As a Business Life Coach, I work with a variety of small business owners on tight budgets. They hire me for a multitude of reasons but the main reason is always to get more clients. A business license, logo, and website does not equate to having a business. You only have a bona fide business when you have people purchasing your goods and services on a regular basis. My question to you is, how easy are you making it for customers to do business with you? Here are 4 tips every business owner should consider.
When it comes to prospects calling you to find out about your business DITCH the VOICEMAIL!
“72% of callers who reach an automated answer will hang up (and potentially call a competitor) without leaving a message.”1
You have made an investment to get prospects to call you. Make a high return on that investment and pick up the phone. I can already hear you, “Life Coach Brenda, how am I supposed to service customers and sit by the phone all day too?” Well, I am glad you asked. Hire an answering service. You can get one for less than $100 a month and depending on your price point, it should more than pay for itself each month. Make it easy for them to do business with you.
After spending seven years as a director in the answering service industry, I truly value the solutions they provide to small businesses. However, I highly recommend you do the research. Not all answering services are the same. This link is a good start: http://www.toptenreviews.com/business/services/best-answering-services/
“Customers form an impression of a business in the first 7 seconds of contact.”2
I cannot tell you the number of times I was ready to spend money and waited 2 or 3 days to get a vendor to call me back. Others share the same experience of waiting on a copier company, distributer, roofer or painter to call them back. Last week I signed two new life coaching clients that said, “I’m so happy you called back. I have left messages for other life coaches that never called me back.” Just by calling them back quickly, I immediately earned creditability. Make it easy for them to do business with you. Be the vendor that responds first, while it is on their mind and they are ready to spend.
“30-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.”3
Nothing will ruin your business reputation faster than playing bait and switch with the numbers. Trust is an extremely high factor in getting and maintaining clients. When someone asks you for a quote don’t nickel and dime them, it erodes trust. Shoot it straight and quick. Give them the total price for all goods and services necessary to bring the results they are looking to achieve. People purchase RESULTS! Talk the language that will get them to buy – RESULTS! Itemize the quote and set clear expectations so there are no surprises along the way. Trust me, if there are surprises you may get that contract but you won’t get the next.
“For every customer that bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent.”4
If your business does not allow for debit/credit payment options then you are going to miss out. 78% of all consumer purchases are transacted through a debit/credit card.5 If you are still an old fashion company that only accepts check payments then you may lose customers to a competitor that is making it easier for clients to pay. Yes, there is a cost to credit card transactions and you need to build that cost into your overall product price.
3 The Brevet Group
4 White House Office of Consumer Affairs
5 TSYS 2014 Consumer Payments Study