Photographers and small business owners are always looking for ways to grow their business. One of the ways they do that is by setting up a website, Facebook page, Twitter profile, Instagram account, and so on and so on.
Then, they rarely, if ever, make any updates and they lose business because of it.
There is a business responsibility that comes along with managing your presence on Social Media if you REALLY want to grow your business.
I recently walked into a pet supply store and asked the girl who was working if they had any small bags of Now brand dog food for adults.
She looked at me like I was asking for something foreign to their establishment. It was the kind of look that said I was crazy to be asking for dog food in a store with rows and rows of dog food lined up.
She walked over to where the product is kept on the shelf, gave a quick look and said, “No, this is all we have but we have an order coming in tomorrow.”
I asked if they were expecting more of that particular brand in the small bag to be in the order tomorrow.
She told me she didn’t know, and then said, “sorry” and walked away.
That’s it, job done. Another problem customer dealt with.
Definitely not an experience that would have you rushing back to check and see if they have the product you need in the future, right?
Here are four basic things she could have done instead to “close the deal” even thought they didn’t have what I needed at that time:
Try and sell me the larger bag of the same food that they had in stock
Try and offer a different product that I might use instead
Offer to call me the next day when the order arrives and let me know if they received my product
Offer to contact another one of their stores
Instead, she just said, “sorry” and completely missed the opportunity to engage with me and make a positive impression.
Unfortunately, many people are not taught how to sell, serve, or help a customer when the answer isn’t a simple yes or no.
Judgement and basic problem solving skills have gone out the window and, along with them, initiative has disappeared.
If you want to grow your business, make sure you look at how your team solves problems like when someone wants to buy and you don’t have what they want immediately available. These interactions can mean just as much if not more than those with customers who walk in (or click on your site) buy what they want, and leave.
Making sure to always interact with the customer in a professional and helpful way is a necessary sales skill whether you are selling social media services, recruitment, sales, or dog food.
For the record, Pet Valu will keep me as a customer because the girls who work in the other store I go to have exceptional customer service and always solve problems.
Unfortunately, not everyone will have a secondary experience to compare to when things go wrong so it’s imperative that you make sure every client interaction is the best it can be whether it results in an immediate sale or not.
For example: our clients know if something is REALLY urgent, they should text message someone on our management team because we are not always reading emails.
Our team knows that Skype is the best way to get an urgent message to another member of the team because we all get too much email.
Clients are given timelines in advance for when to expect things and then, we prioritize our time to meet those timelines so we are over delivering instead of under promising.
In The Pilot Project there is an entire module focused on the subject of managing client expectations because it really is THAT important.
How do you manage urgency inside of your business and does technology help or hinder what is important versus urgent?
And what about productivity?
Here are 7 ways to help you stop the insanity:
Setup an autoreply in your email that lets people know when you check your email and what to do if they need urgent attention.
Schedule time in your calendar for checking and responding to emails
Create “crisis response plans” for your clients so the basic steps are outlined on how to handle situations that may arise
Create a calendar with your tasks on it for the day and stick to it. Leave blocks of a half hour or hour a few times a day for dealing with things that may come up.
Stop taking the monkey! Don’t volunteer to do things for others. Support them and let them know you believe that they can handle situations that they should be responsible for by ALLOWING them to do it.
Delegate. Are you doing things as a business owner or entrepreneur that are keeping you working IN your business instead of ON it that someone else should be doing? Delegate tasks to your team or hire a Virtual Assistant to take care of some tasks for you to free up time for dealing with the things that only you can manage.
JUST SAY NO! Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you have to. Don’t overbook or overextend yourself by saying yes all the time. It’s ok to say no. 😉
I would love to hear your thoughts on this because I think in a super connected fast paced world, productivity and creativity is being zapped by our urgency to respond right now.
Like hundreds of other business owners and entrepreneurs, Debbie Peck chose to join The Pilot Project in 2013 with a focus on building and growing her business.
Debbie is the owner of Crush Marketing Group and her vision is to bring people from around the world together through the power of Social Media. She has been managing businesses, both hers and others’, for more than 13 years and has a true passion for teach and inspiring others.
These qualities and more shone through during Debbie’s time in The Pilot Project and her input was invaluable to others in the community. Because of her passion and enthusiasm for the program, I wanted to find out just exactly how The Pilot Project had impacted her and her business and how she thought it could help others.
