Is your business open for sales?

I’m sure you’ll read the title of this article and say to yourself of course it is but, are your customers aware of this?

I ask this question and write this article because of an experience that I’ve recently had whilst undertaking a telemarketing campaign for a client. The businesses I contacted clearly weren’t open for sales!

The campaign involved calling people on their database that they send a regular email shot to. This database, although GDPR compliant and fully opted into, didn’t have telephone numbers so I’ve needed to do a little research to obtain these numbers. This is where the fun began!

Google

My first port of call is to “Google it” (other search engines are available!). There were several businesses that didn’t have their company on Google or if they did their contact numbers were wrong.

The most common way to look for product and services online is to “Google it” and then click on some of the organic results that come up. Some people will click to the website others just use the result that comes up to get some information about your business and to navigate further. It’s a free service and it also enables you to have greater visibility across the entire web. You’re missing a trick if you haven’t got a Google account and your contact details aren’t up to date.

Action Tip – Do you have a Google My Business account? If not, think about setting one up. If you do, check that your contact details are correct.

Website

If Google fails, then I move onto their website. I’ve been astonished at the number of businesses that make it difficult for their prospective customers to find their telephone number; some didn’t have one at all! Fancy designs are all very well and good, but if customers can’t find what they’re looking for quickly they’ll move on and call your competitor. My telephone number is at the top of every page on my site and can be seen easily on desktops as well as mobile.

Action Tip – is your telephone number easily found on your website?

Answering the phone vs voicemail

During this most recent lockdown, we’ve all been asked to work from home and there’s been a very large proportion of businesses I dialled that have set up their technology to facilitate “business as normal”. Great!  It was apparent that some of the phones weren’t being answered by business owners or employees but were being answered by a telephone answering service, but the bottom line was that they were making themselves available and open for sales. Their customers and prospective customers could reach them.

Telephone answering services don’t have to cost the earth. I used one myself for many years and they are particularly useful if you work alone in your business, and they ensure that you don’t miss those all-important calls.

But what if you don’t want to use this type of approach?

Voicemail

Forwarding your landline to mobile is a simple and straight forward thing to do. Yes? You’d think so right? However, that wasn’t my experience. Many calls went straight through to a mobile with the standard network greeting and nothing to confirm that I’d reached the right company. Subsequently I didn’t leave a message and I would also suggest that a prospective customer wouldn’t either.

Voicemail is a very useful tool, but it goes without saying a greeting is imperative if we want to encourage prospective customers to leave their details. One company I phoned made a lasting impression on me and not for the right reasons. Their answerphone message said:

“I’m sorry we’re not available to take your call and this answer phone is not being monitored or messages picked up so please email us instead”! 

That was the best anti-sales message I have ever heard!

Action Tip – review your telephone answering set-up and make sure you can be reached!

The missed call

When I’m in telemarketing mode and I “hit” an answer phone I don’t tend to leave a message. From my experience, it doesn’t breed a call back. During this campaign, as you read above, I encountered many mobile phone voicemails and didn’t leave a message. Bearing in mind I make a lot of dial outs in a day, that equates to a high number of missed calls on mobile phones (if calls are diverted). With that in mind, I have only every had 2 people call me back to ask if they can help.  This means that there are a lot of business who haven’t bothered to find out if I am a prospective customer!

Action Tip – On your business mobile, always call the number back, you could have missed an enquiry!

Businesses always want new enquiries, but some simple mistakes can stop these in their tracks. Please don’t be one of them!

Julie Futcher