How difficult can it be to spend money?!
As part of my commitment to outsourcing rather than waste resources housing staff and keeping them entertained and motivated, many of our projects and office functions are handed over to trusted, third party suppliers who are experts in their field.
Like a member of staff trust is built over time by good and prompt delivery of work and with efficiencies being realised by us in the business it is often a relationship that can be built and nurtured so that your ‘team’ is grown globally and on a project by project basis.
But recently, with a few specific needs, I have been left feeling frustrated, annoyed and somewhat perplexed in my mission to onboard some new suppliers.
I have a need. I am clear about what is wanted and I will spend the money required, if the price is right, to get the work done.
Short of sitting in the middle of a shopping centre surrounded by burning flares, hula dancers and 100 people simultaneously doing the ice bucket challenge, what else am I supposed to do to get the attention of these companies who are seemingly wanting more work? They give very solid testimonials on their websites. They all offer ‘free’ downloads to prove their knowledge. And they all guarantee that if you use them you’ll see success in whatever area it is they work in. But I’m staggered that I cannot get hold of any of them!
Seriously, I thought we were in the midst of an economic recession and it was a bit dog eat dog out there? How wrong can I be?
Having tried, and failed, to make appointments, schedule calls, receive ‘free assessments’ and other such hooks to get my business, I am now drawing the following conclusions:
- The companies I am contacting are totally inefficient and are too busy working on their next marketing campaign to notice they’ve got a real live one on the hook.
- The very-successful-in-his-field-expert has stayed in his field and not surrounded himself with equally well trained staff so he is drowning in his own success. “There is a waiting list, or not right now” are not words that they’d ever utter for fear of sounding incompetent. So they just don’t speak. And hope you’ll slope off.
- These companies have no KPIs for returning calls to new enquiries so perhaps I just end up lost in a pile somewhere.
All of these things make me feel as though I have no value and that I’m somehow not worthy of working with.
But, chin up Coralie – you ARE worth working with! Who is wrong here? Although we now live in a world where we ultimately deal with most people online, I am effectively standing in a shop waving my money around asking to BUY SOMETHING. What can be so difficult about engaging with me?
So it got me thinking – how many of our own prospects come away feeling like this after trying to get hold of us?
Sometimes for a smaller business, though, these targets can be impossible. If you’re a one man band you can’t grab the phone immediately and you may very well lose that person to someone else – I know if I have a ‘need’ then I will set up a list of people to contact and if I can’t get the first one I’ll move on to the next. The only reason why I will go back to one I couldn’t get hold of is if they have a compelling reason to do business with over the others on my list.
Consider this scenario.
I used to live in a little village that had one Chinese takeaway. To get to any others meant jumping in the car. So it suited me to walk to this one.
And of course it suited the rest of the village so invariably it meant that there were often queues. Which was fine. Except for one thing that used to really get on my nerves.
We’d all be standing patiently waiting to give our order and then the phone would ring. No matter who was being served, if the phone rang then it would get answered. Which effectively meant that the person calling in had queue jumped me. Me, who had taken the time to walk to the takeaway and deal with the company in person.
To say this frustrated me like mad wouldn’t be an understatement.
What do you do in your business that could make callers or visitors feel like this? Do you treat all of your potential clients with care and attention every time? Or is the day to day process of running your business getting in the way of doing this? Customer retention is vitally important so these guys need to be looked after. But if you don’t have a steady stream of calls or virtual visits to your door from people interested in what you do then eventually you’ll have no business to run.
Without stating the obvious, it’s the person waving their money in front of you that needs attention NOW – what can you put in place to make them feel wanted today?