an honest evaluation of your sales and marketing process and components.  The missed opportunities are issues we call “performance gaps.”

Every business and nonprofit is different and has unique issues but what follows are general examples of performance gaps:


• You have no prospect list at all. You do no prospecting.

• You have no new business process. You wait for business to come to you.

• You lose track of a prospect who was interested but not yet ready to buy.

• You don’t ask customers for referrals.

• You get a referral but are slow to follow up.

• You keep working with prospects who have no buying authority.

• You don’t follow up after a sale to ensure satisfaction.


The most common:

• Failure to focus on the customer experience.

• No strong offer in your (digital and traditional) ads.

• No call to action.

• Incomplete contact info in ads.

• Social media not used properly.

• Website links that don’t work. 

• The buying process is too complicated or time consuming.


You are leaving money on the table and ignoring possible revenues streams if you don’t take the time to learn what your customers are thinking on an ongoing basis. You need to survey customers often and interview as many as possible. Knowledge will make you money.

Make sure your customers’ experiences are great – not just good. Clear the path to the purchase. Make the buying process super easy.  Add a chat feature to your website.

You also leave money on the table by not offering upgrades to customers. Some business owners are on the fence about this because they don’t want to seem pushy – especially with a customer who just bought something. 

Marketing pros tell you that you owe it to the customer to at least provide the benefits of upgrading. These are choices the customer might want and mean higher revenues for you.

There may not be much you can do about your daughter’s choice of boyfriends, but with a focus on customer experience and watching for performance gaps, you might be able to avoid leaving money on the table.

George Farris is CEO of Farris Marketing. Email