“I believe in ongoing education to always better myself. Although I have been marketing online for over 13 years, I didn’t have a solid business plan. I had just sort of “fallen into” making some money because of the skills I had developed, but it was sporadic and unplanned. The Pilot Project promised to help me put systems in place and get my business on track to grow. When I first heard about it, I almost thought it was too good to be true because it offered to help organize my randomness into a real business using solid business strategies. It worked.”
What was the biggest benefit to your business from participating in this program?
“The biggest benefit was getting myself organized. Even though I had my skill set, that didn’t mean I had a business. What I had was a hobby. The Pilot Project starts from ground zero to show you where you are and helps build a plan to get you where you want to be. I also made great friendships in the Facebook group. That was a huge benefit. Because of stepping up and being more organized and business-like, I managed to secure some bigger contracts. I am now a going-concern, viable business. Truly awesome!”
Who do you think this program can help the most?
“The Pilot Project is perfect for any business owner who is still struggling to get their business off the ground, whether they are brand new or whether they have been around for a while like myself. Unless you have systems in place, you will always flounder. The Pilot Project allows you to build your own blueprint and keeps you accountable with the Facebook group.
It is also for businesses that have been around for a while but need that extra boost to figure out how to take the next leap forward. You really step back and take an objective look at everything and there are so many tools provided to help you put a solid plan in place to take your business to the next level.”
Can you describe the learning style of The Pilot Project and what resonated the most with you?
“I loved the simple, easy to follow logical steps. Each lesson was delivered by email, easy to read and always on time. The lessons all build upon each other so that at the end you had a plan. The Facebook group was my favorite because people constantly supported each other. I don’t know why we all think we are alone sometimes when we are doing something, but the Facebook people taught me that we all have the same struggles, no matter what type of business we are in. We all helped each other out and contributed and celebrated each other’s successes. I also liked that we had homework. This is not a course where we were just given information – it is very interactive and you are expected to participate using your own business information and ideas.”
How important do you think the information is for business owners and why?
“It identifies key areas where you need more help and then gives you the tools to help you take your business where you want it to be. When we work in our own businesses, we are often too close to see things that need help. Every business needs to explore outside help to not only grow, but thrive. It gives businesses that “edge up” that they need to move forward.”
There are a LOT of programs out there, can you describe what makes this one different to help other people with their own selection process from your point of view?
“The Pilot Project provides a foundational base that you can build your business on. If you build something on sand, it will not be stable, but if you build it on bricks with rebar, it will be around for a long time. TPP is your bricks and rebar and it is so simple and easy to follow. It is not like those long, hard to follow courses that you get frustrated with and stop doing because they take too much time. I found it easy to incorporate the lessons into my everyday business life and there was always help in the Facebook page or by email. Lisa Larter is always around and willing to help and share her experiences and knowledge. She is a genuinely lovely person that has been through the business-building process herself and is not someone just looking to get rich quick by selling courses. She has been there in the trenches and shares not only the success she has had, but the struggles that came with it.”
Want to Hear More?
See what Christine Tripp had to say about her experience in The Pilot Project! Read More
Want to Hear More?
See what Kate Gardner had to say about her experience in The Pilot Project! Read More
Want to Hear More?
See what Patty Searl had to say about her experience in The Pilot Project! Read More
I recently had an experience that caused me to say something I don’t often say. “I will never do business there again.”
I was angry and frustrated, but, more than anything else, the situation really made me wonder:
Why is it that so many people in the service industry feel the need to puff up and behave in a belligerent way towards their customers instead of coming from a place of service?
Here is what happened:
A few weeks ago, Gretchen had an upset stomach so I took her to ASH, otherwise known as Animal Specialty Hospital of South West Florida. They have been our “go-to” place for any vet needs over the past couple of years when we are down here.
They checked her out, prescribed some antibiotics and anti-nausea products, and gave me some low fat food for her then, sent us on our way.
Once the prescribed food was gone we went back to her normal diet as instructed at the hospital. A few days later, I noticed that she did not seem to have as much energy on the homemade food I have been making so I went back to buy more of the food they gave me.
When I explained why I was there, the receptionist was unsure how to help me because she said they don’t sell that food.
