How To Guides

How to avoid getting rid of customers before you even speak to them

I recently made a number of telephone calls to businesses in the Chester area to get a quote for conveyancing services. Out of 10 solicitors firms I called, none put me through to a solicitor and all relied on their receptionists to give me a price.
Responses included:
“the solicitor has gone to the loo and he might be a while.”
“the usual price is £600 for a sale and £500 for a purchase – does that answer your question?”
“he’s busy at the moment (no mention of who ‘he’ is).”
“the person who usually deals with this is out – can he call you back (he didn’t).”
“oh, just a minute. I’ll put you on hold. (on hold for 5 minutes). Now, what did you want again?”
“£500 all in. Is that OK?”
In actual fact, my query was very specific – I needed advice on sale of part of a property, retention of agricultural land and the possible later sale of a barn for development. Not one person I spoke to was qualified to handle the query and none of them let me ask the question or were prepared to put me through to the right person. In the end I went online, found a specialist in a directory and called him directly. 
How much do you throw away from not handling initial queries effectively?
Assuming your business gets 10 requests for quotations every week and you convert 2 of them into business, how much extra business would you be gaining if you could convert the remaining 8 requests into actual orders?
It doesn’t take much at times. In all the examples above, the firms in question simply needed to put me through to a solicitor who could demonstrate his or her knowledge, show me a bit of understanding and then give me a price to reflect his or her worth. What the firm did not need to do was let me speak to a secretary or receptionist who clearly didn’t care less whether I used their services or not.
So make a resolution for the new year – train the people who answer your telephone calls to sell your business to every person who makes a call.
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