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.
DITCH the VOICEMAIL
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.
“Customers form an impression of a business in the first 7 seconds of contact.”2
Call Back Quick
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
Quote Quick and Accurately
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
A while ago, I was looking for a company to do a 501c3 for my foundation. I had the money and was eager to get it rolling. I always do a three vendor quote process, (sorry it is from my merchandiser days at Unisource). I ended up selecting a more expensive vendor simply because the vendor I originally selected fumbled the quote and the other option was a current vendor that was fumbling the service.
The owner of this company had a great personality, clear record of accomplishment and the pricing was good based on the initial quote. I was a little skeptical though because I had to make four requests for the written quote, listen to many excuses for the delays, until finally three weeks later I received the quote. In my efforts to be more flexible I was going to overlook it, because stuff happens in life. After reviewing the quote, I called them to start the process only to find out that the quote didn’t include everything necessary to achieve the result I was looking for, my 501c3. When I got the rest of the quote, it was going to be 1/3 higher than their original quote. It was still in my price range but because they didn’t quote me quickly and accurately, I declined to do any business with them on any level. They didn’t make it easy for me to do business with them, so I didn’t.
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.
Nothing screams small business owner louder than to ask your new customer to pay an additional 3% to cover the transaction fee. REALLY! If you want to be seen as a solid business, provide payment options and make it easy for them to do business with you. Look at your business from your customer’s point of view, because that is the only view the customer has of your business.
The below motivational video has nothing to do with “making it easy”, but everything to do with the mindset necessary to “Getter Done Son”. Enjoy!