Recently I was having a conversation with a client of mine. They were frustrated because their clients kept calling and emailing asking for information.
The information these pesky customers were requesting basically consisted of questions that amounted to, “When are you going to come over here and take my money for a service you pay a lot of money to market?”
You see, my client feels that they are doing great now. The conversation went like this:
Client: I’m so busy that I can lose some work and it’ll still be fine.
Me: How are your competitors doing? Are they slammed too?
Client: Oh yeah, everyone is busy!
Me: So what makes you think you are doing things right?
Client: We’re busy!
Me: Just like everyone else in your industry. So the differentiator between you and them is who the customer finds first as well as which one of you does not ignore that customer.
Client: I guess so.
Me: And right now a lot of you are ignoring a lot of potential customers. But you aren’t aware of it or care about it. Because you are busy, of course. And when things slow down, which they will in this industry, the companies that survive will be the ones that did not ignore potential customers.
Client: I don’t ignore them.
Me: Do you answer or return all calls?
Me: Do you answer all email inquiries?
Me: If I were to see your ad today and contact you, how likely easy would it be for you to take my money?
This is a classic example of an industry supporting shoddy communication. It cannot be sustainable. Not for every business in a given industry. Why would you want to? At some point you will need to treat each potential and existing customer as if they were important to you. Almost as if them using you is how you get to eat.
So here is what I suggest to alleviate this challenge.
- Take on all inquiries into your business from potential customers. Every single one.
- Funnel them based on what they want done, what you can do and what you want to do.
- If you don’t want the work, find a few options you can offer those customers.
- If you want the work but cannot take it on now, tell them you can schedule them as far out as you are comfortable. If they do not want to schedule that far out, give them those few options from above.
The main thing to understand is that the excuses you tell your customers, potential and otherwise, as well as yourself are preventing you from growing your business. And the rule is grow or die.
Just like telling the truth is much easier to train than to lie, so is training your crew to just be nice. Even if that potential customer does not spend a dime with you today. The way you treat those customers will come back to either haunt you or will end up bringing you sweet stacks of cash.
The final thought on all of this is that we are in some rocky times now. Some people are jaded, frustrated and have some pent up emotions that are approaching a boiling point. You answering your phone, keeping up on email and just overall being a good communicator may mean the difference between someone having a good day and someone flipping out.
Let’s aim for a good day.
James Kademan is a Business Coach for Draw In Customers Business Coaching in Madison, Wisconsin as well as the author of The BOLD Business Book. When he isn’t communicating as well as possible, he is busy guiding entrepreneurs to success in business and beyond. He blogs successfully to the world at www.drawincustomers.com and has a business podcast, Authentic Business Adventures. If you are considering hiring a business coach, take a moment to call James at (608)210-2221. If you need some help with your communication in life and business, reach out to James and he’ll talk, write or type as you like.