Have you ever gone into a restaurant where you felt unwelcomed? Did you leave? Do you continue to give them your money and feel unwelcomed?

How many times have you called a company to give them your business? Only to leave a message during operating hours, or be put on hold for longer than 10 minutes?

How many times have you spoken to the owner of the business to get an estimate or proposal, only to never hear from them again?

Have you ever heard a business owner complain they are not getting enough sales? Then you give them a warm lead that they never follow up on?

These are business that want the money but cannot perform any proper customer service to get the revenue. They will complain about other businesses that provide this low level of customer service, but they are one of “those” businesses.

Opportunity Lost

Recently, I had an opportunity for a commercial insurance industry expert to speak in front of 12 very active and profitable business owners. More than half of these business owners were open to switch carriers immediately. I called 8 local commercial insurance agency owners that I know to see if they would speak about them and commercial insurance.

I know what you are thinking. WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY!!! How would you like to get in front of 12 business owner that are actively looking for YOUR product or service? And it didn’t cost you a penny, you didn’t have to pound pavement, or smile and dial to get this opportunity, you didn’t have to beg or plead to get in front of them, you’re the expert and all you must do is show up, be yourself and educate these business owners. Would you jump on an opportunity like that? I know I would.

Here’s what happened:

  • Two agency owners said no thanks – they were not interested. They were very large agencies and clearly had too much business to take on more.
  • One said they didn’t have the time. I don’t know about you, but I would find the time if it would translate into 12 large sales.
  • I left voice mail messages for the remaining five agency owners. Not one or two voice mails – but THREE voice mails all during their operating hours. The voice mails were detailed and none of them were returned. Four of these agency owners are barley growing and tell me all the time they need more business. The fifth business is large and picks and chooses who they want as clients. They do lots of advertising.

You may be thinking, are you kidding me? Really? Your making this stuff up. 

This happens all the time and I hear it from prospect as well as fellow business owners. Businesses want more business but fail big time on the simple little actions that cause the biggest consequence. If you are too busy to answer your phone during business hours, then put in a structured system on how the phones will be answered in your business. If the receptionist is on the phone and the phone rings, have it routed to someone that could answer the phone. One business, I worked with we implemented a structured phone answer system that was 6 layers deep and the calls were picked up before the fifth ring – most by the second or third ring. They were crushing their competition and always heard from the caller, “Oh wow, you answered your phone, the other company didn’t pick up.”

This one simple thing could change your business.

It’s also not just about answering the phone but being courteous and pleasant. If you want business, then answer your phone. Take care of the prospect. If you get invited to speak to individuals that are open to purchase your products or services, jump all over it and treat them like pure gold. 

It has been over a month since I left those voice mails and I still have not heard a word from any of those businesses. I know I will never refer their names to anyone ever again, nor will I every give them the opportunity to win my business.

What are you going to do today to improve one small thing in your business to take care of a prospect or customer?

Greater Phoenix SCORE holds classes regularly on sales, marketing and other business topics. Click here for the full schedule of upcoming classes in the Phoenix Valley. 

About the Author(s)

 Steve   Feld

Steve Feld is a Certified SCORE Mentor and a business coach.

Business Coach, Feld Business Growth
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