Even as a professional copywriter, there are rules that every business owner must follow. Once in a while, one of my people tries to hide behind the creative professional crutch, but I don’t think having an active imagination is any excuse to practice bad business behavior, do you?
I want to tell you the number one mistake stupid businesses make. I hope you will heed this advice and carefully consider, whether you’re a professional copywriter or a cake decorator, that you simply should never ever be this bad at your business.
Sit down on something with a soft pillow top, just in case.
One. Two. Two and a half … Three.
The number one mistake stupid businesses make is not to answer the phone.
That’s it. Why? You put thousands of dollars into making your phone ring. You got a fancy multi-line system. You struggle every year over this thing called a marketing budget. You pay to make the phone ring. Then, it rings.
And you don’t answer it? Really? What could you possibly be doing in your business that’s more important than getting more business? Oh, wait, I mean a potentially converted sales lead has punched your phone number (not your competitor’s) into their phone … and you don’t answer.
Today, I tried to reserve a last-minute service with an outdoor company. A phone call on Monday went unanswered. At 9:30 a.m. on a Thursday, the phone wasn’t answered. Nor at 10 or 10:30 a.m. By 11 a.m. they had lost me, and my business, for good. (By the way, two days later the message on voice mail still hasn’t been returned.)
The kicker, of course, is that the service was $90 per person. There were two of us. How do you feel about losing $180 in business because you didn’t answer the phone? (Do some quick math because hiring someone at $9 / hour only costs you $72, maybe $120 after taxes, yes?)
Do you think they were so busy they didn’t want our business? They paid to market themselves to me and there weren’t any specifics about what time to call. The website didn’t even suggest they only took reservations at a certain time. Voice mail messages weren’t returned. A Google search showed an alternate phone number that also went unanswered.
So, don’t be stupid. I mean this in the nicest way possible. Don’t cost yourself money by not making the decisions that are best for your business. I’m a professional copywriter and I have a smartphone. I’ll answer your call or email as soon as I can.
There’s simply no excuse to lose business because you couldn’t respond to a client during business hours. You cost yourself money when you can’t respond to the very clients you pay thousands to attract. Can you think of a sillier loss of income?