Now, this came as a bit of a shock to me because they gave me the food (technically I bought it from them) just a few weeks earlier and she was unable to tell me where I could go and buy more.
She asked me to wait while she went into the back to speak to someone and try to get me more information.
To my surprise, out came a vet tech who was very determined to give me a lecture rather than service.
Before I even had a chance to speak she basically read me the riot act on why they don’t sell this food and how you have to get it prescribed by your regular vet because they don’t stock enough to sell to everyone, and they only have enough to use for their patients.
Her tone was super condescending and I could feel myself wanting to tell her to take her six cans of food that she was so ungraciously allowing me to buy and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. But I didn’t…
After she was done with her lecture, she proceeded to tell me she could order the food for me with their regular inventory order if I wanted.
I didn’t think my jaw could drop any lower than it already had, but it did. I told her no thank you and left.
I could have made a scene, but there was no need because two things happened when she was going off on her tangent:
I decided to get a regular vet who would treat me nicely.
I decided there was no way in hell I would order this very premium and very expensive dog food from them.
This situation could (and should) have been handled in a very different way.
The young woman could have come out and treated me nicely. She could have explained that although they do not carry it on-site to retail, they would be happy to order it with their next inventory shipment, and how many cases would I like.
Instead, she ticked me off to the point that I will no longer take my dogs there unless it is an emergency and I have no choice.
That means, the $700 I spent a few weeks ago when Gretchen had an upset tummy will go to another vet next time.
Take a look at this video I did a while back on the #1 Reason Your Customers May Be Walking Instead of Buying:
And, just as important as you understanding this, your team members or employees are an extension of your business model and they need to know as well. Do they understand that their behaviour can help you build a business or lose sales as quickly as they open their mouths?
If not, you need to make sure this is a part of their training. Help them understand the right and wrong ways to handle a situation.
In a time when so many people complain about the economy, my advice is this – treat your customers well and your business will be okay.
One more thing, if you are struggling with finding the passion you once had for your business is dwindling, this can have a negative impact on your level of service. On December 4th at 12pm I will be sharing some of my secrets to keeping that passion for your business alive and well during a Free Webinar. I’d love it if you joined me. www.LisaLarter.com/Webinar
Earlier this year at the Live Your Best Day Event we held in Ottawa, a woman approached me and kindly gifted me one of her products.
I went home and gifted that product to my husband. He LOVED it.
Now I needed one for myself, so I went onto their website shortly after that and sent them an email about ordering another.
I never received an email back from them and never ended up ordering.
Fast forward several months to when we arrived in Florida and my husband realized he had not brought the item with him. He mentioned several times that he really wished he had so I went online, found their number, and this time I called the woman.
When she answered, I introduced myself and I reminded her I was one of the organizers of the event so she would remember me. I explained the situation and told her I wanted to order two items and have them shipped to Florida. I also mentioned that I had previously emailed and received no reply that was why I was calling.
What happened next amazed me…
She did not offer to take my order but instead directed me to go to her website and order the product.
This is a tactical error I see happen that costs many businesses money.
Your customer is on the phone. They are asking to give you money.
Make it easy for them to buy.
Instead of saying to your buyer (most likely on the other end of the line with credit card in hand as I was!) that the best thing to do is use the website so it calculates the shipping, tell them that the cost does not include shipping. Offer to call them back with the shipping fees or provide them with a ballpark price.
If you aren’t a master at the art of selling have a look at this Shop Talk Video for some tips:
The most important thing to know is – Never send a customer who is ready to buy away.
The individual I was dealing with did not try to sell me anything. They didn’t offer to guide me on my purchase, to up-sell me on other products or make the process easier for me. They just basically told me to go away and use their website, which didn’t seem particularly user friendly.
Have you have ever watched Dragons Den or Shark Tank? If so, you know already that business is all about sales and valuation.
When you are complaining about results in your business take a look at how you are treating your existing customers. Having a business requires your ability to sell and when you fail to do that – people go elsewhere.
If someone calls you and wants to buy – help them to do that. Don’t send them away to think about it or process the order online – take the business.
“Lisa spoke at our very first “Lunch & Learn” as part of Youville Centre’s Mentorship Program. The theme of the event was “Inspiration” and Lisa certainly inspired our young moms who are between the ages of 15 and 21. Lisa... Read More