Thursday, May 26, 2011

SO PLEASE HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND . . . . .

imageThis article was written by Barry McKinley, SCORE Orange County Management Counselor

One of the first things I learned in school and later in business was to be prepared. I was never the smartest kid in school and I certainly wasn’t the smartest business person. But I learned the better prepared I was, the more successful I was. I quickly discovered that it was not the smartest business person that succeeded it was the person who knew the most about their competition, their own products and most importantly about their customers. In the past I have written articles about the importance of a good salesperson mastering the art of probing. We learn absolutely, positively nothing when our mouth is moving, but with our ears open we can learn what our customer’s hot buttons are! We learn what stimulates and motivates them into making a buying decision.

So Please Help Me To Understand . . . . .

Why is it when I call a business person leaving a detailed message of my reason for calling and perhaps the information that I require, that over half the time when I get a call back the caller says “Hi I am returning your call” and naturally my response is great, did you review my message. Now comes the part that ‘Blows Me Away’ . . . NO I didn’t have time, I am just calling you back! Well if there was a parade with the Stupid Band of Idiots this person would be the leader! In some cases I have left a very detailed message inquiring about warranties, deliveries, pricing, competition or other facts that help me to make a buying decision. But they are “Too Lazy” to see what my call was about or more importantly get the facts and information I am asking for. In reviewing my message prior to the callback they have an opportunity to prepare their response. As a consumer I can tell you when this happens I have lost all confidence and respect for the person or company I am calling and quickly move on to their competition.

We are all working very hard in this stressed economy to get every customer and follow up on any and all leads. Many companies are spending $100 + for a single lead!

So Please Help Me To Understand . . . . .

Why when leaving a phone message the caller tries to say their call back number in less than two seconds and their name in even less time. Many times I am not even able to call them back because the number is not clear and the number they called from is not the number that they want me to call. Common phone courtesy and good business sense is to slowly say your number INCLUDING area code, your name clearly, and then repeat both.

Another interesting observation I have made in meeting with 1,000’s of business people is their constant addiction to looking at their cell phone. During the meeting they will continually scroll their email and/or checking to see who called.

So Please Help Me To Understand . . . . .

Why do they think they are so important that any phone call or email can’t wait 30 minutes? If for some reason they are expecting an urgent call that can’t wait and may interrupt the meeting, let the people know ahead of time and then ONLY take that call. The most important assignment they have is this meeting. Many times I have witnessed business people who requested an important meeting spend ½ of the meeting time looking at their phone. They need to turn it off and give their entire concentration to the meeting at hand, or they may find that they have plenty of free time and no customers. Focus on the opportunity! Remember the old saying “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!”