People often say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” but in sales and marketing, that can be very, very bad advice.
A rep who makes a “mistake” and forgets to call back when promised. Small stuff? A URL with a missing letter. A phone number with an incorrect digit on your website. One cent off the due postage for a giant mailing. I’ve seen ALL of these “small” mistakes made over and over again. They are “small stuff ” that can have a big impact.
Recently I attempted to book an appointment with a spa I had frequented before the busyness of the holidays and prep for our events; I’d gotten a promotion from them offering discounts for services that needed to be booked within a certain time frame to get the discount. The receptionist told me they didn’t have an appointment available for more than six weeks. I asked about a different service, to which she replied, “Sorry, no availability for THAT for eight weeks.” Frustrated, I told her, “No thanks,” and we ended the call with a very weak “I’m sorry” from the receptionist.
Not once did she ask who was calling. If she had, she could have said, “Mrs. Robins! Welcome back!” or acknowledged I was a long-lost client. She also made no attempt to put me on a wait list, offer to call me back after double-checking to see if she could fit me in, suggest a different service, etc. Absolutely NO name capture, no selling.
Essentially, she did NOTHING to try to bring back a very lucrative client (me) who showed up with money in hand, trying to spend it, driven by a promotion THEY sent with a deadline. I’ll never waste my time calling them again.
Must be nice to be so rich you can afford to turn away good-paying clients like that. (Aside: I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut that someone over there doing the marketing is complaining about how “direct mail” isn’t working, or is “too expensive” because it didn’t deliver the return to make the investment viable. Nuts.)
This horrible mishandling of calls is exactly what I harp on in Rapid Implementation Workshops with members who are attempting to implement a more effective marketing system in their business. There’s NO POINT in doing all the work in advertising and marketing to GET the phone to ring to let it all fall apart when you fail to pick up, or you answer but then act like a total boob, like the aforementioned spa. This type of stupidity is painfully dumb during good times, but exponentially worse right now when getting clients to spend is harder and harder with inflation spiking and many businesses still grappling with the losses that occurred in 2020.
If you’re not going to answer your phones live and refuse to coach and train your employees how to handle a prospective client (AND monitor for compliance with that process), you might as well hang a giant “Do Not Disturb” sign on your website and update your Google My Business to “permanently closed.”
Quite simply, there’s no point in spending money on marketing if you’re not going to finish the job on the inbound call.
Further, the excuse of “We don’t have the staff ” is a poor one when you can outsource this to Call Ruby or Nexa support, who can do it for you. The cost is nothing compared to the upside of business you’ll capture. Many CAN actually afford a secretary to do this and might find sales go UP, making the hire worthwhile simply by ensuring calls are handled appropriately.
I also want to point out that for IT services businesses, answering the phone live is even more critical than in other businesses because the #1 reason someone fires their current IT company and seeks another is because of lack of response.
People aren’t stupid and they’ve been burned before, so if they’re calling you and unable to get a response when you’re trying to give them money, they’ll instantly wonder how you’re going to respond AFTER the contract is signed.
Hopefully, moving forward we can conduct business and life as usual without the Covid cloud hanging over our heads, a tight labor market, supply chain issues, vaccine mandates, travel bans, shortages and more. But despite all that, success or failure in your business is still largely a product of your choices, decisions and actions. Never forget that, even if you have to go to work with your teeth gritted out of frustration over it all. But let’s not make things WORSE and infinitely more difficult by allowing easily fixed holes in the money bucket to continue to leak profits, customers and opportunities.